Issie Lapowsky: Don’t Let Trump’s Win Fool You: America’s Getting More Liberal – WIRED

“We’re seeing a kind of primal scream of, ‘No, our society cannot change in exactly the ways it has been changing,’” says Nell Irvin Painter, a historian at Princeton University and author of the book The History of White People.

But while the backlash helped president-elect Trump win, it may not be enough to help him lead. Not only did he lose the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, but dig into the data, and you’ll see Trump has inherited a country where the majority of the people increasingly reject his views on everything from the border wall to climate change to gun control.

Fueled by the huge millennial generation, an influx of immigrants, and increases to educational attainment, the US at large is becoming more inclusive and accepting of ideas that would have been utterly taboo not too long ago. Trump’s election may represent the resistance of those who fear this left-leaning future, but it won’t change that future from coming to pass.

From: Don’t Let Trump’s Win Fool You—America’s Getting More Liberal | WIRED

2 comments on “Issie Lapowsky: Don’t Let Trump’s Win Fool You: America’s Getting More Liberal – WIRED

Commenting at CK MacLeod's

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  1. Not only did he lose the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes

    Trump didn’t lose “the popular vote”–there is no popular vote. That which everyone cites as “the popular vote” is purely notional as a “popular vote”, and I’d like to think that the eminently sober and precise C.K MacLeod wouldn’t disagree with me on this.

    I hope it will be gratuitous for me to explain that, if we had elected the president in our most recent election on a strictly “national popular vote” basis, then the popular vote tally of that election would differ from the “popular vote” tally of the actually-existing election conducted on the line of the electoral college. We’ve no idea–short of prophecy–who would’ve won the election had it been carried out according to the norm of a national popular vote.

    Trump’s election may represent the resistance of those who fear this left-leaning future, but it won’t change that future from coming to pass.

    Ahh–and, as it turns out, Miss Issie is a prophet–not quite of the stature of the Prophet Isaiah, but the Prophetess Issie nevertheless. In all seriousness, the “prophetic” tendency of progressive liberalism testifies to its abiding faith that it shall not have to shed blood in the furtherance of its profoundly controversial and disturbing objectives–it will just all “come to pass” without further ado–though we may have to endure occasional hiccups along the way from detestable “raaa-cists”, “climate change deniers” and other retrograde souls.

    It really doesn’t matter much if there is a (strictly numerical) “majority” for a “left-leaning future” in California, New York City, Chicago and Boston. It’s always been obvious, and going forward it’s going to become ever more obvious, that the “United” States are a collection of separate countries and peoples and it seems we ought to divorce one another and go our separate ways. In any event, just conduct a few presidential elections strictly on the line of a national popular vote–so that California, NYC, Chicago and Boston can lord it over the rest of us–and divorce proceedings will get underway right quick, I suspect.

    It may be that the hinterland–the Jesusland of progressive liberal geography–is presently lording it over the citadels of progressive sophistication, but we only get to do that periodically, once in a blue moon. If we had presidential elections on a national popular basis, the paragons of sophistication would be lording it over the rest of us every single time–and that is a condition that would prove intolerable to us, buh-LEEVE me! But if liberal sophisticates (and hardened rednecks) lament the alternation of control over the reins of power, then shouldn’t we just go our separate ways–Prophetess Issie into her left-leaning future, and I into my Southern juche future?

    • Upon further consideration, I’ve detected an apparent contradiction in my comment above that I’d like to bring to light and resolve.

      In the first half of my comment, I cast doubt on the idea that Donald Trump “lost” the “popular vote” or would have lost the election had it actually been conducted on the line of a national popular vote.

      There is, however, a standing supposition on the part of some observers that if presidential elections were conducted strictly on the line of a national popular vote, then the Democratic candidate would win every time, due to the strong grip in which Democrats hold California, NYC, et al.–and in the second part of my comment, I accept that speculation and remark that such a state of affairs would greatly distress the rest of the nation.

      So which is it–do Republican candidates for president, including Donald Trump, stand a chance in elections conducted on the line of a national popular vote or would such elections rather be a shoo-in for the Democrat?

      I think I’ll reiterate my original skepticism concerning the outcome of a national popular vote for president. Conducting a presidential election on such a line would so alter the electoral dynamics that we just can’t say whether or not Trump might have been able to accumulate more votes than the moribund and crooked Hillary Clinton. But if the supposition of a perennial national majority favoring the Democratic Party was indeed proved true, then I think repeated elections (without let-up) of the torchbearers of contemporary bourgeois left-liberalism to the presidency would be too much to bear for the vast parts of the country shut out from any hope of periodic control of the national reins of power–and the resolution of that problem would probably entail, at a minimum, reversion to the electoral college system of electing presidents. At a maximum, it would entail divorce.

      Regardless of the methodology of U.S. presidential elections, the dynamics of such elections are changing in a profound way. Whites are finally being forced to confront the truth that the much-talked-about “browning of America” is finally coming into view. As we go forward, even bourgeois whites will be compelled to digest what their policy of “diversity” has wrought–and not least the cultivation of an explicit white ethnic identity and interest over against the manifold parochial identities and niche interests of the coalition of the diverse, aka the Democratic Party.

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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