CVille Dem's picture

    A Thought Experiment for Dagbloggers

    I am fairly confident that Hillary Clinton will be elected in November.  I am very confident that if she is our next President she will do a good job, and many people who are not staunch supporters will be pleasantly surprised at her efforts and policies for all of us.  I expect that she will improve the ACA, make prescription drugs less expensive, improve services for the neediest, and rebuff any attempts to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that help the common Good.  This will no doubt be labeled by the GOP as "free stuff to the undeserving."  We must not allow that to gain traction.

    Having seen the gauche hatred at the GOP Convention, I am also expecting the Democratic Convention to be one of hope, policy discussions, and inspiration.  But what I would really like to do here is open up a discussion about how to win over the disaffected; the Trump supporters who truly believe that only Donald Trump could “Make America Great Again.”


    When Trump announced last June, the polls had him at 3%, in July 15%, and in September 27%.  Very few people gave him any chance of achieving his goal, and many of us (myself included thought he was not even serious about it).  The original demographics were of a poorly educated, lower income range.  There were more women than men.   Only 15% described themselves as “very conservative,” 65% as “conservative,” and surprisingly 20% as “Liberal to Moderate.”


    By March of 2016, the male:female ratio had dramatically changed to 47:28, and 50% of his supporters had incomes greater than $50,000.  They are mostly white.  Some are former Democrats.


    There are common denominators, such as a concern about immigration, about crime in general (although crime rates are lower than in the past several decades), a strong belief in the 2nd Amendment, a distrust of government, and a general fear that the US is changing for the worse and that they are the victims.  There are other similarities, but the one abiding common thinking is that they have no voice. 

    This is what I would like to discuss:  How can we Progressives help to make those untrusting and unhappy people learn that Progressive government is on their side?

    They feel powerless, and seem to crave an authoritarian who is “tough” and “tells it like it is.”  Many vote against their own self-interest, and I don’t think it is simply wedge issues that cause that, but they get a certain percent.  Many are vehemently opposed to the ACA even though they are benefitting from it.


    What are your thoughts?  What can we do?  I will chime in with some of my ideas if this post generates any interest.



    I don't know how to imbed URL's so this is awkward.  Sorry about that.  

    Hi Cville!

    How might we discuss issues when the opposition calls for jail time or death for our candidate?

    From what I have discerned so far, Hillary has issued pages upon pages of propositions that outline a real administration as POTUS.

    The repubs have issued nothing of the sort.


    That is it?


    That is it.

    I think that following the repub convention, the numbers (as far as polls) will not change that much.

    We shall see.

    But we have our time in the media next week?

    We need some shelter and so I must render here my favorite song of all time; it is just a shot away:

    Hey, DD.  Well, I'll tell you what got me thinking about this subject.  I was reading an article at Huffpo where there were a lot of comments about how ignorant Trump supporters are -- "low information voters" etc.  One of the commenters said that the people who support him need to be listened to by those who actually want to help them.  He said basically, that we mock them at our own peril.  These people truly feel betrayed and fearful, and unless we give them some empathic listening, every election cycle is only going to get meaner.

    I took that to heart, and I think it is true.  So first of all, let Hillary prove herself, and then it's up to all of us to reach out to those who feel left out.  Maybe we should be more authoritarian --> it might help, but my point is to make people start to think about how to help unhappy, fearful, voiceless people realize that we want to help, protect, and listen to them.

    There is a long time to go. Something less than four months on our calendars.

    We do need to amend the Obama Care, as it were. And yet we must not forget that tens of millions of folks are now covered (whether they like it or not).

    We must address the mess in the Middle East.

    We must further take a look at Wall Street (why not a value added tax on all stock trades on Wall street.

    Bernie helped us. Just look at the initial Dem platform.


    I am hopeful.

    If I have a decade or two left, I shall remain left. hahahahahah

    I love my country.

    I have attempted to underline this love for eight years or so.

    Let us see what transpires.

    I have hope.

    I have my own sins for sure, and so should HILLARY accept her sins too.

    Agree Richard. An ideology of hate, fear and total faith in the  'Leader' or the 'Party' is very hard to supplant. The belief is the ideology cannot fail, it can only be failed.

    The best book I have read of how an ideology, of the left or the right, can be sustained or even become more tenacious, in the face of contradictory realities with horrendous personal consequences, was  Under Two Dictators, Prisoner of Stalin and Hitler.

    From a review of that book at amazon: The author shows how absolute devotion to ideology, be it of the left or the right, is a fated road to despotism. The ideology becomes both an impenetrable filter through which no contradicting facts make it through, and a shield for those who wield it. Facts, critical thinking and objective reasoning are extinguished. People are manipulated by incessant streams of ideological disinformation, and by fear of the 'other', persons of different ethnicity, religion or political beliefs.

    You paint a discouraging picture, NCD.  When I try to imagine the "America" that Trump supporters pine for, and what President was in office, I think of Eisenhower (of course they think of Reagan, but they are mistaken).  The tax rates were far higher on the upper limits of income, the war was over and there was a positive spin on the future as most families had cars, there were many many infrastructure programs that kept returning soldiers employed.  It was also the time of Joseph McCarthy, and it was destructive to our society.  The well was poisoned for sure, and it took a brave person or two to bring it to light.

    It took facts and it took a certain level of empathy towards the victims of the "Red Scare" to end it.  Are you really thinking that we can't reverse this negative and explosive anger and hate?

    I hope we can.

    The diversity of America will hopefully immunize us from the full consequences of what the GOP has in store for us.

    Good point.  I hope that our diversity will get us through this.  Unfortunately, I am watching the Republican Convention as I write this.  It is hard to be hopeful and positive as I watch this black pastor, Darrell Scott, pushing the Donald to the adoring crowd.  

    Talk about PLAGARISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MLK, ETC.

    If Trump is elected it would be an unmitigated disaster.

    Cville discusses discouraging....

    And we can go into the fact that in the 30' and the 40's the Russians were our friends, and then some got caught going to meetings. hahahahah

    I am left. That is what I am. But I was left when had something. hahhaha

    I am not drawn to women who wear burkas. And yet, when I was a kid, women had to wear hats in church.

    As I grew older, the women appeared to rebel and would wear handkerchiefs on their heads. All the while there was a crying section in the back, behind closed windows where babies could cry. hahahah

    ​But I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. hahahaha

    How might we achieve some sort of new approachment? with other cultures?

    Hell, I do not know.

    But we aint gonna get away with gathering them all up  and sending them to hell


    Other cult - tures like Trumpeteers and Tea Partying types?

    I don't know how true this is, but from what I have read, the TeaPartiers have only reluctantly joined the Trump circus.  They were not early supporters.  

    When I write about trying to work with Trump supporters, I am not including TeaBaggers.  They have an ideology that is against everything that Progressives stand for.  

    The point of this is to explore the idea that we might win over people who could perhaps realize that we are all better off with Progressives governing.  

    How can we message this?  

    Many more living wage jobs, less poverty, secure retirement, universal single payer healthcare, debt-free college, greatly reduced wealth disparities.

    Hal, I agree that those are goals.  What I am getting at here is how we can approach those who distrust Progressive programs as "free stuff going to the undeserved" to help them get the point that they also benefit from Progressive governance.  

    We can't just dogmatically say, "Look at all we do for you!!!" And expect them to say "Thank You."  They are hearing the GOP messaging, which is that shiftless lazy people are getting everything at their expense.  I want to know how we can convince them that the GOP is pushing smoke and mirrors.

    1) To get more jobs - first and foremost no more "free" trade deals and aggressive reworking of those that are currently in effect.  Clinton will have to use the bully pulpit to threaten and cajole Dems and purple district Republicans who aren't with her on this one but it can be done because the great majority of Americans hate these job-killing deals.

    2) Poverty reduction programs will be tough to implement because of Republican obstructionism and the use of racism to turn poor/working-class whites against them but after we start to bring jobs back, poverty rates will drop and further action will be less costly so they may be possible.

    3) Secure retirement should not be as difficult a lift.  Most Americans will support lifting the income cap on social security and certainly the AARP - which is an incredibly powerful lobbying organization - will be on board.

    4) Universal single-payer is, as you mentioned, the goal.  So how do we get there?  I'd start with proposing a public option for all Americans.  Hasn't Clinton done this?  Calling it a medicare buy-in should help.  Clinton will have to call out by name recalcitrant dems as bought and paid for tools of the for-profit insurance companies.

    5) Debt-free college - well she has already said she supports this in principle and has called for ways to reduce greatly tuition for poor, working, and middle-class Americans.  Good for Hillary!

    6) Greatly reduced wealth disparities - again Clinton is on the right track here already.  She has called for a surtax on the wealthiest Americans.  I would call for a harder heavier tax.  Going after obvious villains like hedge fund managers and job off-shorers would be sensible.

    Yes, taking America back from the plutocrats will be very tough but I am optimistic that it can be done if we have a President who's prepared to attack as unpatriotic those whose allegiance is to the rich and powerful rather than to the 99% and to use every available weapon - especially unions which are less powerful than they once were but still have some clout.  FDR and LBJ showed the way and Hillary Clinton to her credit seems on board to a significant degree.

    You know Hal, this is surprisingly pro Hillary, if I might say.

    I shall think about these items you list.

    I always thought you hated Hillary.


    Of course, we still need a value added tax on Wall Street. hahahah


    All I got is this commie song from a commie guy

    Thanks Richard.  One of my quirks (some would call it a failing) is that I am a knee-jerk contrarian.  In the midst of Hillary supporters, I am often a harsh critic.  When confronting right-wing Hillary haters, I instinctively look for the good.

    Good suggestions, Hal

    I don't agree with #1 as a flat out policy.  Globalization is what it is,  We have to deal intelligently with it in our country -- and I would argue -- with the world's Common Good as well. I think "no free trade" is simplistic.

    2.  I so hope that down-ticket Democrats get in and allow the anti-poverty programs have a chance.  How can we make this happen?

    3.  As to the Social Security income cap -- most Americans don't realize that it supports itself, and has for generations.  They have no idea that Ronald Reagan co-mingled those funds.  They don't realize that someone making $50,000 a year payers a higher percentage of their earned income towards SS than someone who earns $500,000.  Why not?  Because we haven't been effective in educating them. 

    4.  Agree.  The Public Option is next, but we have to show actual people how it's helping them.  If we don't keep moving forward (the numbers are with us, after all) we will not get there.  Those who worry that the "unworthy" will get health care will most likely only accept it when they are fully aware that it is good for them as well. 

    5.  Debt-free college -- not happening soon, but we could definitely have a government agency take over the debt at a reasonable interest rate.  Something like.5% higher than I get on my money market fund?  As in helping people go to college but not-for-profit.

    6.  That will take longer.  HRC will have to show that she has worked for this.

    Basically we need to earn how to use language that resonates with those who feel powerless and unheard.  It shouldn't be rocket science, guys!

    We disagree strongly on trade but I don't have time or inclination to detail my position here.  Maybe I'll write a long-form article explaining why I believe we have to rescind or re-negotiate these treaties.  I agree we have to use the right words and I alluded to that when suggesting that Clinton should attack as "unpatriotic" those who oppose policies to improve the quality of life of ordinary Americans.  This works especially well when arguing against trade treaties (which I know you don't deem as destructive as I do) because those who support them can be fairly said to be selling American workers (and the environment) down the river.

    I know that many see Hillary as a hawk.  I propose that she direct her Cabinet to look strategically at the Defense Budget and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in that budgetary area.  The number of useless multimillion dollar fighter planes and other boondoggles needs to be scrutinized and, if wasteful or ineffective, eliminated, regardless of whose state loses money.

    The money saved from those programs should be directed towards a big spending program on infrastructure with the goal of job creation and also fixing the serious problem of our collapsing bridges and highways.  

    As long as the long-term goal isn't to simply save millionaires and billionaires from having to pull money out of their vaults to pay taxes, we could move forward.  But unless the general public sees the job market opening up, it will fall flat.

    Oh I just saw this on MSNBC for chrissakes.


    ​But this aint it. hahahahah

    Maybe tomorrow.

    But SNL showed up to screw with the repub convention. hahahah

    I do not know where in the hell to put this. hahahahah

    Supposedly this segment got put on Chris ....ah who cares. I mean  they are all named Chris on MSNBC.

    No kidding, this is the funniest stuff I have seen on MSNBC ever.

    That's a tough question. Information is power and too many people have been fed bad information. The media isn't trusted; academia is looked at through a partisan political lens as agents of the left instead of resources to be used to further progress. I don't know how to reach someone who won't accept any information that's contrary to their worldview. 

    Danny, I agree that information is power, and for too long false information has been successfully touted as truth.  The media may not be "trusted" but they have the power to make assumptions which have been put out there, become truth to those who don't try to vet what they are told.  

    I am profoundly disappointed in the non-effort that was made to give the positive information about the ACA.  Maybe they could hire the same writers who provide the script for the Washington Correspondents Dinner to get the message out.  They are clever and funny.  

    But to your point about people having a hard time changing their world view, that is a subject that interests me. In fact I plan to blog on it.  I have had actual, memorable moments that my world view was changed.  

    Interesting topic.  How to achieve it?

    It's a great question, CVille, and fundamental to the future of the country. The short answer is very simple: people have to be believe that the government is on their side. But persuading people to believe that is very difficult. You can't persuade effectively by listing all the nice things that government does for them. Our brains respond best to stories with heroes and villains.

    The original progressives were successful because they had a story: Government defends the working class from rich and powerful corporate elites. Moral: government is on your side.

    Today's conservatives have been successful because they also have a story: Government elites give handouts to minorities and oppress white Christians. Moral: government is on their side.

    What's our story? Bernie Sanders and OWS have sought to revive the original progressive narrative, but I don't think it works as well as it used to. That story relied heavily on a mythology of factory workers and farmers who worked with their hands, which doesn't describe today's working class. The villains are also more diffuse today. We don't have all-powerful Rockefellers and J. P. Morgans to kick around anymore, just faceless corporate boards.

    That said, I don't have a better alternative, but I believe that we need one.

    Right.  The story has to be one of optimism.  That is why the GOP is all about fear.  Somehow, there will need to be a way for the average person to see in front of their own eyes, that there is hope.

    This is what I would like to discuss:  How can we Progressives help to make those untrusting and unhappy people learn that Progressive government is on their side?

    Stop means testing things.

    People keep remarking about how Trump supporters are not poor.  I think the average household income is in the $70K a year range, which is higher than national median.  The problem is, it's not rich or even well off. $70K a year for a household is in the struggling range. Compromises have to be made, desires put off, work increased if possible and yet if you make that amount a year you get very little, if any, direct government assistance.  Nobody is going to help you pay for childcare or give you a tax rebate for having a job.  The government views your situation as fine or acceptable and not worthy of direct help.

    So, stop it. Make more programs available to such people (to the extent that they will use them). Heck, maybe they will like such programs and support making them better.  You never know.

    But the big problem here and the cause of all the distrust is that there's a group of hard working people out there who believe that they have been left to go it alone while other people get help.  I know there's some serious BS in that, believe me.  But the perception has to be thwarted and the best way is to give these people things.

    I think you underestimate the ability of people to hold contradictory thoughts. I saw a documentary a year or so ago. Poor whites claiming they deserved the help all the while complaining about the browns and blacks cheating the system to get that same help.

    There is another problem which is that the help we tend to offer people is bad.  I think that a good number of poor whites who wind up on food stamps ultimately convince themselves, through tales of welfare queens and the like, that there is some sort of "good welfare" out there that more experienced, um, "urban" people are able to exploit, or that there are special benefits for minorities in need that are not available to white people in need.

    One of the root problems is how to reach people who don't pay attention. I've been reading some of the interviews of disgruntled voters who dislike both candidate. One refrain is they aren't hearing policy ideas from either side to deal with the problems. My god, policy ideas is all Hillary has. "I have a plan for that" should be her election slogan. She has no stage presence, no charisma, little skill at speech making.  All she is is a policy wonk. Probably the most well informed policy wonk in at least the last 50 years on every single issue that the country faces. And people are saying no one has a plan to deal with my, or the country's problems.

    Very good observation, and who wants to hear, "Go to her website" and see how she would approach these problems.  How about:

    I have an app for that!

    Seriously, the Clinton campaign should invest some bucks in designing an app to search her policy positions.  Easy to find, easy to understand, and usable by anyone.  Millenials might even be drawn to it.

    Anybody know anyone in the campaign to give them a nudge?


    "I have an app for that!" would make a terrific stump speech line, plus it's a great idea!

    Stop means testing things.

    Totally agree. One reason Medicare and SS are so much more popular than Medicaid is that everyone gets it.

    I appreciate the comments from everyone and I will respond to each -- just can't do it right now.  

    One interesting feature to Trump becoming the candidate is how many of his supporters report wanting to poke the eye of the System more than bring about anything his outfit puts forward as a particular policy. Apart from what is at stake as political contest, that quality reveals an odd faith that our polity is self sufficient to the degree that it can subtend gestures of its dissolution as a form of rhetoric in a larger conversation.

    But there is no larger conversation. We lie in the beds we make and the deals we accept. A lot of political advantage could be gained by getting people to think about their own situation without telling them what the correct answer is after thinking about it.

    Maybe the Left should embrace some of the Libertarian spirit abandoned by the Right. Develop alternatives that increase options rather than try to own the results of everything that happens. The Right used to own that narrative until Reagan promised a chicken in most pots if we only let Capitalism off the leash of Liberal restraint. The world has turned and most people don't think either the market or the government can do anything more than what they are designed to do.

    If that part of the discussion was addressed directly, it would undermine the Trumpet theme that Liberals are afraid to talk about what is happening.

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