Negative Responses to Trumpian Motion

Posts in this series; some of the terms I use are described more fully in these posts.
Trumpian Motion
Negative Responses to Trumpian Motion
Economic Elites Drive Trumpian Motion
Beneficiaries of Trumpian Motion
Notes on Trumpian Motion Series


I am really bothered by Trumpian Motion and I know other people are too. It seems to me that the reason for this is that the election and the Republican wreckage of government challenge my basic assumptions about my fellow citizens and about the way the country works. In this post I follow Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus as explained by David Swartz in Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu to see what it suggests about me and by extension maybe others. There’s a discussion of habitus here, which I would change in several ways, though not in the description of habitus itself. Here’s the Wikipedia entry.

In short, habitus is a deeply embedded mental structure informs us about our culture, actions that are possible for us given our place in the culture, and the likely outcome of actions we could take. It guides our understanding of social interactions more generally. Habitus is learned from experience, starting with our first days, with the social and work worlds we encounter. Habitus controls our understanding of what is possible for us given our social class.

Bourdieu thinks that habitus is fairly similar across class and class fractions. He thinks of classes as groups with similar levels of economic, cultural, social and other forms of capital. The class fractions vary by the field in which people primarily operate, and by the amounts of each form of capital each person has. This provides a way to understand society as a loosely grouped sets of people who share common dispositions and understandings.

Bourdieu uses sophisticated survey methods to learn about and describe habitus, class, and other mediating concepts. I don’t have those tools or the ability to use them. Habitus in particular is deeply embedded and may not even be directly ascertainable by introspection, but I’m going to make an effort. What follows is my best guess at elements of my habitus exposed by my reactions to Trumpian Motion.

I know I have deeply rooted expectations about the way society works. For example, when looking at legal problems, I expect the solutions to make sense in terms of what I know about similar situations and what people engaged in the specific field in question would expect. I was just as shocked to win a case I thought I would lose as I was to lose one I thought I should win.

I have a general understanding of the ideals of the United States, and I expect that the nation will move towards those ideals. Underlying this part of my habitus is the assumption that the goal of society is to enable us to enjoy our lives, doing things that are fun, things that are challenging. That includes meeting my family obligations, doing my job, hanging out with other people who like to do the same things I do and are interested in the same kinds of things I am interested in.

I also see in myself a general liking for other people, and a general sense that most people are decent and share a general good will. I expect people to share acceptance of the ideas and values of the Enlightenment.

Finally, I have a general understanding of the way government works, and the role it plays in my life, including such basic things as social programs, regulatory activities, security issues and so on. Among those was the level of day-to-day intrusion into my life. There were plenty of days when I never thought about politics or policy or government, they just worked in the background, collecting and organizing information about the economy and society, monitoring the air and water, general policing, watching out for diseases, doing basic research and so on.

I recognize that these dispositions are a mark of privilege, and that I have a responsibility to move things that way, but I thought that there was general agreement on these principles, even if conservatives wanted to move more slowly, and I mostly thought I was doing enough, or at least as much as could be expected of me consistent with meeting personal obligations and exercising my talents.

Given this habitus, it’s not surprising that the election of Trump was a shock. It’s also not a surprise that I am shocked and a bit frightened to watch these vandals tear up the government, threaten war, insult other countries and their citizens, hand out money to the filthy rich at the expense of everyone else, acting like monkeys flinging poop. It’s disturbing. It shakes the very foundation of my expectations and dispositions.

I am forced to confront a basic failure of my habitus. A huge number of people approve of the job Trump doing, including 90% of Republicans. This is incomprehensible in the context of my habitus. These are not people of good will and decency. They are ugly and hateful. They do not share my goals for society. They think they are superior and deserve everything and that millions of others are worthless and deserve nothing except misery.

And most of all, I hate their stupid racket. I read junk like this fool preacher who says there is no flu epidemic because Jesus is the flu shot. I read about this bozo who thinks the flu shot causes Alzheimer’s and that the flu is a government plot for population control. The true believers are unable to see something as obvioius as that Trump is a racist pig.

That last link is to a Roger Cohen column in the New York Times.

Still, I respect Kennedy. He’s served his country. He’s a patriot. He’s no “deplorable.” He’s smart. The Democratic Party should listen to him, or risk losing in 2020.

That’s the way I used to think, and it’s obviously wrong. I’d guess that Cohen’s habitus is not that different from mine. Habitus is hard to change, and Cohen hasn’t succeeded in taking the first step, which is to realize that it isn’t working. Neither have the other centrist Democrats. I haven’t figured out how I need to change either, but I know I need to, and I know it doesn’t have anything to do with listening to Trump supporters or being battered by Trumpian motion.

67 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I suspect Roger Cohen’s habitus has more limited horizons than yours.  Congressman Joe Kennedy is privileged and gifted, and a boon to the center left.  He has a great future ahead of him, and not just because of his last name.  But relying on him as the future of the Democratic Party ignores the lessons, the hard-earned lessons, his grandfather learned that allowed him to give his extemporaneous speech in Indianapolis following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    The Dems need more than a privileged white male scion of a Boston political clan as their leader.  By all means, he should be among them.  But they need a multi-colored choir, not a soloist.  That’s not a perspective I grew up with; it is the one I have now.

    • bmaz says:

      He seems like a truly decent, and seemingly intellectually honest, kid. There is a place for him in the future. But not as a current godsend and avatar. He is not ready for prime time, and his pot/drug posture is very wrong at this point. He can and will come around. We shall see. But not now.

    • Rayne says:

      We need an ~effective~ multi-color choir; I’m sad to say that neither Tom Perez nor Keith Ellison have been the leaders the Democratic Party needed. And the color of leadership isn’t enough; it must be more inclusive. Six million women didn’t take to the streets the day after Trump’s inauguration not to be heard. DNC must also look over their shoulder at GOP’s Ana Navarro — she is the voice of the disenfranchised in her party, and if she found the right sponsors and the right running mate, look out. She would peel away centrist Dems, both women and people of color.

      Kennedy is young; he’s a voice for the youth who overwhelmingly don’t support the GOP. He’d make a decent VP though I’d rather he was a senator for a while first. But a woman, especially a woman of color running for POTUS? Yeah, particularly since we have a few in the pipeline who are pretty good. Clearly the habitus of patriarchy and its inherent white supremacy (which Bordrieu is blinded by his own privilege to recognize, in spite of his work with Berbers) needs to be knocked back hard, relieved of its sense of entitlement to bodies, labor, possessions of others. It won’t be knocked back by another old white male centrist.

      • Pete says:

        To the degree one in Florida can “follow” someone from Hawaii, I have been try to to follow Tulsi Gabbard.

        Female, Samoan descent, and a practicing Hindu – I only mention that because you would have to work hard to craft a more atypical politician.

        She appears to not be posturing for a more visible role in the Dem party so sometimes I am a bit disappointed in her localized commentary (though she is after all a House Rep for a Hawaiian district) and I find her broader comments about things (except the warmongering) to be too canned or vague at times.

        So I wish she could be part of a viable alternative to the Dem and Repub parties, but realize all of that is rigged to favor the two parties from the local on up.

        And then there’s this:

    • Regnad Kcin says:

      How did Congressman Joe Kennedy get into this?  Cohen’s interview (see Walker’s link) was with a certain Shannon Kennedy.

  2. dalloway says:

    African-Americans, particularly women, have been carrying the Democrats and will do so again in 2018.  Kamala Harris is an eminently qualified African-American who should be at the top of the ticket,  Yes, she’s a relatively new senator, but so was Barack Obama.   She’s smart enough and tough enough for the job, she’s been a prosecutor and is now getting her education in legislating.  Stop worrying about appealing to angry old white men with some pseudo-working class candidate like Joe Biden.  It’s a waste of time.  They will never vote for any Democrat, no matter how many touching stories he tells.  Harris can deliver a message of economic hope and fairness just as well as Biden can and probably better.  Woman,  people of color and the young will make the difference in defeating the racist hard right that’s commandeered the Republican party.   Let them know we hear them.

      • lefty665 says:

        Yep, she’s neolib elite to the bone, part of the problem, not the solution.

        “Harris can deliver a message of economic hope and fairness just as well as Biden”  Old Joe’s not president either.  Someone once asked “How’s that hopey changey stuff working out?”  It takes more than a message.  No matter how sweet the mouth music, substance for middle class America will never come from neolib elites, Dem or Repub and the middle class has figured that out.

        • dalloway says:

          I don’t think Harris is a neolib, though I don’t think she was above balancing her political future against what she could realistically do as CA’s AG.   It doesn’t mean she’d be an establishment puppet if she ever had the power, though I can see an Obama-esque concern for all Americans (yes, Wall St., too) , not just those who agree with  her.   The perfect candidate doesn’t exist.  I’ll settle for one who’s passionate about justice, sees and feels for the poor and marginalized, who can connect with the wider world, wants to preserve the planet and is smart enough to do some good.  I’m sure there are others out there — I hope there are dozens — but I get that from Harris.

        • lefty665 says:

          Too bad, but oh well, it’s a free country. Some of us see a neoliberal elitist Hillary wannabe, blindly ambitious and part of the problem, not the solution.

  3. TarheelDem says:

    Habitus becomes salient when people are jolted, caught up short, surprised, or practically disadvantaged by elements of habitus they once did not notice at all.  That happens when formerly unified or monolithic cultures become fragmented and fractured.  There is a difference in knowing that the John Birch Society exists on some social fringe in the boom towns of the early Cold War, having a random Congresscritter spout John Birch Society ideas, having the Koch brothers buying a governor and legislature of a legendary progressive-labor state, and  having a billionaire come out of the blue and buy the Presidency (without any solid policy direction or hints) based on personal appearances and the marks of populist tyrannical rule over against the established elites institutions.  Especially when the fragmentation that narrowcasting offers has most of this movement at the grassroots hidden from your particular part of the habitus.

    The habitus seems to be considered one of the prime sources of socialization into the culture.  What does that socialization look like post-Trump.  Given the collapse of public schools and public school norms, what exactly does something like the habitus contents of civics look like for the next generation?  To what extent has the popularization of academent political science created a cynical section of the habitus that results in non-participation and corruption?

    To talk about demythologizing the drama of the Supreme Court in the 1960s, the era of the Warren Court and its assumption of priesthood in the name of justice (wasn’t it seen somewhat that way for its major changes?) was in that era to raise concerns about the crass political manipulation of court appointments and special interests.  Yet 50 years later, here we are with Thomas through Gorsuch.

    As for the Dems, they need to very quickly realize that “normalcy” is not returning even with a successful resistance and that the Resistance(TM) being advertised by the elites for and the standing Clinton network for the past 14 months is a product being peddled totally by DC consulting and media interests with little resonance beyond the very salient sexual assault reaction to the election of a self-proclaimed “Pussy Grabber”.  Put those details in the jostling that is going on in the formation of the habitus.

    It is possible to ask whether the habitus is integral, coherent, and consistent anymore?  Is it possible to state the relation between the world of ditto-heads and whatever “habitus” means for the people in that subculture?

    The constructed framework of sentiment or something like that seems right to me as something to trace down.  It is just still so new, fuzzy, and vague.  And the hall of mirrors of elected Republicans is still difficult to get used to.

    • matt says:

      Wonderful comments.  It’s been really difficult to understand what’s happened in Wisconsin.

      “having the Koch brothers buying a governor and legislature of a legendary progressive-labor state”


      Its like watching all the Jedi’s turn to the Dark Side.  What happened with Trump is kind of like what happened here with Scott Walker six years ago- Good and decent “Lutherans and Norwegians” suddenly started hating public school teachers.  Suddenly, it was unacceptable for a teacher to earn a middle class salary, or for a State employee to have a pension. The DNR no longer managed the State’s natural resources, but infringed on your freedoms.  I watched the vitriol spun by by the Kochs change our local/cultural “habitus” towards a nefarious agenda that serves only the elite.  My reserved Wisconsin brethren developed a political opinion overnight, because it felt good to unleash repressed anger and point it somewhere.  An entity like the Kochs knows exactly what what “product” it wants.  They package it up and sell it with top PR and marketing talent- with unlimited resources.  If anyone “stole” the 2016 presidential election (and countless other State and National elections) it was them.  As the MJ expose’ explained, our state was the worst “raked and staked” gerrymandered State in the Union.   The outcome in Wisconsin had probably a bigger effect than Russian meddling, because actual Democratic votes were suppressed vs. “influenced.”  And, depending on the Supreme Court this problem is here to stay.

    • Ed Walker says:

      What are we teaching our young people to think about this? The craziness in this administration can’t give them much confidence in the very idea of government. That is frightening.

      I have something in mind about the trumpalos, and how the right-wing elites have influenced them also based on Bourideu.

      I get the impression that his thinking is not widely known here  outside the field of sociology, and I think that’s a shame. We get plenty of hot takes and general takes, but we don’t get much systemic thought. That has to change. We are not going to understand ourselves with competing hot takes.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think sociology in general has been demeaned in the US.  Like geography and economic history, it teaches about origins, purpose, process; agency and intention; the use and allocation of human and material resources.  Even in fiction, Oliver Barrett IV, c. 1970, was a Harvard magna in sociology.  (He-man intellectuals with fabulous wealth today study neoliberal economics or real estate finance at Penn.)

        Those studies, especially inquiry into agency, are the antithesis of Social Darwinism and neoliberalism, which teach that things are and have been the way they are, that current arrangements of privilege and pillage are naturally ordained and right.  Why encourage a cohort of destabilizing Pierre Bourdieus and C. Wright Mills when there are so many Milton Friedmans waiting to emerge from the South Side of Chicago?

    • Trip says:

      Interesting take by Thom Hartmann, something he has been repeating for years:

      How the GOP Used a Two Santa Clauses Tactic to Con America for Nearly 40 Years

      Ed Crane, then-president of the Koch-funded Libertarian CATO Institute, noted in a memo that year: “When Jack Kemp, Newt Gingich, Vin Weber, Connie Mack and the rest discovered Jude Wanniski and Art Laffer, they thought they’d died and gone to heaven. In supply-side economics they found a philosophy that gave them a free pass out of the debate over the proper role of government. Just cut taxes and grow the economy: government will shrink as a percentage of GDP, even if you don’t cut spending.

      Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years

      By 1974, Jude Wanniski had had enough. The Democrats got to play Santa Claus when they passed out Social Security and Unemployment checks – both programs of the New Deal – as well as when their “big government” projects like roads, bridges, and highways were built giving a healthy union paycheck to construction workers. They kept raising taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things, which didn’t seem to have much effect at all on working people (wages were steadily going up, in fact), and that made them seem like a party of Robin Hoods, taking from the rich to fund programs for the poor and the working class. Americans loved it. And every time Republicans railed against these programs, they lost elections. Everybody understood at the time that economies are driven by demand. People with good jobs have money in their pockets, and want to use it to buy things….

      Wanniski decided to turn the classical world of economics – which had operated on this simple demand-driven equation for seven thousand years – on its head. In 1974 he invented a new phrase – “supply side economics” – and suggested that the reason economies grew wasn’t because people had money and wanted to buy things with it but, instead, because things were available for sale, thus tantalizing people to part with their money. The more things there were, the faster the economy would grow.

      The (New/Reagan) Democrats have to part with this mentality, although it is difficult because their benefactors are in on the con.

      • lefty665 says:

        Generally a good take, but he’s wrong on taxes. The marginal personal tax rate hit around 94% during the New Deal years. Eisenhower left it unchanged, and Kennedy lowered it to something like 75%. Tax rates for the rich and businesses have drifted down, not up. He certainly is right that the Dems were funding programs for the poor and working class Americans.

        Getting Dem neoliberal elites (New Dems) to see the light will be hard. You have ideas on how to go after it?

        • Trip says:

          He said: They kept raising taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things. The way I interpreted his words were, back in the day, this is how we helped pay for things. I don’t think he meant that they were continually raised since the 70s.

          Anyway, I don’t have an exact answer to your question. But if we remain with the current form of GOP, we will never recover in our lifetimes. In fact, our lifetimes will likely be shortened by climate change, diseases, chemical and environmental poisoning, possibly hunger, lack of healthcare, and lack of any safety net in old age. The Dems might not be much better, but the Koch GOP is much, much worse. Sadly, we are still stuck in lesser evilism. The GOP, even if you remove Trump from the equation, is a future of strict authoritarianism and 100 years backward for civil rights. I can’t abide with that, simply because the Dems are bad. I just can’t. Even though it does feel like extortion.

          I think people need to scream and yell at their Dem leadership the same way they approach Trump, when they aren’t being listened to or considered. It can’t stop. If you are so inclined to run for office, you should do it. I’m not a public-type person, so that role would not suit my introverted personality. But I think now is not the time for indifference or a complete disaffected attitude. Things will go from bad to drastically worse. The taste we’ve had in the last year is just the beginning.


        • lefty665 says:

          Thanks for the response.

          Hartman is misleading at best on taxes.

          You’re right on the GOP, I would add that in their current form the Dems are no better. For what it’s worth, after ’12 I vowed I would never be kneecapped by ‘lesser evildom’ again, and so far have not been.  As long as the right wing, DLC, Repub wanna be, elite, neolib Dems can stay 1/2 step left of the right most GOP dingbats there is no pressure for change in the Democratic party.  Actual Democratic advocacy is discounted, blown off with ‘Where else are you going to go?’ and the rightward march of the elite neoliberal run Dems continues.

          While I have no use for the Teabaggers beliefs, their success in harnessing the Republican party is a model for Dems with theirs. The 45% of Dems who backed Sanders is a larger portion of the Dems than the Teabaggers are of the Repubs. If they stand as a group and ‘Just say no’ to elite neoliberal and neocon Dems they can move the party.

          Like Bernie, Trump, Hillary, Biden, Warren, et al, I’m a boomer (geezer). We are all too old to be in office. Introverts can learn to be public people, I will testify it is not easy, but it can be done. Public service is too important to leave it to the sociopaths. I encourage you to work on your public presence, no telling where it might lead.

          Thanks again for the response.

        • greengiant says:

          The group that manages to have a populist movement without losing control will be key. I view the Tea Party success as combined with a populist movement being taken under control by money interests within weeks of its surfacing.  Similar take overs seem to have occurred in the Occupy and BLM grass roots movements.  FYI Tea B****** is a seriously offensive denigrating term as I also have been informed.

        • lefty665 says:

          Early on it is the way they referred to themselves, I’ve just repeated their own language. I agree it is offensive but don’t care to explore it’s appropriateness.

        • Trip says:

          I recall reading that the Tea Party was a Koch invention/production, rather than beginning at grassroots level. It pushed the grassroots into action.

          Public TV ran Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’, with Henry Fonda, last night. I remember reading the book in elementary school and being deeply saddened by it, but also back then, only considering it a unique space in time. Well, here we go: floods, droughts, thuggish deputies, foreclosures, and homelessness with one quick respite at the government New Deal Camp. Except there won’t ever be a New Deal camp for national migrants. The way the people were treated by staff on the work farms is how many immigrants are treated today. This Koch GOP would like to bring that glory of pain and desperation back to the masses. Clearing the underpaid/ abused path from immigrants to the general populace, with no unions and no work protections.

          The Dems, at varying degrees, are a stopgap to that reality coming at the speed of light. I know I won’t convince you otherwise. But the parallels today (at warp speed movement) toward the Robber Barons, the gilded age, then the 20s with the subsequent depression, extreme weather events multiplying under climate change, seems striking. Only this time, it will be with white supremacist misogynistic US Nazis, and it won’t take the length of previous history to get there. I’d like a finger in the dike before we are flooded with more. A respite at the New Deal Camp.

          I keep harping on, as many do, about the catch 22 of the campaign finance system (with lobbyists also working as part of the government). We need desperately to change that, but we won’t get that, until we can find someone (several) sincerely dedicated to that change (campaign/lobbying reform), and then vote for them in re the reform. It’s a conundrum, because in this space and time, they won’t be elected unless they have a huge campaign chest. I know Sanders got a lot of individual donations, but that is nothing compared to the machinery of the Koch network.

        • orionATL says:

          trip –

          “…The Dems, at varying degrees, are a stopgap to that reality coming at the speed of light…”

          yep. the democratic party, all of it not just some rump portion, is the only other game in town. you work with the whole party as it is or you fail. that is one of the many hard lessons of 2016.

        • lefty665 says:

          Bwahahahaha Is President Hillary doing well in your fantasy land?  The hard lesson you have repressed is that the country is done with elitist, wall street owned neoliberal Dems. If you work with the party as it is you will continue to be every bit as successful as in the past. Insanity is repeating the same failed action and expecting a different outcome.

        • greengiant says:

          The Tea Party was massively grass roots spontaneously culminating in the April 15, 2009 rallies. There was only relatively small support from January onward from a few media folk. The money interests took over in a matter of weeks. Both the genesis and the take over should be case studies. The timing coincides with Obama’s first days in office.

        • greengiant says:

          That research is lacking from my personal perspective.  Beck and the Koch brothers jumped on the movement as I stated but they were late to the show. I think the majority of the people who turned out on April 15 left the movement in a matter of days rather than follow the money.  That the right wing successfully primaried main stream GOP is well known.  What seems to be not well known is how a grass roots movement got taken over in a matter of weeks and the original participants just walked away.

          Anyone saying Beck and the Koch brothers “started” the Tea party is misinformed.

        • Rayne says:

          Go to that link I left and read the articles at the URLs offered as research. Barring that, bring your homework and show it to the class. “I think” isn’t enough, show the receipts and date stamps, because there are reports to the contrary:

          Americans for Prosperity has worked closely with the Tea Party since the movement’s inception. In the weeks before the first Tax Day protests, in April, 2009, Americans for Prosperity hosted a Web site offering supporters “Tea Party Talking Points.” The Arizona branch urged people to send tea bags to Obama; the Missouri branch urged members to sign up for “Taxpayer Tea Party Registration” and provided directions to nine protests. The group continues to stoke the rebellion. The North Carolina branch recently launched a “Tea Party Finder” Web site, advertised as “a hub for all the Tea Parties in North Carolina.”

          Source: Covert Operations
          The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.
          By Jane Mayer for The New Yorker, August 30, 2010 issue

        • greengiant says:

          Thanks for the corrections. Apologies for wasting the bandwidth,

          Armey was in early,  20 Feb 2009. By me whoever got Glenn Beck going got people I know to go, not

          Armey’s operatives on facebook.  Glenn Beck was taking off from Rick Santelli’s rant. Earliest

          I can find of Freedom Works sponsoring Beck is  April 17, 2010 so far.   Jane Mayer Dark Money page 224.

          January 20,  2009   Karl Denninger,  send tea bags to congress,

          February 16,  2009  Tea Party protest in Seattle.

          February 19, 2009,  Rick Santelli,  Tea Party rant goes viral

          February 20, 2009,  FreedomWorks/Koch Brothers establishes facebook page.  Freedom Works

          “organizes” rallies for February 27th,  April 15th and onward..

          To me it is an small nit about Armey not being the first one in.

          For some it is a wish not to empower the Koch brothers and to say that

          the 300,000 tax day protesters were as grass roots as the 5 million at the Women’s day march.

          Fox in the Tea Party   By Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson

          Krugman,  Armey, ( Koch brothers ) did it

          Jane Hamsher  how can you go wrong villifying the Koch brothers?

          To the extent Koch brothers’? propaganda creates and reinforces the cult,  that is real bad juju because

          the people I know who went there don’t do social media and are 9 years later still full tilt believing the DOJ and FBI are

          full of Clinton supporters and that Trump will drain the swamp.

  4. Ducksoup says:

    Thank you, Mr. Walker for another fine essay.

    I have settled back to a mindset that as reprehensible or horrific the Republicans and Trump are, there is little if anything I can do to change it.  Therefore, I don’t work myself up and stress over what I cannot change.  One place that bothered me most to give up was complaining.  My commenting about how this event or that is contra to this country’s beliefs were met with apathy or derision.  All of my comments changed the mind of exactly none of the republicans that love him and adore his bullying and dividing.  That led to the worst realization of all.  It is not that handful or more of republican leaders, including 45.  The horror is the almost entire republican party vaporously cheering the destruction willingly. It is my fellow citizens that want destruction of “the enemy” whether that be the poor, the blacks, or the liberals.  I have literally cried over the sadness of my fellow man turning out to be so very anti to everything I thought this country stood for.  Not just my leaning party, but both party’s.  I was so very wrong and I am trying to reconcile how I thought this country was, actually was, with the obvious before me that we are sick puppies.  I would like to be my former optimist, but the weight of all those republicans cheering and loving the tearing down of the country is, so far, crushing.

    • Rayne says:

      It sounds like you are grieving, and you’ve just worked through shock and denial. But this is not a death to be accepted eventually; it’s a sickness about which to get angry, and in an effective way.

      We have a choice to make right now: be like good Germans in the 1930s and look the other way as the troops amass and don their brown shirts before they descend on “the poor, the blacks,” “the liberals” as you called them, not to mention women and LGBT citizens. Or you can choose to channel your anger at this horror into organizing energy and take back this country to put it on a better path forward. And you can change something, beginning with yourself; you can change by getting involved with your fellow humans who still believe in a more perfect union.

      Two groups you might give a try: Indivisible | Swing Left

      • lefty665 says:

        Might want to try non Hillary supported Dem groups like Krystal Ball’s “Peoples House Project” https:// peopleshouseproject .com/   We need change, not more of the same.

        • Rayne says:

          You’ve been cautioned before – stay out of my threads and replies.

          That said, your suggestion deserves greater scrutiny because the PeoplesHouseProject doesn’t currently pass the sniff test.

          — No info about the type of organization, whether 501(c)4 or PAC, state or federal; the site only says donations aren’t tax deductible.

          — The Donate page shows “Peoples House Project Inc” suggesting this is a for-profit organization though it uses ActBlue for donation collection.

          — The two people with bios on the site under Leadership should know better given their experience, provided they are both real and experienced in running for office.

          — The candidates listed on their site could benefit by direct donation to their campaigns, which is the one thing I see PHP did correctly, offering a link to the candidates’ ActBlue page and campaign websites.

          — The organization, unlike Indivisible and SwingLeft, doesn’t appear to have any structure in place to make F2F contact with volunteers and voters to GOTV — it’s just a weak sauce pass through at best.

          — The site does not have a Terms of Use or Privacy Policy; lacking this, it looks more like an address harvesting operation.

          Don’t reply to this, lefty. If you do it’s getting taken down as will any future links to organizations which aren’t fully transparent.

          EDIT — 4:25 EST PM — Ran a WhoIs on PHP’s domain. Came back completely masked except for the name server, which is a business offering cheap hosting for students. Utterly ridiculous for a serious effort.

        • lefty665 says:

          Not your thread tootsie roll. If you don’t want replies, don’t post on other peoples threads.

          Funny to see you going after an actual feminist who has had the gumption to really run for office and continues to work to elect real Dems.  You jealous? Krystal could give you some lessons in practical politics and empowered feminism.

          This is your second warning beneath this post from me. If you’re sexist again, I’ll let bmaz at you. But I’m not going to tolerate your telling contributors or editors here what they can and can’t do. Knock it off. Find something constructive to add to any conversation here rather than your usual carping. ~Rayne

        • bmaz says:

          Okay. I have about had it. You don’t have to worry about “sanctions” from Rayne, the next time you engage in that ignorant and misogynistic crap I will address it. “Tootsie”? Really? Fuck off.

  5. GKJames says:

    It’s been a smack upside the head to learn that the habitus of 63 million people is 180 degrees from 65 million others. I wonder whether this is cyclical, like all fashion, ideas, practices, habits, and even language. For example, only when economic disaster struck in 1929 did an FDR become possible. For five decades therafter, it was convention that government, however imperfect, existed to solve problems affecting all. And there are tangible examples of progress. But with 1980 came the ascendance of the government’s-the-problem-not-the-solution mantra embodied in Reagan, on the basis of a narrative driven by an aggrieved business community. See the 1971 Powell Manifesto (which, obviously, became known to the public only after Powell had taken his seat on the Supreme Court) and its central tenet, the “assault on the enterprise system” (

    The narrative worked; it enabled the commercial class, with the public’s tacit consent, to hijack the legislative process. It culminated in what is, effectively, a plutocracy. Other than someone like Paul Wellstone, most Democratic candidates for office ran away when someone said “tax-and-spend liberal”, though they did so for the not-irrational reason that the public in general saw it as the slur it was intended to be. (Which is also why criticism of Democrats’ hustling high finance for campaign contributions is misplaced; it’s neither corruption nor evidence of “they’re no different from Republicans”, but simply an appreciation for the reality that, as the political system is currently configured, you’re not going to win elected office without money, lots of it, and the business community is where the money is.)

    But how was enough of the public persuaded to see the world this way? The commonplace contention is that, in 2016, it was the rage of those who missed out on prosperity which tilted the balance. Statistics don’t bear this out. And even if that were the case, why would these people pull the lever for the worldview that’s guaranteed to do zero about the one thing these people are purportedly enraged by? Could it in fact be the broad prosperity delivered in the post-WWII decades which gave people enough of a stake, a stake that they then felt, as they aged, compelled to protect? Protect against whom?

    Or is the answer something primal? The mind-set of the 63 million has always been with us, though by and large outnumbered. What used to be called civility or manners restrained it, whereas the new fashion makes it socially acceptable. Compared to today’s public utterances, Reagan’s (Trojan-horse) affability is civilized. Recall Trump’s ur-moment in the political sun: branding all Mexicans as “rapists and criminals”. Fact-starved as the contention was, it appealed on grounds that, Finally, someone is telling it like it is. This stoking of xenophobic inclinations became the foundation for his victory and enduring appeal. That he never has and never will tell it like it is doesn’t matter; the widespread inchoate rage has been satisfied with his sticking a finger in the eye of social convention.

    All to suggest that the habitus now on top has been a long time coming. And it may be “temporary”, assuming one acknowledges that that could mean decades. In the interim, what are the 65 million to do? First, don’t chide others for their lack of virtue. Second, get people to vote; for our habitus to prevail, it needs participation by as many as possible everywhere. Third, craft a coherent, practical, and consistent message on legislative priorities; leave out the “my opponent is a white supremacist”. Fourth, understand that politics is local; choose candidates accordingly. Finally, continue to focus on justice for all. Without it, the grand experiment is doomed.

    • vertalio says:

      Primal response seems right, GKJ.  Black man in the White House, woman running for the same?  Bootstraps tore off when you tugged on them, being so cheaply made?  The world is changing too quickly for too many, especially for those with less developed empathy.

      Relying on a savior seems too dangerous a shortcut here, in a habitus that includes authoritarianism as a major component.  Young Joe will be a part, as will Kamara, and whoever else rises organically to that role.  But if we aren’t involved in our own lives, supporting local candidates, who will become regional candidates, who will become national candidates, we won’t create the needed farm teams.  And we won’t meet the vast numbers who feel as we do (I question the 63% as firm; keep checking those weathervanes) and converse with them, sharing concerns face to face.

      It seems crucial to take state governorships and legislatures asap; if not, taking the House or Senate only puts a finger in the dike.  Census apportionment, re-districting, and all that.

      And since we can’t reason with Trumpanzees, we will have to outvote them.

      Or just learn to love feudalism.

    • orionATL says:

      gkjames –

      you may find it hard to believe, but my reference to the powell memo was entirely independent of the reference you had made 4 hours earlier (because i just put my head down and wrote rather than reading what other commenters had to say). i will take it as a sign though – a good sign – that you and i found an identical genesis in the current governmental chaos.

      i my view there really is no mystery about what has happened to bring us to this point; it was just the result of years, decades actuully, of plodding persistence by a cohort of very determined, increasingly focused, and wealthy individuals with strong additional assistance from many corporations, combined with a failure by natural opponents of these financial forces to articulate a meaningful counter-narrative with greater appeal- one based on the well-being of every citizen and the protection of the environment that sustains us.

      • GKJames says:

        @orionATL  Agreed as to the persistence of the wealthy. The challenge is to explain how the majority came to acquiesce. I happen to disagree with the cart-before-horse argument that it was the “abandonment” of working-class voters which explains the status quo. For reasons that social historians surely will explore, the public went right, and catering politicians followed. Whether the dynamic unleashed by Reagan was a reaction to the 60s, to Vietnam, or something else entirely, I don’t know. (In passing: Bannon’s worldview is said to have suffered a crushing blow when, as a naval officer, the attempted rescue of hostages in Iran went wrong. He’s been grinding the nationalist, American-exceptionalism axe ever since.)

        Clear, though, is the public’s buying into the purported return to “family values”, which meant also buying into the culture wars, even if serious economic disadvantage to the many was the consequence. In other words, voters made a choice, and bullying gay people, minorities, women, immigrants–whoever the “other” happened to be at a point in time–was preferable to questioning with any seriousness the fraudulent economic policies peddled by Republicans. (There’s a reason Bush Sr. called it “voodoo economics”, something for which he was duly flogged by his own tribe.)

        To your point about persistence, just as the commercial class succeeded so can, in principle, the “natural opponents” in righting the ship. At least two impediments: (1) The atomization you cite (Feb 11 @10:41); consensus is hard to find, regardless of the issue; and (2) the reluctance by Americans in general to broach even the suggestion that closer examination of the underlying model may be worthwhile. That model, wired into the American DNA, unquestioningly assumes that the relentlessness of bigger and more, without restraint, is the paramount value. (It’s also wiring which suggests that a reflexive return to working-class policies, whatever that means, will not by itself have the street-level political result its proponents claim. As Obama discovered, epithets like “Marxist” and “Leninist”, dust-binned everywhere else, remain potent in the American imagination.)

        Ultimately, it may turn out that the five decades from 1930 to 1980 are an aberration, and that all we’re seeing now is the inevitable return to a certain status quo ante. Sure, progress happens every now and then, and it was a good ride while it lasted. We just happen to come along at a time when we’re condemned to witness the fading afterglow.

      • GKJames says:

        @orionATL  Agreed as to the persistence of the wealthy. The challenge is to explain how the majority came to acquiesce. I happen to disagree with the cart-before-horse argument that it was the “abandonment” of working-class voters which explains the status quo. For reasons that social historians surely will explore, the public went right, and catering politicians followed. Whether the dynamic unleashed by Reagan was a reaction to the 60s, to Vietnam, or something else entirely, I don’t know. (In passing: Bannon’s worldview is said to have suffered a crushing blow when, as a naval officer, he witnessed from a distance the attempted rescue of hostages in Iran which went wrong. He’s been grinding the nationalist, American-exceptionalism axe ever since.)

        Clear, though, is the public’s buying into the purported return to “family values”, which meant also buying into the culture wars, even if serious economic disadvantage to the many was the consequence. In other words, voters made a choice, and bullying gay people, minorities, women, immigrants–whoever the “other” happened to be at a point in time–was preferable to questioning with any seriousness the fraudulent economic policies peddled by Republicans. (There’s a reason Bush Sr. called it “voodoo economics”, something for which he was duly flogged by his own tribe.)

        To your point about persistence, just as the commercial class succeeded so can, in principle, the “natural opponents” in righting the ship. At least two impediments: (1) The atomization you cite (Feb 11 @10:41); consensus is hard to find, regardless of the issue; and (2) the reluctance by Americans in general to broach even the suggestion that closer examination of the underlying model may be worthwhile. That model, wired into the American DNA, unquestioningly assumes that the relentlessness of bigger and more, without restraint, is the paramount value. (It’s also wiring which suggests that a reflexive return to working-class policies, whatever that means, will not by itself have the street-level political result its proponents claim. As Obama discovered, epithets like “Marxist” and “Leninist”, dust-binned everywhere else, remain potent in the American imagination.)

        Ultimately, it may turn out that the five decades from 1930 to 1980 are an aberration, and that all we’re seeing now is the inevitable return to a certain status quo ante. Sure, progress happens every now and then, and it was a good ride while it lasted. We just happen to come along at a time when we’re condemned to witness the fading afterglow.

  6. orionATL says:

    ed walker –

    “… I am forced to confront a basic failure of my habitus. A huge number of people approve of the job Trump doing, including 90% of Republicans. This is incomprehensible in the context of my habitus. These are not people of good will and decency. They are ugly and hateful. They do not share my goals for society. They think they are superior and deserve everything and that millions of others are worthless and deserve nothing except misery…. ”

    i strongly discourage you from believing you have experienced a failure of any sort of your belief systems and ways of acting and of presenting yourself to society, including of your” habitus”. failure of faith in one’s self or despair is not warranted even by (or especially by) the wave of wanton destruction of “the commons” that we are experiencing in our national politics today.

    – both the understanding of political reality and personal belief systems about politics are shallow and changeable in many citizens, some of whom become voters whose voting decisions are up for grabs by clever manipulators of political messaging. actually this is the case with most citizens – talk with others and you quickly learn that many of those others don’t have the same “clear” view of politics that those of us toward the left or toward the right, with our strong belief systems, have.

    – individual citizens have became atomized by changes in our society over the last sixty years or so. we no longer have an army of citizens; we no longer have employing corporations who maintain their identity over decades rather than being suddenly bought up and sold off piecemeal; we no longer have well-paid corporate work forces with a protected future; we no longer have unions whose leadership could be socially enlightened and thus protect society from the disaster of ignorant, atomized citizen-workers exploited into making unwise individual voting decisions; the large number of jobs available to citizens from governments at all levels are being attacked and reduced; we no longer have students taught citizenship from a common catechism in our schools nor critical thinking skills taught as they apply to political decisions because of the noisy disruption of small ideological groups; we no longer have sufficient numbers of pragmatic, personally principled political leaders in the two major parties; our political/constitutional system is now well-specified, that is, well-understood in great detail, and thus open to manipulation and exploitation by individuals with a great deal of money, by interest groups and lobbyists lured by money, and, as we are discovering, by foreign nations; technology and corporate finance have brought us atomized (individualized) interpersonal communications systems like cellphone sms, facebook, twitter, small digital magazines and newspapers (like emptywheel), youtube, etc.

    – i suspect much of the destructive change being forced on our society by the trump administration is cyclical. the enthusiasm and caring for the commons that was pronounced beginning in the 60’s simply wore out, became out of fashion, and beginning in 1972 with former supreme court justice lewis powell’s memorandum **, led to a very successful counterattack lasting up to the trump coronation by corporate interests and exceeedingly wealthy individuals. the excesses of the corporate conservatives now in power under trump will likely lead to another cycle of concern for the commons, concern to install a government whose basis is moral, not financial, based in caring for the development from childhood of each new citizen and caring for the environment that sustains ourcspecies.

    ** from miss wiki:

    “…On August 23, 1971, prior to accepting Nixon’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Powell was commissioned by his neighbor, Eugene B. Sydnor Jr., a close friend and education director of the US Chamber of Commerce, to write a confidential memorandum titled “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System,” an anti-Communist, anti-Fascist, anti-New Deal blueprint for conservative business interests to retake America for the chamber.[14][15] It was based in part on Powell’s reaction to the work of activist Ralph Nader, whose 1965 exposé on General Motors, Unsafe at Any Speed, put a focus on the auto industry putting profit ahead of safety, which triggered the American consumer movement. Powell saw it as an undermining of Americans’ faith in enterprise and another step in the slippery slope of socialism.[14] His experiences as a corporate lawyer and a director on the board of Phillip Morris from 1964 until his appointment to the Supreme Court made him a champion of the tobacco industry who railed against the growing scientific evidence linking smoking to cancer deaths.[14]… “

    • Ed Walker says:

      @Trip: that’s a nice summary.

      @OrionATL: read your comment again. Read the tales of the trumpalos that I linked, and all those Nazi Next Door is so cute pieces in the NYT, and the dopey efforts to show that rummpalos are just like us they like football pieces and why can’t the Dems just learn from them peices that are everywhere in the MSM.  Now remember that the trumpalos are trying to make life worse for tens of millions of people. Tell me how I’m wrong.

      @Lefty665: Trump and the trumpalos aren’t just a break from the past. They are the logical path the Republicans have been on for 50 years, starting with the Silent Majority and growing more and more insane every year. At some point they crossed a line that I can’t stomach. I am not as optimistic as you seem to be that change is possible.

      • orionATL says:

        ed walker –

        i don’t believe you are wrong. that was not my point at all. there are many virws on what has gone wrong with the american political system.

        i was merely encouraging you not to doubt yourself and your values. i was also offering my spur-of-the-moment viewpoint about how we arrived at this destructive political state of the nation.

        in my view of american politics there is simply a substantial supply of voters whose values and voting decisions are malleable over time, and a small but important group whose voting decisions are simply impulsive, spontaneous, unmoored from any values. this is the tinder that can be, and in the present moment, has been lit by carefully focused, repetitive propaganda and carefully worked out voter/voting suppression and computer-based gerrymandering all in the service of a behind-the-scenes group of very wealthy persons and families assisted by corporations maximizing the retention of their income.

        • orionATL says:


          the first two paragraphs in my comment above were responding to my sense of the the emotional tenor of this essay combined with that of an essay you wrote a year ago about interacting with members of your church choir. in both there seemed to be a feeling akin to despair. there is every reason to despair of the destruction being wrought by conservatives using trump as cover and distraction, destruction over which we have no control whatever at the moment. but the situation offers us an opportunity to reflect on what can be changed and how. that is going on now in the democratic party, though very imperfectly, with the hope that we can gain back some measure of national political power. from my perspective a great part of that hope is the extraordinary political activism of women i know spanning states from florida to pennsylvania which began the day after trump was inaugurated and has not let up one whit since. i am astonished and admiring of its persistence. these are voters who have neither forgotten nor changed their values. they are resolutely anti-trump, they got organized early and have stayed organized, and are working diligently in local county, state, and federal elections to elect candidates with their values. it is a powerful but quiet tide flowing, so don’t expect to read about it in the likes of the nytimes’ fatuous “six guys sitting around in the bar” or “old codgers discuss politics in the sal’s diner” stories.

          the world IS always turning toward the morning. change is coming:

      • lefty665 says:

        Thanks Ed, I think. It had not occurred to me that I’m being optimistic, I feel so much better now knowing that I can brush off those feelings of despair and cynicism:)

        With the refusal of Dems to learn, to embrace shedding failed elite neolib policies, and their active purging of voices of change, I’m not sure I’ve got enough years left in me to wait them out. It’s coming up on half a century since the Party abandoned working class America. 

        I’ve got no more stomach for Trump and the Trumpies than you do, and yes their politics are beyond the pale. But… the Dems have been no better. They are no more attractive than the Repubs, and have equally crossed lines that cannot be stomached.

        Tens of millions of Trump voters voted out of desperation, they were no better off in 2016 than they were in 1978, neither were their kids, and the prospects for their grand kids weren’t so hot either. They were always used and manipulated by the Repubs, and their abandonment by the Dems left them adrift with nowhere to turn for help. If Trump does not deliver for them, and the chances that he will, always small, are becoming vanishingly small, the swing next time will be wilder. Drowning people are not much about asking for a pedigree on the rope when someone promises to throw them one.

        Something we can be fairly sure of is that in ’20 as in ’16, voters will not go for a vision of more of the same (being screwed and kicked to the curb); especially not from another neoliberal, elitist, aging boomer who makes more in a days worth of speeches to Wall Street than most voters make in a decade.

        Where I am hopeful, (optimistic?) is that in living memory Dems have had a vision for a better America and its people, all of them. I believe it is possible for the Party to regain that vision, and in my lifetime. There is consensus (at least around emptywheel, and one that I share) that the Repubs are assholes. Fine, build a constructive alternative rather than running around with hair on fire.

        That begins with acknowledging that the Democratic Party as presently constituted has no more to offer 3/4 of America than the Repubs. Change that. Throw us aging, neo liberal, elite geezers, and our younger sycophants, out of leadership positions. Embrace all of America, ditch Rovian identity politics.  We have learned there is no inherent virtue in race. Black Barak did no better for the people of America than white Bubba Bill.

        Embracing America has nothing to do with the centrist, Repub wannabe, elite neolibs the Dems are pushing. The New Deal was radical in ’32, it is radical today. Democracy, use it or lose it.

        I guess I am optimistic,  I believe with about 45% of the Dems going for Sanders in ’16 that there is hope for the Party and the country. It will take another 6% getting their heads out of their asses and working for change. That is a doable number, but I’m not holding my breath.

  7. lefty665 says:

    My habitus is in many ways similar to Ed’s, but with a material difference. My habitus includes that our system of government ensures that from time to time the country will elect people who do not think the way I do. On the domestic side of things that has been true ever since Nixon replaced Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”. On the other hand, Johnson’s VietNam policies drove me, and millions like me, into the streets (repeatedly, not like one shot of pussy hats then disappear) in protest. We were eventually able to change war policy, but the change did not outlive the millennium.

    My horror at Reagan’s election in many ways resembles my horror at Trump’s ascendancy. What is more terrifying to me is the continuing Democratic embrace of Karl Rove’s identity politics and rejection of Roosevelt’s New Deal embrace of working class America (the deplorables),  75% plus of the country, of all genders, races and creeds. That shit worked twice for Rove, but only because the elitist neoliberal morons (Democrats, but I repeat myself) convinced the nation that they were less attractive than Duhbya and Cheney. They did it again in 2016 with Trump, Dems have no learning curve. Go figure.

    Obama was elected in ’08 with a mandate for Change (I still have a ‘Change We Can Believe In’ campaign poster) along with a veto proof majority to execute it. Along with high rates of identity politics voting Obama got a significant piece of the not yet labeled ‘deplorable’ vote. You know, 3/4 of the country that is earning no more than it did in 1978,  before Reagan was elected. But, he and the Dem Congress pissed it away, they did nothing with the mandate and majorities to enact it. The Dems are still currying identity politics votes on Dreamers, but not trading campaign issues for actual change, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

    When the Dems failed to deliver, the country subsequently tried another way, starting with the House in ’10,  the Senate in ’14 and the Presidency in ’16, not to mention state houses and nearly 1,000 state ledge seats. Earth (and Sanders) to Dems, wake the fuck up. Change your habitus from elite neo lib & con back to embracing the people of America, deplorable as you may think they are. Wrap yourselves in the New Deal and embrace the working class of the country of all genders, races, and creeds. It will be good for another half century of progress and vanquish the dingbats your abdication has empowered.

    Running around with hair on fire blaming collusion with the evil Ruskies ain’t going to do it. Victories will be fleeting, and subsequent swings even wider, until the lot of all Americans, not just the elites and selected identities, improves.


  8. Trip says:

    One more note, then I’ll exit, as to not be a space hog:
    We may have different (sub) cultures, political views, values, but collectively, when being exposed to the Madison Avenue pysops of marketing 24/7, we are one.
    That shapes habitus beyond anything else.
    Billboards, pop-up ads, TV commercials, ads in magazines, ads in spam, ads in search engines, ads in subways, ads at bus stops, on school grounds, on team uniforms, on vending machines. ads ads ads.
    It permeates schools. It permeates ‘art’. Look where we have arrived in TV and online media.
    Alongside Reagan, in the 80’s early 90s, you had Gekko’s “Greed is good”. You had the start of the reality star Trump, in NYC, posing as spokesman Miller, to sell his name. Conspicuous demonstrations of wealth and ostentatiousness were to be admired. “Material Girl” (intentionally broken link) https[:]//  was a hit. The ongoing message, If you are not a ravenous consumer, you ain’t right! You don’t belong, you’re not good enough.

    Success is only to be measured in dollars, in this universe. How often do you hear a man or  woman who sacrificed their money or time for the good of others as a “True Success”? That a person who is abundantly kind and compassionate is success by that virtue alone? They might be successful in the endeavors, and even credited for the work, but they are rarely or ever characterized personally as successful unless they are wealthy. It’s always corporate people with lots of money. I’m not challenging that a CEO might have worked hard. But their level of work doesn’t necessarily exceed another person’s efforts and struggles, dedicated to another avenue of pursuit, beyond a business empire. But that’s how we measure it all in the US; what they make and what they are worth in assets. How else to account for the Kardashians, on the coattails of a father who was only famous for being a friend-attorney for OJ Simpson?  Success=money, it doesn’t rely on merit of actions, character or talent.  The culture is trained to admire wealth, even worship it as a standard of worth/value. Reality TV is ubiquitous. Famous rich people are being admired for being famous rich people. *See Ivanka Trump. This infects our politicians too, on both sides. People are rewarded for being assholes. “It’s nothing personal, it’s only business” is an accepted mindset.

    Once broadcasting and print journalism were captured by corporations, and lost independence, the subtle ‘ads’ began there too. Only now they started selling politics, policy, and as Hartmann described the “supply side economics”/trickle down nonsense. This is most often demonstrated not in what they cover, but in what they don’t. That includes what passes for “left-side” news in MSM, not just Fox News, the new Pravda.

    We are led by emotions and very little facts:
    The influential role of emotion in consumer behavior is well documented:
    In manipulation of emotions, Anger is a strong motivator:

    No wonder scapegoated bogeymen (immigrants, women, non-whites, etc) rule the day. The GOP has crafted marketing better than the DNC, by leaps and bounds, through repetition, 5th grade level concise wording, and through manipulation of emotions, not facts. Pathos. The GOP has been corralling the populace by fear and anger shepherds. ….to Aristotle, anger results from the feeling of belittlement. Those who become angry are in a state of distress due to a foiling of their desires. The angry direct their emotion towards those who insult the latter or that which the latter values (Wikipedia). How long has the GOP promoted the notion that there was a war on Christmas, an attack on family values, an elitist academia looking down on lesser education, that women seeking equal status are only motivated to emasculate/destroy men, immigrants want to steal everyone’s livelihood, (and so on)?  The DNC used pathos too, but only against Trump, and not as a contrast to the GOP in entirety or their supply side economics, because there they could find some “compromise”. That deludes fear and anger against a target, when you are partially simpatico.

    How does ‘fear appeal’ influence consumers?
    Fear appeal ( is a message that attempts to manipulate behavior by arousing fear. Rogers’ Protection Motivation Theory  ( states that people are motivated to protect themselves from physical, psychological and social threats.  North Korea, ISIS, “Rapists and criminals”, always something scary, at every turn.  Not to mention the fear  manipulation (from hard left and hard right) that Russia will start a war and use nukes if we don’t follow Trump’s lead in diplomacy (Putin isn’t that crazy. He wants to live another day to enjoy his enormous wealth).

    Of course this is not comprehensive, and I’m not saying anything that everyone else here doesn’t already know. ( I now look and see it mentioned) But the society has been exposed to decades and decades of brainwashing and it continues today, more-so than from any influence of Russian bots. A segment is more susceptible and vulnerable to tricks of the trade. But we all have to check ourselves, and evaluate whether we are acting from emotional triggers alone, or logic. The habitus has been breached and bastardized.

    • orionATL says:

      “in manipulation of emotions, Anger is a strong motivator.”

      once upon a time :), in the ’50’s i believe, an american political scientist argued that americans don’ t vote for anything. they vote against things. that may have been gabriel almond, but whoever, i have had many occasions since, following many foolish voting decisions, to recall the observation. i suspect it applies in force to many who voted for the trump coronation.

      i have snipped a snippet from miss wiki’s review of almond that matches my viewpoint:

      “… 1. Public opinion is volatile, shifting erratically in response to the most recent developments or manipulation.[6] Mass beliefs early in the twentieth century were “too pacifist in peace and too bellicose in war, too neutralist or appeasing in negotiations or too intransigent.”[7]

      2. Public opinion is incoherent, lacking an organized or a consistent structure to such an extent that the views of US citizens could best be described as “nonattitudes”[8]

      3. Public opinion is irrelevant to the policy-making process. Political leaders ignore public opinion because most Americans can neither “understand nor influence the very events upon which their lives and happiness are known to depend.”[9][10]… “

  9. Christopher OLoughlin says:

    Hope. Old African proverb: When you think you are too small to matter; remember the night you spent in the room with the mosquito? The habitus has been breached and bastardized. Think globally and act locally from the sixties is as relevant today. The protesters of LBJ did bring the war home but at a cost of spawning Gov’t co-intel-pro. I was paid to train National Peace Action Coalition protesters only to have our Market street office file cabinets and office equipment ruined by SF Fire department response to fire (there was no fire) but water works well to quit protests. Our National Peace Action Coalition supervisors and managers were subpoenaed from San Francisco to Minneapolis Grand Jury and never returned. Once the head of the snake is cut the movement ends. So the habitus has been breached and bastardized in more ways than we know. Palace is bringing Military Parade to town. rumpian motion is real. Atomic movement visible as Brownian motion is not dependent on oxygen for respiration. rumpian motion visible as 90% R approval misogynistic hate is not dependent on unity, beneficence for respiration. Breathe and calm yourself down and focus. We can do this.

  10. gmoke says:

    I believe we live in an addictive society and addiction is determined by dosage, set, and setting.  Set being what you would call habitus.

  11. Lladnar says:

    My response is personal humility in the face of a ‘real’ habitus of almost overwhelming complexity created by layers of conflicts of desire and interest that overwhelm the idea of ideology, of party, and even of the idea of a single ‘rule of law’ or ‘majority rule’.  We have here, no surprise, the very long running conflicts between rich vs. poor, those who value liberty vs. those who would legislate every eventuality, and lately, those who would regard so many things as ‘given’ (certain smug but frustrated name-calling) vs. those who aren’t so sure that even matters.

    Everything I’ve read here smacks of over-simplification.  The left likes to believe (against massive contrary evidence) that the great enterprise of government is a monolith of well-meaning, hard-working, honest and sincere people who undertake their police (and a few other) duties with great gravity and no corruption.  The right assumes that everyone in government is in it to win it at a personal level… even it if it is just win another week of pay.  The truth is no doubt somewhere in between… which is devastating for the left, because any chink in the armor of righteousness creates a space for the truly dangerous personalities to worm their way to the top.  Or even be elected to the very top job, as the original post’s author seems to be convinced of.

    So what do we have to help us?  How about more and deeper federalism?  How about serious checks and balances and a desire for minimal secrecy?  How about facing the reality that in our society (and any but the smallest little corner) is multi-cultural, multi-values, multi-everything, and this means that your ‘habitus’ is really just a construct that you have created so you can impose your idealism and *desires* on everyone in it… justified of course by your view (shared by some) that you are ‘right’.

    Well, good luck.  I hope in our federal system you can work to carve out a little jurisdiction with enough like minded people so you can have your own way on all your favorite fights… tax the rich until there are no more rich and regulate until there is no more sin and it will just be your little paradise.  And if others want to live in foul places like, Texas, or South Dakota, well, so be it and they deserve what they get.  After all, we want majority rule, but which majority?  Or just our like-minded neighbors?  Or people very unlike us?

    • Trip says:

      How very disingenuous. You call people not like you ‘smug’, while under your shallow veneer, in the pretense of neutrality, with a delusional sense of higher worth, intellect and worldliness. All the while condescending about ‘oversimplification’, blathering on about all that is wrong with the left. You are remarkably transparent, in your self-deception of cleverness, and abundant vanity.

      You could have at least had the courage to be honest about your habitus, which seems to be in the comfort of Trump leadership. A man who is a racist, sexist and con artist.

  12. Lladnar says:

    Trip is apparently a someone who is willing to characterize me (in not a nice way) with this devastatingly convincing name-calling based on a few paragraphs that are intended to make a quite different points – a wonderful illustration of the haste to over-generalize and regulate I was speaking of. But if you want to say that I’m also being smug and thus somewhat of a hypocrite, OK, I accept that. Let me continue to make a few smug points. I would point out that I was honest with my habitus, which is humility and an unwillingness to legislate for all and everyone, and this makes me more of a libertarian than a Trump-voter. Indeed I did vote for Gary Johnson, as lacking as his qualifications were, at least knowing I would have the small consolation of not having voted Trump or Clinton (on the basis of character deficiencies present in each) on occasion such as these. But I’m not really a libertarian, because as much as I loath universal surveillance, I support (and would expand) universal -improved- university level education and a single-payer health care solution. I also rather like the US main political institutions, because, as badly as they are performing today, I can’t see them being improved through a constitutional convention (or the like) without a great risk of making them worse. Especially in the hands of would be vain, shallow, superior, and disingenuous self-deceivers (such as ‘Trip’?). This makes me a conservative, on this measure. Or rather, the combination of the above makes be independent-minded and rather nauseated with the over-simplification that I find almost everywhere, especially with the supposedly-most-intelligent folks who all want solutions to all harm, but can’t see that people (at the current stage of development of the human race) aren’t the right material with which to construct an ideal solution.

    Final point: yes, I can live with Trump for a few years just as I managed to live with Obama and could have lived with Clinton. I take some comfort in the Presidential examples in the book “A First Rate Madness” by Nassir Ghaemi, which I commend to you. Besides, there is so, so much more to life than government and it’s perma-wars for power. I’ll drop the smug at this point. If you are still angry and feel lost because of certain developments in government over the past 18 months, then I truly do feel sorry for you. I would ask that you reflect on whether sharing your anger and pain are making the world into the ‘habitus’ that you want to live in, or the reverse.

    • bmaz says:

      While you are feeling so “smug” (your admission) with your comments, can I please implore you to learn sentence structure and paragraph breaks while you are so “smugly” trolling?

    • Rayne says:

      Let me guess you are white cis-het male and the change in U.S. leadership over the last 3-4 administrations hasn’t made a significant impact on your life. How nice for you not to have to wonder if you will be able to make health care decisions for yourself without having to submit to a government-mandated wand up your nether regions if you can get health care at all.

      Or if you will be able to marry the person you love and not have to worry about being denied the same rights as your married neighbors.

      Or if your family members might be picked up by ICE, even if legal U.S. citizens by birth, because they’re not white and they left the house without valid ID.

      Or if you’ll be able to afford health care premiums if you lose your job but have the bad luck to inherit the genes for diabetes and heart disease, not knowing if at any time during this administration the rules and expenses will suddenly change.

      Or get pulled over by the wrong cop while driving and brown.

      How nice for you that you can live with Trump for a few years. Some of us will not survive him, like the +1000 who passed on in the wake of his grossly negligent response to Hurricane Maria.

      Your habitus is so, so nice. For you and your very little world.

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