“There cannot be much doubt that the whole thing is bound up with the rise of nationalism — that is, with the lunatic modern habit of identifying oneself with large power units and seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige.”
This is an excellent piece. Not the first on this topic, as it has been written about previously for many years, but one of the best I have read, and tying most of America’s problems on this stupid team mentality is spot-on. Political parties - check. Extreme nationalism - check. Race - check. Income backets - check. It’s all the same thing - “my team” (Republicans vs. Democrats; white vs. black/brown; U.S. vs. all other nations; rich vs. poor; etc, etc.) vs. “your team.” I thought the most revealing statistic was the one about how in 1950, only 10% of one party hated the opposing party and today that is up to 90%. Which is ironic, considering how alike both parties are to each other - revealing how effective the propaganda apparatus is at making there seem to be any differences between the two. Reading some of the comment sections on TheHill.com, Politico.Com, Slate.com, etc, shows this to be true - the Right truly and utterly hates the Left, to the point where they are actually threatening physical violence, ranting about locking progressives up for their viewpoints, etc. And vice versa. I myself feel a hatred inside of me for the narrow-minded, dense, xenophobic rubes on the right that I have noticed has escalated in the last decade or so, as their ideology gets more and more dangerous and fascistic.
Funny how during the campaign, it was Hillary who ran the equivalent of a “Yankees suck” campaign. Of roughly 70,000 ads in the last week of the campaign, 47,500 were attacks on Trump, 16,000 on Clinton. The line “There is no room for compromise or moral nuance. You’re either on the winning side or the losing one.” pretty much sums up the attitude on Common Dreams as well as in the Trump White House.
You who would see clearly must first remove the mote from your own eye
This is in line with studies showing that people vote based mainly on party identity (tribe) not policies. I think many people realize that to succeed as a country we have to work together for the best interest of everybody and politics is not after all a team sport all about winning. The goal isn’t winning but a better a country. I think the this transition of two parties working together for the best interest of the United States to a battle of winning and losing between Democrats and Republicans started with the Gingrich revolution in 1994. It has since gotten worse with the emergence of the Tea Party. The Freedom Caucus in Congress is probably the best example of a group unwilling to compromise on anything and who only want to be on the winning side of elections. Trump is on the side of the ultranationalism in the US which at times has been clearly evident such as the “my country right or wrong” crowd during the Vietnam war, the flag wavers after 9/11 who were certain we were attacked because others hated our freedom and refused ot listen to any suggestion of other possible explanations. the extreme flag waving USA chanting patriotism often exhibited at Republican conventions (the Democrats actually tried to do some of this at their most recent convention), and so forth. Ultranationalism seems to be largely a working class phenomenon and the iconic moment for that may have been workers wearing hard hats attacking antiwar protesters during the Vietnam war. And the recent election was unusually divided in the more poorly educated voting for Trump and the better educated voting for Clinton. It is almost as if the entire country has been divided into the common town versus gown division often seen in college towns. Colleges and universities are almost seen as last bastion of what the Trump side hates. They see these institutions as filled with liberal professors who are turning out liberal students. The probably feel that it is only because of the colleges and universities that the Trump side may be outnumbered and attacking these institutions and changing them is probably one of their highest priorities.
And the ground these attitudes are planted in is ECONOMIC THEORY wherein “profit” is utterly dependent on ‘externalized’ (imagine fingers stuck in ears going nananana, I can’t hear you) costs. The externalization in predatory capitalism is like blood being 75+% water. It is what floats the [gunboat] ship of state.
I think campaigns depend a lot on the candidate and the strategy and not so much on hate the other side stuff. Often the strategy is make the main issue the opponent. That is clearly what the Clinton campaign did. I think because she led in the polls for the entire campaign they felt it was working and therefore continued to use that strategy. It appears that many people who voted for Trump lied to the pollsters about who would they vote for. Trump was such an unusual candidate that the normal rules didn’t apply. He had no experience in government, told lies continuously. presented himself as a fascist, had a history of scamming people in business, praised dictators rather than leaders of democracies, seemed to be supporting the foreign policy interests of Russia, made personal attacks against ordinary citizens, encouraged violence at his rallies, engaged in name calling against his opponents that sounded like middle-school stuff, practically admitted he sexually assaulted a number of women in a secretly taped conversation, was hesitant about condeming the Ku Klux Klan, etc.
And you look at the vitriol from the people who voted against Trump, and you see just as much hate as from the people who for him. Hillary played into their hate just as much as Trump played into his base.
Polarization on both sides of the aisle is at a greater level than at any time in my life time. Just as Ed Brooke or Nelson Rockefeller would be thrown out of today’s Republican Party, JFK and Scoop Jackson would be thrown out of the Democrats.
I agree about the polarization in Congress but the campaign was about a different polarization, not the role of the federal government. Trump was on the side of white supremacy, Clinton was on the side of racial equality, Trump was on the side of fascism, Clinton was on the side of democracy. Clinton was defending American values against a white supremacist and fascist. Trump is part of an international white nationalist movement that expresses hate against non-whites.
Lrx, I call Bullsh*t.
Hillary was on the side of “it’s my damned turn to be President” Hillary was on the side of “I will pander to any interest group I think I can get to vote for me” (note, for someone who supposedly was "on the side of racial equality, blacks stayed home in droves, and gave her less support that any recent Democrat).
Trump, piece of crap that he is, is not a fascist. He is an opportunist without a coherent ideology. He was able to capitalize on the populist wave that looked at Hillary and all the Republican nominees as just one more tool of the Establishment. Hillary, like Bush, (for example) epitomizes the Washington Establishment that has proven it doesn’t give a crap about any voters.