Welcome to our muddled hellscape


I totally shunned all sources of news yesterday and last night — I remember the 2016 election, and I expected my country to let me down, again, yet there were so many annoying sources gloating about an imminent landslide. It was better to avoid all the suffering of an agonizing night of ups and downs that would only end in disappointment and disillusionment.

When I got up this morning, and once I’d had a sip of coffee, I recorded my reaction to opening up the news for the first time in 24 hours. Bleeah. Shouldn’t have bothered.

The answer is…we don’t know who won yet. We may not know for a while, even though our Preznit has predictably declared victory. The fact that couldn’t get a definitive majority when one candidate was a corrupt, incompetent ass, and that we’re still playing games with that archaic electoral college, tells me that I’m living in a shithole country run by corporate stooges pandering to an ignorant, racist white electorate. At least we’ve once again established that fact, even if our media will continue to make excuses and the Fox Propaganda Channel will continue to deny reality.

Comments

  1. stroppy says

    Yep. This is it. Whatever wins Democrats manage to bring in now, it will most likely be too close to really turn things around. If we’re lucky, America will be stuck in purgatory for a decade or so before it unravels once and for all.

  2. rpjohnston says

    Biden’s going to win probably all those states once the votes are in but it isn’t the repudiation of Trumpism that I was looking for and making real headway in this war is going to require ruthlessness that Dems have balked at. In particular when it comes to running one more GOP Senator out of Congress. They’re corrupt enough that you could probably eject half of them legit, and if Dems really wanted to go for it they could just do a fucken coup.

  3. raven says

    Itotally shunned all sources of news yesterday and last night — I remember the 2016 election, and I expected my country to let me down, again,…

    Yeah, me too.
    I didn’t look at the polls or take them seriously this time around. I don’t believe they are accurate in close races any more. In fact, they aren’t accurate.

    and that we’re still playing games with that archaic electoral college, tells me that I’m living in a shithole country run by corporate stooges pandering to an ignorant, racist white electorate.

    True.
    Trump and the GOP are a symptom, not a cause.
    Oddly enough, what is new is that a lot of Latinx’s in Florida and Texas voted for Trump.

  4. raven says

    Look on the bright side though.

    This is the first day of the rest of your life in the fading last superpower.
    Welcome to the new North American hellscape

  5. oddie says

    With such a large part of the electorate willing to accept blatant anti-scientific attitudes, the blocking of student visas, and the internal degradation of the value of science as a way to organize ones interactions with the world, how much damage is being done to our ability as a country to maintain our prominence as innovators and leaders in the scientific community?

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Biden just caught up with Trump in Michigan.

    If he maintains his slight lead in
    Wisconsin and Nevada Trump will have lost, regardless of what happens in Pennsylvania.
    Be ready to go out and demonstrate if the supreme court is trying to sabotage the election.

    Next stop the senate, the primaries a little more than a year from now and the actual election two years from now.

  7. petrander says

    I’m just so fucking scared I’m trying to avoid all media as much as I can, and I’m not very good at that either.

    Just gonna roll up in a blanket in case of the worst and hope for the best.

    Dare we even hope anymore?

    How could anyone even support Jabba the Hutt incarnate!?

  8. mamba says

    Many Americans are intelligent obviously, but maybe you might have to admit that if you look at the average over the entire country, maybe Trump actually DOES represent what the people represent:Arrogance, ignorance, xenophobia, reactionary, blind patriotism and religious, only caring about their own personal world and not the big picture, assuming others exist to serve their needs, and open celebration of a ME FIRST SCREW Y’ALL attitude.

    Again, I know that Americans are not all like that, Every country has their idiots and their normals. But when time and time again each get a vote and it’s even CLOSE like this…what other conclusion can you draw? Clearly there’s more than a few outliers that are deciding that they see a Trump and LIKE him…not 10%, not 20%…but clearly closer to 40-50, at worst!

    That’s almost half your country that openly admit to wanting to celebrate this attitude. To them, he represents them best! You have to start to admit it, maybe he DOES represent your country…just not your specific part of it, but on average? Be ashamed of it of course…work to stop it of course…but start seeing the simple reality of the numbers. Trump does not exist in a bubble and neither do his supporters as some outlier fringe of society. They are BECOMING your society.

  9. F.O. says

    You can’t have a free country when few rich fucks can afford to shout louder than anybody else.

  10. PaulBC says

    I see Greg Gianforte is now governor-elect of Montana. His only claim to fame I know of is that he assaulted a journalist. No matter who wins the presidential election, here’s the reality of Trump America: dumber, more brutal, and that’s how a lot of people apparently like it.

  11. davidc1 says

    amurica is the best example of why you shouldn’t create a nation bit by bit ,1787 to 1959 ,and you are still not done ,is there any chance Porto Rico could become a state .
    Or is the flag full up of stars ?

  12. PaulBC says

    Puerto Rico would have to vote for statehood. It seems like a good idea to me, but I don’t think it’s popular there. DC statehood is the other big one, though DC was purpose made not to be a state and partitioned out of Maryland and Virginia. It must have sounded like a good idea at the time, but people actually live there, more than live in fucking Wyoming.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    OT
    -Something to ponder if you want to think of biology instead of the political horror show.
    The Cambrian fossil Kylinxia, described by the Nanjing department of geology shares features of true arthropods, but has also predatory features like Anomalocaris, and some bizarre features like the five eyes of Opabina.
    If you have read Stephen Jay Gould’s book “It’s a Wonderful Life” you will be familiar with the issues. Kylinxia is a true missing link at the base of a radiation of several different organisms, including arthropods.
    So Kylinxia is an uncle to PZs spiders.
    -and now back to the ordinary programs…

  14. microraptor says

    PaulBC @13: My understanding is that Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly voted in favor of statehood last time it was brought up and Republicans in the Senate killed it because doing so would mean adding another Blue state.

  15. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC:

    Puerto Rico would have to vote for statehood. It seems like a good idea to me, but I don’t think it’s popular there.

    Uh… they did vote on it, yesterday. The question is rather complicated, because it’s tied up with a lot of other issues in PR, but it’s not unpopular….

    From Bloomberg news, Puerto Rico Pro-Statehood Governor Candidate Holds Lead:

    With 95% of polling stations reporting, Pierluisi had 380,704 votes, or 32.4% of the ballots, while Carlos Delgado Altieri had 368,369 votes, or 31.4%, according to the Puerto Rico State Commission on Elections.
    […]
    Also Tuesday, the island held a non-binding referendum on statehood. With 95% of polling stations reporting, those voting in favor of making the U.S. territory the 51st state were outstripping those opposed to it 52% to 48%.

  16. consciousness razor says

    microraptor:

    My understanding is that Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly voted in favor of statehood last time it was brought up and Republicans in the Senate killed it because doing so would mean adding another Blue state.

    That’s really not accurate…. First, there’s this, from the same article as in #17:

    Pierluisi will have a powerful ally in the statehood struggle. Jenniffer Gonzalez, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, the head of Puerto Rico’s Republican Party and a statehood advocate, easily won reelection as the island’s non-voting member of the House of Representatives.

    Gonzalez is also a longtime supporter of Pierluisi, even though he’s a registered Democrat.

    Then there’s this from Vox (which I had hope would say something substantial about the current vote, but it provides useful context anyway):

    In 2012 and 2017, the island’s 3 million citizens overwhelmingly backed statehood, but Congress never took further action to admit Puerto Rico into the union. Both those votes, however, were plagued by low turnout — in fact, less than a quarter of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2017 referendum, which was boycotted by opposition parties that support either maintaining the status quo or independence.

    That raised questions about the legitimacy of the vote, and has allowed congressional lawmakers to punt on the issue.

  17. wzrd1 says

    I did a spot check last night, between 9 – 10 and found we were remarkably on trajectory in percentage tallied and some counts completed a trifle early (states that permit counting upon receipt). Results predictably seesawing, as usual.
    Took a pair of stiff drinks and faded off during a movie. I also predicted that the god-king wannabe would declare a victory with no evidence, complete with a demand to stop the count – to only be ignored. Everything operating as designed, no broken machinery flailing about breaking things.
    Only one breakage delaying things this morning, a water leak delaying one county’s tally – briefly. Doesn’t take much to close a valve and sop up water that never approached the ballots.
    Now, back to business as usual, may the less deserving enjoy the stress.
    Because, it never should be easy, running for office, campaigning or selecting one’s candidate, it’s far too vital to ever lazily allow that to be so.

  18. favog says

    As I write this, if Biden gets the states he’s ever so slightly leading in, he’ll have 270 exactly. The two largest electoral states won’t have final results for a couple of days probably, and one leans each way. This has to be the closest it has ever been. And yet, it there’s ever a time it should have been a landslide, it’s this one. What the hell has happened to this country?

  19. PaulBC says

    steve1@14 Yup, saw that about Collin Peterson. It’s consistent with what I thought (admittedly knowing very little) about that district. He was kind of a “legacy” Democrat and his district is unlikely to go any shade of blue: progressive, neoliberal, or “moderate” at least under present political assumptions. Well, good riddance. I am a partisan Democrat and a strategic voter, but it doesn’t mean I don’t possess a gag reflex.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Cenk Uyghur at The Young Turks is very critical of the Democratic party machine. They had an open goal against the most incompetent Republican presidential ampaign ever, in the middle of a pandemic that has been criminally mismanaged, and they still very nearly lost.
    .
    They should have flipped the Senate, but this is Democrats we are talking about, so of course they failed.
    They still have a majority in the house of representatives, but it has shrunk.
    -How did the strategy of attracting Republican voters by being center-right work out?
    But they will pretend they have accomplished a miracle and refuse to learn any lesson
    If you do not “primary” the bums the election in two years time will be the 2010 disaster all over again.

  21. PaulBC says

    favog@20

    And yet, it there’s ever a time it should have been a landslide, it’s this one. What the hell has happened to this country?

    I don’t think anything happened. It’s who we are, at least it’s who many of us are. The election itself would not be close except for the existence and composition of the Electoral College, but there are clearly many Americans who want Trump and what he stands for. I admit I am surprised that people are OK with someone as blatantly corrupt as Trump, but maybe they just figured everyone else is too. It’s a tribal conflict and one side feels very threatened because they know their numbers are decreasing. They will accept a flawed champion, just as my side will.

    The polling was pretty screwed up though, at least at the state level. Maybe the shy bladder Trumpies are a real thing after all. I don’t know. I think aggregation sites like FiveThirtyEight do the best they can, but as the old saw goes: garbage-in garbage-out.

  22. PaulBC says

    Maybe the GOP side had a better get out the vote effort too. I don’t have the article, but Fox News was compared somewhere to a giant GOTV for Trump. The Senate races were huge disappointments.

    I do not blame Sanders, leftists, or 3rd party voters. (I do blame them for 2016, but that’s a different election.) I believe we were firing on all pistons for Biden. I am proud of that effort. Hopefully it’ll pay off in removing Trump, though this is only the very beginning. It is just weak damage control. (And if he still wins, I give up.)

    It feels a little more like 2004 than 2016. Incumbency is a big advantage. Hope we can still overcome it.

  23. consciousness razor says

    The polling was pretty screwed up though, at least at the state level. Maybe the shy bladder Trumpies are a real thing after all. I don’t know. I think aggregation sites like FiveThirtyEight do the best they can, but as the old saw goes: garbage-in garbage-out.

    Still a bunch of votes to count in a bunch of states…. What’s garbage is leaping to conclusions like this before we even have the results to talk about.

  24. favog says

    @24: Oh, I already knew a lot of what you’re saying there. My question was somewhat existential. But I say “somewhat” because there is still a part of me that doesn’t get it, even if I do know it. I grew up in a very “red” part of my state, and now live in the urban area that saves the state and makes it blue. I think there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to face the fact that I grew up in a very much proto-fascist environment that people like Stan Lee and Ursula K. LeGuin saved me from.

  25. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@26

    What’s garbage is leaping to conclusions like this before we even have the results to talk about.

    I’m not leaping to conclusions about Senate races. Democratic candidates seriously underperformed expectations. (OK, maybe the margins I’m looking at will change, but the Senate results are majorly disappointing.) (OK, give 538 their due, they did say 25% GOP keeps majority.)

    I think pollsters do their best. It is just a really hard problem, because you can’t get a uniform statistical sample and all the attempts to weight the results rely on assumptions. 2012 was an unusually good year for pollsters predicting the presidential race. Maybe we have two in row that just leaned the other way randomly. I get how that can happen. I am just not sure how many times I want to see this experiment run again.

    I am not leaping to conclusions, but I doubt you will find many pollsters agreeing that they did an awesome job. Maybe the best they reasonably could.

  26. says

    I’m not surprised by the “Latino” vote in Florida. People need to stop lumping people whose families came from Cuba and those who came from Mexico and Central America together. We are not the same. We have different political histories.

  27. PaulBC says

    CR@26

    GEOFFREY SKELLEY
    NOV. 4, 1:43 PM
    ABC News has not yet projected a winner in the Maine Senate contest, but Democrat Sara Gideon just conceded to Republican Sen. Susan Collins. The incumbent, who trailed in most polls down the stretch, outperformed the polls and currently holds a 50 percent to 43 percent lead over Gideon, with 75 percent of the expected vote reporting. If the race were closer and neither candidate had a majority, that might have opened the door for Gideon to win because of ranked-choice voting, as the third-place finisher Lisa Savage has 4 percent and was running to Gideon’s left. But with Collins hovering right around the 50 percent mark, Gideon decided there was no path for her. This is a potential death knell for the Democrats’ Senate hopes, too, which already looked pretty cooked.

    Am I still “leaping to conclusions”? This is a massive clusterfuck disappointment. I can go back and see where it falls on 538’s probability curves, but it is not consistent with steady leads in polling data.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    English-speaking in Alabama are different from english-speaking in New York, so of course latinos are different, too.
    .
    But I am surprised- the racism and demonization of brown people has gone way beyond dog whistles. Just consider the awful sheriff Arpaio, who is seen as some kind of hero by the MAGA hats. And Stephen Miller is pretty up-front about his belief system. Do some latinos think racists will make a difference between “good” and “bad” latinos?

  29. consciousness razor says

    I’m not leaping to conclusions about Senate races. Democratic candidates seriously underperformed expectations. (OK, maybe the margins I’m looking at will change, but the Senate results are majorly disappointing.) (OK, give 538 their due, they did say 25% GOP keeps majority.)

    What are you talking about? Which Senate seats? Are we looking at the same data? Here is the 538 forecast and ABC’s live coverage.

    Take Maine, for example: Collins was given a 41% chance with a predicted vote share of 49%, and 51% going for Gideon. Currently, with about 75% reporting, Collins has 50%, Gideon 43%, others 6%. But when a quarter of the votes are not in yet, particularly when those are generally tilting to Democrats, numbers like that really don’t mean much.

    In North Carolina, Tillis was given a 32% chance, with a predicted vote share of 47.3% and 50.5% for Cunningham. Currently, with 94% reporting, Tillis has 49%, Cunningham 47%. That’s also not far off even as it is, but in any case, we also don’t know how much that margin may change in the end. So this one is also not clear.

    All of the other Senate races went for the candidate who was predicted to win, or they haven’t been called yet.

    I’ll note that it was widely reported ahead of time that margins were likely to shift toward Democrats, due to the large number of early votes. That’s what we’ve seen so far, and you should probably expect more of that. Anyway, if it’s within the margin of error, you shouldn’t be surprised at all. And if it’s just outside of that, you still shouldn’t be too surprised. So which races are you talking about?

  30. consciousness razor says

    This is a massive clusterfuck disappointment.

    We’re not talking about disappointed you are. Maybe you’re disappointed that McConnell won his race too, for instance. But that was very much predicted, however disappointing it may be.

  31. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@33 Fine. I will go back and look over FiveThirtyEight. Clearly the results are in the scope of possible outcomes, but it’s a pretty wide range. Maybe it’s not as close to the tail as I thought. BTW, I was not intending to criticize anyone’s effort’s here. I like FiveThirtyEight and would be lost without their aggregate analysis.

    If you find my use of “garbage” offensive, though it’s a known saying, will you accept large-margin-of-error in/large margin-of-error out? FiveThirtyEight itself frequently concedes that the quality of state-level polling is not nearly where they’d like it to be.

  32. says

    birgerjohansson,
    Some Latinos think of themselves as white.not as brown. We have our own problems with ethnicity/racism, going back to colonialism.

  33. PaulBC says

    I would add that when I say “massive clusterfuck disappointment” I don’t mean it in the precise sense used by statisticians. And I stand by those words.

  34. consciousness razor says

    Maybe retract this bit while you’re at it: “Maybe the shy bladder Trumpies are a real thing after all.”

    That does not follow. Suppose some polls, about a few races in a few states, were off by a few percentage points. Do you have a clear picture of that? Okay. Well, in fact a person is not “shy” because some other person conducting a poll didn’t weight their samples very well. And the person doesn’t need to outright lie to such pollsters either, if what’s actually going on is that they’re simply not being represented properly in those polls. So what does the evidence support? Not the conclusion you actually made.

    Also, your response had to do with Senate races. But Trump is not running for a Senate position, so it’s pretty confusing to call people who voted for some other Republican in some other race “Trumpies” or “Trump voters.” Even if you do buy it with regard to Trump (in 2016 or 2020 or both), there is still no reason to conjure up a story like that about “Susan Collins voters” and whatnot. That’s just not how it works.

  35. consciousness razor says

    By the way, don’t forget that they’re doing ranked-choice voting in Maine. I don’t know how much of the first choice votes for the independent candidates are going to either Collins or Gideon. If more of them prefer Gideon, that would also make a difference of course. Perhaps her team knows more about some of those details, but I’m definitely surprised that she’s already conceded the race.

  36. PaulBC says

    CR@37 Retract? For real? For fuck’s sake. I am venting, not publishing a finding or even writing a letter to the editor. I don’t believe “shy Trump voters” is a serious issue, but I think the idea is funny. Some of these assholes are out being road hazards or sinking boats covered in fake ass flags of no nation on earth, and I’m supposed think the problem is they are scared by the mean old pollster on the other side of the phone. In reality, I have absolutely no idea. They might exist too. Shy Trumpies, yeah. Hey, I’m pretty shy too, but at least I’m not a complete asshole. (Not all the time anyway.)

    So no, I will not “retract” shit unless it is a factual error or something I feel was misunderstood and care enough about whether it’s understood. So while I’m at it, fuck you too.

    As I said, I have no axe to grind against the leftwing of the Democratic party this time. I think there is a lot to be proud of here with disciplined support of a candidate who wasn’t the greatest choice to begin with. We hit it with the best shot we could.

  37. Marissa van Eck says

    I’ve had it. I’ve fucking had it with this country. I’ve seen too many good friends suffer, some have died, and some have simply disappeared into the night and never, ever returned.

    In my deepest, darkest moments of suicidal despair, if you’d asked me what proportion of the nation I thought was irredeemable, soulless, skinwalking oxygen thieves who’d get kicked out of Hell for being too evil, I’d have said one in four at most. Not over 40 goddamn percent of us.

    Even if Biden wins, this country has taken too much damage and the Judiciary has been fatally compromised. No matter what happens now, the country has just had the last of its crumbling, brittle, rusted-out old legs kicked out from under it and is in free fall. I hope Biden wins solely because it might stabilize things JUST long enough for me to get to Canada, let’s say in about 10-14 months from now if all goes well (hah!).

    Way back in 2016 I was warning people that empires crumble incredibly quickly, that people would be taken completely by surprise when collapse happened, that the most common reaction was going to be “holy shit, it was so fast.” As always, then and now, no one listened. Well, here we are.

    This feeling is indescribable other than “sickening.” I never thought I’d essentially be a refugee in my own country.

  38. PaulBC says

    Biden wins solely because it might stabilize things JUST long enough for me to get to Canada, let’s say in about 10-14 months from now if all goes well (hah!).

    Bingo. In my case, I have an Irish “foreign births” entry that was really just for fun because I could get one (long story) or maybe just maybe a retirement option. Now it is increasingly looking like my ticket out of a failed state. Unfortunately, I am a bit stuck, married with two teenage kids (not transferrable to them because I got it after they were born) and a job I am unlikely to replicate elsewhere. It is still something I think about, especially since the GOP corporate tax giveaway of 2017 made my property tax and a good chunk of state income tax non-deductible. I am happy to pay tax into the common coffer but not to give it straight back to people with more money than I have.

  39. birgerjohansson says

    Marissa van Eck @ 40
    I do not want to sound defaitist, but one option is to get a job in Canada or in one of the EU countries until some degree of sanity has been established.
    Plus, Canada and most EU countries have proper universal health insurance which is bloody important.
    Being an activist requires immense energy and can lead to burning out.
    If the local conditions are awful, better leave and live to fight another day.

  40. fossboxer says

    You folks and your option to run off and hit the magic reset button in some other country — I envy you. I’m too old to be an asset to anyone, so I guess I’ll just have to stay here and take a bullet. Please think of us not as privileged as you, as you watch us implode on your new television sets whilst sipping from a cold Molson.

  41. PaulBC says

    If the local conditions are awful, better leave and live to fight another day.

    Agree. Many of the people I admire most are pre-WWII refugees from Europe. That’s not what I admire them for, but I am grateful they lived to contribute to science, art, and literature instead of dying horrifically and needlessly, which would have been a likely outcome.

  42. fossboxer says

    @44 – And I admire them the least. I admire the ones who staying behind and fought, either overtly or in the Underground. In 20-20 hindsight, we might be able to say it was for naught — but they had the courage to try to save the countries they once believed in.

  43. PaulBC says

    fossboxer@45 Well if I leave before there’s an active conflict going on, I’m just another emigrant for whatever reason I like. I didn’t choose where I was born. At least I can try to choose where I die. I work with many immigrants and I don’t hold that against them.

    And actually even during a fight, there is little I can do but yap my head off and/or get killed. I admire heroes, but I don’t pretend to be one.

  44. says

    The fact that couldn’t get a definitive majority when one candidate was a corrupt, incompetent ass

    The problem, PZ, is that it wasn’t only one candidate who could be described that way, and you know it. More importantly, everybody knows it. “I’m not as abysmally bad as the other asshole, but I’m going to chase the same voters as him” is not a good campaign slogan, but it’s what the Democrats have used twice in a row now.

  45. Ichthyic says

    “More importantly, everybody knows it. ”

    oh, do fuck off you delusional fuckwit. why does anybody put up with your bullshit?

  46. raven says

    Even if Biden wins, this country has taken too much damage and the Judiciary has been fatally compromised.

    You left out Roe versus Wade being overturned.
    Nothing screams freedom like being forced to give birth whether you want to or not. (This is sarcasm.)
    If you don’t own and control your own body, what are you. A slave.

    I’m all but certain it will happen. The female slavers have been working on this since the court ruling in 1973. The sharks see blood in the water and they aren’t going to stop now.
    The option of expanding the court is nonexistent.

    If you can make it to Canada, go for it. Health care jobs tend to be in demand everywhere.
    Like many, as a Boomer, I’m really too old and settled to think about emigrating.

  47. raven says

    I’ve seen too many good friends suffer, some have died,

    I’ve seen a lot myself and over the decades, the death toll adds up. Some during the Vietnam war, when I was growing up, two in Iraq, one has died of Covid-19 virus not too long ago. Plus the usual alcoholics who died young, the drug overdoses who died even younger, and people without health care insurance who went undiagnosed and untreated.

  48. quasar says

    Near as I can tell, Biden just needs Nevada now, which he’s ahead in, so it looks good for a Biden victory. And by “victory” I mean “barely scrapes into power and is utterly unable to achieve anything for 4 years due to a McConnell-owned Senate”.

    I’m pretty sure America is over. The people were given a clear cut choice between autocratic fascism and a semi-functional democracy, where the figurehead for the former was exactly as incompetent, corrupt and uncharismatically stupid as his opponents could ever possibly hope for, and they still couldn’t make up their minds.

  49. unclefrogy says

    some thoughts on leaving the country. I have nothing against it for anyone who wants to go “good luck and good fortune”.
    I am too old and poor to think of moving as things are now for me. It would not be an improvement.
    If it a positive move good but if it is simply running away that depends on what you are running from.
    The people who are refugees from their home because of war civil or invasion, totalitarian oppression, economic collapse, ecological catastrophe flee if you must to survive but take heed.
    Make sure where you go is better or welcoming. If you go because of political upheaval on the right look around I see no place with out that threat I fear you might be trying to out run things that will follow.
    We here got through the Nixon era and did accomplish some major steps forward OSHA,EPA, Clean water act, after a lot of pushing and shoving we got out of Vietnam and opened china. the point iss it did not look like that at the time. How and why what happened next is to complicated but we are still here none the less. it is the work of “We The People” that is important. Go if you must I will stay behind and do what I can here. We are one people across the country and across the planet. This toxic competition between people and parties, and nations is going to doom us to a failed country and a failed planet sooner or later.
    This period is the result of the inability for this country to come to a consensus until we can not much will get through without a lot political gamesmanship I sorry to say
    uncle frogy

  50. PaulBC says

    unclefrogy@54 Good advice. Actually Ireland is more like the most boring old man’s retirement dream than anything else (and I’ve never set foot there; closest I got was 4 months in Aberystwyth, Wales). The other thing is I live in the insanely expensive SF Bay Area. I can afford to, provided I continue to work. Even if I paid off my mortgage, my property tax alone would be enough to burn through a sizable nest egg. This is not a great place to retire and I even if I stayed I doubt my kids could afford to stay as adults.

    So where could I live closer to home but cheaper? I used to think about a place in the redwoods. Outside California? I know people do retire to Nevada, but it’s a little too wild west for me, though I sort of like the vibe in Reno. Actually large swathes of the US are on my blacklist if they have “open carry” assholes. Sorry, you can keep your state to yourself in that case. No need to worry about this “coastal liberal” moving in.

    Now I really just think if I were to leave the Bay Area, that would be the right time to take a real leap. I can do it too (foreign births registration based on my father’s that he did in the 70s based on an ancestor). The other thing about Ireland that I’d be in an EU nation, though I am not up on the full implications of that. One thing I’d miss is the international community here. I don’t think I’d miss the endless talk about money: IPOs and real estate, etc. I doubt I’d even miss being around tech people that much. My wife is surprisingly amenable to the idea, and we were actually going to do some exploratory travel a couple years back when my daughter’s medical issues intervened.

    Dublin is still probably too expensive to retire, and know nothing about that job market. Somewhere rural? As I said, a boring old man’s retirement fantasy. I ought to buy the Irish fisherman’s sweater to match.

    Now the kids are a little older and approaching college, so I compartmentalize it. Of course we’re staying in California. But the idea does keep going on another track in my mind. So I have options and I guess it calms me down a bit to know I have options. Anyway, this is probably the wrong place to ramble on this. Sorry, just having that one thing… it helps.

    I don’t see much of a future for the US as we know it. I kind of wonder if an amicable split is possible. I know who “my people” are and they’re from all around the world and they come here to work in tech. I have no idea who these “red state” Americans are. Maybe it’s true and I am not a “real” American. I’m from city people going back generations and that’s as real as any farmer but it rings hollow to say it now. Fuck you all. If this is America, you can have it. That’s more where I’m headed and perhaps the feeling is mutual.

  51. hemidactylus says

    For “Latino” vote, especially in Florida there is too much complexity to make a bloc. Florida is a dissident exilio state: largely Cuban, but Venezuelans and old school Nicaraguans too. So their reasons for immigration dovetail into typically right wing politics.

    Totally removed from exilio bloc politics it is my assumption that Puerto Ricans in Florida tend to lean Democrat but personal affluence tugs toward conservativism, just like with Anglos.

    With Cubans there is, as with the rest of the Caribbean, a racial dynamic that crosscuts the ethnicity. So there are light and dark skinned Cubans. How this ties into status and politics IDK. I was under the assumption younger Cubans are less rabidly Republican, but maybe Trumpism and Calle Ocho propaganda Trumped such intergenerational trending.The CANF moderated a bit after Jorge Mas Canosa’s passing under his son Jorge Mas Santos. Probably doesn’t translate to electoral politics though.

    Outside of Nader’s run it is arguable that the very emotional Elian Gonzalez repatriation at the hands of Reno and the Clinton administration helped put Dubya in the Oval Office. So yeah South Florida.

  52. logicalcat says

    To provide some further context on latino voters in florida which is where im from and am one, theres a lot at play here.

    First as Robert pointed out people tend to lump us all together. But to be clear Trumps new latino voters are not just cuban but also colombian, venezuelan and nicaraguan akd many others. South Florida is not just cubans. Its quite a mix but cubans are the most numerous.

    Second theres a certain kind of machismo that Trump has which appeals to some of us. Especially cuban men. Toxic masculinity and mysoginy is not exclusive to white people.

    Speaking of white people some latinos really want to be seem as white. They auditioning to become the next italian americans who once upon a time were considered colored and oppressed but then just became white. This is exaccerbated by communities who are predominately hispanic and latino but also bourgeoisie.

    Racism is also a big problem. A lot of us hate or dont give a shit about mexicans. Way too many dont like black people either. Seeing cubans in the proud boys makes me sad. Especially cuz they putting our afrolatinos (of which there are many as white cubans are a minority on the island and in most other places) under the bus.

    A lot of them fell for a coordinated propaganda campaign that painted Biden as a child molester. And even more fell for the propaganda that Biden is a socialist. May of them escaped terrible curcumstances from some very bad socialist nations and are especially vulnerable to propaganda of this sort. Seeing leftists defend socialism didnt help. Speaking about myself personally I supported Sanders but was especially irritated when Castro died and saw castro apologists do their thing. Fuck them. And dont anyone even fucking dare say that we are remnants of Bautista Cubans who left Cuba with their money because this isnt the fucking 50’s. Those cubans and their descendants still exists but most refugees past the mariel harbor event fled cuba because its a shithole authoritarian kleptocracy.

    Even though Florida was at one point number 3 in covid cases World wide, its from a less deadlier strain of the virus and enough time has passed to where medical community can treat it. So it wasnt such a fucked up scenario as it was in New York. Because of that many of us (cubans especially) think corona was overhyped and all political propaganda. So Trumps favorability didnt get such a hard hit due to being an idiot regarding this pandemic. Its sad because most of the patients i brought home from the hospital are cubans who didnt think it was a problem and didnt wear a mask. Now they gotta have oxygen with them at all times.

    Every single one of these issues are kinda related.

    Theres probaly more I cant think of at this moment.

    Also Trump won more votes from black men than any other republican before him. Not gonna get into that since its outside my scope but I suspect there are a lot of conservative black men than people think.

  53. logicalcat says

    @hemi

    White cubans are a majority in sfl but a minority on the island. Now not all light skin cubans see themselves as white but many do and really want to be seem as such. Latino racism is weird. Ive seen latinos blacker than wesley snipes discriminate against black americans. As far as young cubans, well like a lot of other young people they dont really vote much i suspect.

    I could of course be wrong here. I may be Cuban/colombian living in SFL but still ultimately just saying what i feel. Nothing empirical or anything like that.

  54. PaulBC says

    logicalcat@57 Thanks for that. It makes sense to me, though I lack any firsthand knowledge. The big thing in California (a few years before I moved here but two of my siblings did) was Pete Wilson and Prop 187

    a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit undocumented immigrants from using non-emergency health care, public education, and other services in the State of California. Voters passed the proposed law at a referendum on November 8, 1994.

    which was ultimately so toxic that legend has it that it set the California Latino community against Republicans ever since. But again, I wasn’t here and don’t know the details. It’s interesting to note that it was indeed passed. (And later found unconstitutional)

    When I hear Trump attack immigrants, it just seems like the same kind of crap over 25 years later and I just wonder who believes it and how can anyone tied to any immigrant community buy it now. How can anyone who works with immigrants or is married to an immigrant vote for this kind of hate? I feel good about my community in the Bay Area. There’s certain a ton of class baggage, but I think the white, Asian, South Asian, and Latino communities all get along. We live together and rely on each other.

    I don’t get Florida. When I saw the results last night I just thought of the movie Chinatown: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Florida.” That’s basically been my view since 2000 when it comes to presidential elections. It doesn’t surprise me that the Latino community is very different there. (And Texas I assume is another thing entirely.)

  55. hemidactylus says

    @58- logicalcat

    Thanks for your personal take. I am always learning. Had a Cuban friend from Miami in high school and we visited him in Kendall ca. 87-88. Height of Miami bass and freestyle. Unaware of politics at the time.

    Aside from the quirky politics kinda fond of Cuban culture. Did a deep dive into history a while back. Saw someone portray Jose Marti over 10 years ago as a period piece. Really cool.

    Not quite Cuban but into music like Wilfrido Vargas makes. Or DJ Debonaire.

    Or:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DJ_Laz

  56. logicalcat says

    Oh heres another thing I almost forgot. We are assholes. Not talking about latinx in general just saying Miami is the rudest city in United States. Trump got that asshole vote down lock.

  57. hemidactylus says

    @61- logicalcat
    Well from personal experience driving 95 south of Palm Beaches is Formula One. But surely Latinx has nothing on entitled white Anglo assholes. And I recall awkwardly whitesplaining to African American friends that dark skinned or African heritage people from other cultures might not appreciate where they are coming from. So Afro-Latinx might have a different take on life as also Nigerians or Kenyans.

  58. PaulBC says

    The more I hear about the rest of the US, the more I love my Bay Area bubble. The kids and teens, especially, really seem to respect each other a lot more than I remember anyone doing growing up in the Philly suburbs in the 70s. Maybe it was just a different time and everyone was meaner and more bigoted. Maybe I just don’t know what’s going on because I’m an adult.

    But I have a lot of pride in my community. That said, you have to have money to live here, and there are definitely prejudices, despite being multicultural, based on the context where you see people. It’s not scalable to the US as a whole. I have no idea what’s going to happen.

  59. KG says

    closest I got was 4 months in Aberystwyth, Wales – PaulBC@55

    When were you in Aberystwyth, if you don’t mind saying? I worked at the university there 1996-1998, and an American tech guy called Paul worked with me for a few months…

  60. PaulBC says

    KG@65 I was there for a few months late 1997 to early 1998, but I didn’t work “with” anyone really except my supervisor. I shared an office (that I recall as cold with leaky windows) but I don’t know what the other person did and didn’t work with them. I worked on a project with Nick Gotts in the computer science department and I am even mentioned here. https://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Public/Misc/rep_97.html

    I really enjoyed Aberystwyth in comparison to an unproductive postdoc in Zürich preceding it. The lack of productivity was my fault, but it was a mistake to agree to it and maybe just the language barrier was a problem. Aberystwyth also seemed friendlier. It rained a lot, but I like any kind of shoreline and the castle ruins gave it a very “gothic” feel to me. (Especially during a blizzard with sea foam blowing everywhere at night. Maybe this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day_Storm_of_1998)

  61. KG says

    Hi Paul – that’s me. I stopped using my real name here at some point for personal reasons, but quite a few people on the site know it! Glad you enjoyed Aberystwyth – sorry about the cold office!

  62. PaulBC says

    KG@69 Well, the cold office wasn’t your fault! I am sure we chatted a little, but about what I don’t know. I try to keep my identity on blogs semi-private (security through obscurity) but I could easily be doxxed. Then there’s facebook, but thankfully that doesn’t come up in Google searches.

    I kept myself busy doing my cellular automata coding, but I had a lot of free time too and am really pissed off at myself for not making a weekend trip to Dublin, which would have been feasible by train and ferry. I just figured I’d hit Ireland on my next international adventure. Then I moved to California and rarely travel at all.

  63. birgerjohansson says

    For your amusement -while you bounce back from the intense tension- here is God Awful Movies: ”GAM271 Trump 2024” dissecting a film by ultra-religious Trumpists who think the apocalypse will literally occur when Trump loses power :-)
    https://youtu.be/xfUpEBkrZLg

  64. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @70:

    I kept myself busy doing my cellular automata coding

    Probably a silly question:

    One of the many topics I’ve been meaning to look into at some point is the work by Dutch physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft on a cellular automaton interpretation of quantum mechanics. Are you acquainted with this?

  65. PaulBC says

    Rob Grigjanis@77 Not really. I know Stephen Wolfram was big into claiming cellular automata could explain everything, and published his long awaited and very silly (per Cosma Shalizi) A New Kind of Science years back. I don’t know enough quantum theory to even evaluate the claims. My work with Nick Gotts was on Conway’s Game of Life* and it’s been more of a hobby of mine, not my old academic research (algorithms) or my work as a software engineer. He was looking at outcomes of very sparse initial states, which mostly die off but by chance will have infinite-growth clusters throughout. I wrote some programs and we actually got the results we needed. I was paid just barely enough to cover living expenses if that (and it seemed kind of under the table). A friend of mine pointed out that getting paid at all to do Conway’s Game of Life was something of an accomplishment.

    From my one intro course on quantum as a physics minor, where we spent a lot of time with 1D Schrödinger equations, I honestly didn’t see anything remote like a cellular automaton or any discrete system at all. If there’s a connection, I’d like at least a capsule summary of how it could possibly be. It eludes me given that I know at least a little about one and a lot about the other.

    *RIP John Horton Conway (1937-2020) sadly taken by COVID-19. He was in a nursing home in New Jersey with a lot of co-morbidities, but by all accounts was still taking visitors and talking before this.

  66. PaulBC says

    KG@69 Do you have any thoughts of how this could possibly have been legal under UK law? I entered with a 6 month tourist stamp in my passport. I had enough of my own money to pay for rent, food, etc. (the apartment was pre-arranged and had these goofy little tickets you would put in a machine to keep the electric going, but I digress). Eventually, my supervisor was able to cut me one lump sum check through the university that came out of his research grant. I sent it postal mail to my bank in the US, where it was deposited. (Heh, I still talk to Nick Gotts sometimes and I should ask him!)

    So here’s how I see it. It wasn’t a job, but more like attending a 4 month academic conference with reimbursement. But I have no idea what the law says about that. Should be past the statute of limitations though, right? I left Switzerland without disconnecting my phone line, and I bet there’s hell to pay if I ever go back there. Hope I’m in good standing with Her Majesty at least.

  67. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @78:

    we spent a lot of time with 1D Schrödinger equations, I honestly didn’t see anything remote like a cellular automaton or any discrete system at all.

    Any differential equation can be discretized. In the case of the 1D Schrödinger equation, you could discretize both x and t, and derive rules (to some order) for the evolution of the wave function. Beyond that, I’d have to do some reading, probably starting with this when I have the time and energy.

  68. PaulBC says

    RobG@80 Yup, though it still “feels” very different to me. As a computer scientist I’d be delighted if it was all just bit flipping at the lowest level, but if so, it is hard to see how you get quantum superposition and all the parallel cases of what can happen in QED (I only read the Feynman book, so I just have the slightest, slightest idea of what I’m talking about here; a friend of mine who was a physics grad student said they don’t even study it till a few years into the program).

    I think the successful construction of quantum computers with many qubits might tell us more about what’s really happening and if there is something more like a discrete cellular automaton underlying it.

    I also don’t believe quantum mechanics is what makes complex systems interesting. You can see a great deal of emergent behavior in simple discrete systems. But I’m not sure that’s the right description for the universe we live in. I’ll take a look at your link.

  69. KG says

    PaulBC@79,

    Frankly, I don’t recall how you were paid, but AFAIK the University didn’t (at least knowingly) break any laws! I think – but a quick trawl suggests I don’t have any admin records that far back* — that the money you received came out of the department’s discretionary budget, intended to finance small projects that might lead to something bigger. Everything has got a lot more officious, managerial and miserly in UK universities since then, and it’s much more difficult to get visas even if you have a fully-official job waiting for you!

    *I do still have the code you wrote, although I haven’t tried to run it for a decade or two!

  70. KG says

    PaulBC,

    Further thought – I think you may indeed have been classified as an academic visitor, paid expenses only, to attend a long workshop. But if I suddenly stop posting here, you’ll know that the long arm of the law has reached out to haul me off to a life sentence for aiding and abetting an illegal immigrant!

  71. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @81:

    it is hard to see how you get quantum superposition

    Not sure what you mean; the Schrödinger equation is linear, so superpositions of solutions are also solutions.

  72. PaulBC says

    KG@82 Now I’m kind of mystified as to who you could be. I don’t even really remember anyone working with my code besides Nick.

  73. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @85: You missed a very crucial datum from an earlier post by KG. I shan’t be the one to point it out.

  74. PaulBC says

    Ah, OK! “That’s me” could be the person I shared an office with. So this actually does fit. KG (assuming I’m not still confused), I sent you a PM elsewhere.

    Funny… not quite as good a coincidence though!

  75. KG says

    PaulBC@87,

    Sorry, I didn’t realise my earlier comment was ambiguous about my identity – I thought you were just being (unnecessarily) careful about it. Thanks, I got your PM, I think I’ve answered the question you ask as far as I can above, but I’ll reply to the PM (not this evening)..

  76. PaulBC says

    RobG@88 I got it, but I phrased it awkwardly. Anyway, now I’ve revealed too much and all that’s left is the buzz of attack drones striking simultaneously on two continents.

  77. says

    @logicalcat 64
    I wouldn’t dream of preventing you from expressing your local asshole aroma, but I’m currently interrogating some anally aromatic Trumkins and otherwise interfering with their opinions = baseless fear mongering.

    I think I want to find a non-anotomical metaphor for anything else though. It’s a behavior problem.

  78. logicalcat says

    This clip from the daily show also is important regarding the Hispanic vote.

    Its pretty clear that as an immigrant Trevor can see these things easier. The conversation about the phrase “latinx” is interesting. I for one don’t mind the word, but it does annoy me when people lump us all together as a monolith and i did not consider that the phrase does the same thing. Speaking for myself btw, I get called Mexican a lot by white people who clearly cant tell the difference among us and it really annoys me. Most of the time that person is being racist but I can imagine some leftists or democrats doing the same thing incidentally. Feels like erasure to be honest and i don’t think im alone in that.

    I definitely agree that the assumption that as Hispanic population grows democrats would fare better electorally is one dumb shit that i forgot about till now. Any democrat who believes this for Hispanics or even black people clearly doesn’t understand these groups. They’ve always been very conservatives. they just vote democrat because at least democrats don’t actively fuck us. That sentiment is clearly diminishing.

    The one where Trevor asks a Mexican trump supporter why she supports him and she answers “Because hes fighting for me and not the illegals” is more of what i mentioned earlier about bourgeoisie sentiment. If you are in this country as a Latino legally it means you or your family got money. Cuz that shit is expensive and time consuming. And it sucks because chances are her father or grandfather came in illegally. Or in the case of Cubans they were given a free ride to residency and then happily deny it to others because “fuck em i got mine”.

  79. John Morales says

    logicalcat, calling South & Central Americans ‘Hispanic’ is like calling North Americans “Anglic”.

  80. PaulBC says

    logicalcat@92 This is a little off-topic, but do Brazilians fit into this or not? Obviously they’re not “Hispanic” but maybe they’re “Latin”? I am not sure there’s a big enough Brazilian immigrant population to be a voting bloc. I see there are 450,000 in the US, but where are they concentrated? I have met a few Brazilians in the Bay Area working in tech, but not many.

    Anyway, I’m aware that “south of the border” is a much broader category than “Mexican.”

    I loved this San Jose Mercury headline “Even if Biden wins, Bay Area Democrats are horrified 68 million voters backed Trump”.

    Bay Area Democrats are a good fraction of Bay Area residents period. We stand united in horror! Me too. I could tell you everything I hate about the SF Bay Area starting with the fact that most people born here will not be able to afford to stay here as adults, but I still take great pride in my community. We embrace multiculturalism. It’s not perfect and there is classism up the wazoo, and not enough Black people except in Oakland and a few other places to say much about anti-Black racism, but sure it’s there.

    The discrepancies in schools is a disgrace. Mountain View has gotten more and more expensive in the last 30 years but it has a sizable Latino population in some parts. I suspect that these parts haven’t even changed in 70 years or more. The grade school with the largest Latino population is on Escuela Ave. I don’t think that’s a coincidence and it’s an old name.

    Anyway, I can’t say we’re all happy here or that we all get along. But Trump has absolutely nothing to offer. This is partly because he has chosen to declare war on some parts of the US. But it’s also because his vision of America is completely at odds with how we live around here.

  81. PaulBC says

    It’s an interesting article though it was a pain getting through the paywall. https://www.mercurynews.com/even-if-biden-wins-bay-area-democrats-horrified-68-million-voters-backed-trump but if you don’t read the Mercury, I think you get 3 free reads per month. It does go into Latino support for Trump even in the Bay Area.

    It says nothing about Asian support, and there is a large Asian community. For myself, I will say that one of the most offensive things about Trump is his complete disdain for education, hard work, and merit. For him it is all about class, entitlement, nepotism, and cronyism. I would say that this alone puts him at odds with the Silicon Valley community across the board, independent of left-right differences.

  82. John Morales says

    PaulBC:

    … Latino support for Trump …

    See, there it goes again. Latino? Heh.

    You mean Anglic support for Trump — they’re USA residents and/or natives, and well and truly USA-enculturated. I mean, otherwise they would not be able to vote, would they?

  83. PaulBC says

    John Morales@96 Well, sure. But it is considered a voting bloc. The existence of people like Sen. Ted Cruz shows that you can have a Spanish last name and be crazy rightwing. And there’s Sen. Marco Rubio too, also Republican. They’re also both Cuban Americans. But it’s not limited to Cubans either.

    I don’t make up these categories. They have operational significance in that you can note that Hillary Clinton had this much support and it dropped for Biden, or that Sanders greatly improved his support in 2020 relative to 2016 through outreach. It’s a blob of people that follows a different trajectory than some other blob of people even if the causes are mixed.

    I am an “Irish American” so what do I know about any of this? That’s not meaningful now, but a century ago? Definitely not just an ordinary white guy. It was controversial when John F Kennedy was a Catholic running for president. I come from a pedigree of many generations of Brooklyn Irish Catholic Democrats, probably even with some connections to the Tammany Hall political machine way back. I suspect it’s that nearly as much as my ideology that determines my voting, but all the same many Irish Catholics have become Republicans. There’s just a lot of pulling up the ladder, and every group does it eventually it seems. At least every group that can “pass” as white.

    God I hate people.

  84. John Morales says

    PaulBC:

    But it is considered a voting bloc.

    Unlike red-haired people, or Europans (heh). Right.

    I don’t make up these categories.

    No, but you most certainly seem to accept them, without questioning how justified they may be.

    I mean, if someone is ‘Latino’, you supposedly can tell their predilections thereby, no?

    (If not, whence this categorisation?)

    God I hate people.

    Relax.

    As your cynicism increases, your hatred will decrease — people are what they are, and to expect better is just foolish.

  85. PaulBC says

    As your cynicism increases, your hatred will decrease — people are what they are, and to expect better is just foolish.

    My cynicism, which I thought was well established at age 55, was insufficient to predict that on the order of 70 million Americans would look at 4 years of Donald Trump and say “Whee! That was fun, let’s do it again.” I give up.

  86. KG says

    PaulBC@99,

    Many liberals and leftists underestimate the visceral appeal of fascism and kindred movements: the intoxication of having a group or groups to hate which you can persuade yourself are at once inferior, contemptibly weak (often seen as “effeminate”), and incredibly dangerous and threatening. I blame the parents (see Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: The Roots of Violence in Child-Rearing).

  87. logicalcat says

    @John Morales

    I dknt know the differemce between a latino and a hispanic. Probaly because most of us dont actually give a shit about these terms. I only really use them when talking to whote people because thats what they expect. Latino seems to be the one we use among ourselves but mostly we use the actual nation like cuban, dominican, ect. When speaking in english I use these interchangably.

    @Paul

    I dont know anything about brazilians. Ive seen mention that they see themselves as latinos but il not sure. According to the few times ive interacted with brazilians they called me gringo despite being hispanic but hey my own colombian family also call me gringo so “shrug”.

  88. John Morales says

    logicalcat, eres Norteamericana, no?

    when talking to [white] people

    Huh, must be an American thing, this not being white if one is Hispanic/Latino.

  89. unclefrogy says

    god words and communication what do you use. I despair some times that it is impossible to communicate when there are so many things you have to take into consideration that I just give up trying to say any thing at all it just ain’t worth it and nothing I can say is going to matter any way
    uncle frogy

  90. birgerjohansson says

    (see Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: The Roots of Violence in Child-Rearing)
    …also, see(and listen to) Clawfinger’s “Just Do As I Say” at Youtube.
    (creepy child voice:)
    “…when I grow up, everyone will have to do things…MY WAY!!!!”(heavy guitar riff)

  91. PaulBC says

    KG@100

    Many liberals and leftists underestimate the visceral appeal of fascism and kindred movements: the intoxication of having a group or groups to hate which you can persuade yourself are at once inferior

    I agree, but there was honestly a point when I thought we were doing better.

    While Obama was president, I started to adopt the view that while the US appeared stuck with growing wealth inequality and a myth of rugged individualism that made it impossible to pure together a reasonable social safety net… that at least we were really a nation that embraced diversity in race, religion, and sexual orientation, welcomed immigrants and understood that to be one of our greatest strengths, both ethically and even in practical terms. I know that’s part wishful thinking, but it seemed to reflect life around me–life in the SF Bay Area I grant, which is not life in rural Iowa.

    US liberals will often condescendingly suppose that rightwingers are too ignorant to know what they actually voted for. I think 2016 should have put the lie to that idea, but if it didn’t, the 2020 campaign and election should be enough to conclude that these are people who know exactly what they voted for. The complacent white majority of most of US history has turned into a shrinking demographic. There are people like me who say: So what, It’s working, right? I would rather be living right now than in the 1980s. This is the most exciting time in my life.

    But there are clearly those who feel threatened by seeing their place in society slip away and they do turn to fascism. It’s not economic insecurity for a lot of them. Guns aren’t cheap, SUVs aren’t cheap. You must be making a living wage plus a comfortable buffer (if not affluent, which i suspect many are) if you can afford to take part in a “Trumptilla” boat parade.

    What they want is to be the only “real Americans” and make sure that all other groups know that they are Americans with an asterisk, not necessarily despised, but here only at the sufferance of real Americans. This is pretty simple hypothesis. It explains, for instance, the number of people who freaked out over having Obama in the White House, despite his centrist policies and futile attempts at bipartisanship. It also explains 70 million Trump voters in 2020, I guess. It explains groups who might not be “white” right now, but think they have a shot at it, and swing to Trump despite naive expectations of observers.

    It’s always funny to see conservatives decrying “identity politics”. Trump’s only strength is identity politics. His promise has nothing to do with effective policy or even a minimal understanding of his job description, but to stand as a symbol to those feeling threatened over maintaining their place in society.

    He’s also the closest thing to a genuine crime figure, a mob boss, that has ever been elected to the White House. His “businesses” were never really legitimate (or even very successful) and his only organizational strategy is to award cronies and family members. That he does this openly and brags about it should have been a deal-breaker I thought, to any reasonable voter, even conservative, but no. Trump voters know what they want and they cannot possibly have failed to notice the above and voted for it in full consciousness.

  92. hemidactylus says

    I suppose Brazilians could fit under a Latinx umbrella but technically the strange sounding to most anyone Ibero-American label may be apt. A Brazilian woman I dated told me how she knew Spanish, but resented it being spoken in workplaces over English and of course Portuguese. Just an anecdote. Oh and Sepultura/Soulfly. Just though I’d sneak that in.

    As for Mexicans, given most of the US western states were under Spanish rule or part of Mexico at some time there are families of Mexican origin who predate Anglo invaders post partition into US. And I think there could be a slight “got mine” mentality amongst longer standing Mexican American families disparaging of recent immigrants or those trying to cross the border. Could be class, citizenship status, or privilege based. Enough perhaps for a USian of distant Mexican background to rationalize being a MAGA-drone. And doesn’t German influence explain accordions and polka sound? Asking for a friend.

    Among long standing Cuban families in Tampa-Ybor area or older guard families in South Florida I wonder if there is a perceived status possession over recent less assimilated immigrants, a white-black racialized dichotomy, and differing perceptions toward other North (Mexican), Central and South American nationalities. And given affluence and status and knowing the lay of the land there is potential for exploitation of new immigrants because cultural and language ties. And indoctrination into Calle Ocho ideology though not much of a threshold given many escaped Cuba because it isn’t exactly an open society, though much of the desolation can be accounted for by negative impacts of short-sighted punitive US policy toward Cuba. The exilios followed in the footsteps of the AIPAC model for policy influence.

  93. stroppy says

    @ 102

    Well, “race” is fluid idea in America according to the needs of the powerful.

    Might as well point out that hispanIC…because large percentage indigenous, also African and other.

  94. logicalcat says

    @102

    Yea its probaly a north american thing. But even then there are latinos who see themselves as white as well. And some who dont. Its a cultural thing. Like Ted Cruz and B-real from cyprus hill. Both are cubans with white skin but one is allowed to use the n-word and the other would definitely not. I see myself closer to the middle of this spectrum but more on the B-real side. Probaly because I come from such a poor economic background. Some of us see being called white as a compliment while some its insulting because of the erasure.

    Cubans especialy pull off the whole “im latino but also white” thing more than others. Hell there was worry when Lucile Ball had Desi as a husband because thats technically an interacial couple, but people got over it because they saw Desi as latino but of European descent. Other latinos did not get that treatment. Hell even other cubans didnt get that treatment.

    I am beggining to understand its different in south and central america. My friend has a son in Colombia and he told me hes classified as white but I see the kid and think “in this country (USA) he wouldnt be with that skin tone”. But I dont know too much about this. And things are changing.

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