February 29, 2016

Why the Trump?!

I tried to make a joke with my a colleague though he's uncomfortable with political talk. I said, “you know how we do forecasts given hypothetical catastrophic situations, are we going to do one for a Trump presidency?”. Oh well, you flunk 100% of the jokes you don't try.

Meanwhile Chris Christie endorsed the Donald. Proving Christie wasn't presidential material after all.

Rubio finally woke up and went after the Trump. Too little, too late. Mark Halperin suggested it was to keep his 2020 chances alive since some donors were saying “why should we support you next time if you can't stand up to Trump?”


Spent some time yesterday reading in a more fruitful direction than mere horse race, namely, “what gives?” There's no greater cry for help than a party on the verge of electing someone like Donaldo Trumpolini (cr: Thomas da' dylan).

Peggy Noonan says that protected elites don't care about the unprotected plebeian masses. Elites get safe neighborhoods, good schools, etc.. The lower middle class don't get much of a say on safety or choice in schools. Similarly, immigration hurts the poor and middle class and helps the upper class in the form of having cheap landscaping and servant labor.

Meanwhile a fellow named Steve Denning said that Noonan doesn't get it, that it's ultimately not about immigration (although he didn't mention schools or safety) but about how in the 1970s corporations became oriented around one goal: maximizing shareholder value. This led to valuing short-term profits over longer term, a lack of innovation, etc.... The author quotes GM boss Jack Welch as saying maximizing shareholder value is “the dumbest idea in the world”. Another CEO agrees saying, “our customers are number one, our employees are number two, our shareholders number three.” The latter is very unusual.

That said, one would think that given corporations have been playing this game for four decades that people would've adjusted to it and decided to benefit from it - by becoming shareholders. By aggressively investing in stocks through generations contributions to their 401ks. Hard to do, perhaps, and maintain the standard of living of the previous generation.

Then I read another link about a guy who looks at it as all about work, and it's decline and fall. How Americans don't value work on the Left, and the Trumpians are a reaction to that:
If any one issue defines this election, it’s economic stagnation. Many Trump supporters in the GOP feel left behind by the twenty-first-century economy. They’re angry about it, because our “follow your bliss” culture doesn’t begin to appreciate coal miners or people who work in brake disc factories… Combine that with the self-loathing these guys feel from, say, being laid off and having to fake a fibromyagia diagnosis so they can collect disability and feed their families, and you have tremendous resentment.
Trump was not only canny enough to speak to this, but he still remains arguably the only candidate to forthrightly talk about issues such as immigration that are feeding this anxiety, even if he speaks about them with great ignorance. It’s regrettable in many ways, but it’s also not a mystery why 30 percent of Republicans are lining up to support a lunatic who has (allegedly) made a lot of money and wields considerable influence despite now being despised by our cultural betters.
The odd thing is that people are voting for Bernie Sanders overwhelmingly for kind of the same reason as Trump supporters, in that they don’t want larger economic issues forcing them to change their culture or lifestyle. However, the motivations of Sanders supporters are much less sympathetic. Millennials and many other progressive types now feeling the Bern seem to have been sold a bill of goods about how we live in post-scarcity techno-utopia. They can’t understand why they can’t “do what they love” without financial realities being such a killjoy.
So I think he's saying that Trump lovers want real work (as opposed to hedge fun management and social media start-ups like Zuckerberg's Facebook) to become valued again, and that more good jobs be available as in the heyday of the '50s and '60s. And Sanders supporters want their low stress jobs at the local Starbucks or indie theater to pay well.

Peggy Noonan says elites are at fault for not caring about the lower classes and this guy says that the less well-off are at fault either because they pine for jobs that are never coming back again or want“fun work” (pardon the oxymoron).

Quite a difference between Noonan and the pro-work guy. I suppose there is merit in both views.


From WaPo:
The current election cycle is demonstrating (once again) that the rhetoric and mythology of a uniquely Christian America should come to an end. Why? Because the votes don’t lie.
Though voters may speak piously and rather vaguely about Christian values and ideals, polls and election results communicate clearly that this is a nation consumed by fear, anger and suspicion, none of which are Christian virtues.
And finally, via an article by Sarah Posner, I understand why Trump appeals to evangelicals groomed by the health and wealth gospel:
But Trump, whose Bible has seemed like more of prop than a campaign-animating principle, understands other impulses of evangelical voters. This intuition also enabled him to best Cruz, 30 to 13 percent, among non-evangelical voters in South Carolina.
That impulse, which is Trumpism in a nutshell, is the magical thinking of how Americans get rich, whether it’s by surviving a reality television show, getting lucky with an investment, winning the lottery or being blessed by God. Trump is arguably the candidate most resembling a televangelist.

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