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Biden wins White House, vowing new direction for divided U.S. (apnews.com)
3089 points by granzymes 24 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 4576 comments



All: before reading further, make sure you're up on the site guidelines and don't post political or ideological flames to this thread. If you're hot under the collar, please cool down and wait for your curiosity to come back before commenting (and maybe even reading) further. This is a good test case to see if HN can stick to its intended spirit: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

Edit: There are now multiple pages of comments in this thread. If you want to see the later pages, click 'More' at the bottom of the earlier pages. Or get there like this:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=2

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=3

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=4

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=5

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=6

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=7

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25015967&p=8

---

As many have pointed out, a dozen or so submissions on this topic were flagged by users. That's actually the immune system working as intended, but another component of the system is that moderators rescue the very most historic stories so HN can have a single big thread about them. We did that 4 years ago, also for Brexit, etc.

Since this was the first submission on the topic, it seems fairest to be the one to restore. (It's still on our todo list to have some form of karma sharing for situations like this, to make it be less of a race and/or lottery.)

I changed the URL from https://www.cnn.com/ since that is not the most useful link and the AP seems as close as one can get to a neutral source.


There's a famous optical illusion with a spinning silhouette of a dancer. When you look at it, you'll swear it's spinning in one direction -- say, counter-clockwise. In fact, you'll be so sure it's spinning counter-clockwise, that the idea it could be spinning in the opposite direction will seem impossible to you. But if you stare at it long enough, and intently enough, you can make it spin the other way.

I've noticed the same phenomenon with political views.

People on the left think that anyone on the right is a lunatic, and everyone on the right thinks the same thing about the left. I, as most people do, lean in one direction politically, so naturally any comment I see coming from my side seems reasonable to me. In fact, it seems impossible that a reasonable person could think any other way. But since I grew up in a family that leaned in the opposite direction, and I shared their same mindset in my younger days, I can now draw on that experience, and I can take a political tweet that everyone on my side thinks is insane, and I can stare at it, and just as with the spinning dancer, I can flip it in my head so it seems reasonable.

To me, it's a testament to the power of the tribal instincts within us. We think it's the other side that's crazy, but we're all under the same spell.


Growing up in a country where I was in the ethnic majority, I went through a period of right-wing political bent as a teenager. Then I came to the US, where I found myself in the minority and leaning left. So I feel that I have some personal insight into the mindset that pushes people right. But... maybe it’s that my past right-leaning self was a teenager with half-baked ideas about the world, when I reflect on what drove me that way, I cannot point to any coherent, constructive thought, mostly feelings of entitlement and an unwillingness to put myself in the other’s shoes. And that’s what I see in the right-wing of today in the US. I guess I empathize with their fear and anger better because of my experience, but I don’t buy that their arguments are just a “different” way of looking at the world; a narrower, myopic way, maybe.


As a minority considered “disadvantaged” in the US I’d like to counter that there’s a lot more to the right than lack of empathy for minorities or fear. I’m very appreciative of the opportunities provided to me here and don’t appreciate the recent cultural tendency to privilege shame people or to look back on the history here as only cruel or exploitative.

Trump saw the highest turnout among minorities for republicans in 60 years and it’s for a reason. I look back at Ben Franklin or Jefferson or Washington and feel inspired, I don’t think “oh, I’m not privileged I could never do what he did.” I can see people as products of their time and separate the good from the bad. As someone who grew up in an apartment shared between 2 families and worked my way up into college and the tech field I’m just shocked at how many people today have grown into learned helplessness and think that the system is so bad and irreparable that they need to vandalize and protest in cities for months.

The left has done so much more to insult me and my appreciation for this country than the right, and it’s just tragic that they think they’re the only good guys. I really do believe that foreign interference to agitate our society is real, as discussed by Tristan Harris in his interview by Joe Rogan, and it’s convinced millions of young Americans that they’re somehow resisting literal Nazis.


It's great that you feel empowered and have been successful in this country. Lots of minorities haven't been, and for reasons outside of their control, based in historical inequalities.

The fundamental problem of the entitled right is that they can't imagine that other people have had different experiences than they have, and therefore attribute their disadvantaged state to "victim mentality."


Poverty and suffering is not a left vs. right thing, it affects people all over the world. This doesn't mean that those people are morally superior to others who are e.g. rich or that they have the right to demand certain things from them.

They can make their case just like everybody else and negotiate in good faith for a better position. If because of their situation they cannot do that, others typically do it for them.

But you coming here and diminishing someone's experience, just because there's someone somewhere who isn't successful is merely an attempt emotional blackmail. This kind of emotional blackmail seems to work a lot better recently than in the past, but let's not confuse it with good arguments.


Would you say that the movement to abolish slavery was based on "emotional blackmail"? How about the movement for women's suffrage? No, I think that "emotional blackmail" is an attempt to color negatively any attempt at progress towards equality.

I'm not diminishing anyone's experience. I'm just pointing out that he doesn't have the right to speak for everyone.


Sure. And the fundamental problem of the entitled left is that they think they're standing up for minorities, but often speak over them, just like the right, while telling them it's for their own good, which is a dividing force just like the strawman right-winger in your head. They internalize so much racial shame that they casually walk straight away from being egalitarian, while claiming they never have.


You're reading an awful lot into people who you've apparently never spoken to. Do you think anyone who makes an attempt to help other people and improve equal treatment is motivated by "racial shame"? By your logic, we should have kept slavery and denied women the vote.


I don't advocate for those things because I'm egalitarian. I don't think internalized shame is the only motivation for equality. I think we all are born with a little bit of universal empathy and we shouldn't be afraid to tap it. I've seen a lot of social justice that is motivated by the thrill of the attack more than simply achieving equality, and it easily falls away from the delicate balance they claimed to want at the start.


The fundamental problem of the entitled left is unchecked imagination of other people experiences completely divorced from daily realities of those people. You have someone from a minority describing his experience to you and you feel the need to put him in his place immediately because there is an unknown number of people who have it worse. The entitled right at least donates a lot of money to charities (more than anybody else in the world) and helps a lot of people through various kinds of organizations. But hey if you say they can't image other people's experiences than it must be so.


Charity is not a substitute for social justice.

My understanding of other people's experiences is not based on imagination. I've been there. I've seen it. Have you?


"Charity is not a substitute for social justice." Of course it is not. Charity is real and it helps people right now where they need help the most. Social justice is a fantasy dreamed up in ivory towers. But only the left is compassionate, right?

"I've been there. I've seen it." Where have you been and what have you seen to feel the need to put down experiences of those in minority who have succeeded in life? What have you as a member of the compassionate party done to help the poor people since charities aren't you thing?

"Have you?" I have never ever once heard a migrant say: "I hope those nice social justice people succeed with their big ideas.". It was always: "Look what those nice people from the church down the road did for us.".


How deluded do you have to be to think that I'm "puting down" his experiences, just by pointing out that he doesn't speak for everyone?

I hear a lot of Americans saying "I really wish we had socialized health care" and "I wish that women made as much money as men did."


Guilt tripping and emotional blackmail is not a path to social justice or any kind of justice. It's a dead end.


> I’m just shocked at how many people today have grown into learned helplessness and think that the system is so bad and irreparable that they need to vandalize and protest in cities for months.

It's quite right to be shocked so many people protested, because it's a strong signal that there's something drastically wrong with the system; something that nobody has any problem understanding and accepting when protests occur in other countries.


Aren’t the only countries where people don’t protest in cities for months totalitarian ones? Having protests seems to me to be a sign of a free country.


> literal Nazis

Is it all the swastikas? Maybe it’s all the swastikas.

It’s disingenuous to suggest that far-right extremists aren’t dominating the messaging from the right, and that Donald Trump isn’t amplifying them.


It's also disingenuous to suggest the extreme left isn't dominating the messaging from the left.

The extremes tend to dominate the messaging on both sides. And frankly, the internet being dominated by younger people, there is a good case to be made that the extreme left's voices are louder.


>It's also disingenuous to suggest the extreme left isn't dominating the messaging from the left.

Except it's not disengenuous to say that at all. We can see that by the candidates each party has supported. Biden is considered a pretty centrist democrat by pretty much any metric. Trump, however, can't be considered a moderate. He's enabled fascist White nationalist supporters. Biden hasn't done the same.

Also, for the record, BLM and SJWs aren't equivalent extremist left compared to literal Nazis - the left wing extremist equivalent is Communism and the position to kill and eat the rich. That is the level of extremism that Trump has facilitated in office. If Biden also enabled people who explicitly call to overthrow the US government, I'd say you have a fairer point.


The 2 extremes are indeed closer to each other than they are to the center, the Horseshoe theory. Of course, extremists on either side would hate to be bundled together, their ideology is different but their extremist approach is not.

But I can't help but think this is a very asymmetrical horseshoe where the right side extends much further then the left side ever did. The problem is not even necessarily the particular ideology but rather that the right side is willing to be far more extreme in their views. That in itself is exceptionally dangerous no matter what the views are because it implies a very, very unpleasant life for those who don't share them.

It's the reason why today the US is so divided, there's no more overlap, the 2 sides each sit in their corner. The only possible response to increasing extremism on one side is increasing extremism on the other side until one has enough power to quash the other.


> The only possible response to increasing extremism on one side is increasing extremism on the other side until one has enough power to quash the other.

I think this statement is wrong. There are a lot of other possibilities. For example: "A minority that is agressively vocal for extremism in one aspect could be cushioned by a strong general consensus for a political culture of reasonable cooperation and discussion."


There are extremists on the left, Biden disavowed them publicly.

There are extremists on the right, Trump disavowed them publicly.

Nevertheless, media commentators on either side try to portrait these candidates as if they supported, or at least "enabled" extremists.

Can you be more specific on how either of these candidates "enable" or "do not enable" extremism? How would you falsify an accusation of "enabling" something?


What you are pointing out here is fundamentally true and verifiable. I think I find myself, along with many other americans, in a bizarre position where we see comments like this which we know are accurate get barraged by downvotes or whatever system in Internet commentary exists to decrease the visibility of the comment, and I find this troubling. This mostly happens, from what I've seen, if there is any suggestion within the comment that the right is in some way defensible. I think many internet forums have tried to use downvotes as a signal for validity, but so frequently that signal is obviously misapplied, making it almost entirely meaningless. In fact, it is has become a signal for the direction of the political leanings of the majority, rather than anything having to do with the usefulness or appropriateness of any given comment.

This is probably a bad thing.


Genuinely interested when/where Trump disavowed right wing extremists. I've seen him refuse to denounce white supremacy in the first debate but I haven't seen him denounce anyone who might vote for him


> Genuinely interested when/where Trump disavowed right wing extremists.

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/02/trump-has-condemned-white-...

https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-54381500

> I've seen him refuse to denounce white supremacy in the first debate...

That was clearly a missed opportunity to clear things up, but the counter-question "Who do you want me to condemn?" is a fair one. It's easy for Trump to condemn the KKK, not so easy to condemn militia groups in general. Similarly, it's easy for Biden to condemn rioters, not so easy to condemn Antifa in general. Effectively, both candidates dodged that question.

> ... I haven't seen him denounce anyone who might vote for him.

That's moving the goalpost a bit too far for my taste. Trump has condemned white supremacists, that at least is on the record.


"to condemn Antifa" Antifa is a construct from Fox News to designate a broad category of mostly young people that range from anarchists calling for direct democracy to people who are against racism and intolerance that have in common that they are not against clashing with police forces. So condemning Antifa does not make much sense. Maybe he could have condemned violence in the protests but anyone who has been in a demonstration knows elements in both the protesters and the police are looking for the clash. But the police always has the upper hand and violently crush what is mostly damage to property. Just tell me how many people have been killed by so called "Antifa"? Is that comparable to the number of people that have been killed by right-wing activists? Why is it always the progressive leaders that get shot? Right wing activists always say they are here to "defend" against something but they are the one attacking.


Here's a compilation of some of the instances he's done so: https://streamable.com/sr9o2s


Title of that one says 20 times, here's one with 38 times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd0cMmBvqWc


> Can you be more specific on how either of these candidates "enable" or "do not enable" extremism? How would you falsify an accusation of "enabling" something?

I can indeed do this, but the question itself seems to be asked in bad faith. How on earth do you need me to report to you on Trump's behavior and words even into the final debate?


This isn't specifically about Trump, but about the political tactic of accusing the opponent of "enabling extremists". Both sides are using it.

Let's focus on the falsifiability: What would a candidate have to do in order to disprove the accusation?

If there isn't a clear answer to that question, then how is this tactic materially different from name-calling?


> It's also disingenuous to suggest the extreme left isn't dominating the messaging from the left.

Except they're not. Your country has drifted so far right, every opposing voice may look like "extreme left", but it's not. Nowhere close.

If you want to argue about the actual extreme left, go right ahead. I'm as left-leaning as they are, but I'll probably agree with you. There's some idiots.

But the extreme left isn't really that vocal at all in the US right now. It's the moderate leftists trying to restore some sense of normalcy.


Extreme wanting to be like denmark?


[flagged]


Is Trump a leftist?

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/20/trump-says-coronavirus-masks...

Wearing a mask is just a simple precaution that everyone should take. Using pictures of you wearing a mask rather than not, is just leading by example.

Other famous leftists wearing masks:

https://img.etimg.com/thumb/msid-75093913,width-480,height-3...

Narendra Modi

https://s.abcnews.com/images/International/WireAP_3c4b927864...

Silvio Berlusconi

https://storage.googleapis.com/afs-prod/media/b201141e75ee4d...

Viktor Orban

Etc.


It's saddening to see that wearing a mask to prevent infection from a virus is in any way political.


Let alone extreme leftism.


[flagged]


> @moderators: have I earned the automatic downvote? Whatever I post shows zero points as soon as it is posted.

Not a mod, but I'll take an educated guess that this is what ires someone:

> What is called far right in USA is the same thing we call neo-fascism anywhere else

The rest of your post is spot on IMO but I hesitate to upvote because of that part, and not because there isn't a point but because it is a whole lot more nuanced:

Yes: a number of wackos exist on the "far right" (I hate that term as it frames conservatives with totalitarian ones.)

But there has also been a tendency by media to abuse the term as a rubber stamp for "anything conservative we don't like". It's either that or a large number of facists are the ones to defend the jews this year, and despite 2020 being odd I don't think that will ever happen.

(I collected a fair number of downvotes myself last election season, seemingly from both sides, which is why I feel somewhat qualified to explain ;-)


> Not a mod, but I'll take an educated guess that this is what ires someone:

It was a simple question, I had the last 6-7 post immediately downvoted at zero points upon submission.

Seconds later.

Unless someone is tracking me , which would be rather incredible, I wanted to know if I triggered something.

Have you ever heard of people shadow banned without warnings?

A post among many to explain what I mean

It's ok if the moderators do their job the way they are told to, it's more of a problem if you don't know why and especially if it happened to you

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23681860

To be honest I don't care if someone is ired or not, being ired is a choice and usually doesn't depend to what other people do, but how we react to them


I've never heard or seen anything like what you suggest.

It has been admitted I think that one is aware of certain bots (not affiliated with YC) that vote in certain directions.

I think I have even seen one popular HNer admit that he thought there was a bot who would upvote all his answer irregardless of who low quality they were.

Maybe someone has something like that and have pointed it at you.

More likely though you annoyed someone and they went in to your profile and looked at your other answers.

Edit: I looked into your comments and here are two notes.

1. Your comments are a mixed bag. Saying Trump brought war to American soil for example isn't anywhere near true and also inflammatory.

2. Some of them are insightful but ires one side without delighting the other. The result is you get a downvote from those who are annoyed and no support from the other side.

I've been hit by this a lot. Don't care to much.


> Saying Trump brought war to American soil for example isn't anywhere near true and also inflammatory.

I believe that he was quoting the New Yorker there

He posted the link as well

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-trump-brou...


If there was war on American soil - which there isn't - I'd actually think media was more responsible for bringing it than Trump.


Then downvote the media, not me

Anyway: Chicago, June 2020, 18 people killed in 24 hours

Worst event in 60 years

Los Angeles is gonna exceed 300 homicides in a year

Last time it happened was 20 years ago

These are war numbers to me, as Italian

Rome is the same size of Chicago and had 11 homicide in a year

Italy has 60 million citizens and there were "only" 276 homicides in a year, Los Angeles is a 5 million people city


It is my understanding that over the years people have developed various software to follow threads and users' comment streams so it is conceivable that some bored zealot took it upon himself to police every single thing you post in real time. Or set up a downvote bot as others suggested. There are some genuine weirdos here.

I haven't been here for a few years (green account again, yay), but at least back then, moderators weren't know for f...ng with anyone like that. Warning, maybe another warning, shadow ban and good bye.

At any rate, posting "@moderators" in the middle of a 4000 comment thread will get you nowhere. There is a contact email at the bottom if you want to ask for investigation.


> What is called far right in USA is the same thing we call neo-fascism anywhere else

The US far-right includes camps that don't exactly fit that definition (though there is plenty of overlap), like christian dominionists, corporatist right-libertarians, and the misogynistic PUA/incell/MRA crowd (which is more of a feeder system than a political philosophy per se).

It's a rather Big Tent™.


> @moderators: have I earned the automatic downvote? Whatever I post shows zero points as soon as it is posted.

Hacker News tends to be pretty good about people not just downvoting posts because they disagree with them. However, that goes out the window when the discussion gets political.

I'd be really interested in seeing the numbers for upvotes and downvotes on political topics vs other topics. I wouldn't be surprised if you could train a classifier to spot political articles based on this distribution.


It's fine to downvote to disagree on HN and people do it all the time in all discussions.


Down voting is a very blunt tool. Enough down votes can hide a comment. This means you aren't just saying "I disagree" but "this is so wrong no one should read it." It has its place but there's a reason you don't get to do it until your account has received enough upvotes.


That used to be the case, but it has changed. The last 10 years the extreme left in the US has shifted left, passing even the European left, at least according to Pew[1]. I don't think this particular report mentions the European part, can't find that right now, but they mentioned it in another report on it.

I would like to add that the Critical Race Theory (where DEI originates from) is only recently starting to get traction in for example The Netherlands, traditionally an already pretty left-leaning country.

[1] https://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/20...


> That used to be the case, but it has changed.

No, it hasn't, meaningfully.

> The last 10 years the extreme left in the US has shifted left, passing even the European left

Whether or not it's true, the “extreme left” in the US that may or may not have shifted that way is politically irrelevant.

Meanwhile, of the major parties the Democratic Party has been stable for decades while the Republican Party has shot to the extremes, a process that has continued at a rapid pace over the last decade.

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/10/31/the-repu...


What page in [1] do you refer to? While I believe it could be democrats are more left than european sozialdemocratic parties, I would doubt they are left to succesor party of the communidt aera.


But that doesn't mean that the Democratic party message comes from the far left.

Biden can't pronounce the word "free healthcare" for fear of losing votes.

That's what I was contesting: far right is right at the centre of the political scene side by side with Trump, far left is not because it has no direct representation in the political system.

Unless you consider someone like Sanders a far left extremists, which is not.

Far left movements are mostly extra-parliamentary


The problem is dang thinks fascism is a 'bad word'


many people who have nothing to do with swastikas have been called literally nazis

including myself,an israeli jew


National socialism is philosophy, which can be applied everywhere, including Israeli.

If somebody thinks that his nation is "gifted", while others are not, so government must support gifted people and punish other peoples, then it's National Socialism, regardless of country and nationality.


The formula “government must [support] X people, and [mitigate] Y people” seems like a pretty consistent formula for all collectivism. They only differ in the reasoning.

It could be anything: smart/dumb, peaceful/violent, weak/strong, poor/rich. And in any order. Today people seem to be fixated on race. I wonder if we’ll ever get past that.


Nazism is one thing , national socialism is another (with non-capital letters)

to my understanding , national socialism is in principle a socialism that is tooled to deliver social policies within a ntaion-state , which is not a very controversial idea .

there is no intrinsic need to punish anybody for anything

and frankly , thinking that one's nation is "gifted" is not an illegitimate opinion, even if its probably wrong ,as long as it doesnt translate into any kind of racist or expansionary policy


Nazism is formally known as National Socialism. (Wikipedia)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism


Yeah but what about the ones holding swastikas saying chanting "Blood and soil, Jews will not replace us" who were not condemned by the to of GOP leadership. The left uses their words like a shotgun, however, theres still nazis out there.


Not condemned? He literally used the phrase “condemned totally” referring to them. How much more condemned can you get?

Here’s a direct quote from Trump’s press conference:

> “It’s fine, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay?”

It’s an outright lie to claim otherwise and the media was complicit in allowing Biden to do so. Over and over.


The first statement said both sides, the second statement 2 days later tried to clarify the statement with an excuse that he was saying other people that walked amongst nazi were the good people. As a constant pattern of trumps presidency, he throws out a dog whistle and then walks it back 2 days later sayig he was taken out of context, misspoke, or was joking. You can claim he's fighting against antisemitism and racism, but I just straight up don't trust his good faith. My jewish eyes see him as supporting nazis and a supporter of those who walk with nazis. Him being a poor communicator is a lackluster excuse why I should trust him.

All those other good people walked under those nazi flags. Why would I trust them either?


> The first statement said both sides, the second statement 2 days later tried to clarify the statement with an excuse that he was saying other people that walked amongst nazi were the good people.

The first statement is in regards to people protesting to bring down monuments. There’s clearly two sides to that argument and there are many fine people, myself included, that do not want to see statues of Lincoln torn now.

> As a constant pattern of trumps presidency, he throws out a dog whistle and then walks it back 2 days later sayig he was taken out of context, misspoke, or was joking. You can claim he's fighting against antisemitism and racism, but I just straight up don't trust his good faith.

If your own biases interpret everything in some perverted negative light, then it’s an impossible standard to meet.

> My jewish eyes see him as supporting nazis and a supporter of those who walk with nazis.

And yet his grandchildren are Jewish and he’s had more success negotiating Middle East peace deals that benefit Israel than any other president.

If he’s Nazi supporter he’s doing a pretty crappy job at it.

> Him being a poor communicator is a lackluster excuse why I should trust him.

If you refuse to ever give the benefit of the doubt then why even argue about it?

> All those other good people walked under those nazi flags. Why would I trust them either?

Nobody says to trust them. But they’re not the only ones that wanted to preserve historic statues.

That’s like reducing all of recent racial / police protests to a bunch of looters robbing a Best Buy.


> there are many fine people, myself included, that do not want to see statues of Lincoln torn now.

Who was trying to remove statues of Lincoln? In all the reporting I've seen on this issue I've only seen people trying to remove statues of Confederate generals and leaders. I, like many people, have no problem with these statues being moved into museums. They just shouldn't be public monuments.


> Who was trying to remove statues of Lincoln?

Both Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt statues were torn down: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/portland-protesters-tea...

Sure, you could say, “oh but that was two years later”. That’s not a coincidence, it’s the slope of the line when the left encourages an insurrection.


I wasn't aware of that incident. This does appear to be a single isolated case and not a widespread issue.

> That’s not a coincidence, it’s the slope of the line when the left encourages an insurrection

I can see how you'd make a slippery slope argument here. However you're mixing it with some serious hyperbole that diminishes your argument. The left in the US isn't some homogenous, well organized group. You're taking millions of people, many of whom would not be consider "the left" in other countries, and lumping them all together. That's a huge oversimplification.

Can you show me where there are calls for insurrection? Most of the protests in the US in the last year that I'm aware of have been non-violent or were intended that way by their organizers. Some have had violence break out. While I'm sure some of the people involved have been on the far left wing you can't blame all of the violence on the left wing protesters[0][1].

[0] https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-race-and-ethnicity... [1] https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:bGtLQh...


The question is why some on the left think they are fighting nazis. I think I answered my anectdotal view sufficiently. There are people out there at protests acting under the symbols of nazism and the chief executive charged with assuring those who are concerned fails again and again to ease that concern. Defend his actions all you want. The vote has come in, you can look at that for it's democratic feedback and mandate on preferred leadership.


> The question is why some on the left think they are fighting nazis.

Using the labeling of the opposition as Nazis as the proof that they are Nazis, is one hell of a circular argument.


Ignoring the Nazi flags hanging over the argument is a questionable way to claim circular logic. People think they are Nazi, Nazi sympathizers, Nazi allies, because these people were standing beside Nazi flags, within the people yelling blood and soil, Jews will not replace us. There is a distinct start to the argument. Do you not care to recognize that?


> Here’s a direct quote from Trump’s press conference:

That's a quote from August 15th. Trump had made statements about the murder in Charlottesville as early as August 12th, when he famously walked out of the interview after being asked to condemn white supremacists.

Please see my post here on HN about this incident[1]:

> You've linked to the second interview he gave about Charlottesville. In his first statements in an interview on August 12th, 2017, he famously didn't condemn white supremacists who murdered someone, saying instead that he condemns "egregious displays of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides".

> Then, several days later in the second interview on August 15th that you linked to, he equates the violent white nationalists that murdered someone with what he calls the "alt-left", the purported group that the murder victim belonged to, saying that he thinks there is blame on both sides. After asking for further clarification, he says that there were fine people on both sides. Only after further questioning, and in a separate statement, does he condemn white supremacists.

> People were criticizing him for his initial equivocation on August 12th, comparing the white supremacists who murdered a person to the victims of their violence, and the fact that he didn't name or condemn white supremacists. In fact, when journalists asked him to condemn them, he walked away from the interview. He refused to differentiate between the two.

> Then, on August 15th, he defends his initial comments through his continued equivocations in the second interview.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25019361


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Not sure what “victim mentality” is trying to imply. Sometimes people really are victims. Did European Jews during WW2 have a “victim mentality”, by your standards?


No, obviously they were victims. Victim mentality is something different: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_mentality


Are you responding to someone else? I don't understand your reference to "the left". I certainly didn't say anything about directions.

I agree that Israel the state does not have a victim mentality. Like the Hitler's Germany.


> Is it all the swastikas? Maybe it’s all the swastikas.

The only swastikas I've seen are on public bathroom stalls and I've seen them for many many years and they haven't increased in frequency in recent years. Increase in visibility isn't equivalent to increase in frequency.


I'm conservative. I'm active on social media. I don't see what you're talking about at all. My feed is constantly being inundated with "We need to make lists of every trump supporter" and similar, but never do I see the supposed ultra-widespread nazi/alt-right hate.

Trump, for all his flaws, has disavowed white supremacy so many times it hurts to watch and even the most famous "very fine people" quote was [0] taken out of context (if you can call that anything but an outright lie, frankly).

The membership of racist organizations like the KKK is small, vanishingly small. It's not even .1% of Trumps base. [1] And, more importantly, it's shrinking. It has been for a very long time.

[1]Despite their diminishing numbers, there are still approximately 3,000 Klan members nationwide, as well an additional but unknown number of associates and supporters. Even with relatively small numbers, groups like the North Carolinabased Loyal White Knights (LWK), perhaps the most active Klan group in the United States today, have a fairly expansive geographical reach. In 2015, with just 150-200 members, they were able to draw attention to themselves in 15 different states (mostly in the south and east), typically through fliering, which requires only a single participant.

[2][3] It is a matter of public record that Biden supported segregationists, voted against integration-supporting policies like bussing (which Kamala Harris roasted him for repeatedly), and pushed legislation that disproportionately harmed black folks.

Ultimately, there's plenty of good reasons to dislike Trump that are completely and unarguably valid. Covid, John Bolton, numerous conflicts of interest (like using personal assets for the military and government functions) are a small piece of that. But calling Trump racist or a nazi is just taking the bait that his political opponents have set out.

In my personal opinion, Biden is the worse choice for president purely on the basis of his likelihood of supporting additional war efforts (whereas Trump is the first president in 40 years not to start a new war - AND has helped bring about a series of peace treaties in the middle east.)

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZfzJATDmXs

[1] https://www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/state-of-the...

[2] https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/joe-biden-record-on-...

[3] https://www.npr.org/2020/10/14/920385802/biden-vows-to-ease-...


I'm totally with you on Trump not starting any wars (which is a low bar for a US president, but one which is rarely hit).

However, his treatment of Israel and Saudi Arabia were perhaps 100 times worse than any previous president.

He moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, which was incredibly inflammatory to both the Palestinians and the wider world, and will make it very, very difficult for any peace deal to be signed there (as the Palestinians want it as their capital).

His support of Saudi Arabia, regardless of their extra-judicial killings was another low point in the US relations in the middle east.

The other "peace" deals he signed were more caving to particular factions rather than bringing them together.


Each deal can be criticized and certainly worth exploration, but the overall trend is, at least in my opinion, quite clear. Comparing Trump's record on international conflict to any president in my lifetime makes him look like a saint. And all of the criticisms levied at him (in my opinion) pale in comparison to stopping the literal mass-murder in the middle east. If the US reverses course on vying for peace, and instead picks up the big stick approach, it will make it clear what the policy of established politicians really is. If that happens I hope America has the conscience to remove them all.

> Although Trump has talked of withdrawing completely from Iraq, Pentagon officials have cautioned that a U.S. troop presence remains necessary to guard against an IS resurgence and to help the Iraqi government limit the political and military influence of Iran, which supports militias operating inside Iraq. [1]

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54554286

[1] https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/09/09/...


His actions in the middle east have been far from universally positive (not that any American president in 50 years has done any good there).

He has supported Saudi Arabia with weapons to help their slaughter in Yemen.

He has reneged on the Iran nuclear deal, proving for the second and probably last time that making deals with the USA is a fools errand (it's the second time the US has reneged on a deal with Iran; I doubt there will be a third).

He has publicly assassinated a high dignitary of Iran, during an official visit to a different country, an act of war by any measure.

He has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, an extremely inflammatory decision that further stops any remaining chance that the USA can ever be seen as a negotiator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Overall, while maybe not as bad as Bush and Obama in direct deaths, his legacy has shut down any hope of peace in the region with America's involvement. So I wouldn't rank him too highly on this area.

Let's also not forget that he has unilaterally cancelled the USA's nuclear disarmament deal with Russia, another extremely anti-peace move, one that will have far-reaching consequences.

The only truly decent external policy that he has shown is his handling of the North Korea crisis - that was a true diplomatic success by any measure, which I gladly admit.

And of course, we shouldn't forget that all of his other horrible decisions pale in the face of his anti-climate moves, which have likely helped push the world over the brink.


I don't disagree with a single thing you've said. That said, when comparing presidents you have to compare them to each other, or to candidates that might replace them.

In that light the bar is set so appallingly low that even Trump managed to get across it. Presidential candidates in the US are almost universally pro-war and pro-military escalation, even while pretending otherwise.


It's great for you that your Twitter feed has managed to avoid the most depraved, violent side of the right. I'll attribute that to the relatively rarefied air of Twitter broadly. Fact is, the Internet skews left; Twitter skews left of that; and the Twitter feed of an educated Hacker News commentator (which I presume you are) skews even lefter. So you might not be getting an accurate reading of the temperature of the country.

Go visit r/The_donald (or wherever they find themselves these days), 4Chan, or just go to any small town in the South. Violent racism is a badge proudly worn.


Can you provide some example links? Maybe in a gist or something.


I think you’re underestimating the power of filter bubbles. I’m very left, mostly live in SF and LA, and browse r politics. I’ve never seen what you’re talking about. R politics has an strong point of view but if anything is posted along those lines it gets downvoted to oblivion.

I think you need to reassess how your feeds are being filtered because they appear to have zeroed in on ultra extreme pockets. Either your clicks or the algorithms have put your feeds in a skewed place. It sounds like you’re being shown the right wing caricature of the left. Of course that makes them look insane.


I follow primarily esports players, a handful of folks like Patio11 and Paul Graham, some constitutional conservatives, a handful of John Locke style liberals, a few gun people (Colion Noir, and others) and that's it.

Despite this, I am rarely shown anything conservative on Twitter. If the algo gods have decided I'm extreme left, then they are broken beyond repair. It seems more likely to me that Twitter simply de-prioritizes conservative media.

Meanwhile, stuff like this is pretty mainstream.

WAPO opinion writer and MSNBC contributor - https://twitter.com/JRubinBlogger/status/1324792225260253184

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1324807776510595078

The Trump Accountability Project (There are two, the original has now distanced themselves from this one) - https://www.trumpaccountability.net/

MSNBC Host Chris Hayes - Tweet deleted, found this instead https://twitter.com/VoteMarsha/status/1325477249697673217


Thank you for posting this, it was a very helpful perspective for me to hear.

One thing I am curious about – what sorts of people do you see posting things like "We need to make lists of every trump supporter"?


I've seen a bunch, just a few quick ones I've noticed most recently.

WAPO opinion writer and MSNBC contributor - https://twitter.com/JRubinBlogger/status/1324792225260253184

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1324807776510595078

The Trump Accountability Project (There are two, the original has now distanced themselves from this one) - https://www.trumpaccountability.net/

MSNBC Host Chris Hayes - Tweet deleted, found this instead https://twitter.com/VoteMarsha/status/1325477249697673217

Rhetoric that I've seen is essentially that "anyone who voted for, donated to, or promoted Trump's policies should be on a list which should be used to remove them from 'polite' society."

Use of the words polite society has popped up quite a few times as well. I'm sure you can find substantially more by googling around.


Thanks, that does sound upsetting.

What I meant to ask, though, was whether you saw liberal or conservative folks sharing these?

Personally I'd only seen them shared in conservative circles... Wondering if it's more an example of "one side taking an extreme comment and applying it to everyone on the other side" (like many on the left have done with racism etc) or an actual movement of mccarthyism.


I've seen this get traction in both circles. The left leaning people I know are what I would describe as "sane" but they are still willing to like/retweet this message.

Of course the conservative leaning people are responding more along the lines of "And you called US fascists?!"

I think having mainstream media writers and hosts, as well as an elected representative promote this message is enough to suggest that it's spread too far already. Hopefully this sort of rhetoric dies down and the legal claims about the election are resolved through fair evidence-based examination. If not, I think we might be headed towards yet more unrest.


Thanks! It's so hard to find out what the world looks like from other people's digital/social bubbles...

I totally agree - it's really, really important that conservatives don't feel attacked (let alone hunted) and that concerns about election integrity are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.

Here's hoping...


Agree - Literal swastikas. In America, a country whose most patriotic war was the one where we kicked the shit out of swastikas


>I cannot point to any coherent, constructive thought, mostly feelings of entitlement and an unwillingness to put myself in the other’s shoes.

You point this out as if it is some moral failing on the right. In fact, this is a personal failing. It should be simple enough to recognize that for any ideology that is large enough there almost certainly exists coherent and constructive thoughts within it. If you have yet to discover them, this is not because they do not exist, it is because you're not actually looking for them. I think this is done by people on both the left and the right all the time. They fail to deeply investigate the ideas of the other side, and then criticize the other side for having no good ideas.


> You point this out as if it is some moral failing on the right.

It’s not a comment on conservative politics as a whole, it’s a reflection on my own past immaturity, and how I recognize it in others when I see it. And I’ve had 4 years to observe Trump’s tweets, Breitbart, alt-right, Qanon, Proud Boys, so if you want to convince me that there’s constructive, long-term thinking behind any of that, you’ll have to be a little more specific than “look harder”.


case in point are the left and right's rhetoric on abortion, which each intentionally bypass the other side's argument. i.e. pro-life rhetoric does not acknowledge that women are inherently stakeholders, while pro-choice: woman's right to choose doesn't address whether the fetus has rights (or choice). It is difficult to make progress when rhetoric pretends that the other side does not have reasoned arguments, but is instead based on toxic masculinity/sexism/paternalism while the other side pretends that those who get abortions are just loose immoral women.

I see no end of this, and that is why I choose to think about actually constructive policies: e.g. free, prevalent, effective birth control for both men and women.


Funny but the stereotype is the opposite from the 60s. As the saying goes

If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/02/24/heart-head/

Note: I'm not conservative and I don't necessarily agree with the quote. The point is not that the quote is correct, the point is someone (not me) thought it was the unthinking young person that thought alone liberal lines and the experienced wise person that thought along conservative lines.

Again, not agreeing, just pointing out some feel the opposite, that more experience and exposure to the world leads to more conservative thinking for some people.


I believe there is some evidence to suggest that there was a mistaken correlation between getting older and getting more invested in the world as it is (i.e. getting richer).

Given that the age at which people tend to switch is increasing, I wonder if there may be something to it.


I think you speak as if you don't currently have a bias. yet something I've noticed and even had to correct amongst coworkers who came to the United States via a student visa and then eventually obtained a green card is that they have a huge bias towards large parts of the United States. This bias has been created in their minds by university professors who have never been to these parts of the country themselves. The bias manifest in things like a coworker being afraid to accompany me on a business trip to Walmart headquarters in Northwest Arkansas thinking it was dangerously racist. I had to explain to him that there are multiple cricket leagues in the area in that racism is not nearly as prevalent in the south as Hollywood would have him believe. He ended up enjoying it so much there that he later relocated there from Fremont. Living near Boulder I routinely encounter the exact same ideological brainwashing amongst people who came to the US as students. I say this is someone that is done extensive volunteer consulting work for the Democratic party including my last gig in 2014 for the midterm elections. I agree with the vast majority of the Democratic party platform but have become very dismayed at them overemphasizing race as a motivating factor for their opposition. I can promise you that for most southern Americans that vote Republican abortion is a much bigger factor in their vote than race. and economics is much bigger than either those categories.


As a foreigner not living in the US of A, I feel that your last paragraph outlines it perfectly. Also, a lot of the outspoken left wing is about groups and not about individuals. To mind comes: institutional racism, gender equality, white privilege, mandatory healthcare/insurance, high taxes on the rich, minimum wage


> Growing up in a country where I was in the ethnic majority, I went through a period of right-wing political bent as a teenager.

I think it's inevitable when majority of people that surround you have conservative views. Don't feel bad about that.


> don't feel bad that you were a conservative at some point we all make mistakes

My god, the sense of moral superiority.


When innocent people are murdered in their homes, who would you say are more moral? The people protecting the murderer or the people seeking justice for the murdered?


Conservatives as a cohort are murdering and/or support murdering people in their homes?

What in the world are you talking about?


I don't think "I didn't have a good reason for being conservative, therefore conservatives in general don't have good reasons" is a very strong argument...


" maybe it’s that my past right-leaning self was a teenager with half-baked ideas about the world, when I reflect on what drove me that way, I cannot point to any coherent, constructive thought, mostly feelings of entitlement and an unwillingness to put myself in the other’s shoes. And that’s what I see in the right-wing of today in the US. "

It seems you had a bad experience with what you felt were 'right wing' ideals but probably had little to do with that, as it would be a pretty intellectually shallow description of any kind of Conservatism (although understandable if one were to equate 'Trump' with 'Conservative' and I don't think many people would in the intellectual sense) and also oddly experientially 'upside down'.

Most 'young people' are progressive, people tend to get more conservative as they get older.

Cynically, one could say it's due to age and myopia, but more likely it has to do with responsibility, perspective, maturity and frankly living through decades and seeing how the world adapts.

Believing in the institutions of family (and monogamy as a commitment to that institution), the objective rule of law, moral obligation through duty of various kinds of community service, prudence, faith as an integral part of worldview, a sense of community that can possibly be expressed through nationalism, the notion that people must act responsibly to the extent they are able and assume responsibility for their actions - these are not ideals of 'entitlement' frankly.

Barack Obama, for example, is a 'Progressive Conservative', and he is in many ways in his own personal life a model 'cultural conservative': religious, church going, mild mannered, straight forward marriage, traditional formal education. He speaks formally and graciously, and is literally a living embodiment of many cultural historical artefacts. He didn't serve in the military but he very well could have, it's totally within his character.

He's not at all that far away from Mitt Romney for example.

Donald Trump is not a 'Conservative' or even 'right wing' really, he's just a jerk who found a 'following' in appealing to the worst qualities of 'bad right wing tropes'.

"In 1999, Trump described himself as "very pro-choice" and said "I believe in choice." (Wikipedia)

Donald Trump was a tough-guy New York 'kind of Democrat' most of his life. He always supported gay marriage. The Clintons were literally at his wedding to Melania.

He's a serial scammer, effectively a polygamist who marries woman purely on the basis of their attractiveness and then dumps them later, cavorts with prostitutes, lies, cheats, steals.

He changes his political views to suit the day, because they don't matter to him - he's just about being rich and popular.

He's managed to convince a lot of people that he is something that he is not, and that's sad, and it's brought out the worst in so many people, and that's what we are seeing today.

Have a look at this Charlie Rose interview with Senator Jeff Flake who's a much more traditional conservative, and FYI detests Donald Trump and 'fell on his sword' rather than go along with the toxicity. [1]

[1] https://charlierose.com/videos/30822


I guess what a lot of us are struggling with is how anyone cannot see these truths for themselves in Trump. I don't need to listen to anyone but Trump himself to realize he lies constantly and has only a rudimentary grasp of how government and society functions. His history in popular culture speaks for itself. So what is going on with the 70 million people who can't see that plainly? The only conclusion we can reach is "he says the quiet part out loud" and that resonates with a lot of people. "They are sending us murders and rapists" was an early example that has stuck with me. Perhaps it is not a charitable view but nearly every office holding member of the GOP lined up to lick his boots after he said thousands of things like that.

As near as I can tell, Conservatism is deader than disco.


I would agree. The explanation I have for it in the US is tribalism. Thats it. I'm an immigrant to the US and feel like I have an outsiders perspective. I find that American's suffer a from a severe case of Proportionality Bias https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportionality_bias when they think about American Politics. They think that because Trump has had a large effect on American Politics, there has to be larger forces at play. "He's some kind of political genius", "He's playing 3D chess", "There is some kind of unexplained magic to his words" etc etc. It's much more basic than that, he found a way to speak to the baser parts of one of the tribes and turn them against the other tribe.He makes his tribe feel good and promises to get the other tribe who are very bad people. It's amazingly and shockingly basic.


It is both incredibly simple and readily apparent. What is interesting/amusing is how the further up the right-wing food chain you climb the closer you get to people who you _know_ understand the difference and can see what is happening and what is being said, but who will deny and justify for the sake of eliminating the cognitive dissonance between their own reasoning and what the leader of their tribe is saying.

Here on HN if is almost funny to watch the different flavours of Trumpkin try to explain and justify themselves. You have the hard-core believers who only barely manage to keep the racism and xenophobia in check but can still throw out a dog whistle all the way to the ones who probably once thought of themselves as principled conservatives but who are reduced to simple projection when presented with facts ('no, we are not the ones driven by fear and anger, it is the left...') As unpleasant as the Trump experience has been, one of its few benefits has been to let the truly cretinous among us feel like they have permission to drop the mask and show us who they really are.


While I'd agree Trump has indirectly revealed the priorities of many, let's take care not to permanently label people.

I was on the right most of my life and hated Trump. Yet he seemed to be the least worst for many single issue voters. Thankfully forums like this helped challenge my worldview enough to overcome the indoctrination of my youth. Now my entire perspective had flipped.

Everyone has the capacity to change. And that's much more likely to happen in a welcoming and curiosity friendly environment than an echo chamber.


As they say in Germany, if there’s a Nazi at the table and 10 other people sitting there talking to him, you got a table with 11 Nazis. There is a lot of variation in political opinion that I enjoy and solicit and I enjoyed having some honest conservatives as friends, but to support Trump four years ago is bad and to support him today is unconscionable. I am happy to write-off those who spent the past year supporting trump and do not care if they have the capacity to change because as far as I and a lot of other people are concerned they decided to sit at the table with the Nazi.


This sums it up. Trump took low participation voters and made politics sport for them. The slogan "make libs cry again" - it's not about what he can do for them, it's about how he can hurt "the other". That his supporters identified with him so much every attack against him they felt was an attack on them.

The rabid cult of personality that popped up around him has been highly disturbing to watch. Decking everything out in shirts, hats, flying his name as a flag, painting your house with his name, covering your vehicle with flags. The non-stop rallies and campaigning even after he was elected.

And no, before someone trys to compare, it was not like that with Obama. People were excited about him but it did not become an everyday identity alongside a never-ending campaign.


I think that this is what cost him the election. Some people voted for Trump, some against Biden, some for Biden, and some against Trump. The latter two groups are 7 millions bigger than the first two groups. That's what we know. Looking at the Senat/House races, there seems to be a sizeable group of people voting Biden, and then pro Republican further down. I interpret that as "against Trump, but also against the general goals of Democrats as perceived by them". I believe this is because the Republicans managed to paint all Democrats as Bernie-like Socialists, while the Democrats did not manage to paint all Republicans as Trump like Idiots/Racists/Liars.

I'm not saying the Democrats should, but they should try harder not to be painted as Socialists, if they are not. Or be socialist. I don't think the latter is a winning strategy in America, but at least they would lose for what they stand for, not for what they don't stand for.


The only conclusion we can reach is "he says the quiet part out loud"

If you ignore the last 4 years of analysis of what motivates Trump voters, why he's popular despite his personality issues and so on, then sure, you can "only" reach one conclusion. But it's the wrong one.

Still, it's great fun believing half of America is filled with racist hatred isn't it?

As near as I can tell, Conservatism is deader than disco.

It just drew basically level with the left despite Biden being far more presidential than Trump, and despite nearly the entire media and tech industry pulling every lever they could for Biden. That seems very far from dead.


I'm really sad to see so many Trump supporters as well, but ... but maybe you are young?

Bill Clinton banged a very young intern in the Oval Office.

Bill Clinton lied, deceived, distorted, mislead - and then very 'point blank' lied about that directly to the Justice system, which is illegal.

Do you remember that? I do.

Bill Clinton has legitimate accusations of sexual assault hanging out there against him - just like Trump.

Why did Democrats (and others) 'forgive him'? And 'look the other way'?

How was the Democrat Brand not 'destroyed forever' by a 'Serial Abuser in Chief' in Office?

Democrats (and others) forgave him, because they think it was not so bad, that ultimately he was a good person, the act was ostensibly consensual, the Republicans were making to much of it - etc etc..

Some people simply don't see a 55 year married old man, banging a 22 year old intern in a prestigious office as hugely relevant. Others do.

I think most Donald Trump supporters believe that he 'Loves America' that he's a 'Business Genius' who just 'Speaks Plainly' and sometimes says aggressive things, but that it doesn't mean much.

I personally don't think any of those things are true, but it's not hard to see how people watching Fox News might be 'believers'.

To some people 'they are sending us their rapists' is like an inappropriate Chines accent or an off colour joke - inappropriate and little bit offensive, but not existentially so.

"I guess what a lot of us are struggling with is how anyone cannot see these truths for themselves in Trump. "

I don't think they do see 'Traditional Conservative' in him - I think they see mostly something else and that's my point.

If the GOP base wanted a 'Traditional Conservative' there are a dozen other, more obvious choices.

But it's all moot: Trump really isn't much of a 'Conservative' in any way, it's a 'Bully Nationalist' which unfortunately 1/2 of Republicans will vote for because they want to, the rest will vote reluctantly.

Both traditional Conservatism and 'American Socialism' (i.e. Centre Left) are not 'dead' - they are everywhere but it's that populism is having it's time, and supported in the press.

The Intersectionalist Reactionaries on the Left are very close to taking over the Democratic party, much as Trump 'barn stormed' the GOP.


I'm old enough that I voted for Clinton, and yes I did see it that way and since then I haven't criticized any politician about sexual indiscretions. I think it reflects negatively on character but its a common flaw.

I try to look past Trump's character flaws but they are so embarrassing and cringe inducing, and when you add the poor foreign policy, bungled COVID response and really very serious incitement of hatred, violence, and division he's created its really still quite perplexing but I appreciate your thoughts on it.


Trump's character flaws are clearly existential and deeply problematic, I think to any mature observer.

Not only is he a brutal narcissist who cares only about himself, he's willing to throw a democracy away for his vanity and power.

My articulation is more about 'mass perception' not so much what he actually is.

Clearly Bill Clinton is a good man, so are McCain, Romney, Obama, even Bush etc..

'Understanding Trump Support' is hard because what 'smart people see' is something completely different than what the plebes see. They think he's a genius, brilliant businessman, and probably don't realize how powerful his negative language about migrants etc. really is, they just don't understand what statesmanship actually is or how important that it is that he is a role model as well. I guess it's one of the more obvious problems of raw populism.


> Believing in the institutions of family (and monogamy as a commitment to that institution), the objective rule of law, moral obligation through duty of various kinds of community service, prudence, faith as an integral part of worldview, a sense of community that can possibly be expressed through nationalism, the notion that people must act responsibly to the extent they are able and assume responsibility for their actions - these are not ideals of 'entitlement' frankly.

I kind of agree with you. However - maybe I am wrong - but you seem to equate these values with "conservatism" and believe other people think these are ideals of "entitlement". I don't think non-conservatives, myself included think that way or don't believe in these values. But feel free to correct me if I misunderstood you.


You make a good point.

A lot of classical left/liberal and conservative values are not 'opposite' so much as 'orthogonal' and it's a matter of relative importance, focus etc..


Excellent analysis (not sarcasm; I enjoyed reading this)


That's really strange because I agree with exactly everything that you said except swap Democrat for Republican I was a Democrat when I was young didn't care about anybody else now I'm a Republican and I have morals


I would say you’re definitely misunderstanding the right in the US. It has nothing to do with that here. It’s largely the left showing fear and anger, although many seem oblivious to it.


> maybe it’s that my past right-leaning self was a teenager with half-baked ideas about the world, when I reflect on what drove me that way, I cannot point to any coherent, constructive thought, mostly feelings of entitlement and an unwillingness to put myself in the other’s shoes.

Thank you for saying this. It's hard to admit an error.


The difference is that with the spinning dancer optical illusion, there's never a "wrong" way to view it.

This isn't always the case with politics, or any kind of view for that matter. It's important to empathize with people you disagree with, but it's just as important that we start with a foundation of agreed upon facts.

In other words, reality isn't a point of view.


> it's just as important that we start with a foundation of agreed upon facts. In other words, reality isn't a point of view.

I don't think these two things are as strongly related as you suggest. Two reasonable people can look at the same problem with the same facts, make reasonable guesses on what the best course is, and yet reach two completely different, reasonable approaches to the problem. Otherwise, we would have already decided which programming language is the best one.

Some situations are more clear cut than others, and I agree that we need to separate facts from opinion better. But for situations as complex as the present and future of a country there might very well not be a "right" way.

"Reality" is not a point of view, but we only experience it through the lens of our personal experiences. No one experiences "true" reality.


Apologies in advance if this sounds snappy, this hits an issue I feel strongly about.

My local supermarket has precisely no empathy for me and the only thing I expect to agree on with the local store manager is price. Yet it is by far the most effective conduit for getting me cheap food. Effective systems simply are not very good at empathy and agreement on non-core issues is unimportant. Empathy in particular recommended at a personal level but not especially useful in politics. The critical tool is the ability to comprehend, negotiate, compromise and articulate why things are necessary.

Having "empathy" for "the left"/"the right" isn't possible. The groups are too large and diverse. Ditto for major components of the left or right like "the black vote", "the evangelicals", "people in cities", "people from Detroit", "the wealthy", etc, etc. Entities that you can have empathy for or agree on facts with are too small to be politically important like individuals or families. Politics is done by large groups who's beliefs are too nebulous to align.


Have you ever dug into Bayesian reasoning? See E.T. Jayne's probability theory chapter 5 for an explanation on this.

The more facts we get, the more likely our views diverge and become more strongly held.


Yeah, I don't disagree. The more facts we have to choose from, the more susceptible to bias, because we will have a wider variety to cherry-pick from.

But for those who are genuinely interested in the truth and vigorously fighting biases, more facts can only help construct a "more complete" truth.


An ironic stance, given that it is the left in the US that are pushing ideas like Critical Theory, which is based on post-modernism, which in turn maintains that reality ("knowledge claims") is effectively a point of view ("socially conditioned").

Various factions within the US left have been trying to convince everyone for decades that subjective truth is more important than objective facts; that "lived experience" is what really matters.

Then those same people pull a surprised Pikachu face when Orange Man comes swinging out of right field with the same argument, just in the opposite direction with "fake news" etc.


I completely disagree. I think reality IS a point of view. You are suggesting that there is only one way to think about reality. And that is complete lunacy.


Is a fetus considered a human baby? This is one of those 2 sided debates that regularly occurs and the problem is that no amount of science will be able to give a definitive answer. It's a personal worldview and both sides have valid arguments.


"Alternative facts" are not facts, they are lies people tell themselves to justify a point of view. It's not truth, it's not sanity. Someone can't just substitute a lie for the truth because it feels better. I mean, they can, but they aren't living in reality - and that's actually complete lunacy.


Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full kind of person?

So, it's quite possible to have 2 truths - factually accurate - arise from the same physical reality because the observers are different.

It's also possible that people substitute falsities in exchange for truth based on bad intent or erroneous reasoning (and maybe there are other reasons but these would seem to be the most prevalent of the bad sort).

Since all these are possibilities, would you agree that it's best to apply some charity[1] to those you disagree with before deciding that they are not only wrong, but malign and should be tarred as lunatic?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity


There’s being charitable and then there’s ignoring flat out disinformation.

Let’s not forget that the phrase “Alternative facts” was coined on day 3 of the Trump presidency to defend the lie that he had the biggest inauguration crowd ever.

This wasn’t a glass half full situation, this was someone saying it’s up to the brim when it’s under a half. That in itself to me reflects bad intent: lying from the seat of government about something so easily disproved at the start of your presidency, then spending days trying to back it up, is pure gaslighting.

The Trump administration deserves most of the blame here, but it’s very hard to treat with charity the subset of his supporters who repeat blatant lies like the above, because they are being willfully ignorant at best and acting in bad faith otherwise.


Among the long list of important things to worry about in politics, the number of people at Trump's inauguration isn't one of them, and I wonder what number of his own supporters even care. It must be vanishingly small.

The response to "there can be more than one view of reality that is valid and true" isn't to respond with "lies are lies and using lies in place of truth is lunacy", (to paraphrase the parent comments, perhaps more fairly than the latter deserves) so to remain focused on "Alternative facts" is to be led astray by what amounts to a straw man. That whole debacle was a petty response by a narcissist to a petty narrative line by a media that isn't focused on what matters anyway and anyone repeating the White House line was more than likely acting tribally - as was anyone criticising the numbers. The proverbial storm in a teacup.

Regardless, who is arguing for "Alternative facts" here?


Nobody is arguing for them here. I was saying that the people pushing them should not be given any charity, as they have proved themselves to be acting in bad faith time and time again.

There is a clear line of behavior that began with lying about crowd size and extended throughout the presidency, and yes a lot of it is driven by narcissism. It’s mostly not harmless though. A recent deadly example is how Trump supporters (speaking generally again) act concerning COVID. The president and his cohorts said “masks don’t matter, it’ll disappear soon anyway” for months and months, and his supporters believed it despite factual evidence, which has worsened the pandemic.

Tribalism is the word I was seeking, thank you.

Reading the thread again, I think you may be putting more weight on the use of “complete lunacy” than the poster intended. That was a reference to its parent post, which used the same words while taking “reality isn’t a point of view” out of context to mean “there is only one way to think about reality.” If there’s a straw man here, it’s all the way up there.


Whether the glass is half full or half empty is not a fact, it's an opinion. The glass being, say, 45.67% from full capacity is a fact. The glass being emptied right now at 55 millilitres per second or being filled at 45 millilitres per second is a fact.

It might be a fact that two people can have greatly different kinds of opinions from the same facts, but they both still deserve to know the facts.

Whether you consider the glass to be half full or half empty is not a fact. It's an opinion.


> The glass being, say, 45.67% from full capacity is a fact.

The glass is at 50% capacity. Was it more convenient for you to change the fact of the statement?

You’ve simply substituted one kind of measure for another without providing a distinction between them.

The key point is that a fact has a different effect on different observers that can be discerned from the way the express it. The state of affairs being described is not a belief or an opinion or will magically find less millimetres (as in your comment) by being stated differently.


When the glass is at 50% capacity, one is making an observation of the state of affairs.

When one says that it is "half full" or "half empty" one is already making it into a statement of belief or opinion that reflects one's inner workings and beliefs.


> making it into a statement of belief

I want to get this straight. You’re saying that a glass that exists hypothetically, posited by the speaker, may only be known to be half full as a belief by that very speaker?

> or opinion

Or that it’s their opinion that it’s half full? Even if it wasn’t hypothetical, would you find it at 50% capacity or not?

> that reflects one’s inner workings and beliefs

I can’t tell if that means you read what I wrote or if you didn’t. Regardless, using a relative measure does not turn a factual statement into a belief or an opinion of the explicitly stated fact. That which may be inferred from the way of stating a fact may well be beliefs and opinions but that does not change the fact any more than it would by being stated in English rather than in French. Relative measures are no less factual - or valid, sound, precise or accurate - than absolute measures. Just try restating using absolute measures of pints and millilitres and tell me that makes the statements less factual or that beliefs and opinions cannot also be inferred from them.


"The world is flat" was "settled science" for 100000 years.


Actually no. That was Christianity who tried for a short time. It was not true and it didn't catch on, except for the urban legend itself.


Wasn't that OP's key point? Vast majority (if not all) political messages are both true and false, depending on context and personal bias.


There is an alternative to such polarized views. In many countries, politics is just politics, it happens in the background and is about as heart felt as the weather report.

It can be controversial and felt by all sure, but it shouldn't be a lifestyle or ideological platform that the general public use to divide themselves.

It's backoffice stuff, for the most part, and I am too busy being friends to really mind what someone's political views are, if they even think about it much at all themselves.

Now more than ever the US needs democracy, and the government needs to work harder than ever on protecting it.

But I argue that the people of America, the general public, need to give it a bloody rest with the politics. Be humans again and meet your neighbors as you are, part of the same cohort as citizens. Your vote is just as powerful, no matter how many flags, banners, or yard signs you have. Your vote is what decides the direction of your country, not the chest thumping and rallies and flag brigades.


Yeah, sorry, but my access to healthcare isn't something as heart felt as the weather report. I either live or die without it.


Right, but my comment isn't about current-day America, more a possible future where your access to care doesn't rest on an election, because not everything is hyper-politicized and some decisions get made for what is the best decision for most not what matches the ideology.

The hyper-polarization of the political landscape means you either get care or you don't. If one side will help you and one side wont, you're going to have a tough time holding on to your rights regardless of one election win.

A more unified America with a strong middle class wouldn't need to undermine one group to bolster another, and you would have more moderate political candidates rather than having to choose between two distant evils every election.

I get to not care because years of moderate politics in my country has seen a general trend toward humanitarianism regardless of which "side" wins. Recently the "right-wing" political group of my country protected same-sex marriage, even though it doesn't align with their ideology, because they're only moderate-right, and so their priorities still lie in pleasing the majority and not extreme political interests.

Obviously the US would have a long way to go before it could ever take any of this advice seriously, I was just trying to point out that the divided nature of your population drives the politics too.


Would you rather be forced to pay 130 bucks a month and still have to pay up to 800 bucks a year for initial costs of health care? Because that’s what it means. Or you get your own health insurance and have something to choose from


You're talking to someone who buys health insurance on the individual market. $130/mo premiums and a $800 deductible sounds amazing, considering that I pay many multiples of those rates. I'd gladly pay more than triple or quadruple that, as I'd still be saving money and would wind up with better benefits.

If I bought a family health plan, I'd be paying at least 15 times those rates on the individual market.

Meanwhile, other first world nations are able to insure all of their citizens with better health outcomes than outcomes in the US, and at half of the cost the US pays for its inferior levels of care[1].

[1] https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/quality...


I don't think anyone who's sick/dying gets turned away from the hospital.


Only for emergency care. If you need, say, cancer treatment, you are on your own.


>In many countries, politics is just politics, it happens in the background and is about as heart felt as the weather report.

Which countries are those? Because the US are insane, but politics is heartfelt in all countries I'm familiar with.

Which doesn't mean we have to reach such levels of infighting of course.


Canada feels closer to what your parent described than to what I see in the US, for one. There are of course those at the extremes who are very partisan. Although most of those identify more with US politics than Canadian it seems. But for the vast majority it's much less of an issue than it is in the US. For one thing, most people are not members of one of our federal political parties. Local politicians don't even align with federal parties, nor do provincial ones in all cases. Many people will shift their vote between ideologically similar parties, especially the Liberals and NDP.

Basically, for myself and most people I know, we vote for the party whose platform most closely matches our own priorities and beliefs, but it's not part of our identities in the same way. The parties themselves are also far less polarized than in the US. And because it's a multi-party system, you can have minority government that actually functions by garnering support of opposition parties. (We also effectively don't have multiple veto points though, so generally the governing party is able to govern; I think that also helps keep things from getting overheated.) Of course, the system isn't perfect. For instance by virtue of being both multi-party and first past the post, the winning party usually has the vote of a minority of the population, and still generally holds a majority of seats in parliament. But I've really come to appreciate it in comparison over the past few years.


As a Canadian, I would say the organization of our system of government and how voting in Canada works also plays a part in this. I can vote for my party of choice in a federal election and even if they do not become the governing party, I have the possibility of gaining more seats for party in parliament.

Compare this to the US where aside from being a two party system, the majority can vote for a candidate in a federal election and that party can lose and get nothing. (Of course, votes for members of congress don't function like this, but clearly not as much weight as placed on these.)


That's a good point. Less feeling that your vote was wasted. Of course the first past the post system does mean in many ridings it still effectively can be, but I still agree with your point. The lack of divided government also largely removes the blame game. Government governs, and the people either like it and keep voting for them, or vote for change (and get it). That's actually the one thing that gives me pause about a proprtional representation system (despite having voted for in in two BC referenda now). Would regular minority governments bring in more of that uncertainty? Maybe. But it would further improve the situation you described, which seems worth trying to me. (From my perspective it would be reasonable to agree to hold two elections under a PR system, then automatically have another referendum on whether to switch back.)


Australia is one, New Zealand another. I can't speak too much for other countries I guess so I probably shouldn't have written "many countries" as that's just an assumption on my part.


I'm from the US, moved to Australia and am now a dual citizen.

I think the reason for this here is because we have preferences in our voting, and we have compulsory voting. I can say, "First the communist, then the gun people, and if neither of those, finally go for a major party." if that suits me. That means our voices get heard, and the major parties listen.

In NSW government for example we had an unpopular law put in place that killed our nightlife, so an entire political party was created just to fight that one law. They got lots of first preference votes, and the votes for all who did that were routed back to candidates that actually won because of the preferences. Being able to allocate our votes back to major parties with our voices being heard is important. Liberal then realised this wasn't a hill they were particularly keen to die on, so they repealed the law. (https://www.timeout.com/sydney/nightlife/keep-sydney-opens-o...)

Also, compulsory voting means that everyone is going to vote. They have to by law. So there's no need to stoke the base to get turnout. Stoking the base makes you scary to everyone else and you get the smack down at the polls for it.

We currently have Greens members in our house of reps, and many many 3rd party candidates in the senate. It's nowhere near perfect, but having your voice heard clearly, having that reflected in law, and ensuring there's no apathetic middle that lets the extremes dictate policy cuts the crazy right down.


We must know different people in NZ and Australia, because I disagree with the inference their citizens treat politics like the weather report. One of the biggest differences at least in NZ is that there exists MMP for voting, which allows NZ to avoid brinkmanship in policy and winner-takes-all mindsets that lead to sharp divides.


It's not quite that it's unimportant to people I guess, it comes up in conversation during election periods of course. People just aren't particularly partisan or passionate in my experience. I think most people have other things they would rather talk about.

Similarly as the comment above mentions, Australia has preferential voting which helps in reducing the overall divisivness of the two party system most democracies end up with.


Issues like basic rights for transgender people, protection of voting rights for minorities, health care for unavoidable illnesses, and the major economic retooling needed to mitigate the effects of climate change are 'just politics' only for people privileged enough not to suffer because of them.


It doesn't matter how important the issues are if the political system is so paralyzed it can't get anything done.

The USA seems to have devolved into a system where elections are like votes on those huge omnibus bills that rightly get so much flak - if you want to see action on the environment, you have to also support increased welfare spending, increased gun control, gay rights and any number of issues that have nothing to do with environmental policy.

Similarly, if you want fiscal conservatism, you have to support people who want to ban abortion, oppose any climate action, use the state to prop up religion in society and so on and on.

This is nuts. The two-party system seems to make it impossible to tackle political issues on their merits, and I hope the people start to organize around specific issues instead of around the current parties. Pick an issue important to you, maybe starting on the less controversial end, and I think you will find that if you don't mix it up with every issue under the sky, people across the blue-red divide will support it. Organize those people outside the party system, and maybe you can get some change going.


There is generally not just one side that has a meaningful investment in the resolution of some political issue. Arguing that the other side does not have a legitimate concern regarding some political conflict is generally not going to be very persuasive, and it isn't going to make those people go away.

That being said, I think it is possible to care very deeply about certain issues, and act on those concerns, in a way that largely avoids the political sphere. Trying to fix the problems we are concerned about by means of influencing the power games of elected officials is often very crude and ineffective. Sometimes influencing politics is necessary, but if we let ourselves believe that the only way to effect change is "shake the vending machine" of governmental power we will generally end up frustrated.


Which minorities don’t have voting rights? Are you sure you’re in the correct century?


You don't have to say some community cannot vote, you can suppress their political rights by other subtle actions like closing voting centers in areas they predominantly live, gerrymandering district boundaries such that they are insufficiently represented in state assemblies, etc.


Early in the last century, poll taxes were popular, as well as literacy tests. There are a lot of methods to make it harder for people you don’t like to vote.


- Felons, in varying degrees in different states.

- Residents of DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam

- People who have had their names removed from voter roles with no warning, as in Georgia, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, in the last few years.

- People who can't get US citizenship despite having lived here most or all of their lives.

- Vulnerable individuals who couldn't get an absentee ballot in Texas despite the pandemic

And so on. They're smaller, more specific minorities now. But there's a lot of them


Nothing here supports the argument that minorities don’t have voting rights, and I think the fact that you’re trying to stretch this to include non-citizens says a lot about how honest the original comment was.


I understand how you could assume that these issues aren't about minorities, but they really all are. Each of these issues barely touches white people while affecting minorities deeply.

- Felony convictions: Black and latino men are convicted of felonies at much higher rates than any other population. In 2016, 7.44% of black people had their voting rights stripped for felony convictions.[1] Over 1% of all black people in the United States are currently incarcerated, compared with about .2% for white people.[2]

- DC in majority minority, with 46% black residents.[3] Puerto Rico in 98.9% hispanic.[4]

- Citizenship: Over 800,000 people have enrolled in DACA, mostly of Latin American and East Asian origin. [5] They are ineligible for citizenship. Among those eligible to apply for Citizenship, many are from Canada or Europe.[6] Our immigration laws are setup to favor high school immigrants, who are far more likely to be white than the immigrant population as a whole. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it means our voting population is far more white than our resident population.

- Disenfranchisement: This is far more piecemeal, but southern states routinely take actions that just so happen to make it more difficult for minorities to vote rather than white people. I recommend listening to [7] if you're interested, which covers a specific recent circumstance in Florida, with a few examples from other states. It's no coincidence when eliminated polling places and dropboxes just so happen to always be in Black neighborhoods.

Remember, the voting rights marches of the 1960s weren't about giving black people the right to vote, that happened in 1870. They were about how certain states had made it so difficult for black people to vote that it was essentially impossible. Sure, many black people vote in these states today, but that doesn't mean that they have an equal ability to vote. The measures aren't as strong as they once were, but they still exist.

[1] https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08... [2] https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p19.pdf [3] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/DC [4] https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/PR [5] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/25/key-facts-a... [6] https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/lpr_pop... [7] https://www.npr.org/2020/10/26/927846676/who-gets-to-vote-in...


Minorities are disproportionately affected by long waiting times. Minorities have to wait twice as long to vote on average. Examples abound of people having to wait 5+ hours just to vote in heavily Democratic, minority locations. Its an easy problem to solve - add more/better locations, more voting machines, more poll workers - but seems to be consistently ignored or even exacerbated.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/smartphone-data-s...


Same for issues like diversity hiring and SJWs irritating well-running open source projects. I say this as a left leaning person. Politics and religion tend to divide people thus they have to be kept away, it won't harm anyone but self important non-technical idiots who think renaming master to main will change the life of oppressed people.


I don't dispute that, but also realise my comment is about the general population so inherently has to generalize.

I guess my reply would also be that in a well functioning democratic government people get to trust that those issues will get addressed in time, though that is also not universally true.


Well, when you have one side saying "count the votes" and another side saying "stop the count", it's unlikely we're in a well-functioning democracy. These are the exact issues at stake in elections: whether religious protections extend to denying abortion care, whether one polling place per county overwhelmingly favors rural whites, whether racial sensitivity training is itself racist and should therefore be banned from government contracting. These are from the last month. So it's fair to assume, with one side for and one side against, that while these issues might resolve themselves they might not to your satisfaction.


You also have the same side saying both "count the votes" and "stop the count."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jrj3n0j2Q2w


The history of the US shows that 'in time' means hundreds of years to get nominal equality, a hundred more years for that equality to be even moderately enforced, and continued harassment, mistreatment, and open murder by the state fifty years after that.


I was a "Trumper" 20 years ago. Your comment initially made sense to me. Then I remembered the many wrong and harmful ideas that I recognized and rejected since that time. These ideas lead to real harm for many people.

For example, during Bill Clinton's impeachment trial for sexual harassment of his woman intern, I thought that his behavior was no big deal, that we accept that powerful men like to play around with women, and that the intern knew what she was getting into when she got the job working for him. Later, I realized that I was wrong. Those beliefs enable sexual harassment of women across society. We must reject those beliefs so women can have equal opportunity and good quality of life.

Other wrong ideas that I had:

- Poor people are poor because they are lazy.

- Violent criminals are violent because they don't want to control themselves.

- Unlucky people failed to prepare properly or were careless.

- Gay people are bad for society.

- Men should be breadwinners. Women should be housewives.

- USA is powerful because God is rewarding its Christian citizens for following His rules.

All of these ideas are wrong. These ideas harm people and make our society poorer.

Yes, I can remember my previous thought processes and see the dancer spin the other way, but the dancer is carrying a single-edged sword and spinning the other way way hurts people.


People change.

Trump was even a Democrat 20 years ago.

Got lots more attention as a Republican now, since 2009.


> we're all under the same spell

Isn't this an oversimplification of politics, though--that our political opinions are nothing more than preferences around which we form tribes, and that there is not one single tribe that is objectively correct when it comes to matter of policy when, in fact, there are correct ways of deciding on policy.

Take vaccines, for example, or the matter of wearing masks. If I am for vaccines and for wearing masks during the pandemic, am I simply in some kind of "spell" and am I not, objectively speaking, correct, because my opinion on those matters are backed by science?


> one single tribe that is objectively correct

There are conclusions that are more true than others, but it gets messy when people start talking policy. Ground level facts have regularly led to horrible policy decisions despite being 'correct' according to the science.

> am I not, objectively speaking, correct, because my opinion on those matters are backed by science?

It is true that shutdowns, distancing, masking are all evidence based methods to contain the pandemic. However, politics is not only about selecting what methods work, but where they are applied, and who bears the cost. There is rarely an objective 'backed by the science' answer across the board.


You're correct, but observably that's not where the political trenches are dug. The wedge issues for the past few years haven't been around "how do we best implement the science", instead they're around fundamental disagreements that the science even exists.

Moving the trenches such that the main problem was trying to decide what the implementation of the shared science-based policy should be would be such a seismic shift in political discourse that I don't think I can visualise what that world would actually look like.


I mean President Trump literally said disparagingly at a rally "Biden will listen to the scientists" and then Biden put "I approve this message" at the end and turned it into an ad.

You can't get any clearer messaging on anti/pro science.


>You can't get any clearer messaging on anti/pro science.

Surely you can get clearer messaging than an out-of-context misinterpreted quote.


Trump always seems to take himself out of context, we all has accrss to his tweet history, but every missteps is a "joke" or "out of context". He can't even accept the results of a democratic election.


> Ground level facts have regularly led to horrible policy decisions despite being 'correct' according to the science.

Yes but that's because of lack of specificity, isn't it? That is, exactly the science in the lab is what is deployed on a grand scale outside the lab in terms of policy, when the specificities of the real world should have been taken into account.

In any case, with the real-world peculiarities taken into consideration, the underlying science would be the same nonetheless. It would be preposterous to say that just because vaccines and masks work in the lab doesn't mean they won't work in the real world.


lol i no longer have energy for gotta hear both sides argument, whether its naive because of a myopic and narrow world view or just bad faith. like you said - how tf is mask wearing a political issue jfc


Combination of decadence, selfishness, cultism and vindictive politics.

The first two are self explanatory and certainly cross party lines.

Cult of Trump is to merely accept his say so that mask wearing has no efficacy and is merely political correctness. And really believe he knows better than scientists (anyone really).

From many conversations, it's just to piss off liberals. What I call vindictive politics. Literally many conversations, why do you like Trump and agree with him on things like fighting over masks? Schadenfreude. Making liberals scoff and angry makes them happy.

Ok why so much annoyance with liberal? A common example, is gay marriage which many Trump supporters consider completely immoral on religious grounds. It's so heinous to them they use oral rape metaphor to describe it: you liberals jammed gay marriage down our throats. We support Trump because he makes you angry.

I've asked for clarification: this is pay back for things like gay marriage and protecting abortion rights? "You betcha its payback! We don't care what crazy things he does or says. The more it pisses off liberals the better job he's doing." Their words. They have grievances. Trump soothes it by helping them get payback.

He grew his base by 7 million in this election. He gained almost as many votes as Bernie Sanders total vote count in the 2020 primary.

A lot of people think this is about Trump. And it's gone once he's gone. I don't.


> It's so heinous to them they use oral rape metaphor to describe it: you liberals jammed gay marriage down our throats.

This is such a ridiculous spin on “jammed down our throats” that none of them would have even considered that as a possible interpretation until you said it. Gay marriage is definitely not an issue that is top of mind for many Trump supporters.


”not an issue that is top of mind for many Trump supporters.” with a group that large I could replace 'gay marriage' with anything else and it would still be true. It might not be on spot number 1 for shared worry. However pretending that a _substantitial_ part does not have it on top of their mind (even if just to piss liberals) is dishonest.


You’re simply wrong. Do they have a position on it? Yes, obviously. Is it why they voted for Trump? Not even a little bit. And obviously they would have been pretty disappointed if they had, because he didn’t do anything to oppose gay marriage, nor did he say he would if re-elected. Yet 70 million still voted. I’m not going to call you dishonest, because like most on the left, you simply don’t understand folks on the right.


It’s not a single issue driving votes like abortion or guns but it’s a notable component in the “defender of Christianity” imagery a LOT of right-wingers use to justify why they supported such an un-Christlike person (the King Cyrus comparison being a common choice), and you don’t have to try hard to find people who link it to pedophilia and now the QAnon theories which have a large number of of adherents.


Oh they are way more hateful of transgender people. Same with Trump as evidenced by his policies. He really does represent his supporters. Democracy in action, I suppose.


> how tf is mask wearing a political issue jfc

The most common argument I've heard isn't about the mask itself, it's about the government acting like a parent that knows better than you. Lots of anti-mask people have said they would wear a mask if the government simply treated people like adults and asked instead of mandated it.


This is the most childish excuse I’ve ever heard. Imagine putting yourself and others at risk because you feel like you’re being forced to stay safe in a pandemic.


>there is not one single tribe that is objectively correct when it comes to matter of policy when, in fact, there are correct ways of deciding on policy.

There are objectively correct matters of policy when your goals, values, and assumptions have been specified. But it is these goals, values, and assumptions that separate the population into different factions. It is not simply a matter of we're right and they're wrong when it comes to settling these foundational issues.

> I simply in some kind of "spell" and am I not, objectively speaking, correct, because my opinion on those matters are backed by science?

You are under a spell that maximizing lives saved from the virus is the obviously correct goal, which is why its never even stated out loud. But your policy choices given that goal are objectively correct. The issue is whether maximizing lives saved from the virus is the correct goal. Lockdowns have a cost which is mostly borne by those who do not have the means to go for weeks or months without work or cannot work from home. There's also the mental health costs of extended social distancing. These questions are not answered by simply referencing the science behind controlling pandemics. There are very contentious foundational issues that that must be settled before we can make factual determinations about policy.


Totally agree, and I've also voted both ways before. But I also would caution against going too far on the "both sides" thinking. There are some obvious examples of regimes in the past in certain countries where one side was just bad and it was not just a matter of different opinions: Germany, Serbia, Rwanda, etc.

I think Trump and his administration lie somewhere between just being misunderstood by "the other side" and 100% depraved. I tend to think they're actually quite far to the depraved side of that spectrum, but that doesn't mean we can't still pay attention to making sure we see things from other perspectives (within reason).


Quite relevant to that, there's this one SMBC comic from almost a decade ago that I've referred back to on a monthly basis, and it just keeps getting more and more relevant every year.

https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2013-04-07

This is what often happens in politics. There are a small subset of extremist on either side, and when people argue, they're pointing out the worst things the other side's extremists did. Calling each other KKK and Antifa and racist and SJW. Realistically, between those two extremes, the majority of people are good well meaning people who just don't know what the truth is anymore due to all the lies and disinformation on the web. All the clickbait shoving the most rage inducing stories about the other side all day long.


Makes me think of San Francisco Bay Area politics, where progressives have become so progressive that they in one breath say that all minorities should be accepted and that the environment is precious, but in the next espouse policies and weaponize environmental legislation to prevent immigrants from entering while simultaneously destroying the environment, as though there's no internal contradiction in those actions.

It's like people don't recognize what they truly think and do, but instead imagine themselves as a reflection of some ideological group they associate with and apply that image to their ultimately selfish motivations.


Quite a lot of local politics becomes more comprehensible when you add a 'NIMBY/YIMBY' axis completely separate from other stated political views.


This. And yes to GP, progressive + NIMBY seems to be a very hypocritical view. Which is why more progressives ought to become more YIMBY [0]

[0] opinion


>People on the left think that anyone on the right is a lunatic, and everyone on the right thinks the same thing about the left.

I firmly disagree. Not all political climates and discourses are as poisoned as they are in the US.

That said, not all political disagreements are created equally. We can have a rousing polite disagreement about immigration levels, national financial priorities, cultural values and so on, but if the discussion is premised in a fundamental disagreement about whether or not certain people deserve dignity as human beings then there's very little common ground to build off of.


I’m fairly lefty, and used to have quite a a bit of respect for the right, since I am at heart a bit of a libertarian. I’ve lost quite a bit of it though after seeing how so many of them lined up to support sometime so obviously amoral as the current President.


Honestly, right and left is pretty nonsensical, at least the current beliefs that qualify as right or left. The average person likely has beliefs that would fall on both sides and this incessant need to categorize someone as either left or right just leads to more polarization and more extreme views. When people are told they must be one thing because they have certain views about one issue, meanwhile their views on other issues lean more to the other side. But because of this strange all or nothing paradigm going on, there's no room for common ground or compromise, it's all or nothing one side or the other, you believe one thing, so you must believe all the things or you're on this side or the other.

That's utter nonsense, political spectrums aren't all or nothing, take it or leave it, all inclusive things. A person is capable of having a range of views on different issues that may fall on either side and it's perfectly acceptable for this to be the case.

Politics like everything in life isn't black and white all or nothing, take it or leave it, it'a a bunch of shades of grey like everything else and as with most things the average person, when asked about issues without the context of left or right involved, will likely express views that fall across both sides of the political spectrum.


I think this is a really valuable way of thinking. Something similar I wish everyone would ask themselves is "why do I have this opinion/belief/etc?" for any topic.

Just like most religious people are the religion that their parents were, most people don't really choose their political beliefs. It's not to say we don't learn justifications for what we believe, but it means that the fact that we believe in one thing over another is somewhat random imo.

Somewhere out there in the US is someone who's pretty similar to me in most ways, they were just born in a part of the country where their default beliefs are different.

And for consistency, I do put more stake in someone's beliefs when they change from their "defaults".


Political language "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"

This feels a lot like GP/OP — Orwell’s politics and the English language, let’s metaphor away values and principles to the relativity of sounds from our meat flaps and we will all be free of this human condition


I really, truly, would like to believe both of the major political parties in the US have reasonably good intentions. It makes logical sense—how can half of the entire population be mostly wrong, and the rest mostly right?

But then I always remember that in the United States, there is only one major political party that believes Climate Change is real. The other party believes the phenomenon is some sort of gigantic ruse.

I consider Climate Change the most pressing issue of our time, and myself a single-issue voter. Not because everything else is unimportant, but because Climate Change is even more important. We have to get this right, and we have to start immediately!

If the two parties disagreed on how to address Climate Change—say, with a carbon tax versus renewable energy subsidies—that would be one thing. But that's not the world we live in. As long as one of the parties insists that Climate Change is a complete fabrication, I don't see how I can possibly take anything they say seriously.


Is this not a function of how rationality actually works? We all begin with premises which are fundamentally unproven and unprovable. Our conclusions follow from those premises. Change the premises and the result changes, though both sets of deductions may be perfectly rational. In other words, rationality is a process, not a set of conclusions.

One word for this is "tradition". If I've piqued your interest, please read Alasdair MacIntyre's book "After Virtue," and also it's sequel with a more provocative title, "Whose Justice? Which Rationality?"


While this might sound reasonable and balanced in most democracies, it's just not applicable to what is/was happening in the US. Regardless of moderate views of individuals, this election was not about economic policies or other debatable differences, this election was about if we can get back to this described discourse level of coexistence, not where one side's chief strategist says it's required to behead scientists for deterrence, any adherence to truth, decency and the general right to exist for minorities was on the table.


> and the general right to exist for minorities was on the table.

No, it wasn’t, obviously. What a disgusting thing to say.


If only you were right.

It is indeed a disgusting thing to be true.


And this is why the democrats can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong. What you said is a hilarious fantasy. Please, show me the proposed legislation that would suggest minorities can’t exist. I’m dying to see how that could even be worded.



Yeah, in no way does that suggest minorities don’t have a right to exist.


You seem to be affected by the exact thing the post you replied to is alleging. As an outsider who reads both sides' arguments all the time, I am convinced that Republicans currently lean towards supporting freedom of speech and personal liberties, civil discourse, equal rights while the Democrats are the exact opposite. They are supporting and defending violent protests, looting, segregation(!), vowed to make lists of Trump supporters to deal with after the election etc. etc. ... Perhaps this is "truth and decency" for some people, but to many it's not.


There are absolutely extremist supporters of both sides. For instance, I'm dismayed at some of the schadenfreude reactions on Twitter by anti-Trump people right now. (In particular the "I love to see Trump supporters cry" meme that really needs to die, as it's extremely antagonistic and unhelpful.) However the difference is, on the Republican side, it comes right from the top. Just read Trump's twitter feed: it's an endless stream of ad-hominem attacks and lies. Regular politicians will attack their opponents' positions, and they'll spin or stretch the truth sometimes, but I've never seen another American politician, much less a president, stoop to the level that Trump regularly inhabits in his everyday discourse. I mean, just listen to Biden's victory speech and compare it to Trump's. Or compare their twitter feeds. To say the Republican party stands for civil discourse... I honestly don't know how you could have watched the President for the past four years and come away with that impression.


Also the Roger Stone - Alex Jones connection, it’s a preposterous projection of the extreme right to justify abuse of power on their end. There is simply no objective „both-sides“ ground to any of those claims. https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/13/roger-stone-...


> I mean, just listen to Biden's victory speech and compare it to Trump's. Or compare their twitter feeds. To say the Republican party stands for civil discourse... I honestly don't know how you could have watched the President for the past four years and come away with that impression.

Easy, just look at who is in favour of censorship, "deplatforming", violence against people with the "wrong" opinions. Words don't hurt, Tweets are overrated. But silencing people, causing them to lose their jobs, or just assaulting them, that hurts.


Words can absolutely hurt. Trump's rhetoric has severely ramped up partisan anger and disaffection, contributing to real violence in several cases.

I don't believe it's the case that Biden or anyone in the leadership of the Democratic party has advocated for violence against people with wrong opinions, or indeed anyone.


It was not about what reasonable people think at this point, it’s about what they do and who they enable to enact power. The people you mentioned have no power and are not endorsed or are told to „stand by“. This is a very significant difference. As a reminder the whole reason Biden entered the race was Charlottesville.


That isn’t what “stand by” meant, and the intent of that statement was obvious. Also, Trump repeatedly condemned the racists at Charlottesville, and not only were they not endorsed, but explicitly disavowed. Repeatedly.


Charlottesville is a good point, as it was one of the most perpetuated lies during the Biden and supporting media campaign that Trump somehow supposedly called extremists "good people" (media and Biden omitted the rest of the quote to distort what Trump said, he explicitly condemned extremists).


He didn't explicitly call them good people. He didn't have to.

He explicitly said there are good people on both sides.

The thing people are upset about is that Trump walked the line between condemnation and support.


While that's true, I think the parent is right that the media went too far with this one. Trump did explicitly say later in the speech that he wasn't referring to the white supremacists as good people, but to others in the crowd that just wanted to protect the Lee statue.

I think you're right that people were upset with Trump for focusing on that and drawing a moral equivalence between the counter-protestors and even those willing to march with white supremacists. One could even reasonably argue that no 'good' person would choose to join a march largely inhabited by white supremacists, or even that their support of the General Lee statue was itself a racist act. But those are the points that should have been made, rather than stretching it to say Trump literally called white supremacists good people, which he didn't. There's plenty you could criticise without resorting to taking him out of context.


That’s a very long winded way of saying supporting a man who went on stage and openly opined that ingesting disinfectant could be a solution for covid is very sane


Are you trying to say that "Truth isn't truth"?


No surprise you've been upvoted so much. Yours is a truly remarkable comment, and observation.

I'd humbly add that at least to my eyes, most of the time the discussions on disagreements between two political parties are simply ineffective at trying to solve the disagreement, and rather irrational or badly arranged. In other words: most political discourse you hear these days seems useless.


> anyone on the right is a lunatic

In my country where there isn't a two party only system, but a plethora of positions ranging from the most extreme to the most moderate, for decades the left Vs right battle created a gradient of opinions

There are lunatics on the left and on the right, sometimes they have been violent, sometimes they put our democracy at risk, but in the end both left and right rejected them

We had our momentary lapse of reason when we (not me, but still...) elected Berlusconi, it seemed we lost our mind (we probably did) and nothing worse could ever happen to any other country politically speaking

Trump is on a new level of tribalism, divide and polarization though

How a real lunatic, with evident sever mental health issues ended up at the white house is gonna be a big black spot on American history (the greatest democracy in the World, the greatest country in the world, etc. etc.)


I personally find it hard to look at the right as anything but poison.

I can disagree with you on economic ideologies, I can disagree with you on military spending, how to treat the drug epidemic, how to solve the incarceration problem, etc. However when one side literally empowers those that executed my family in WW2, it is no longer a disagreement, but a fight for my life.


I don't know of any legislation introduced by any right wing government anywhere in the world, that literally empowers Nazis. I'm sorry that you feel like you're fighting for your life, but I'd be interested to know which country you live in that you fear for your safety. Surely, unlike during WW2, we have enough freedom of movement that you can leave a place where genocide could occur at any moment?


I suspect that you may already be aware that one does not need explicit government legislation to empower. Also, "if you fear for your life because of your ethnicity, you should leave" literally supports ethnic cleansing. Healthy societies view that as outside the bounds of legitimate political discourse.


Communism has killed millions around the world, yet it's ideology is growing on the left as well.

That's part of the problem. There's such focus by the left on Nazis and by the right on Communists that the overall capacity to form a consensus and negotiate between the two groups is significantly hindered.

The majority of both sides is not extremist, but ignoring each other is amplifying those extreme groups.


Biden is about a billion miles away from Communism.

In Germany he would be a boring conservative.

This insinuation that the Democratic Party makes the world in some sense safer for Communists is blatant absurdity.

The reverse – the Republican Party and especially Trump making the world a safer place for Nazis – is very true. Nazis can feel encouraged and supported in what they do by Trump.

Obviously even Trump, however shambolic, manages to build up some level of plausible deniability there.

(All of this says someone who, yeah, is totally up for some Marxist ideas. Don’t worry, I’m not an American.)


The difference being, of course, that the left hasn't been in power for four years. One side of this discourse is based on projection and conjecture, the other on observable behaviour. I think that's one reason why I'm not seeing a huge appetite for finding the middle ground in some parts of the left: they need to see that the reasonable folks on the right will repudiate and, where necessary, punish the extremists they see as having been encouraged and given a free rein, rather than continue to give them a political home. I think the core of it is that with the extremists on the right wing (whether that's swastika-flashing Actual Nazis or the radical theocrats) they've actually had power, whether in the form of boots-on-the-ground "very fine people" that the police turn a blind eye to or actual elected/appointed office, whereas "card-carrying communist" describes an uninfluential fringe of Democrats who won't now be able to achieve very much. Because that repudiation hasn't happened yet, some would view anyone who unflinchingly supported the Republicans over the last four years as complicit in the actual, demonstrated, real actions that the extremists performed as at least an enabler, and possibly worse. Until that gets fixed, and mainstream Republicans own that, I don't see them moving.

Unfortunately, if McConnell is still in the driving seat in the Senate, form says we should expect political logjams, which won't help win anyone over either, and contrition isn't a trait I'd expect to magic itself into being purely on the basis of the presidential result.


I won’t say there are no communists on the left, but they are very few in number. Even most people that call themselves “socialist” really mean something more like capitalist with a string safety net. Any communists in the left are a threat to exactly nobody right now. They don’t really have many opportunities to forcefully take central control of the means of production.

Unfortunately Nazis can do their work retail, they don’t need to take over government to do real harm individually.


You may not realize it but you're referring to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. 1951.

It is long considered a fundamental human right to be able to flee danger. Because otherwise wars start and atrocities happen.

Trump consistently blocks their rightful entry into the US, vilifies them as invaders, denies that they have rights to entry, and tries to scare people into thinking they are a threat.

The child separation from parents policy, and there are hundreds that have still not been reunited with their parents today, has been admitted publicly without shame. Vindictiveness. It is to scare immigrant and refugee alike so they don't come here. It is to bully them in order to make American liberals angry, because making liberals angry is an inherent good in right-wing ideology.

Meanwhile Europe is having its own problems with refugees, and right-wing movements who hate them. So no we do not have freedom of movement, at least not everywhere and not for everyone who needs it. And that means we haven't learned a few important lessons - all of which are relatively well contained and explained in the 1951 Convention documents.


It is long considered a fundamental human right to be able to flee danger

They are still able to flee danger, but they now need to wait in a detainment center while awaiting their hearing. This exists because only a tiny fraction of those released would actually go to their hearings, and most would stay here illegally.

Meanwhile Europe is having its own problems with refugees

You admit here that mass immigration causes issues. Well mass immigration has been occurring in the US for decades. We have over 10 _million_ illegal immigrants today. This is why trump's anti-immigration statements gained traction, because it was/is an issue here too, especially in the southern region of the US.


> Surely, unlike during WW2, we have enough freedom of movement that you can leave a place where genocide could occur at any moment?

I know you went for hyperbole, but ... refuges are not exactly wanted. Have a look at what life in refuge camps is, the issues and destabilization it brings.

There are genocides and atrocities going on now and last years. And it was not easy or possible for those people to leave. It was even less possible for many of those who left to actually build new lives.

And in any case, by the time of WWII Hitler was firmly in power. The time to prevent his atrocities was years before and atrocities happened because his party was not stopped 1918-1932.


Though the obvious answer is your family is Jewish and the right empowered Nazis, the ambiguity of your statement means your family could have been Nazis and the right empowered Americans. There are like thirty correct choices in this macabre madlib.


"when one side literally empowers those that executed my family in WW2, it is no longer a disagreement, but a fight for my life."

Oddly, Trump is the most staunchly Zionist / Pro-Jewish President in American history (of course, all for his own benefit, I don't think he actually cares about any of it.)

Literally his daughter, and most trusted advisor converted to Judaism.

Paradoxically, it's now the 'global left', particularly in Europe who have faced real and serious problems of anti-semitism. In the UK, the Labour Party has had to eject several members for anti-semitic views (not just anti-Israel) and had to embark on programs to remedy the situation.

"In October 2020, the UK's human rights watchdog found Labour to be "responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination"." [1] From the BBC no less!

Most of my childhood friends grew up behind the Iron Curtain (Ukraine, Poland, Czech) or in Communist nations like Vietnam, Cambodia, China. Many family members murdered, starved. My Uncle fled with his mother through a forest across the border, chased by soldiers to escape. Many Serbian/Croatian friends who's parents lived through a very special kind of hell.

Perhaps you can ask one of your workmates from Hong Kong what he thinks about 'Socialism With Chinese Characteristics'? [2]

Please don't let us assume that one person's history or clan's mortal enemies represent the 'big picture' of anything.

Trump is a 'thuggish businessman with authoritarian tendencies' - not actually an ideologue. The extreme views on either side are toxic and have quit a history of mass murder. If we want to compare 'Deaths Caused by Stalin/Mao vs. Hitler' that would be a futile effort I think.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are both fairly good representations of either side and they're both fine men, if you're having trouble grasping why most people would be ok with that statement, maybe spend some time in another part of the country (Utah?) and make some friends there.

[1] In October 2020, the UK's human rights watchdog found Labour to be "responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination".

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism_with_Chinese_charact...


Quite a lot of American liberals think Trump conned his supporters. Promised them factory jobs, didn't deliver, etc. It should be considered the other way around, that the populists saw him as a narcissist who would bully their enemies for the mere simple favor of adoration. Who was being conned?


Neither side empowers anyone who executed your family WW2. Where on earth did you get such a delusion? Are you trying to turn the “alternative facts” thing around? What a completely insane thing to suggest.


Did the Jews kill your family in WW2? Because Trump spent a lot of time pissing off Germany and cuddling up with Israel.


wow man, theres a lot tied up in here. First of all, "the jews" and "israelis" aren't the same thing. In fact, the nazis killed basically zero Israelis in the holocaust. Second of all, the modern state of Isreal under Bibi is essentially an right wing Jewish ethnostate that oppresses the Palestinian minority, and the majority of American Jews do not support the current Israeli government.


Lol, well it’s hard to take you seriously when the comment I replied to said that the right was literally empowering the same people that killed his family members. If Israelites don’t qualify as Jews then the alt-right certainly don’t come close to Nazis.


What the hell are you talking about. Israel was created after ww2 just for the jews mainly affected by the wars


...yes. How could you execute someone from a country that didn't exist yet?

To be more clear, the Jewish ethnic identity and the Israeli national identity aren't the same identity, and while there is overlap conflating them isn't insightful. OP was conflating them.


>We think it's the other side that's crazy, but we're all under the same spell.

In this case, one side is provably crazy, and the evidence from our intelligence agencies shows they are dangerous lunatics. The other side wants empathy, equality, science, and truth to rule the day.

I'm not sure how you can just hand-wave that away. Your comment is the same old "both sides" fallacy.


When you think like that, you've already lost.

Like, if you believe that all humans have rights and dignity, then you shouldn't be saying crap like that.

If you don't then how are you different from your enemies?


What you are saying is that GP's conclusion is impossible, and are thereby falling into the very trap you describe.


Describing your opponents as "provably crazy" is unlikely to provide a basis to make things better.


Denying that assertion the possibility of validity is unlikely to prove it false.


Is the provably crazy side the one you’re on? Because this is provably false.


Then prove it.


The two parties provide the opposing agendas which dominate, and the particular characteristics of each candidate are secondary.

Especially when neither party has much to offer the average citizen any more, they have built their strength traditionally on low voter turnout where extreme factions loudly broadcasting gradually become over-represented in the most polarizing way.

As cycles continue only the most polarizing issues drive the turnout, and for turnout to grow beyond a certain point the majority of the potential voters must perceive the other party as a more serious threat, when compared to any security offered by their own party which they (might) have chosen because they found it less offensive (maybe only in past cycles too).

The parties no longer need to have as much to offer the average citizen as cycles go on, when they can get contending turnout from their own extremists combined with orders of magnitude more sympathizers who can be convinced to strongly fear what the _other side_ could take away.

Seems like after a party has been around for longer than any living person, they will not get support by having more to offer average citizens than in previous cycles, only by taking less away from them.

So the average citizen hasn't had a positive outcome within reach for a while.

Now it's too late, these top candidates are realistically as youthful as you can get compared to the grand old parties themselves, and regardless of personal integrity or leadership style can not offer anything above that from the parties alone.

Even in the case of Trump's extreme personality, which the Democrats did not even try to nominate a candidate having that feature, so this element was as one-sided as you can get.

I saw agreement from both sides that a wet dishrag could defeat Trump if only 270 electors represent voters who just plain dislike or hate him. Conversely it was recognized Trump would win if he had merely 270 electors of voters who dislike or hate one or more of the current items on the Democratic party platform.

Neither strategy can offer anything to the majority of the citizens in the political middle, the true average citizen, since turnout has been driven by fear not opportunity.

Building a coalition from a carefully-crafted extreme attention-getting position, and pushing hard from there so the other side ends up below the 50 percent needed to be in power, has turned out to prevail over representing even the middle 50 percent of voters which is how it was supposed to be at a minimum.

So once the issues and/or personalities representing them have reached full polarity, 50 becomes more of a constant to be converged upon from afar rather than a starting point to build a majority from in both directions.

Resulting in half the voters who turn out, and half the politically centrist citizens (which is a much larger group by a variable multiple of active voters) who will always be dissatisfied and these are two different groups (but having significant overlap), the latter of which is the core of the majority that all parties are supposed to be treating as constituents.

But the core of the majority in the middle doesn't have a voice because they don't have any party which represents them any more, the parties are doing other things with the money and the concerns of centrist citizens are given lowest priority.

The party gets more votes over the long run by fear-mongering against the other side regardless of who the candidates are at the time, and only declining resources can be justified which might actually benefit the majority of citizens.

Problem is, the majority are voting against their own best interest because their own best interest has not been available for a number of cycles. Rather each side votes against what's perveived as the other's best interest instead, since that's the only thing at stake anyway.

So the majority of voters end up speaking for the entire population as designed, but all votes are cast against someone's best interest because the minority party is voting exactly the same as the majority in this regard.

So it's unanimous by both parties that as few of the average citizens as possible should have their best interest be served, and to redefine democracy in that direction can not be accomplished during a single cycle or maybe not even a single generation.

Ending up with the choice between a trustworthy Joe and a dishonest Don the thing that doesn't really matter to half the voters as much as it should.

It would probably help if there were parties which were younger than the candidates.



I'm not American but my non-political echo chambers have gotten quite political. Chess, Infosec, Atheism, philosophy, reddit, etc HATE trump for example. Then I have other echo chambers that tend to love Trump. Personally I'm neither side as I'm not American. I also enjoy looking at both sides and it's remarkable how different the viewpoints really are. The echo chambers worked exactly as expected, those places that hated trump only hear about things that are terrible about trump. Nothing negative about Biden at any point. Every single Gaffe by Biden was portrayed as completely fake as deepfakes or old footage dubbed over etc.

Generally speaking my echo chambers leaned anti-trump. The one thing I failed to find in the last 2 months is any actual discourse. There is absolutely no neutral viewpoints. There is absolutely no discussions between the 2 camps. The political divide in the USA is worse than I have ever seen it.

The perception I have, that wasn't a free and fair election. What's even more curious is that nobody seems to care. Ends justify the means. Which hey, I personally very much prefer Trump to lose. However, if healing the political divide is a goal, that's basically impossible now.


OK, so the transition from Make America Great Again slogan to Make America Decent Again (and Better) reality is inevitable and welcome. It is easy to get overjoyed by results of the U.S. Presidential Election (and some celebration certainly is in order).

Uniting the country is definitely a commendable goal, though it is easier said than done. The election results across all levels clearly illustrate just how divided and polarized this land is. Thus, it will take quite a lot of time and effort to see a reasonable progress on this front. We all can play our part in it by a polite and constructive dialog with opponents and first finding common ground on such pressing and all-encompassing issues as coronavirus pandemic, environmental protection, social justice and health care reform.

In the meantime, let us not forget that, in order to restore the heavily damaged moral fabric of this country, relevant measures should pass through the Congress. And while Democrats retain control of the House, the opposing party might retain control of the Senate. Which most certainly will lead to a significant gridlock in moving forward with the democratic and, in some cases, progressive agenda unless Democrats retake control in the Senate. Remember, winning a battle is not a guarantee for winning a war. That is why the U.S. Senate run-off elections in Georgia to be held on January 5 (https://georgia.gov/vote-2020-runoff-elections) are crucial.


Is there really any common ground?

My experience talking to the other side during this administration is that they are completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views. How do you debate with people who don't care about facts or reason?

In addition their leadership appears to be completely unwilling to act and good faith and the rank in file appear unwilling to hold them accountable for that fact.

I would love to be able to see some way to find common ground, but It seems to me that doing so would just be playing the sucker.


> Is there really any common ground?

Some policies, when detached from political partisanship, could be appreciated by voters on both sides.

For instance, for those who believe in human rights and social justice (a supposedly 'left' concern), there's good cause for opposition to China. In terms of jobs and national security, wresting some of China's high-tech manufacturing capability back within US borders would be a boon for employment across 'middle-America' (a supposedly 'right' concern). More importantly, I think both the concerns of human rights, and the employment of your fellow citizens, should not be a partisan issue.

I think most people want the world to be a better place to live, with better human rights, and a wage. Allowing China to gain leverage on the world, despite a track record of human rights abuses, and building a trade deficit with them, isn't really in the general voters interest.

And this is just one example. I'm sure there's more common ground if you look just at policy.


> More importantly, I think both the concerns of human rights, and the employment of your fellow citizens, should not be a partisan issue.

McConnel has already demonstrated that he will make it a partisan issue by ramming through a Supreme Court justice and recessing the Senate without even giving the appearance of considering a second round of COVID relief.

> And this is just one example. I'm sure there's more common ground if you look just at policy.

It won't force bad faith actors to cooperate, regardless of any common ground between voters because they, as the GP said, won't hold their politicians to account. Acting as the opposition even when they're in power is built into the party at this point, as demonstrated by the President's many legislative failures starting with the ACA repeal. It's just wishful thinking and I'm hoping enough people are done with the feel good woowoo.


You've missed my point entirely. I'm not talking about one legislator, I'm talking about an entire nation. At the end of the day, the one leverage you and I have over our policy-maker overlords, is the vote.

> It won't force bad faith actors to cooperate [..] as the GP said, won't hold their politicians to account.

The only way you can hold this belief, is to also believe that voting behaviour doesn't change over time, and that you don't have a part to play in that. What else could motivate you to speak with such passion if it were only futile?

> It's just wishful thinking and I'm hoping enough people are done with the feel good woowoo.

You miss every shot you don't take. A platitude, maybe, but also a falsifiable proposition, which is clearly true.

For instance, there's nothing magical about taking your vote to any of the independents with much better policies. Sure, their pitch for the white house is impossible, but they might make headway into the senate, and each % point that goes to an independent provides a signal to the established Red/Blue teams that maybe they should adopt some of those policies.

Nothing magical about organising with like-minded people, creating and crowd-funding a lobby group. Or even taking part of one that suits your interests.


There is bipartisan agreement that China needs to be confronted and contained. How it is accomplished may be debated, but that is tractable.

There is almost no agreement on the rest of the agenda, though. Democrats and leftists want green initiatives and universal healthcare, which both have zero support from Republicans. The leftist wing of the Democratic Party will be emboldened by their successes this election and will hijack the agenda, forcing America to smack the new administration (and Congress) back into doing nothing by putting in Republicans during the midterms.

Republicans have much more discipline as a party and will work to obstruct, because that's what wins them votes. Why should they cooperate with a party that spent the majority of the past four years trying to impeach a legitimately elected President? In fact, they might start a similar effort, because the saga of Biden's ne'er do well son Hunter has barely begun. Trump is not going away, neither is Steve Bannon. They have a lot more time on their hands to team up again, possibly bringing Donald Trump Jr. into the fold, to build a grassroots opposition campaign to stymie the Democrat agenda. Remember that Trump has already made the Republicans' long-sought wish of a Conservative Supreme Court (for almost a generation) a reality. He has also given the Republican party a good number of wins in the House (+5/6 for Republicans vs +1 for Democrats). So from their perspective, it may make sense to ride the Trump wave some more, because it has delivered for them.


I’ve seen the impeachment described as illegitimate somehow. It was political sure, no doubt about it. But he tried to use his office to coerce a foreign government to take down his political opponent. That should be a fireable offense. He only escaped it because of purely political defense.


The Obama administration used its office to take down a political opponent, on the basis of improbable claims of collusion with Russia, backed by an opposition research report funded by the Clinton campaign.

Is any of this good? Of course not. Both sides have been abusing their office in a similar way. I am struggling how people can get comfortable with “when my team does it it’s justified, but how does the other team dare to do it!”.


> The Obama administration used its office to take down a political opponent, on the basis of improbable claims of collusion with Russia, backed by an opposition research report funded by the Clinton campaign.

The opposition research was initialy funded by the RNC.


"on the basis of improbable claims of collusion with Russia"

Didn't Trump actually ask Russia to hack the democrats?


He made a very obvious joke at one of his rallies.


Right. When he does it, it's so "obviously" a joke. And yet something tells me he would have no problem accepting help from anyone, legally or otherwise, if he thought he wouldn't get caught. I submit that maybe there are some things that presidential candidates should not even joke about, because even the whiff of impropriety should be anathema to decent, serious people.


Just a coincidence that Russia then proceeded to do exactly what he asked for?


Nope


He literally said those exact words on live television.


For one thing, he literally didn’t. Prove me wrong.

Also, he figuratively didn’t.



Yeah, as I said.

You know this isn’t an actual sincere attempt to collude with Russia, right? People can’t seriously believe that’s what this is.

Not to mention, he was talking about Hillary’s lost emails, not hacking the democrats.


[flagged]


No, that didn’t happen. You’re very confused about the events.


Wow. We all saw it happen.


How do you reach a common ground with people who reject the evidence of their eyes and ears?


I would ask you this question. Let’s start by referencing the supposed incident in question. Where did your eyes/ears see and hear this?


You can't.


We absolutely didn’t. Show me if you know otherwise.


Please see nl's comment elsewhere in this thread.


This is at the level of people who claim they saw Sarah Palin say "I can see Russia from my house". If it really happened, and "we all saw it", it should be trivial for you to produce a video of Trump asking Russia to hack the Democrats.


Direct quote from Trump:

"Russia, if you are listening I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing."

https://youtu.be/-b71f2eYdTc?t=20

From https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-asked-russia-to-...


The emails under discussion were on Hilary Clinton's personal email server, and had been deleted. So the two questions you should ask are:

1) How would a hack, initiated after Trump's statement, find those emails - even in principle?

2) Even if we posit that such a hack was requested, how does that transmute into a request to "hack the Democrats"?


> Even if we posit that such a hack was requested

Which we do, and was the whole point

> how does that transmute into a request to "hack the Democrats"?

Hillary Clinton (the person under discussion) was the Democratic candidate for president at the time.


You still haven't answered how a hack could find deleted emails?


I'm not arguing that Trump knows anything about how hacking works at all.


1) You really think Trump understands that?

2) It's a direct request to hack the Democratic presidential candidate and party standard bearer.


> 2) It's a direct request to hack the Democratic presidential candidate and party standard bearer.

So if someone were to hack Trump's emails, do you think it would be an accurate statement to say that they "hacked the Republicans"?


While he was running for president as the candidate of the Republican party? Yes of course!

Does your argument really come down to trying to parse a difference between Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party?

I'd note the "hack the Democrats" was the OPs characterisation of what happened. If you'd prefer to claim that Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton I'm not going to try to argue that point.


I think "Trump asked the Russians to find Hillary Clinton's emails" is entirely uncontroversial. Saying he asked the Russians to "hack" the "Democrats" involves two inferences and seems like a statement designed to maximize discord. The Russians are not in Donald Trump's chain of command, there are other ways to find her emails than hacking, and Hillary Clinton is not "the Democrats".

This will be my last post on the topic because it reminds of the "blue dress/green dress" thing someone posted way up thread. I'm sure you're posting in good faith, and I assure you I am too, but it is just not at all obvious to me why someone would say "Donald Trump asked the Russians to hack the Democrats" instead of "Donald Trump asked the Russians to find Hillary Clinton's emails".


Not only that, but this is obvious political riffing.


Elsewhere you've asked people to prove that Trump made the statement, which people did. Please now prove that this was "obvious political riffing," whatever that means.


No, his statement, which was linked, was not in fact what the claim said.


Okay, he didn't say "the Democrats," he said Clinton's emails. Is that really better? Please prove he was joking.


He violated campaign finance laws, but there was not enough evidence to support the charge of misuse of office in a treasonous manner.

You may personally be convinced of the President's wrondoing, but to try a sitting President for what is a grave offense, there are much higher standards of evidence and procedure.

The whole impeachment was an exercise in power from day one, but Democrats made a huge fuss about a similar exercise in power by Trump: appointing a Justice t the Supreme Court in an election year. Both were actions that where the actors were entirely within their rights (The lower house has the right to impeach, and the upper house has the right to try the President; similarly, a President absolutely has the right to appoint a Justice of the Supreme Court for as long as he is President.), but the President made no bones about what the whole thing was, while the Democrats tried hard to couch their act in moral and ethical terms. Judging by the way the election went (razor thin margins at almost every level with 70+ million popular votes for Trump), the public were having none of it.


> You may personally be convinced of the President's wrondoing, but to try a sitting President for what is a grave offense, there are much higher standards of evidence and procedure.

Some of us remember the good old days when a (Democratic) president almost got impeached for lying about getting oral sex from an intern, so I'm not really convinced about your argument here.


nit: Nixon did not get impeached, but Clinton _did_ get impeached: he just wasn't convicted in the senate.

I agree with your point, still.


But he admitted to lying. That’s pretty rock solid evidence.


There are tapes of Trump sounding like a two-bit mobster. The GOP did not dispute the evidence, they just refused to convict because it wasn't "serious" enough.

If Trump had backed down that might have made sense, but instead it emboldened his lawlessness. We're now at the point where his undermining of the voting process is entirely expected and hardly even noteworthy.


What the fuck crime is “sounding like a two bit mobster”. Is that walking around saying “yous guys”?


[flagged]


Lol.


Disputing the vote and questioning results is very common in elections. Don't pretend like Trump is the first to do this, or the first to insinuate that fraud has influenced the result. It's pretty run-of-the-mill politicking. Here's Hillary doing the same thing, except she's blaming nefarious foreign actors instead of the local machine:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/18/hillary-clinton-tr...

The simple fact is that Hillary simply couldn't believe she was defeated, and did as much or more disputing of results. That doesn't make her an enemy of democracy, and neither does Donald Trump's caterwauling. But if you read the recent news reporting or watched the current President-elect's speeches, you would think that the very foundations of Democracy are shaken. Utter hogwash.


It was not campaign finance laws that’s incorrect. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Donald_Trump?wp... Charges were abuse of power and obstruction of investigation. That Democrats were itching to impeach him doesn’t change the reality that he abused his office to advance his own political interests.


I'm aware of what the charges were. I'm referring to the original investigation of Muller's that had these findings.


We will never know whether any of Trump's wrongdoing rises to the level necessary to convict, because the Senate decided not to call any witnesses or subpoena any documents.


I think the Supreme Court Justice issue is way more complicated than that. When going down the nuclear option, both Reid and McConnell knew this was going to happen, it was just a matter of who ended up on top.

There was always going to be a scramble for one side to change the rules, get a leg up, and pull the ladder up behind them. I suppose that's endemic to a 2-party system, but that's what happens when hard-earned consensus is destroyed. Not blaming Dems/GOP here, I'm just saying this was the inevitable consequence and it's more complicated than you're letting on.


> Why should they cooperate with a party that spent the majority of the past four years trying to impeach a legitimately elected President?

What does the legitimacy of his election have to do with anything?


> Why should they cooperate with a party that spent the majority of the past four years trying to impeach a legitimately elected President?

Because effective government of the country depends on that, or them not having the votes to matter.

Also, the impeachment power presupposes that anyone subjected to it will hold office legitimately but be abusing that office; someone who does not legally hold office doesn't need to be impeached, as their pretense of exercising the authority of the office is a legal nullity.


Impeachment was intended to be used in the context of an elected president. It's kind of the point.


> hijack the agenda

Please elaborate on what you perceive as 'hijacking the agenda'.


Biden is pretty centrist and is not willing to go for universal healthcare, whereas the Bernie side of the spectrum explicitly campaigned for this. That's one of the examples.


A very clear majority of Americans support universal healthcare every time they are polled about it. This isn’t the radical agenda that you seem to be claiming it to be, it’s about bringing the US system to be closer in line with what every other first world nation has already had for decades.

[1] https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2...


A majority of Americans also reject tax increases on their incomes, and this program is very expensive: A majority Republicans and Republican-leaning voters reject the notion that the Government should provide overall coverage. Roughly 37% overall do not want this at all.

Interestingly, Pew only asked the question of what the public wants, but not how much things cost and how they will be paid for. As always, the devil is in the details: Roughly 53% do not support raising income taxes on incomes above 250,000!

It's clear that when we are asked whether we want something and then also asked if we want to pay for it via higher taxes, we have balked. Ultimately, if folks are not willing to pay for something, they can't have it! And if they are unwilling to pay for something, they're effectively saying they don't want it.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/09/27/more-americ...


"Why should they cooperate with a party that spent the majority of the past four years trying to impeach a legitimately elected President"

This is some very Fox Newsish spin. Trump was impeached because he commited a crime worthy of impeachment. He actually did about 10.


They can tackle it in other ways. US government can setup hospitals and employ doctors. It can be free of cost. Build more nuclear plants, no one from the right will oppose it.


Yes, there is a ton of common ground with 99% of the people on the "other" side, whichever side that is from you.

If one big problem facing U.S. politics right now is that everything is distilled down to a binary either-or with no room for nuance, its sibling problem is assuming that everyone on the "other side" from you is the same, i.e. that the crazy extremist you see on TV is a prototypical example of everyone in that group. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.


That's what I used to believe, but these aren't people I see on TV, these are people I actually spoke to. When they ignored the facts I asked them what facts would change their mind and was told point blank that there were no facts that would change their mind.

I don't see how you can engage with that.


You engage by not going in with the intent to change a person's mind. Instead, you go in with the intent to understand their position. Just because someone's conclusion seems ridiculous or wrong doesn't mean there aren't underlying facts that, when seen from a certain perspective, and with a certain context, make that conclusion seem reasonable.

There are real, legitimate, reasons why Trump voters believe what they believe. That many get caught up in the rhetoric of their "side" or don't know how to have a discussion with a goal other than "win" doesn't mean they don't see real problems that are urgent and important problems that need to be fixed.

Empathize first, argue second.


Their "facts" include gems like pedophilia rings run out of nonexistent basements below pizza shops, the Q-anon conspiracy (Trump's going to take down the evil cabal any day now!), and millions of illegal voters and criminals around every corner. Zero evidence for any of it. These aren't fringe views as many of us can attest to - this is crap millions have to listen to every day coming from their closest friends and family.

Two decades ago the Republican party acted as a bulwark against rapid change and as the yin in the yin-yang of individual vs collective. Not no more; we don't have another two decades for our education system to bring us back from the brink.


I honestly think that if Biden does nothing else, engineering an environment where people accept basic common facts has to be somewhere at the start of it. As you say, once your base facts about reality differ there's really no hope for reconciliation about things at a higher level than that. And for all the healthy spirit of "both-sides-ism" in this thread, I will put it out there that there is one side that has egregiously allowed it and its supporters to become detached from reality. Note I'm not talking about "bias" here which both sides certainly exhibit, but concrete basic verifiable facts of reality. I really don't see how much can be achieved if we can't repair that. And as much as I want to encourage a new spirit of unity, I fear that if that becomes an excuse to not confront this problem, then it will actually just make things worse.


I agree. I don't think the vast majority of conservatives are intransigent, just so emotional wrapped up in their beliefs that they're completely unable to distinguish fact from fiction. I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened to the party that Barry Goldwater referenced in this prediction: "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them." It's not a coincidence that the qanon conspiracy is chock full of rhetoric about satanic rituals either.

> And as much as I want to encourage a new spirit of unity, I fear that if that becomes an excuse to not confront this problem, then it will actually just make things worse.

Here's why I have absolutely zero faith that a spirit of unity will work: this "situation" has been festering since the founding of this nation and every time "unity" prevailed, the can was just kicked down the road. We wanted "All men are created equal" and got the 3/5ths compromise. We tried to save the Union, only to give up on Reconstruction before it could even really begin while institutionalizing slavery in the 13th amendment. Instead of letting general Sherman raze the south, we paid for their rebuild on the backs of "free" African Americans and let them institute Jim Crow laws to continue the oppression. When the Civil Rights movement and desegregation finally came home to roost, it caused the biggest political realignment in this country's history taking us up to this point.

We wanted the best, but it turned out like always.


The best way I’ve heard this described is that we are all part of a book club that meets every four years to talk about the book we read.

Some show up to discuss a book they didn’t read, others show up having read a completely different book than the other half.

We have no common ground anymore. Everything is inherently political or can be made political.

It’s somewhat of a surreal game you can play. Name something not political.


Nothing demonstrates more the acceptance of basic facts than pretending, when launching a campaign, that it is motivated by Trump calling white supremacists “fine people” when anyone can look at the transcript of that speech and see that a few lines below Trump explicitly condemns white supremacists.

It is unfortunate but lying openly about facts has become the only common ground in US politics, and so many people seem to be completely blind to the lies of their own camp.


I completely agree with you. I have winced about that being thrown at Trump ever since the incident - I think it was horrendously poor wording, but it was actually him in his own way attempting to unify people.

However at the same time I want to clarify that I'm talking here about a level of facts even more basic than that. That is still an interpretation of what he said but at least he said it. We have an even deeper problem right now where people believe things that are completely totally untrue. Things that are provably not true without any need to bring any interpretation into it.

For example, how do we have a reasonable discussion about how to fix social justice if one side believes most of Portland has been taken over by anarchists burning cars and smashing windows of every shop and the other things it's a peaceful hippie commune covering a block and a half? Somewhere in there is an objective truth. If we can't get to that, we're never going to have a productive discussion about the underlying problems.


He didn't call whites supremacists white people, if you listen to the rest of the sentence, he was referring to the protesters from BOTH sides that they are fine people. And then said that he condemns neo Nazis and white supremacists. I only came across this this morning btw, and I too believed he really did call them fine people.. EDIT: watch this whole thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmaZR8E12bs


What’s really unfortunate is you get downvoted for pointing out a fact. Probably by people who complain that the right won’t accept facts.


Are you able to please link to the transcript?


https://www.politifact.com/article/2019/apr/26/context-trump...

"you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. [...] And you had people -- and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists -- because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly."


You're quoting the second interview Trump gave about Charlottesville[1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25019361


He's not off to a good start. It's not even a "fact" that he is president elect yet.


What president in modern history has waited for the electoral college vote to make a victory speech? Given that Trump isn't likely to ever concede, I'm not sure what he's supposed to wait for, besides all the networks calling it. (Which they were very cautious in doing, waiting until PA was clearly out of reach.)


I suspect you're lying because Pew research shows the vast majority of Republicans don't even know what QAnon is. More Democrats know about QAnon than Republicans (28% vs 18%).

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/30/qanons-cons...

Your kind of rhetoric is what's dividing people.


I'm lying about my personal experience with my family?

18% of Republicans is at least ten million people, if not tens of millions, which is an order of magnitude more than I thought. Pizzagate and the illegal voters was the party line from Fox including Hannity and Carlson and is easily accessible with a [whatever you prefer] search.

The time for rhetoric and comity was a year ago when COVID didn't kill hundreds of thousands. Now is the time for action.


That is a ridiculous argument to be honest. 100% of Americans have heard of Nazism. Does that mean 100% of Americans are Nazis? By your logic, more Democrats are QAnon believers (28%).


Fair point, but the Democrats aren't the ones literally espousing Qanon and Nazi rhetoric. The number is somewhere in the middle, enough so that all the major networks utter the name on a regular basis.


I just did a Google search for QAnon for Tucker and Fox News. The news on QAnon are labeled under "conspiracy" on foxnews.com. I see no promotion of the QAnon theory anywhere.


I didn't say that Tucker/Carlson/Fox promoted qanon (I referenced them in the context of pizzagate/illegal votes), I implied that some Republicans did, far in excess of their opposites.

For what it's worth, AFAIK qanon has only been mentioned/displayed in passing on Fox [1] and while I haven't been on Fox specifically, I've never been prepped or had my wardrobe reviewed on other national broadcasters' programs so I assume they don't exert editorial control either. I'm too tired to do a deep dive for pizzagate so I will admit I may be confusing it with the Seth Rich conspiracy. It's hard to keep track this deep into the abyss.

[1] https://www.mediamatters.org/qanon-conspiracy-theory/definit...


Qanon is just todays Dominionists. The democrats tried to push the same dangerous "other" group back when palin/mccain were running.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/dominioni...

The democrats love to trot this out, the fringe group that somehow is a massive threat. Meanwhile they act suspiciously silent about the riots we had with BLM, which caused actual and serious damage. Not much about Philadelphia at all.


Looking at the survey it asks "How much, if anything, have you heard or read about QAnon?" I'd be interested to see how many are aware of QAnon conspiracy theories but don't necessarily know the origin.


I bet more Trump voters believe QAnon is real than Biden voters.


You bet? How very scientific of you.


Do you believe otherwise? It's very clearly the case; the whole QAnon conspiracy theory is built around Trump being some kind of savior and democrats being a ring of child molesters. Of course it's believed by more Trump than Biden supporters. That doesn't mean the majority of them believe it of course, but some high profile ones certainly do, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is now a member of congress.


This approach right here is why things are getting worse.

Do you know Tylenol can cause horrible death where you have all your skin fall off and veins explode? Do you talk about this when you have take that simple medication?

Try to find common ground. See what you can work together on, see what you can agree upon, rather than point to the most stupid and extreme points of the other side and giving up completely or ignoring all their concerns.


> Try to find common ground. See what you can work together on, see what you can agree upon, rather than point to the most stupid and extreme points of the other side and giving up completely or ignoring all their concerns.

They're not even the most extreme, that's why there's no common ground! The most extreme would be the honest to goodness neo-nazis like the ones marching through Charleston a few years ago, several other flavors of white supremacists and "nationalists" like the NatCons and Bugaloo Boys, religious extremists like Pence, their crazier brother the dominionists like Bill Bar, and outright authoritarians (all of the above).

I'm all for finding common ground, but I don't care for the liberals putting in the extra effort anymore, just to have bad faith actors take advantage of it. It's time for the conservatives to "find common ground" by getting their house in order. Get rid of the Nazis, get rid of the supremacists, get rid of the extremists, and undo all the damage that Barry Goldwater predicted the preachers would do.


While this view is potentially applicable to the party as a whole. I still maintain that the best way to engage with an individual is to try to understand, from their perspective, why they've come to the conclusion they've come to. Even when they say there's nothing to understand. Even for those with extreme, reprehensible views. You can understamd without agreeing, but it takes effort to fight down the "cast out the evil other side" feeling that is super easy to fall into.

Most people aren't that one-dimensional, even when they've wrapped themselves up in a one-dimensonal identity. There is nuance and context to how each person arrives at the conclusions they do, even when they'd struggle to explain or remember it.

If you refuse to empathize, you're making things worse.


You definitely won’t find common ground if you think the Republicans accept or even tolerate Nazis and white supremacists. They have about as much to do with them as the democrats have to do with the KKK (which was started by democrats).


When I say "facts", I don't mean the politically charged "facts" that people argue with. I mean the ones about their life experiences that led them to the dark place they find themselves in. You don't exit the womb a neo-nazi, you get there over time, through (bad) experience, and (questionable) learning. If you can't answer the "why do they believe what they do?" with a genuine, i.e. not rhetoric, not othering, answer, you don't have the facts.

There are truly horrible people out there, but the vast majority of people that voted Trump are normal people with boring everyday lives. Treating every individual in that group like its extremists serves only to divide and polarize. It makes the problem worse. IF your goal is to effect positive change, you need to take a different approach. However, if you goal is to feel superior and good and like you're "on the right team", feel free to keep hating.


Trying to understand first is futile when there is no good faith way to see 'real, legitimate, reasons ... believe what they believe'

Th 'rhetoric they get caught up in' is so wildly insane it's like looking at a falling apple. Except half would go wow look at that gravity! the other half would say, oh that's a secret sign from Q about an underground pedophilic sex ring funded by selling pizza.

that may seem like an extreme example, but part of my state elected a CONGRESSWOMEN who believes this.

I can't attempt to understand first - because it's absolutely bonkers and detached from reality.

And that's just one of the more extreme examples I could spend all night typing more


> when there is no good faith way to see 'real, legitimate, reasons ... believe what they believe'

That's exactly my point. There is. It's not impossible to come to understand the life experiences that led a person into a dark place where they feel attacked and choose to wrap themselves in fantasy to feel empowered.

> I can't attempt to understand first

While it may make you feel good and superior to reject these people outright, by refusing to do so, you become part of the problem.

> And that's just one of the more extreme examples I could spend all night typing more

I can't stress this enough: WHAT they believe is basically irrelevant to my point. If your response to what I say involves "extreme examples", you've missed (accidentally, or purposefully) my point.


> Just because someone's conclusion seems ridiculous or wrong doesn't mean there aren't underlying facts that, when seen from a certain perspective, and with a certain context, make that conclusion seem reasonable.

What about things like taxes where it’s all cold hard math? There’s no nuance when a poor or middle class person thinks they need to worry about (for example) an inheritance tax.


There is nuance for why a person who, in practice doesn't need to worry, thinks they need to. Why does that scare them? Why does it motivate them? Why is it so important to them?

This can, and will, vary subtly from individual to individual, and unless you're spending millions on TV airtime, you're only interacting with individuals.


Who you tax and what you spend tax revenues on is entirely based on a point of view. Calculating taxes is cold hard math, but deciding taxation and spending policies is not.


Yeah, but I mean the type of people that think accepting a raise will mean less money in their pocket because they’ll be in a higher tax bracket.

There’s a some people are just flat out wrong and need to be told so.


I did. It didn't get me anywhere. Let me explain why:

Most of the people in my extended family are right-wing Republican Mormons.

They believe that anything that could be labeled "socialism" is literally evil, and will literally lead to the "destruction" of our country, because Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture said so, and they literally believe that man was a prophet of God.

I'm not exaggerating here.

A significant portion of these people get their news from Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Glen Beck. They might be a little wrong once in a while, but for the most part, these are "smart men" who "know what's going on behind the curtain".

A significant portion of those people actually believe QAnon. Hell, we have congresspeople who believe that conspiracy theory.

So how did they get there?

They are in a cult. I'm not going to pull any punches: Mormonism is thoroughly falsifiable. It insulates its members from the faith-destroying facts about its history.

Cults work. The belief these people have is so deeply heartfelt that they refuse to even consider the possibility they might be wrong.

Cult members have a lot of practice. If they can ignore reality to preserve their religious faith, they can reject reality to defend their political ideology.

Cult members are vulnerable. Anyone who convinces a cult member that they promote the cult can manipulate most cult members into supporting them.

I know my perspective is only a small part of America, but everything I know about Trump's political base has the same hallmarks. Cults are not a small or isolated problem in America.

I have tried to appeal to them with the overtly socialist agenda of New Testament Jesus. That simply isn't the deity they worship. Most American Christians worship Supply Side Jesus. Conservatism has become a deep-rooted part of their personal ideology.

There are no underlying facts. There is instead underlying fiction. There is no reasoning these people out of their delusion.


> It didn't get me anywhere.

Where were you trying to get to?

> They believe that anything that could be labeled "socialism" is literally evil, and will literally lead to the "destruction" of our country, because Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture said so, and they literally believe that man was a prophet of God.

What qualifies (to each of them) as "socialism"? What kind of "destruction" will befall the country, and when? It sounds like they want to protect something. What is that something? Why is it important to them?

> A significant portion of these people get their news from Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Glen Beck. They might be a little wrong once in a while, but for the most part, these are "smart men" who "know what's going on behind the curtain".

So? Why do they want these people to be right? What part of their value structure make these comfortable conclusions for them?

> [Stuff about cults]

Cults are a terrible thing, no argument here.

> There are no underlying facts.

Of course there are, you've stated some of them here. I don't means the "facts" of rhetoric, I mean the facts about their lives.

Several people have responded to me and explained how "ridiculous" the things the things these people believe are. Which misses my point entirely.

> Conservatism has become a deep-rooted part of their personal ideology.

Why? This is a question whose answer can, and will vary subtly from individual to individual. People aren't robots, and beliefs don't have an off switch. A dozen people can believe the same thing for different reasons and to different degrees. Others will say they believe something, while actually only believing that they should say they do for some other, unsaid reason. Yet others still will think they believe something, but certain experiences might unmask the cognitive dissonance within.

People are complicated bundles of personal history, not mannequins with an R or D sticker on them.


> > It didn't get me anywhere.

> Where were you trying to get to?

Does that really matter when the distance traveled is zero?

You said earlier:

> You engage by not going in with the intent to change a person's mind. Instead, you go in with the intent to understand their position.

Having done the latter (I was in the very same position only a few years ago), I was trying to do the former.

> What qualifies (to each of them) as "socialism"? What kind of "destruction" will befall the country, and when? It sounds like they want to protect something. What is that something? Why is it important to them?

Anything that can be labeled Socialism. Single payer healthcare. Higher taxes for anyone, including billionaires. Minimum wage.

> What kind of "destruction" will befall the country, and when?

It doesn't really get less vague than that. This is where belief in a cult's narrative gets abused by the right-wing political narrative. For Mormons, it's the "Second Coming of Jesus Christ".

There is actually a significant intersection with the right-wing political narrative and the Mormon one. His name was Ezra Taft Benson. He was Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture, then the President of and Prophet for The LDS Church. He preached that God himself was against communism and socialism. He called the Civil Rights movement a "Tool of Communist Deception".

> It sounds like they want to protect something. What is that something?

The status quo. The world as a reflection of their ideology. Their delusion. The Republican Party. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

> Why is it important to them?

Cults demand importance. They are told constantly that if the world doesn't reflect their ideology that society will literally fall apart. They are taught in Mormonism that all throughout history, God himself felled cities like Sodom and Gomorrah because the people became "prideful and immoral" and refused to listen to the warning of Prophets. They are told by right-wing talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Glen Beck, etc. that our society is losing its moral footing, and that anyone who thinks differently is stupid and malignant.

> > [Stuff about cults]

> Cults are a terrible thing, no argument here.

The stuff about cults is vitally important. It informs a pattern of thinking that is open to abuse. That is the root of the problem here. The stuff about cults cannot be separated from the rest.

> > There are no underlying facts.

> Of course there are, you've stated some of them here. I don't means the "facts" of rhetoric, I mean the facts about their lives.

What these people believe to be facts about their lives have no basis in reality. The very foundation of these alleged facts is rhetoric.

> > Conservatism has become a deep-rooted part of their personal ideology.

> Why? This is a question whose answer can, and will vary subtly from individual to individual. People aren't robots, and beliefs don't have an off switch. A dozen people can believe the same thing for different reasons and to different degrees. Others will say they believe something, while actually only believing that they should say they do for some other, unsaid reason. Yet others still will think they believe something, but certain experiences might unmask the cognitive dissonance within.

Why? Because they are in a cult. Their personal ideology has literally been replaced by external narratives. They do differ on small details (rejecting what they personally know to be false), but the greater picture is always the same.

> People are complicated bundles of personal history, not mannequins with an R or D sticker on them.

Well, that's how it should be. Unfortunately, many are convinced that being a mannequin with an R next to their name makes them an excellent political candidate, and that anyone with a D next to their name is an evil socialist actively destroying our society. Does it make sense? No. It's not about sense. It's about keeping everything in line with the ideological and cult narratives.


Sure, I don't disagree with you on that point at all - but for every 1 of those there are 10 (100? 1000? more?) who aren't like that but who, given what was effectively a binary choice, voted the same way that they did.

The die-hard (blind) fanatics on either end of the spectrum don't make a big enough group to win an election, but the assumption that they are representative of everyone in that group is incorrect and - maybe more important - counterproductive.


Indeed, how does one have a serious discussion with someone that refuses to acknowledge 2+2=4 because they "believe" the answer is 5.


Consider if they knew which facts would change their mind, their mind would already be changed.

You have to get to know their values before you can figure out what would work.


[flagged]


Ah yes, admit you don't know someone and then draw a caricature of them and post the comment. This is a good faith argument!


I was open about the fact that I don't know them - but you can tell a lot about them from their comment.


I don't see how that can be the case when nearly 50 percent of the country still supported Trump despite Biden running on a centrism and reconciliation platform. If this matchup wasn't enough to get Republicans to cross the aisle then I'm not sure I believe that anything is.


It's pretty obvious that the democrats failed to demonstrate that their goals were rather close to the center of the spectrum: Down-ballot, the Dems did worse than Biden, and I suspect that the statistics will show a lot of split ballots.

Both on foxnews and on WaPo, there were more news about the more leftist actors. Bernie, AOC, etc. The Dems did not manage to show that these are not the mainstream democratic goals.

The pictures of rioters, combined with "defund the police" scared a lot of people, and if you start out skeptical, you might not look close enough that this doesn't mean "get rid of the police", but "descope the police, let them do their job, and find other people to do the things which are not their job".


> It's pretty obvious that the democrats failed to demonstrate that their goals were rather close to the center of the spectrum

tldr; Republicans did not even attempted to demonstrate that their goals were rather close to the center of the spectrum. Why is that the democrats are supposed to reach to center both when they won and loose?

I don't think so. When you are closed in right wing bubble, Biden is hardcore socialist, nearly progressive communist about to destroy American capitalism. Literally. He is also sleepy Joe in clear early stage of dementia. This has zero to do with what democrats demonstrated. This is made up, because making it up is good for "our side". It does not matter what Biden is or demonstrates.

Frankly, it is like relationship with narcissist. Dont let him/her gaslight you into thinking you are at fault for whatever was done to you. It is overall unfair and biased toward right wing. You dont fix relationship with narcissist by going out of your way further and further trying to prove made up accusations are false. It does not work, the middle just shifts constantly and abuse just escalates.

Republicans did not demonstrated the Trump along people he appointed, proud boys are not what the party is. You want left to stop pursuing their own policy goals, with threat that right wing will go crazy if they dont. But that is abusive logic, right wing is responsible for right wing does. And left wing is responsible for left wing does.


Trunp didn't, but many other Republicans did. Or let me phrase it a different way: The Democrats made it stick that the right wing fringe = Trump, but they didn't make it stick for down-ballot races. It was the other way around for the Republicans, I think.

So you can either take your ball and go home, or you can try to pierce the bubble. Hoping for them to come out of the bubble on their own seems pointless.


I do agree with ball analogy, but disagree that it has anything to do with trying to move further and further to the right to accommodate people who don't listen to you.


> It's pretty obvious that the democrats failed to demonstrate that their goals were rather close to the center of the spectrum

IMHO this is just something people say to push Democrats to the center and then further and further right ... because the evidence shows that the current Republican party won't support any Democratic policy, basically.

These folks we're talking about will not be convinced by anything.

It's not an honest argument.


If you read closely, you will notice that I do not make an argument that the Democrats should be more centrist, but that their strategy was to be centrist, and that they failed to sell it as such. That leaves to options for the future: Not be so centrist, because you can't sell it anyway, or be centrist, but actually sell it. But being centrist and looking leftist seems like a lose-lose, whether you prefer a more leftist or more centrist approach.

That being said, it might be interesting to look at Germany, where Merkel moved the CDU left from a center/right position to the center. This secured the CDU a rather long stretch in power, essentially spelled doom for the center/left SPD, but also gave rise to a more hard-left Die Linke and, worse, an ultra-right AfD, whicht started as a conservative party, but essentially was taken over by neo-nazis.


I may have misread your previous comment -- thank you for the clarification.

I do agree with you that it's tricky to try to sell being centrist when you are not, and, in some ways, better to just be out-and-out left.

TBH I'm not sure Biden really tried to sell himself as something he is not. He's been pretty clear about wanting to address systemic racism, the green new deal, a science-based response to covid, valuing international coalitions, etc.

If anything I'm kind of anticipating him walking back his pledges on those things when in office. Though I hope not.

Let's also bear in mind though that, while we can armchair-quarterback, his strategy succeeded.

I think the question of if moving to a more aggressively Progressive agenda would bring in voters hungry for change who are otherwise turned off by Democrats, or if moving more to the center to bring in voters turned off by a more Progressive agenda, is an extremely vexed question to which I have no answer.

That is interesting about Germany though.

And at the end of the day my own belief is that we are living in a time of change, and that it's important to offer policies I believe to be right (mainly Progressive policies) to address that change.

Or otherwise the void will be filled, as you pointed out about Germany, by something else.

At the same time we haven't seen that approach be successful on a national level in US politics yet. So I don't know.

Curious what your thoughts are.


I do think Biden stayed true to what he believes. I think he might not have pushed the green new deal so hard by himself, maybe. My point is this: For somebody sympathetic to the Democrats, Biden appears as a rather centrist person. He isn't advocating for abolishing private health-insurance for example. But if you ask a Republican voter (not even a Trumpist), I'm not sure they would say the same. Or they believe that the party would force him to be more left.

I'm not so sure with regard to the votes. 2016, yes, I believe many people on the left were not happy with Clinton and did not vote. This time, we had record vote participation, and I believe that's from both sides, so the result should reflect the true political will in America. It's likely that the coasts would prefer a more progressive candidate, but I think on average, the US is somewhere between Biden and Romney.

I like the picture of the pendulum. While Obama was quite centrist, the USA made great advances in personal liberties. Gay marriage and so on. The world was changing too fast for many. Or they felt that their problems weren't in the focus as much, or at all. So the pendulum swung back, and we had Trump. We need to dampen the swinging to make steady progress, and I think Biden might be good at that, maybe especially because of his age.

Personally, I am somewhat wary of some of the more progressive ideas. I'm not a big fan of single-payer healthcare, seeing the results in England. I generally think that a market-run system is better than a government-run, but that markets need firm rules set by the government. ACA was pretty good, but long term, America has to get away from the employment-coupled insurances. And covering preexisting conditions necessarily means mandate (or mandate through the backdoor).


> It's likely that the coasts would prefer a more progressive candidate, but I think on average, the US is somewhere between Biden and Romney.

You might be right. Let's also bear in mind, though, that even with all the people voting this year that's still I think less than half of all eligible voters.

Other countries which have national voting holidays or making voting mandatory (which tbh I kind of like; you're a citizen, it's your duty, you can go vote for no one but goddamnit you have to vote) see much higher turnout.

This means that votes alone don't currently present an entirely accurate picture of the view of the country.

There is also the vote surpression which is nontrivial and hard to measure. Probably not a massive difference but perhaps more than a tiny one.

Lastly I'm actually not a fan of Biden's age. I'd like to see more politicians under the age of 50.

By the way although I'm sharing my disagreements I thought your comments were thoughtful and insightful and appreciate our conversation : ).


I, too, enjoyed our discussion. Thoughtful exchange with people who are not of the same opinion is so much more rewarding than the echo chambers we often find ourselves in.

It would be quite interesting to hear from those not voting why they didn't vote. My suspicion is that these people would almost never vote, or maybe only vote for so extremely perfect candidates that it's just not realistic. But yeah, maybe there is a large group of people who would vote if the candidate would just be a little bit more progressive. But honestly, in a situation like this, with the knowledge of the last four years, I just can't understand why you wouldn't vote, at least if you are left of center.

I also cannot understand why election day isn't on a Sunday, or a holiday. It should be the highest holiday the US has. Any democracy has, actually.

Biden is also somewhat too old for my taste, but no candidate is perfect. Age does bring experience though, and he has long-lasting relationships with people on both sides of the aisle. That will help. Personally, I really liked Buttigieg, and I'm happy to see that he'll like have a role in the Biden administration.


> He's been pretty clear about wanting to address systemic racism, the green new deal, a science-based response to covid, valuing international coalitions, etc.

Those are all standard centrist neoliberal goals - aside from the green new deal, which Biden already explicitly said won’t be anything nearly as radical as what AOC/Bernie were shilling.


All of which, even if inadequate are better goals than the dark authoritarian visions of the far-right : ).

Systemic racism has been danced around by centrists until now.

And yeah I agree we have to wait and see what the Biden administration actually does.

But as a Progressive I'm heartened because now there's an opportunity for Progressives to push the Biden administration. With Trump, there was zero chance of that.

As the FDR quote goes, "You’ve convinced me. Now go out and make me do it."

I don't think any Progressives have idealistic visions of a Biden administration. What they are hoping for is a degree of influence and an opportunity to exert political pressure or leverage.

Which is how politics is : )


> He's been pretty clear about wanting to address systemic racism

In case folks haven’t clued in yet, using this phrase is probably the single most important contributor to why the democrats almost lost the election and lost so many seats. The house is absolutely going red in 2022 if they don’t clue in and drop the identity politics nonsense. There is no “systemic” racism, and this is an unnecessarily divisive narrative.


The really interesting thing is that when Democratic platform proposals are on the ballot, they pass even in red states.

For example, this year Florida voted for Trump by 2% AND a $15 minimum wage by 20 points.

The actual policy is extremely popular, but if a Democratic politician brings it up it just gets labelled socialism.


It's funny, because if you talk about gun control, most Republicans think the same thing about Democrats. The difference being they've been burned over and over by compromise and the fact once something is passed it never gets reviewed or sunset for relevance.

It cuts both ways. People disagree, and where they disagree is the most likely place for both sides to hold the other side to account for previous behavior.

It's part of why I was so disgusted about fast tracking the Supreme Court nomination after McConnell set a precedent the Presidency before.

In terms of game theory it just cemented that the other side couldn't be trusted.


This is very inaccurate, and seems to be a misunderstanding among the “defund the police” democrats. And that’s precisely the problem.


What I don't understand is, Bernie is painted as this rabid socialist, but what are his positions that people don't actually like? He wants single-payer healthcare. So do most Americans. (And as a Canadian I can tell you, it sure is nice not having to worry about cost every time I need to visit the doctor, or if I were to have an accident and need to go to the hospital.) If not that, then what?


For one thing, people don’t like the impossible price tag associated with his ideas. They don’t like throwing good money after bad. They are in fear of having their life depend on a system that might function similar to other organizations like the DMV or the VA or USCIS. And generally speaking, if you have insurance, quality of care is much better than Canada. So even compassionate people who understand why it’s a problem for people who can’t afford care still have some reluctance to an irreversible commitment that carries so much risk. It’s purely rational on their part, and it’s hard to criticize people for acting rationally.


I'm not sure it's actually true that the quality of care is much better than Canada. The one negative I see to the Canadian system is that it's true people can wait months for elective (but still very important) surgeries like joint replacements. It's not true, as some propaganda states, that we wait months to see the doctor, can't get prescriptions, or die in the hallways of hospitals waiting for a room. In fact we can go to any walk-in clinic when we need to see a doctor, or to any hospital when we have an emergency, and be seen without an appointment. (You can also make an appointment with your family doctor if it's non-urgent). To me that seems far superior to having to choose from those covered by your insurance, and then sometimes being unsure of what will be the cost to you until after the fact.

I will agree with you that the standard of care for those with the best insurance in the US is probably better than the Canadian system. But the standard of care here is still very good, and even as someone who could afford that good insurance, I wouldn't want to switch. Also, the US already spends more public money on healthcare than Canada does per capita despite not having single payer, so it appears there's a lot of efficiency to be gained.

Edit: please don't down vote my parent in disagreement. They answered my question in good faith and helped illuminate that viewpoint. Shouldn't be punished for that.


I have a lot of exposure to both countries systems, including close people with chronic and terminal illnesses, major and minor surgeries, etc. And yes there’s a reason that it’s not rare for wealthy Canadians come to the US for medical treatment.

Regardless, I’m answering the question that was asked. You didn’t ask which health care system is better, you asked what people don’t like about Bernie’s policies. I’m attempting to offer some clarity into why people hold those positions. And do keep in mind that even if governments in other countries manage to run a decent health care system, that does very little to boost the confidence of opponents that the US government will be equally as functional in their implementation, or how long it will take them to sort it out. They have provided too many examples of poorly run institutions for some people to just disregard.

But your question wasn’t only about health care. When I say impossible price tag, I mean everything:

https://berniesanders.com/issues/how-does-bernie-pay-his-maj...


Thanks, those are fair points; I do appreciate the thorough answer to my question. And for what it's worth, I'm Canadian, but I'm pretty happy with the moderate dealmaker Biden as the eventual nominee (and President-elect). I agree with you that given the existing situation, a public option as opposed to a complete replacement of the existing system is a more realistic path to providing healthcare to everyone, with less room for catastrophic error. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that even that will happen now, but who knows.

As for the rest, some aspects of it do look a bit unrealistic to me. Others look ambitious but morally right, and something I'd like to see up here too, like a real focus on basic housing as a universal right, and a corresponding push to end homelessness. Regardless, you did help me see the opposing point of view; thanks.


> people don’t like the impossible price tag associated with his ideas.

The US government spends more on healthcare than many single payer systems, and has worse outcomes.


This fact doesn’t change the price of what he has been proposing. Also, I wasn’t only referring to health care. He has a lot of ideas. Free college, guaranteed free housing for all, medical debt and student debt forgiveness for all, free child care for all, increased social security, etc.


Nordic countries say hi! Those are all standard over here. We pay more taxes yes but we don't have to worry about the extra costs of the above, so it's a clear (to me) net win.


It's an impossible pricetag only because we don't tax the rich.

Billionaires have taken $50 trillion from the poor and middle class. The poor and middle class are afraid of taxes because they have nothing left to give.


No, they haven’t. When you order snacks from Amazon, Bezos isn’t “taking” your money. You’re giving it to him.


What's the difference?

Poor and middle class Americans are afraid of higher taxes because they don't have enough money.

Where did all the money go? To 400 billionaires.

50 of them now control as much wealth as the poorest 165 million Americans.

Tens of millions of Americans are in poverty, and what do we do about it? Pray to Bill Gates? Jeff Bezos?

What do I have to convince them to give their wealth to me?

Tens of millions of Americans are in poverty. 10% of Americans hold 70% of wealth, and they are all getting richer. Their income comes either from the rest of us or from inflation.


You’re misinformed. Wealth is not zero-sum.


When I hear single-payer healthcare, I don't think about the Canadian system, but the English system, which is terrible, compared to the quality of care you get in Germany, or most people get in the US.

Which brings me to another reality: Most people in the US have access to a very good healthcare standard. It's not so much that they don't want all people to have that, but they do wonder if that requires a complete change of system for them.


So, I don't know much about the English system, but I do know the NHS is very popular in England. Are you sure it's actually terrible? Or could there be an element of the same propaganda I see in the US about the Canadian system, like people waiting months to see a doctor, etc.?


It its more fair (no two classes like in Germany), and that's why it's well liked, but it's chronically under-funded. For example: https://www.physiciansweekly.com/elective-surgery-ban-for-sm...

Waiting times: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711192/ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50397856


"defund the police" means "defund the police", it is a clear and unambiguous sentence. If you mean "let the police do their job", don't run on "defund the police". It's not that people didn't look close enough at the slogans (and by the way we have seen many cities actually defund their police depts so it doesn't help the idea that the slogan means anything else).

I don't think that Biden himself holds leftist views but he also did nothing to distance himself from this fringe, and if he is not neutralised by a republican senate, I think there is a legitimate concern that he will be held hostage by the left wing of the democratic party and apply many of those policies (not the least because Kamala Harris would if he steps down for health reasons).


I think many people are still failing to see the real split.

The split is not "Democrat VS Republican". That always was a bit of an artificial construct, at least within my living memory.

There would be debates, at the end everyone would shake hands and life went on. Nothing substantially changed in policy. Bush said XX, did some stuff, Obama said XX, did pretty much the same stuff and on it went.

But then people got sick of that game.

The left wanted real change. Not forced payments to insurance companies for health care while corporations went right on doing what they do. Real action on climate. Real addresses to the problems of generational poverty and race issues instead of a few token figures and some talk.

The right also wanted real change. An end to globalist policies. An end to unfettered immigration. And an end to meaningless foreign wars (which the left also should have been in on but for some reason were not so much). Judges that would uphold their religious values. And they managed to elect a president that actually started to do some of this much to the dismay of the old guard of both parties.

So now here we are.

The Joe Bidens and Mitt Romneys of the world think they can put Humpty Dumpty back together again and it will be back to business as usual, a few drone strikes, some trade deals and big companies growing ever more powerful. But I suspect not this time. If Biden actually is certified and elected I think he will greatly disappoint the left and the more radical wing will become increasingly hostile. Meanwhile the right, believing the election to be stolen by "communists" through voter fraud will become increasingly conspiracy minded. None of this is a recipe for reconciliation.

My feeling is we need to move beyond facile political posturing and step back and take a hard look at globalism, at nationalism, at the role of federal governments.

We can't deny globalism is here. It's not going away. Capital and information and product and even jobs are going to cross borders. There are many issues we can only solve globally. But if it's not done in a way that protects the livelihoods, dignity, traditions, cultural preferences and aspirational wishes of people there are going to be problems, and probably even bloodshed. People must get most of what they want or at least feel it's possible.

The "right" and the "left" as they are commonly understood in the US are not as far apart in this as it first appears. They both feel they are engaged in a struggle against oppression and for human freedom.

The alarming part is, in order to maintain order (and of course the system which much chug along) the paranoia about authoritarianism from both sides might be realized soon enough.


It’s possible that many Republicans did cross the aisle, just like many Democrats (such as myself) did so as well.


>It’s possible that many Republicans did cross the aisle, just like many Democrats (such as myself) did so as well.

It's possible. But the numbers don't bear this out.

In every state that was close where Biden won, his margin of victory was less than the number of votes that Jo Jorgensen (the Libertarian candidate) received.

That tells me that enough R-types were disgusted enough with Trump that they voted Libertarian for President and R for everyone else.

Check out the numbers for yourself[0]. Just click on each state and it will break down the vote totals for each candidate. And in every. single. case. the margin of victory for Biden is less than the number of votes received by Jo Jorgensen.

[0] https://abcnews.go.com/Elections/2020-us-presidential-electi...


Jo under performed Gary Johnson from 2016, so I do not believe your correlation is very valid

In Some States, Like Nevada, the number of people that choose "NONE OF THESE CANDIDATES" for president more or less matches the number of people that voted for Jo...

Further an over all Analysis shows there were almost as many Split Biden votes, as there were Split Trump Votes

This idea that "3rd party spoils the election" or changes the election has been dis-proven often, as absent the 3rd choice most people that vote 3rd party simply do not vote at all, or choose no one in that particular race (which is an option most people for get, you do not have to pick a person in every race on a ballot, blank is a valid choice)


Biden’s position on gun control, combined with Kamala Harris, is what did it for many of the republicans I know.


The history of how gun control came to become such a sharp and reliable wedge issue is well worth understanding. It's a relatively recent thing.

Something I've found worth thinking when I hear that, to paraphrase a random sentiment you might hear, "Democrats need to understand that people need to feel secure, that's why gun control matters" is this: who is telling these people that they should be scared?


> who is telling these people that they should be scared?

Life in general? If you have an idea that this country is safe, then great! But the reality is it’s not, not for many. And to take someone’s method of defense because you can’t see a reason why doesn’t do well for relations. And as the sibling post here said, the left hasn’t tried to understand guns enough to enact gun control that doesn’t sound laughable.


Again, this comes back to an underlying message people are being sold. Two, actually. The first is "It is reasonable to expect to need to defend yourself with lethal force, and a gun is a reasonable tool for doing so." The second is "Feeling the need to defend yourself such that it is a day-to-day concern is a reasonable social position."

People will vote on fear before they'll vote on the abject failure of social policy that creates situations where that fear might be justified. That's just how humans are wired: we're not rational. It shouldn't be a matter of taking someone's means of defense, it's trying to address why they feel they need it in the first place. But even then, guns just aren't a particularly good investment if what you want to do is successfully defend yourself from crime. The stats just don't bear it out. So again, who is telling people that they should have one? Who does it suit for large amounts of people to believe that this specific form of mitigation makes sense?

Unfortunately, gun control is such a hot-button issue that it's actually outside the Overton window for an entire political faction. If you bring it up at all, even if you're talking about meta-issues like this, the conversation tends to shut down instantly. This is why the response is always "the Dems need to understand" not "the Republicans need to propose." The fear it represents, and the self-image that any conversation around it challenges, are so fundamental that attempting to approach it from any direction is seen as a personal attack. Again, this is not accidental; it is worth understanding when and how this happened, and who was involved in it.


Well the other side of the second amendment, and one the left shuts down when it's brought up, is protection from government. Then there's the idea of militia's. Both of these are also reasons for people to have the "scary black rifles" in their house, and a central idea to the 2A. So add these to the questions: "Is it reasonable to believe the US may need a militia", "Is it reasonable to force citizen to provide this militia", "Will the US gov ever violate human rights such that the citizens of the US would have to defend themselves against this gov".

Then lets also consider that when you talk about self defense, and the possible loss of life, should we be forced to play the "just enough" game with defensive force? Who exactly likes gambling with their life?


To the first questions, you do have a point, those are questions that are worth asking. And it all hinges on "which government?", "is the militia well-regulated?", "is it feasible to constitute a modern militia such that it could realistically resist modern state forces?" and so on. Randomly scattering black guns into people's bedroom wardrobes does not a militia make, so if a militia is what we want, what are the processes we need to go through in addition to providing the tools to make sure that such an organisation could be effective if it was needed? What would the command structure look like? Training? Membership eligibility? And not incidentally, how does it avoid being classed as a terrorist organisation from the moment it breaks cover, rather than a constitutionally relevant political body? All that's in the mix. And that's a reasonable set of questions to pose. I don't have the answers to many of them, but critically, that's not how the second amendment is politically framed today. The prevailing interpretation of the second amendment is in support of individual rights, not collective. And again, that is an intentional framing created by specific people for a specific purpose.

> Then lets also consider that when you talk about self defense, and the possible loss of life, should we be forced to play the "just enough" game with defensive force? Who exactly likes gambling with their life?

That's exactly the situation in most of the West. It's just not normal to have to expect to be both in a life-threatening situation, and for the correct response on your part be to kill someone. That's a social and governmental failure right there.


> Randomly scattering black guns into people's bedroom wardrobes does not a militia make

Actually it does, and in some countries this is required by law. Here is the definition of militia: "An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers."

This is a last resort army, and in fact every able body citizen able to take up arms is already a "member".

And what will training do? If you train someone crazy who wants to kill people, this doesn't take their desire to kill people away does it? Dems keep leaning on that training as if it's a silver bullet but in reality it will do nothing. The democratic politicians holding, how come they've never been seen at a range if training is so important? This sounds like the dems saying everybody but them needs some training again. Not likely to get traction.

> organisation

organization

> That's exactly the situation in most of the West. It's just not normal to have to expect to be both in a life-threatening situation, and for the correct response on your part be to kill someone. That's a social and governmental failure right there.

What west? The US? or the Western US? This is pure opinion. It may not be normal for you, but every California politician has a conceal carry permit. Some 500k lawyers do as well. It very much is normal, just not for you.


To this end, the terror that was Donald Trump should have made this clear to the us generally on the left.


> Life in general? If you have an idea that this country is safe, then great

This is literally the safest period in American history when it comes to crimes, especially violent crimes.


One serious look at Feinstein and other's proposed legislation is enough to convince every gun owner I know that Democrats don't know the first thing about guns.

We need reform, not absurd threats to ban AR-15's while keeping Mini-14's. Not arbitrary tax stamps and wait times for suppressors and short barrel rifles.

I personally haven't seen gun control legislation proposed in America that isn't totally laughable. It's a deep-rooted thorn in the foot of progressive American politics.


And the underlying problem is that gun owners are populous enough that this objection is a serious political blockage. Why do so many Americans own guns? Who is telling them that this is reasonable, desirable, necessary? In most developed countries, gun control is a political footnote. Why is it different in the US?


> Who is telling them that this is reasonable, desirable, necessary?

Is it unreasonable undesirable or unnecessary?

I disagree. Guns are tools. Guns are toys.

The overwhelming majority of firearm use is safe and recreational.

Gun ownership is not correlated with gun violence[1].

The problem with guns isn't that there are a lot of them. The problem is that they are, in very rare cases, used to do serious harm.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_Sta...


> Is it unreasonable undesirable or unnecessary?

In the context of self-defense... yes? It's just not a very good return on investment.

> I disagree. Guns are tools. Guns are toys.

> The overwhelming majority of firearm use is safe and recreational.

Right, so that's the other half of gun owners, who don't say they have a gun for self-protection, which wasn't the context of this thread. That's fine, though.

> Gun ownership is not correlated with gun violence[1].

I mean, it clearly is. You get less gun violence in countries where there are fewer gun owners. That's trivially true. And you'll have to forgive my cynicism, but I can't take wikipedia seriously as a reference on this topic. It's too well-funded a concern for that page not to be pulled in every direction under the sun.

> The problem with guns isn't that there are a lot of them. The problem is that they are, in very rare cases, used to do serious harm.

The CDC says 39,740 firearm deaths in 2018. Four or five weeks of COVID, at that rate. Whether that counts as "very rare" is subjective, I suppose. That's the cheap bit, though: because the US seems to have a congenital inability to prevent people from going bankrupt over medical bills, you've also got to factor in the same again (to a tolerable approximation) in hospitalisations, according to the NIH.

At some point you've got to look at that situation and think "Is the fun of making things go pop worth it?"

It's not just the direct harm. In supporting a culture that normalises making things go pop for fun, you get an extensive infrastructure that also benefits people who end up being a serious problem. Yes, that includes school shootings which, yes, are rare, but they're also fairly unique to the US in scale and regularity. Saying "they're rare" doesn't absolve anyone of the need to question why that is, or what can be done to make them less lethal. They make headlines - or used to; they're frequent enough now that they're less news-worthy, which in itself points to a really deep issue - out of proportion to the number of people directly affected because of the combination of the innocence of youth and the extremity of the violence, but now all the schools need to have active-shooter drills because, as a society, the behaviour of the US shows us that it prefers making things go pop to making kids safe.


Look at gun deaths per 100000 in MX. Guns are very controlled in that country, you can only own a 22LR or a 38 revolver. Gun deaths are still right on par with the US. And of those quoted 39k deaths, 13k of the were homicide, with suicide taking the majority.

> At some point you've got to look at that situation and think "Is the fun of making things go pop worth it?"

So again, you are taking your opinion and projecting it onto others. You may think removing guns solves gun crimes. Mexico stands blatantly against that. You may think violence stops when guns disappear, then you see knife and other brutal attacks. You are stating you don't need them, so nobody else does. The second you the victim of some violent crime, or lose a family member you'll change your tune, as you see tons of democrats doing now.


Guns are notoriously out of control in Mexico. That's part of their problem. But it's interesting that you would pick a country with a long-running inter-cartel drug war, rampant police corruption, extremely weak enforcement, and less than a quarter the average household income as somehow directly being comparable to the US. The more remarkable question we should be asking is, with all that going on, how on earth is the US struggling to do any better than Mexico?

Try that comparison with literally any of the other G7 nations.

> You may think removing guns solves gun crimes. Mexico stands blatantly against that.

No, what Mexico shows is that gun control legislation is pointless if you can't enforce it. I'm not arguing that gun control legislation alone is some panacea; that would be absurd. It needs to have teeth.

> You may think violence stops when guns disappear, then you see knife and other brutal attacks.

Yep. That's a reasonable tradeoff. Apart from anything else, it means the police can de-escalate themselves from assuming that they might get shot during any encounter to assuming that if they don't get close enough to get stabbed, they're less likely to be in immediate danger. That's a good thing.

> The second you the victim of some violent crime, or lose a family member you'll change your tune

It seems reasonable to you that your position requires me to undergo an experience so traumatic as to prevent rational thought? Think I'll pass.


> Guns are notoriously out of control in Mexico.

How did it get this way? There's laws in place to prevent it. Buying an AR in MX is impossible. How do they get in the country? They should be stopped at the border. Just like hard drugs should be stopped when coming across the US border. Proof that even import controls don't work. We're also in the age of 3d printing and home fabrication. Guns are not going to disappear from criminals hands, only law abiding citizens.

> But it's interesting that you would pick a country with a long-running inter-cartel drug war, rampant police corruption, extremely weak enforcement, and less than a quarter the average household income as somehow directly being comparable to the US.

So two questions here, how did it get corrupt in the first place? What has stopped corruption in the US? If the Mexican citizens wish to end this corruption, how can they? I'm going to disregard the poverty claim because it's just senseless to imply poor people are violent.

> The more remarkable question we should be asking is, with all that going on, how on earth is the US struggling to do any better than Mexico?

Great question! Perhaps violence is just as out of control here as in Mexico?

> No, what Mexico shows is that gun control legislation is pointless if you can't enforce it. I'm not arguing that gun control legislation alone is some panacea; that would be absurd. It needs to have teeth.

What does the legislation having "teeth" entail?

> Apart from anything else, it means the police can de-escalate themselves from assuming that they might get shot during any encounter to assuming that if they don't get close enough to get stabbed, they're less likely to be in immediate danger. That's a good thing.

So then if the police are overly violent, or if they were to take control, then what? Wasn't a majority of the left just rioting over police being too violent? You want to throw your trust entirely into the hope that they are sane?

> It seems reasonable to you that your position requires me to undergo an experience so traumatic as to prevent rational thought? Think I'll pass.

How is the desire to defend one's self irrational? This just seems like pure opinion, and slightly scary. Again, for those in immediate danger how do they defend themselves? You clearly lack experience in any traumatic event, and are now running around saying that because of your lack of experience, nobody should be able to defend themselves with firearms. Really?


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Where is the abolishment of private healthcare? Universal basic income? Election reform?

Centrism is always a relative concept. Just because the right wing has radicalized over the past 30-40 years doesn't mean the left can't also radicalized, moving centrism to different places


Biden was running as a centrist?! That's news to me.


Biden's branding during the primaries revolved around not being as extreme as candidates like Sanders and Warren. Then during the election his branding predominantly revolved around healing America's partisan divides. He was definitely running as a centrist.


I know right, he is definitely on the right in the political spectrum.

The left or even centre-left has never been in power in the US and probably never will.


What positions has he taken that you view as extreme?


That's what most of the Republican voters I know said.

The GOP has gone so far right that "centrist" is unrecognizable.


Politics here stopped being about policy so now it's just a very unproductive culture war battlefield. Absolutely nothing will ever be achieved in that state.

There are enough policies that both sides overwhelmingly support to keep this congress busy - marijuana legalization being the lowest hanging fruit from what I can see. Some kind of a federal minimum wage hike is another one.


I assume by "both sides" you mean both sides in the citizenry, not both sides in congress.


>Yes, there is a ton of common ground

What's an example of some common ground you see, and very roughly how does it happen? For example, we all agree that X is bad, so we will pass a bill to do Y.

Obviously, that example is hypothetical. Any common ground will not involve legislation as the explicitly stated and (very successfully practiced for 6 years) position of one party is a hard-stop on any legislative cooperation.


> What's an example of some common ground you see

Consider pretty much any issue and there is big fat core of common ground, but typically the debate is around how to best address that issue - what is the best approach, do we tackle this problem now or do we tackle that other problem first, will this path lead to bad unintended consequences, etc.

Immigration. Most people have a pretty favorable view of immigration and immigrants - pretty much everyone has an immigrant story in their background. The debate is more on the requirements to be let in, especially in cases where there is an established legal process and someone doesn't follow that process.

Taxes. Few people want to pay more than is needed. Everyone wants taxation to be fair. It's not hard to get people to admit that they see a lot of good can come from the proper use of taxes. The debate is more about tax rates, where taxes should be spent, etc.

Abortion. A huge majority of Americans do not like the idea of completely restriction-free abortions and quite a few people have concerns that, pre-birth, that thing inside the mother is a person to some degree or another. Simultaneously a huge majority of Americans do not like the idea of the government exerting control and getting involved in people's lives any more than it should.

Gun control, the economy, national defense, education, the climate. It goes on and on - name any issue and there's a ton of common ground. For people who are interested in progress and solving problems, it's ripe with opportunity.


> Immigration. Most people have a pretty favorable view of immigration and immigrants - pretty much everyone has an immigrant story in their background. The debate is more on the requirements to be let in, especially in cases where there is an established legal process and someone doesn't follow that process.

I used to think this, but after speaking with trump supporters over the last few years (consisting of both friendships IRL as well as inflammatory people online) I'm hearing more and more the rhetoric that immigrants are just bad - keep the foreigners out


Ok, well, anecdotally I'm hearing the opposite. :) Everyone I talk to recognizes the value of immigration generally and is focused entirely on illegal immigration.


I'm not just sharing anecdotes. Trump cut the number of refugees admitted to 18k in 2016, from 110k the year before. The focus is absolutely not just on curbing illegal immigrants, but also on limiting viable legal options.


So if the US immigration policy became "everyone seeking to immigrate gets a visa, pending a quick background check", they would be OK with such a policy? If the argument is just to end illegal immigration, then make all immigration legal. Otherwise, the problem is not just they're coming across the border without dotting i's and crossing t's. It's something else about immigration.


Most of the people in camps on the southern border are seeking asylum. That is an established legal process.

Nonetheless these people were demonized and subject to family separations and lesser cruelties.


Not everyone thinks that!


This may be a surprise, but there is 'Common Ground' on almost all of the issues, even the most difficult, like abortion.

85% of Americans believe there is racism in America. If it were not political, reform in the prison system could absolutely be achieved.

The vast majority of Americans would accept reforms to Healthcare if each law were not hugely politicized. For example, some Republican voters accept or reject literally the same policy when it's presented by different sides of the aisle.

Americans would overwhelmingly accept some kind of Amnesty for children of migrants, and 'some kind' of program for others if - on the other side of the aisle - there were serious reforms and enhancements to ensure border integrity. Any attempt to offer amnesty would probably be weaponized by Republicans and Fox for political points.

The majority of Americans believe that fetus/babies that are viable in the 3rd trimester (i.e. could be born premature) should not be up for abortion. But that 'the day of conception' isn't really tantamount to life. But the extremists won't allow for any common ground.

Even on business tax, income tax - if you actually put numbers together, there are plans that are very popular, but rejected by one radical side or another.

Left wing Governor Cuomo, and Far Left Wing Mayor Deblasio pushed hard for the Amazon deal for NYC, but AOC et. al. really pushed to kill it even though the majority of her constituents (ever people of colour) wanted it. Amazons investment in NYC, while controversial, was quite popular - but killed by more radical voices.

Popular political systems tend to promote and highlight the more extreme views, this is amplified in the press with arguing talking heads.

AOC, Donald Trump get huge attention for the loud, bombastic, contrarian positions they take. In politics 'attention' is everything, that's their currency. They are not incented to 'govern well' they are incented to 'get >50% of the votes' which they do so by making a lot of noise, and spinning everything their opponents do against them.

It takes a lot of maturity, a lot of credibility in systems to get away from that.

Go ahead and have a look at the politics of Germany, they have some English language sites. They have some actual Nazis over there, and yet, somehow, the news and debate is still deftly boring. It's really amazing. Angela Merkel, possibly my favorite politician, has to be the most 'opposite' to Donald Trump imaginable. Coalition governments have a lot to do with that as well.


> Coalition governments have a lot to do with that as well.

There are people who argue that the US presidential system is inherently unstable compared to parliamentary systems:

https://newrepublic.com/article/130028/americas-presidential...


> This may be a surprise, but there is 'Common Ground' on almost all of the issues, even the most difficult, like abortion.

There's no middle ground on abortion when there's a number of people that won't even accept the abortion of a fetus that is already dead. There's no middle ground when a significant number of people believe that a fetus should have the same legal protections as a human, so any abortion is murder and make no exceptions for rape, incest, or even when the pregnancy is threatening the life of the mother.

> Americans would overwhelmingly accept some kind of Amnesty for children of migrants

Eh not really. I know this is merely anecdata, but I personally know someone who firmly believes that an immigrant overstaying their visa has committed a crime, is now a criminal, and they (and their family) need to be deported immediately.


"There's no middle ground on abortion when there's a number of people that won't even accept the abortion of a fetus that is already dead."

You're missing my argument here.

You are highlighting an example of an 'extremist' view - this doesn't in any way indicate there is 'no common' ground.

Maybe own views on abortion might have triggered you to miss this (?) and that there are extremists on the 'other end of the spectrum' - there are those who believe that a baby, near the point of being born, possibly even 'past due' is merely a 'fetus' and should have no rights.

3rd trimester abortions are quite rare, but they do exist and there are some who push for them.

The point is that abortion, which is a really difficult moral issue with extremism on either side, actually does have a huge common ground.

The vast majority of Americans, outside of hyperbole, would essentially accept 'early abortions' as fairly unambiguously acceptable. Beyond that, it would be more contentious.

The 'hard anti-abortion' camp would obviously not like that, and the 'hard fetus is only a fetus' camp would be livid that there were restrictions on later abortions.

But the 'centre ground' would hold, at least in terms of popular acceptance.

Of course it won't happen because the 'far sides' war with each other on it. We may, over decades, arrive at some kind of result that looks like that, we mostly already have.

"I personally know someone who firmly believes that an immigrant overstaying their visa has committed a crime, is now a criminal, and they (and their family) need to be deported immediately."

Again - this kind of misses the 'centre ground' argument.

That you know someone who thinks 'any overstay should be aborted' only indicates that there are people who feel strongly about it.

It says nothing about the 'common ground'.

Here is the evidence [1]. Even a majority of Republicans support DACA.

I'd encourage everyone to spend a lot of time in Pew Research, it's amazing. There are a lot of surveys in there with respect to so many issues that one might find surprising.

It is frankly Pew Research that has made be understand how much common ground their is, and my OP is really based on quite some time perusing that data - I should have probably referred to it - but on every one if the issues I highlighted, there's Pew data to support it.

Here's some data on policing [2]

[1] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/06/17/americans-b...

[2] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/06/05/a-month-bef...


Okay, I think I see your point now. Basically, the extremes will never be pleased, but solutions exist that will please the majority of the population.


> If one big problem facing U.S. politics right now is that everything is distilled down to a binary either-or with no room for nuance, its sibling problem is assuming that everyone on the "other side" from you is the same, i.e. that the crazy extremist you see on TV is a prototypical example of everyone in that group. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

This is why I’m an independent. The quicker people realize the solution isn’t blue or red, but instead in the middle, the quicker we can actually resolve issues.


I resisted associating with a party for a long time, but Trump changed that. I was legitimately afraid for my family, who were at the time green card holders from a Muslim-majority country.

Trump tried to cancel green cards, along with other visas, without any warning a week after his inauguration. People who had lived, worked, paid taxes in the United States for years and followed every legal process were nonetheless stranded away from their homes and families.

That was really the point of no return. Trump supporters are the enemy; no reconciliation is possible.


They are the enemy because they are trying to protect jobs at home? Which country do you come from? How difficult is it for a US citizen to become a full citizen? Is it as easy as what you’re asking for here? Do you think that by having a green card you are taking a job from someone here?

I’m sorry but the idea that a political opponent is an “enemy” is just childish. If your country is trying to kill you then apply for political asylum, otherwise realize a great majority of people here think you have side channeled your way into this country.


I am and was a US citizen. All US citizens are full citizens; we don't have second class citizens here.

There is a legitimate way to debate immigration policy. It's the intentional infliction of cruelty and dehumanization that makes this situation irreconcilable, not any desire to change policy.


Notice you didn't answer any of my questions.


> My experience talking to the other side during this administration is that they are completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views.

This absolutely goes both ways; that is the biggest problem.


Absolutely not equivalent. Find me a liberal police captain who’s calling for Trump supporters to be shot in the head: https://abc3340.com/news/local/alabama-police-chief-on-socia...


One of the most destructive trends in recent political discourse is the tendency to seek out the worst, rather than the best, arguments from the opposing side.

Instead of engaging with articles from The National Review or Mother Jones, we just dunk on the most outrageous morons and trolls we can scour on Twitter or Reddit.


Yup, this is exactly the problem with modern politics. Take the absolute worst of the other side and project it to all of them. You like Republicans? You can't be anything other than a neo nazi racist white supremacist extremist. You leaning left? Then you have to be a communist shill who wants to tax every remotely financially successful person to death and take all liberties away from everyone ever. It's really tiring.


This argument would have more weight if "the worst" was rightfully repudiated by Republicans instead of reelection, pardons, denialism, or blistering conspiracy theories. There are outrageous acts on both sides but only the Left consistently calls out the missteps of their own.


Like the riots?


You mean the property damage and looting that was repeatedly repudiated by the left, as GP pointed out? Yes.


it wasnt though


This is just lazy. It took sub-1 second to google for this information.

"However, after George Floyd’s death, Joe Biden repeatedly condemned violent protests. In a May 31 post on his blog shortly after George Floyd’s death, he wrote, “Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not.”"

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-biden-condemn-v...


yeah right. because the narrative the past 6 months was definitely that Biden didn't want them to riot.


Those are words, but that is not a coherent statement.


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Can you provide some evidence for this (somewhat implausible) theory?

Rich Americans never like poor people rioting, regardless of their political leanings.

It would be very odd if this were to change, so I'd really like to see some evidence.


If you don't understand how riots under donald trump help biden then you need serious help


That's not evidence. And it does appear that they didn't actually help Biden.


oh really? So this election had historic turnout and Biden more votes than anyone else in history because they had no effect? historically red states switching to blue?

you don't think that the dem's loved people rioting in the streets because of racism while Trump was president (hint, they like it more than they would if it was under them!)

cmon man


Not sure what you’re referring to. Failing to condemn white supremacists? That’s a talking point which is more about taking Trump’s erratic speech patterns out of context than it is a reflection of his actual statements or personal views. https://youtu.be/RGrHF-su9v8


So no, you can't find a liberal police captain who’s calling for Trump supporters to be shot in the head, can you?


Why should he/she? That has nothing to do with the generality of “talking to the other side”.

If you just want extremism, just pick some random Antifa post supporting “the killing of fascist police”.


> That has nothing to do with the generality of “talking to the other side”.

It has everything to do with it. You should ask the question why does a police chief want to put bullets in Biden supporters?

If you have such people in the police then can you understand why someone in Antifa supports “the killing of fascist police”?


If intransigence is justified by any violent idiocy among the opposition, we will have mass intransigence indefinitely.

We cannot reasonably ask for peaceful daytime demonstrations to be considered separately from after-sundown looting and arson if we aren't willing to make likewise considerations.


The difference is that the police captain can shoot you and me and get away with it.


If you go hunting for extreme examples then you'll certainly find them, on every side.

Or perhaps we should stop cherry-picking the extremes as representative of all the people.


On the contrary, this type of "both side-ism" is exactly what sabotages honest discussion. The sides are not anywhere near equal in their willingness to use violence to achieve their means.

One side has leftists rioting in the streets and looting storefronts. The other side has conservatives plowing their cars through liberal protestors at full speed and murdering them.

One side has leftists setting police cars on fire. The other side has conservatives plotting to kidnap and/or murder mayors and governors.

One side has leftists throwing milkshakes at so-called "independent journalists". The other side has political candidates bodyslamming real journalists.


No, it's the concept of "sides" that sabotages honest discussion. It's just extremists who are very loud and amplified by others. They do not represent the majority in the middle.

There is no group with better humans. It's a failure of context, nuance and understanding if you think so.


Exactly. Side-ism — or the uncritical oversimplification of the complexity that is American politics and American demographics - is about as useful as racism. Honestly, what’s it good for?


No there absolute is: it's the side which hasn't ongoingly and repeatedly attempted to murder members of the other.

Property is not lives, and your "but the middle!" is meaningless: the middle if it exists is a group of people going "well, someone's dead, but also what about that vacant Wendy's?"


There may be no group with better humans, but ideologies can be better or worse.


"Ideologies" are just as bad as "sides".

Nobody really thinks that way. Better to discuss individual policies which will show that the vast majority of people comprise a complex mix of perspectives.


I'm not going to engage with you in this violence score-keeping exercise, but I will say that it should be apparent to anyone capable of popping their media bubble that you are cherry-picking.


You're always free to show us examples of leftists plowing their cars into conservative protesters.



> One side has leftists setting police cars on fire. The other side has conservatives plotting to kidnap and/or murder mayors and governors.

There were also assassination attempts from the other side:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Congressional_baseball_sh...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Donald_Trump_Las_Vegas_ra...


The first one is a good example. The second one is about a mentally ill British man whose "assassination attempt" never had any chance of success.

Should we count as political violence the plot to kill Barack Obama with a "death ray"? I think there's a distinction to be drawn between political violence and crazy people being crazy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_incidents_involving_B...

Interestingly, reading the pages you linked and dredging up the Death Ray link induced me to notice that (1) the previous shooting of a Congressperson was by a right-wing terrorist, and (2) that page about Obama recounts something like 6 very real plots to kill him mixed in among a bunch of variously mentally ill people being delusional. I think it's pretty clear which way the wind blows here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Tucson_shooting


One loud, crazy voice doesn't represent the majority.


Normally I'd agree, but in this case, the loud crazy voice is often Trump himself.


She is not alone.


While you found one crazy person...

How about the high level democrats literally creating a list of "Trump Supporters" with the express purpose of "ejecting them from polite society" aka canceling them socially, and economically,


Goodness me. I hate talking politics but let's not make the mistake of getting into false equivalency.

The Trump presidency has gathered a cesspool of supporters and sycophants who:

1. Have at best maintained prosperity and growth (mostly by keeping interest rates low and patching economic holes with deregulations and/or short-term protectionist policies). The BBC(1) had a nice collection of charts showing -- essentially -- that the rate of change in the well-being of the economy did not deviate when Trump took office.

2. Have increased spending and absolutely ballooned our national debt (see "short-term" policies) (2). While I do not mind spending money to solve structural economic problems (automation removing jobs, the transition from polluting industries to cleaner ones), much of the funding went to solve problems the Trump administration created themselves!

3. Have absolutely demonstrated a complete dearth of moral and ethical values. This is an absolute killer in my book. From forcibly creating orphans (3) or allowing an enemy state to promote the hunting of American soldiers, it's clear that the administration has no moral qualms regarding their actions.

When it comes to COVID, the United States has a per capita COVID death rate that is insanely disproportionate when compared with other developed countries. The US has a per capita COVID death rate that is 66x Japan, 18x Australia, and almost 6x Germany. While the rallying cry has been, "But saving the economy is more important than saving lives!", this is absolutely unsupported by data. The delta in GDP between the end of Q1 and the end of Q3 is roughly a loss of 9% in the United States (5). In Germany, that same period of time resulted only in a loss of 2.5% (6). The willful spread of lies and misinformation have caused much death not only in the United States, but in many other countries which historically have looked towards the United States as being a bastion of truth and information. Trump and his cronies have enabled many other leaders around the world by normalizing an unethical and immoral response to a crisis.

Beyond the reduction of some federal taxes (which has admittedly saved me some money) and a stronger stance against IP theft (which I think is better for the United States but perhaps worse for the world), I struggle to come up with cases in which the Trump administration has improved America, the American people, or society as a whole in any meaningful manner.

For four years, Trump and his assembled cohort causing a regression in American ethics, integrity, world standing, and education. They have done this intentionally. From the beginning, they've approached the governance of America like a popularity contest where the end goal was to satisfy sycophants and fill their own pockets. I am not calling all who support Trump racist or evil, but Trump and many of those he associates with have absolutely promoted hate, demonstrated unethical behavior, and upheld the highest levels of greed and degeneracy.

If these people were my acquaintances in my personal or business life, you would not fault me for "ejecting" them from my life. I would imagine that if you had a friend who cheered when five hundred children were not only ripped from their families, but then kept in fear and isolation away from anyone they knew, and then were told that they would never see their parents again...you would not want to be associated with them at all. The fact of the matter is that there were people who did cheer this type of degenerate behavior and there were people that actively enabled the destruction of American integrity. Those people should absolutely be excised from "polite society" as pariahs to set an example so that others do not tread on the path of wickedness. Becoming socially undesirable is not even in the same realm as enabling the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, allowing American soldiers to be killed, accepting foreign bribes to influence the American government, creating concentration camps where children are made to be orphans, fanning the flames of racial tensions, and so on.

Sources:

1: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-45827430

2: https://www.thebalance.com/trump-plans-to-reduce-national-de...

3: https://coppercourier.com/story/545-children-trump/

4: https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/the-pandemics-effe...

5: https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/gross-domestic-product-third-q....

6: https://tradingeconomics.com/germany/gdp-growth#:~:text=GDP%....


Goodness me, it seems you love to talk politics and a decided one side view of them as well.

There is alot to unpack here most of it twisted and filled with incomplete or out right false information from a liberal bias that completely ignores a lot of recent history

lets start with the most obvious, child separation. While I oppose this, and absolutely oppose the use the fenced in cages. Lets not pretend that Trump's administration created this from thin air, these policies and these buildings / cages where in place before Trump took office, and while you should and can criticize him for not only failing to stop the policy, and by all accounts allowed immigration to ramp up the use of it before outlawing it completely due to public backlash... These policies where not started by Trump.

If you want to proclaim some kind of moral superiority, do you really want to point to Drug warriors Biden and Harris as people of moral fortitude.

The War on Drugs has cost the lives, directly and indirectly, of many many millions of people, upended families, put millions people of all races (disproportionate number of minorities) in cages, and separated them from their children, created orphans, etc..

Biden and Harris where right there not only cheering that on from the side lines but where ACTIVE participants in this process, they personally sent people to those cages.

Where is your moral outrage for those children? for those parents? for those victims?

To be clear, I am not a Trump supporter, but I am also not a Biden supporter. Though I would have preferred Trump over Biden for about 11 Trillion Reasons... My politics are libertarian, I am Anti-War, Pro-Gun, Pro-Free Markets, Pro-Free Trade, Open Borders, Anti-Social Welfare and Pro-Legalize Drugs... Biden is bad on all them, Trump is bad only a few of them.

I am sure we are going to disagree on most public policy, including COVID Response which I do not believe can or should be a Federal responsibility but should continue to be a State level response, with at most Federal Resources (aka money / supplies / personnel) when needed / requested. I also believe when the final accounting is done a LARGE part of our covid death rate was down to several irresponsible governors mandating COVID positive people be sent to Elder Care Facilities, this was something unheard of in other nations (and not something Trump was responsible for, or could have prevented) and I am still grappling with the logic of that, even in the early days where information was limited

However none of that was the point of my comment, the claim was that only Republicans / Trump Supporters are "completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views"

That further devolved into claims that Trump supporters want to kill Biden supports, with a link to some wack job.

Now you have charged that is false equivalency the point that many democrats also are "completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views" to the point where they are creating lists of Trump supporter

I do not believe this to be a false equivalency at all, and the fact that you attempt to justify it either by being willfully ignorant of history, or attempting to spread incomplete or outright false information further proves my point


> I do not believe can or should be a Federal responsibility

So you dont think that Trump when he says masks are not good. When he says the virus will go away and its under control.

You dont think those statements are responsible for many Americans not taking covid seriously?

Should US dismantle CDC and have individual states have their own CDC's


I see that I may have been a bit snarky to start off my response and in an effort to be clear, I'll see if I can refrain from coming across as an asshole.

>Goodness me, it seems you love to talk politics and a decided one side view of them as well.

I mean, not really. If you look at my (sparse) comment history on HN, I mostly don't even comment. I'll also point out that in my previous reply to you, I avoided making any assumptions about your belief systems or any conclusions (as I don't know you from Adam) -- I find that arguing the argument is typically a better way to come to a clear conclusion.

>There is alot to unpack here most of it twisted and filled with incomplete or out right false information from a liberal bias that completely ignores a lot of recent history

Sure, I'm happy to go through your response line by line and see what I have perhaps presented incompletely or falsely. I'd also like to remind you that I had three factual points about the Trump administration: that they did not cause economic growth beyond baseline average, that they increased our nation's debt by 36%, and that they caused or participated in immoral and inhumane treatment of humans. It was specifically on this last point which I drew my line in the sand to say that I would have problems working with people who to this very day continue to behave in an unethical manner.

>lets start with the most obvious, child separation...

First off, I'm glad that you outright state that you are against child separation and oppose fencing people in cages. I agree too!

Let's be clear. I never alleged that Trump's administration created these detention centers from thin air. According to USA Today, the cages were built during the Obama-era to temporarily house children so that they could be relocated to safe child-care within the United States. They were not built to house people for any extended length of time and they were not used as such (1). There's also an interesting discussion as to the Trump Administration's role to inflame an existing situation (a lot of migrants want to come to the US) and making it inhumane and worse (2). So there were policies in place before (which might have been not great), but Trump's administration turned the knob up to 11 here and crossed over to immorality.

But hey, I never even talked about cages or whatever, but what I did link to was specifically speaking about forced family separation and forcibly turning children into orphans (and remember, these are decidedly "non-combatants" -- as far as I'm aware, we are not at war with any of the countries to the south of the US). That is something no president has done in recent memory, but please correct me if I'm wrong here.

>If you want to proclaim some kind of moral superiority, do you really want to point to Drug warriors Biden and Harris as people of moral fortitude.

I mean, if claiming that orphaning children is bad somehow makes me more morally superior to everyone else, then...then I don't quite know where the baseline is. I feel like I'm just being rather rational in my assessment of the situation. I also don't really want to engage in strawman arguments because like ad hominem, they don't actually provide a clear argument for us to agree/disagree upon. But hey, you brought it up, so I'll respond.

I not once claimed that Biden/Harris/anyone else were morally superior or more ethical. I, in fact, never even mentioned them by name so I don't see how you can claim that I pointed to "Drug warriors Biden and Harris".

>The War on Drugs has cost the lives, directly and indirectly, of many many millions of people...for those victims?

Hey, I agree with you too! I think that Nixon's War on Drugs is likely one of the stupidest policy moves in recent American history. Several economics professors I know start Econ 101 by talking about supply and demand in the context of the War on Drugs. Essentially, attacking the supply side (DEA, invading South America, etc) has been shown to have no real effect on demand and therefore, should cease because it's a giant money sink (3). The real way to "fight" drugs is reduce the demand (through education, rehabilitation, etc). Beyond just being a dumb idea, the War on Drugs was a popular idea and unfortunately, many people tied their political success to funding/expanding a popular idea.

If you had asked, I would have absolutely criticized anyone who continued to promote the ridiculous War on Drugs -- especially after the awful ethical knock-on effects became well known. Yes, this includes Biden and Harris.

Here's the thing. Both Biden and Harris today have learned and understood that perhaps, they did make mistakes and though it was considered widely to be the right move twenty or forty years ago, today, we know better! In fact, Biden publicly apologized, and expressed remorse for his mistake (4). To connect your strawman back to Trump's administration. Trump and his crew are still doing awful, unethical things. They cannot claim to be doing the "popular" thing or "ignorance" because literally the majority of the country, journalists worldwide, leaders of countries and religions, and even his former cabinet members publicly and vociferously tell him and anyone who will listen that doing obviously unethical things is...unethical. This is how I know that Trump and people who may agree with the unethical policies he has put into place, are...unethical.

>To be clear, I am not a Trump supporter, but I am also not a Biden supporter. Though I would have preferred Trump over Biden for about 11 Trillion Reasons... My politics are libertarian, I am Anti-War, Pro-Gun, Pro-Free Markets, Pro-Free Trade, Open Borders, Anti-Social Welfare and Pro-Legalize Drugs... Biden is bad on all them, Trump is bad only a few of them.

Cool! I am an independent voter and have voted for Republicans and Democrats historically. I try to stay away from generalized "buzzwords" because I prefer to deal in specific policy. For instance, I'm for the legalization of drugs, but believe that they should be regulated very tightly because like anything addictive (gambling, alcohol, etc) the societal impact on others can be highly detrimental. I don't mind if you want to get wasted every night, but if you get wasted and drive a car into my wife, I'll be pretty pissed.

While also not on topic, I disagree with your statement that "Biden is bad on all [policies]" and "Trump is only bad on [a few policies]". I at least know that Biden has seriously considered many questions and has publically written very thoughtful policies out for people to read and think about. One such policy favors the federal decriminalization of marijuana and I also know that Trump is staunchly against decriminalization of marijuana. So, since you write that you are "pro-legalize drugs" I don't quite understand why you claimed to agree with nothing Biden presented.


>I am sure we are going to disagree on most public policy, including COVID Response...information was limited

Uh, I also didn't talk about state vs federal responsibility regarding COVID. I merely pointed out that Germany (and pretty much every other developed country) was doing significantly better than the US. Sure, states have their own rights and their own mechanisms for doing their own things, but we are Americans. As our president, as our leader, as the highest officer in the land, it is his responsibility to take care of his people and Donald Trump did not do that.

Also, do you really believe that somewhere between 238k and 324k people (6) who have died due to COVID were mostly elderly people who were forced to live with other sick elderly people? Do you have reputable analysis that shows that this claim has any merit?

>However none of that was the point of my comment, the claim was that only Republicans / Trump Supporters are "completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views"

I feel like the response to the OP was that looking to find a center was problematic fundamentally because one side (Trump and his band) are willing to constantly subvert ethical, moral, pro forma, and per se rules so you cannot treat them in a good-faith sort of way. I generally disagree with their assertion because if you don't come to the table, then you have no agreement ever. So I rather explain my logic, point out flaws, and see if we can agree on some shared ideal.

>That further devolved into claims that Trump supporters want to kill Biden supports, with a link to some wack job.

Well again, I don't think this "wack job" is inconsistent with their representation. In the past few weeks alone, you have had people arrested for planning to kill the Gov of MI, to kill Biden, and to attack voting counting centers. In fact, before these things even took off, right-wing terrorists were linked to the majority (67% of domestic terror plots and activities in the United States (7). So we should call a spade a spade, no?

>Now you have charged that is false equivalency the point...proves my point

Well yes, creating lists of people who have done morally repugnant things is very different to making a list of people to shoot! And refusing to work with people who are unethical is just good business sense and is likely personally healthier for yourself. Do you see what the difference is here? It's not a crime for me to say that someone is immoral and that I wouldn't work with them nor should any of my friends hire this person who might be a liar, cheater, and potential murderer. What is a crime is for me to plan, buy weapons, and execute a domestic terror plot. Can you see where I might be coming from in this case?

You set a person who declared murderous intent equal to someone who wanted to make sure that those who participated in potentially unethical actions were publically on record. Can you see where perhaps there is a false equivalence that you have made?

1: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/08/26/fac...

2: https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a27813648/concentratio...

4: https://www.businessinsider.com/biden-apologizes-for-pushing...

5: https://apnews.com/article/d1a9a629ade8ba444da6d31b997baef5

6: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

7: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/22/white-supremac...


> Biden and Harris where right there not only cheering that on from the side lines but where ACTIVE participants in this process, they personally sent people to those cages.

Absolutely, and this might be an interesting point if they continued to support those policies now, or if anyone voted for them due to those policies. Instead, you see the opposite: Biden and Harris have admitted that those policies that put people in cages were mistakes and that they'd act differently now. On the other hand, Trump has doubled down on putting more people in cages.

You can't claim that Trump is superior if he's the only one actively doing it. This of course doesn't mean that he gets a free pass, but Biden will, without a doubt, be better about domestic policy and putting people in cages than Trump will be. Trumps populism depends on caging people his base sees as the outgroup.

Like can you explain this argument better, as best as I can tell it's "Hey we know our candidate is actively doing a bad thing, and refused to stop doing it despite pressure to stop, but the other candidate did a similar bad thing a long time ago, and has recognized the mistake and no longer supports that policy. These are equivalent, so ultimately the choices are the same on this issue."

> Where is your moral outrage for those children? for those parents? for those victims?

Yeah it exists. But I can't fix it now. And again, I would be stupid and uncaring to punish the people currently being put in cages because I disapprove of something a politician did before I was born.

> Biden is bad on all them, Trump is bad only a few of them

There is no universe in which Trump is better than Biden on Open Borders or Free Trade. You might be able to make that argument with Trump vs. Sanders, but not with Biden.

> I also believe when the final accounting is done a LARGE part of our covid death rate was down to several irresponsible governors mandating COVID positive people be sent to Elder Care Facilities

As far as I know, that happened in exactly one state and is responsible for, at most, a few thousand deaths. Unacceptable certainly, and NY and NYC absolutely deserves criticism for that mistake. But we're currently seeing similar numbers of deaths weekly, and we have been for the past 20 weeks, and no longer due to the actions of any single state, but due to inaction by governors of many states, in part because those governors have been afraid to go against the president. Even if you believe that policy should be set per state, you should support the president not peddling misinformation and lying about the scope of the pandemic.

> Now you have charged that is false equivalency the point that many democrats also are "completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views" to the point where they are creating lists of Trump supporter

That's okay, it's clear that you're not willing to consider any argument or information that conflicts with your views ;)

Less snarkily, there's no equivalency, false or otherwise, between refusing to work with a person, and refusing to consider a position. Suggesting that a politician who lies and claims that 1000 deaths a day aren't happening is the same as a political who says "hey the guy who lied about the 1000 deaths a day should face political consequences for lying" aren't similar, at all.

Perhaps, in 20 or 30 years, when they've proven that they've moved on from those policy positions and demonstrated that they've actually changed, perhaps then they might have redeemed themselves. But on Feb 1? Nah.


More like we decided we don’t care for their shitty ideas or opinions.


So you admit that you are completely unable and unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with your world views

If I do not agree with you, if I have a outlook on the world that is different from your then I have "shitty ideas or opinions" and thus is ethical, moral and just of cancel me economically and socially?

So you are admitting that the Democrats do no really want reconciliation or compromise, they want victory and subjection of their perceived enemies (republicans, conservatives, libertarians)

Thanks for clearing that up for us


Disagree. When Obama was elected, the Republicans in congress swore to never support any of his policies, regardless of whether they agreed with them. (Eric Cantor and others admitted this in interviews.) This severely degraded the relationship between the parties beyond repair.


Precisely this.


right. its THE BAD REPUBLICANS. not THE GOOD DEMOCRATS.

completely ignore the never trump idea.

(they didnt do this with trump huh?)


No, they didn't. Remember the CARES act? House Democrats are still trying to work with Trump, and it's still Senate Republicans that are blocking.


uh no. you're talking about pelosi refusing to go below 2.2 trillion. they stopped working weeks before just so that Trump wouldn't pass anything before election day. where have you been?


Sorry, should have said 'were' rather than 'are'. I don't agree with your framing, but thinking about it more it probably would be fairer to say that both sides can't agree in this case, rather than that one side is obstructing.


I'm sorry but it would be most correct that one side refuses to go below a certain value and thats the value they've decided is worth it. And you know which side it is.


Logically wouldn't it be equivalent to say the other side refuses to go above a certain value?


I can't afford a 25k used vehicle. I can afford a 15k used vehicle. lock me up tempstn. I'm clearly a fascist against the community. shame on me for not meeting your budget requirements!


Sorry, this doesn't seem productive anymore, so I'm going to called it a night. I appreciate the perspective.


I’m excited and eager to have discussions with people who don’t share my political position on the issues. However, I am not at all eager to have a discussion with people who are arguing in bad faith or staking their position on lies and falsehoods.

What’s the point in having a discussion on the best ways to combat the effects of climate change when one political party has taken the position that anthropogenic climate change doesn’t exist?

What’s the point in having a discussion on the best way to fix the broken US healthcare system when one political party not only refuses to acknowledge that it’s broken, but is trying to undo what minor improvements we’ve been able to make in the last 12 years?

The GOP has marked itself as an opponent to everything that Democrats suggest and has painted itself into the stupidest possible corner, where they need to fight tooth and nail against their own policies because there’s a Democrat administration.


The way you have framed conservative positions on these issues seems like you’re imputing bad faith to them and assuming no reasonable person could hold those views.

With climate change, one doesn’t have to deny the science at all to hold a position that the optimal policy choice should be to do nothing, or to wait several decades before taking action. The science predicts some real but finite amount of harm in the future from global warming. Mitigations would also be very painful, eg carbon taxes that make air travel unaffordable to all but the very wealthy.

And in terms of healthcare, everyone agrees the system is broken. In fact, one of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to fix the US healthcare system. The difference is that conservatives see the government intervention in the healthcare industry as the main problem. (The Federal government pays 2/3 of all healthcare spending in the country, so our system is pretty “socialized” already.) Trump’s first step was an attempt to repeal Obamacare and start to return the healthcare system to more market-based solutions. However Congress was not willing to go through with it so we haven’t had any progress on healthcare since.

Conservative views are not simply a bunch of people arguing in bad faith.


There are some reasonable conservatives, and many completely insane trump supporters. I believe there are more insane trump supporters than reasonable people on the right these days, and denying the existence of this very vocal group that has a stranglehold on the zeitgeist is not helpful at all.


[flagged]


That basic idea is basically correct. Reality is more nuanced than that, but from a birds eye view republicans are actually bad, and democrats are actually good.


I'm a Republican I'll admit it.

I don't believe in God. I think people should be able to take whatever drugs they want. I think there should be a basic safety net and what we have now isn't doing it.

I believe in evolution. (I don't however believe climate change models are good enough to predict what will happen and I don't think C02 will turn out to be the predicted tragedy. I do agree humans are affecting the climate).

I believe people should be entitled to the fruits of their labor and taxation of labor or capital isn't a good idea (I'm a land and resource tax proponent). I don't think society has an innate claim on the labor or talents of anyone.

I think people should be able to defend themselves and possess deadly weapons. I don't go to church but I think people should be able to worship as they wish. I think churches should be somewhat restricted in what they can claim (for the same reasons I think peddlers of nutritional supplements should be restricted in what they can claim) but this is pretty loose and outright fraud is what I have in mind.

I think racism is stupid. I think slavery and communism are both horrible ideas for society and for the victims. I believe in representative constitutional government. I abhor monarchies, dictatorships, dynasties and anything resembling those.

Am I bad in your opinion? If you think so I feel it's not me that's the problem.

Of course I understand you may not agree with all my positions and that's fine. I don't think you are bad for disagreeing. Unless you are a slavery proponent or advocate of non representative form of dictatorship and then ya, you likely are bad. Otherwise you probably just have a different opinion.


For what it's worth, I don't think you're bad based on what you wrote above; I even agree with you on much of it, with the severity of climate change being the major exception. What I can't see is how a reasonable person could vote for Trump based on positions like those. Because to me his behavior was so egregious, divisive, and even dangerous that any reasonable person should have voted against him, with both Clinton and Biden being far better alternatives even if you don't share all their views.


He was real change in wilderness of more of the same.

Particularly involving the oversea conflicts and increased outsourcing.

Neither Biden nor Clinton were credible in my view. Both were corrupt. Both were sold out and more of the same. Both were involved in "regime change".

So I forgive a little carnival barker behavior (I, and many others don't care for it either but we understand). It helped bring in a large group of people that don't usually listen to guys in suits.

Hope that explains it.


Not sure if you'll still be checking this thread, but I wanted to respond since I really think it's valuable to try to understand people with very different views from one's own. That said, I do kind of feel like we're operating from very different origins, not just in priorities and beliefs (which might not be all that different), but in understanding of the state of the world. That said, in case you're interested I'll do my best to lay out how I see these things.

I can respect the position you laid out. I agree that minimizing wars is a laudable goal. The Iraq war in particular was catastrophic, and Trump indeed didn't start something like that. He did do things that I felt made the world more dangerous, like the 'little rocket man' taunts, and pulling out of the Iran deal, but I can understand the sentiment of supporting less foreign involvement. That said, it just doesn't seem like we're sharing the same baseline worldview in terms of what constitutes corruption, or what behavior is excusable in a public figure. I haven't seen any evidence that Clinton or Biden is corrupt; Trump has said it a lot, but has he produced actual evidence? On the other hand, there seems to be plenty of evidence of Trump profiting from the presidency, such as scheduling events at his properties. Not to mention more serious offenses, like encouraging foreign leaders to investigate his opponents.

Much of what you call carnival barker behavior I see as divisive and immoral, from birtherism to calling into question the whole electoral system without apparent evidence. It basically seems like he's willing to say literally anything if he thinks it will rile up support, even if it's entirely made up, deeply insulting, or incredibly divisive. To me the harms done by those actions and behaviors greatly outweigh the potential benefits, unless perhaps you believe that Clinton or Biden would have started another Iraq, which I don't. I guess we'll see over the next few years. But we've already seen the harms, both domestically and abroad; I can tell you for instance that the US's Canadian allies feel a lot less warmly toward not just Trump but the US as a whole after his attitude toward our country.

I actually wrote another couple paragraphs, but I really don't want to be argumentative; I'm just trying to similarly lay out my point of view (if you're even still checking this thread). I truly do want to understand the perspective of people who have a very different worldview than my own, especially when they seem reasonable and willing to engage. I realize my own guttural negative reaction toward Trump's behaviour probably biases me against his actions and supporters as well, so I do try to guard against that.

Didn't even get to climate change. To be honest, that's maybe the one issue where I would consider (although likely reject) supporting a Trump-like figure on the left, if they seemed likely to advance the goal, since the evidence I've seen really does suggest it's a catastrophe in the making. I'm curious whether your belief that it won't be that bad is more of a feeling based on past overreactions, or whether it's based on evidence or expert opinion that I haven't seen. I'd certainly be happy to be convinced it indeed won't be bad, but to be honest I can't see how that could be, given what I see as pretty concrete evidence of both the fact and trajectory of climate change. We're already seeing impacts on more frequent extreme weather events, and on shrinking habitat for polar and ocean wildlife, like polar bears and coral to name just a couple.

Anyway, I appreciate your reply, and conversations like this one do give me some hope for a less antagonistic future.


Hey no offense and no worries. I also appreciate the discussion. I understand people have different opinions or see the world different ways. I'd also like to try to understand that. I agree that's really important.

I think there is often a tendency to see the other side as somehow brainwashed or ill informed and maybe that can be fixed. But maybe it's less of that and more just different priorities.

From my perspective #1 was the removal of the neocon war machine. I don't care about stupid, nonprofessional or offensive comments that offend "nice" people (well I do but not very much). I think some people even go a step further and actually like that. I think it's a selling point to a certain crowd.

What the liberal prime minister of Canada thinks of the US, what nice people in Canada in offices engaged in upspeak and office talk think of the US is just not that important to me. Perhaps that is a personal failing but it's just not. I have other higher priorities.

What is important to me is anyone who voted for the Iraq War, anyone who was a prosecutor in our justice system, anyone that has neocon "democracy" building tendencies or agendas to change the social fabric of the country through various engineering schemes is not given the levers of government. I regard both of those efforts as harmful and doomed to fail. So that's first on my list.

There's a lot more I could say, and I will. Let me read through your post again and think. Again, appreciate the chance to express myself without the flame-baiting. I actually had to close my real HN account just after the 2016 election the hatred was so intense. It looks like one can almost admit in polite company now though :)


I'm not sure I understand the comment about prosecutors. Why does any involvement in the justice system disqualify one from public office? Surely some crimes are worth prosecuting?

Also, what are these agendas to change the social fabric of the country through engineering schemes? I don't know what that means.

How do you feel about Trump's attempts, with support from others like Lindsey Graham, to undermine confidence in US elections? ISTM that encouraging the public to doubt the foundations of democracy is pretty dangerous. (And I we can agree that this was his plan all along if he appeared to be losing, as it was in 2016, and that he doesn't actually have evidence of widespread fraud, or obviously he would have shown it by now.)


It looks like I'm going to get downvoted, and this probably isn't the right place for political conversations so I'm going to bail on the discussion. Apologies for not getting to all your points. If you leave any last words in the thread I'll read them.

Just in closing

1)In my view (to re-iterate) the other side isn't necessarily low information or brainwashed. They sometimes just have different life experiences and priorities. We usually don't just "straighten them out" with real talk. Sometimes at best we get them to reconsider things. Usually not even that.

2)We should keep an open mind, but we usually don't because we have motive. We should look at our motives. Sometimes we don't understand them as well as we should.

3)Beware the military industrial/intelligence complex.

4)Prediction: 24 months before boots on the ground in Syria. Could get much wider but hopefully not.


Being a prosecutor doesn't disqualify anyone from office.

However I'm not happy with one like Harris being president. It's not illegal. I just don't like it and voted accordingly. I believe that type of person has a certain mindset. Entirely subjective.

The Iraq war proponents I think speaks for itself. Not interested in boots on the ground in Syria.

Second amendment rights, progressive taxation changes, not a fan. Who knows what other types of affirmative actions or different treatments based on race are planned in an effort to achieve this or that. Hints are: maybe. Don't care for it. I don't believe that works. Subjective, but since you asked. I actually believe Biden/Harris do have a better healthcare plan then Trump who obviously has none.

As for the last part, there is pretty clear evidence at least "some" fraud occurred. Every election of this size has that.

Statistically I find the entire thing a bit suspicious. Gains in house but not Trump? Unlikely. Differences between similar ethnic groups in swing states and not swing state big cities? Possible. Suspicious. The 11'th hour timing and stop count? Suspicious. This kind of thing: https://twitter.com/APhilosophae/status/1325593635996512257? Suspicious. None of this is proof. We will see what the courts say and what is able to be proved. Just... suspicious.

These big rust belt cities have had a lot of fraud. People have been indicted. A bunch. Philly? Detroit? I don't think I need citations on this. So I'm supposed to believe after the past 4 years of shrill hatred and weekly allegations from the left now they don't just this one time?

I hope my point is clear. It's not Trump that undermines the process. It's the way that it went down. He is supposed to just go along with what he thinks is fraudulent? Ignore possible threats to the democratic process?

I hope my point on that is clear anyway, that's how I feel about that.


Re prosecutors I didn't mean legally disqualify; I was asking why you wouldn't consider voting for anyone who'd been a prosecutor. Understood now.

Some minor irregularities occur in every election, yes. Most of those are not fraud, but honest mistakes. You see this in recounts shifting votes by a few hundred one way or the other. However, I have yet to see any evidence of widespread fraud. If I recall correctly most of the issues with the 2016 election were Russia spreading misinformation to cause people to vote differently, not them actually casting fraudulent votes. There was some concern of them having changed or having had the ability to change voter lists, but not to actually change votes. People were upset with what interference did go on, but mostly people were upset that someone they (and I) saw as dangerously unqualified and ill-suited for the job had won. Most did not disbelieve the results themselves. (Not all, of course; there are always those with extreme beliefs. But you notice Hilary or others in the Democratic leadership didn't promote these lines of thinking!)

Anyway, I don't see any of what you described as suspicious. Plenty of people agree with your views on many of the issues (and so vote R down ballot), but find Trump distasteful and/or dangerous, and so voted against him personally. I mean if anything the split results are evidence against widespread fraud; if Democrats were willing and able to fraudulently alter the election results, why wouldn't they cheat on the house and senate races too?

I'm not even sure what you mean by the 11th hour timing and stop count. Trump was ahead in a number of states. Then Biden caught up as mail ballots (which favored him for obvious reasons) were counted, at which point he easily caught up in PA, barely caught up in GA, and slightly fell short in NC. This isn't suspicious; it's just how counting works. They stopped counting when all the ballots were counted. (Or in the NC they will; they don't actually have all the mail ballots yet.) The networks called PA once Biden was ahead by a sufficient margin that, given remaining ballots were expected to continue favoring him, it wasn't realistic for Trump to mount a comeback. Some of them probably called AZ prematurely, but that was a mistake, not fraud. And regardless, as Republicans keep pointing out recently, networks don't decide election results; voters do. Occasionally networks do project wrong, but once all the votes are counted, that's the result that matters. In enough states to win the election, those final results favor Biden.

But just taking a step back, let's look at the sequence of events: back in 2016 Trump was already talking about election fraud. Why? Because polls had him way down and he expected to lose, so he wanted an excuse. At that point he didn't have access to any information beyond what the general public did, so there's really no other explanation. This time, it was exactly the same thing. He was talking about mail ballot fraud before the election even happened, and didn't produce any actual evidence of widespread fraud, just assertions. If he had real evidence, wouldn't he have provided it by now? Or better yet, if he was aware of a specific mechanism for fraud before the election, why didn't he explain it? He simply talked about people in living rooms filling buckets with ballots or whatever, but that makes no sense, because it ignores all the measures states have in place to prevent such things. Each ballot is tied to a registered voter; you can't just cast a bunch of fake ballots. The much more logical explanation, looking at his behavior for the past 4 years, is the same as it was in 2016, that he expected to lose, and so he sought to invalidate the process itself.

Of course no one wants illegal votes to count. The problem is, when Trump claims there was widespread fraud or illegal voting without real evidence, and then he and his allies point to these normal events as supposedly suspicious, it sows doubt. That doubt causes people to lose faith in the democratic process itself, which is dangerous, because some then believe they have to take steps outside that process to achieve their goals.

Anyway, I understand you're not planning to respond. I'm probably done too anyway. But I hope you'll at least entertain the possibility that the election was fair, and Biden is a decent person who is going to do the best job he can for the American people and the world.


No I don’t think you’re bad. I was giving a generalization. I believe there exist good people (whatever that means) in both aisles. I think there are many deeply destructive warrior republicans. I believe there are many delusional, stupid republicans. I believe there are some thoughtful, sensitive, and smart republicans, but I don’t believe there are very many of them. I believe the republican leadership has abandoned the pursuit of compassion and dignity, and ceded power to the delusional and the warriors.


ditto but for dems. your name is wrong. you're not a philosopher. you've never considered the opposite view.


I disagree. There are more reasonable/compassionate dems, and the party has retained truth and compassion as core values. The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party.


you're 18 right


I would love to be pointed to the detailed climate policy plan from the GOP or a GOP politician that explains how climate change is real, of anthropogenic origins, and that we need to take action to stop it starting in a few decades.

I am not aware of any such plan, or any GOP politician espousing such views.


All this talk about "sides" is not helpful.

What I will say is that there are those are reflective of their viewpoint, will question and review their choices, and change their mind about things in light of new information...

And then there are those who are not and won't; those who act out of tradition and pride, those who believe in conspiracy theories, those who let themselves be played like marionettes with simple trigger topics, etc.

There is a difference; but it's not left or right, conservative or liberal, it's reflective or not reflective.


True. The ACA was after all, literally the republican plan straight from Mitt Romney, but Democrats were unwilling to negotiate or compromise. (Yes this is sarcasm, ACA was literally the Democrats meeting in the middle when they didn't even have to)

Everytime someone like you makes this claim I ask the same question: show some examples. "both sides are the same" is a weak excuse for supporting bad behavior. The Republicans haven't acted in good faith since about the early 90s.


Err, you meant Republicans were unwilling to compromise, right? Because the Democrats bent over backwards to introduce 160 Republican amendments to the ACA and even delayed votes to have more Republican voices heard during debate.


It was tongue in cheek, apologies if that wasn't obvious.


Ah, yup, Poe's Law got me again. Sorry.


I think this is a bit of historical revisionism. Yes there are some amendments in the bill from Republicans because Dems wanted a "bipartisan" bill even if they only got a handful of GOP reps (they ultimately got none).

But the Democrats couldn't have gotten a bill more left-wing through the senate. They tried, but various Dem senators stripped out both lowering the Medicare age and the public option.


It goes both ways, if you don't consider that one side has a leader calling out his people to be vigilant and prepared and in fact two men father and son have been arrested yesterday in Philadelphia armed of ar-15 with hundreds of rounds, the other has leaders thanking the volunteers of all sides and talking about reuniting American people


Sorry, this isn’t true, and it’s important to call out as such.

https://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2017/9/22/16345194/republican-...


I think you just proved my point.


Perhaps a better question would be: Consider two parties starting out relatively reasonable. Over time, members of both parties claim the other party is becoming unreasonable or outright crazy. This could be true in the following to scenarios:

(1) Both parties have become crazy. Both parties would be correct in their claims but of course also guilty of having gone crazy.

(2) Party A has stayed reasonable and party B has become crazy. Party A would be correct in their claim and party B's claim would be part of them being crazy.

How do you distinguish between (1) and (2) from the outside?


Nothing was proved either way.


How?


No, no that didn't. Just because someone denies an adverse position doesn't mean that they are fanatically denying evidence, it can easily be the case that the adverse position is false, and that they are open to seeing it proven true but haven't seen it.


I will give you an example: gun control.

Wait what?! Doesn't one side want to take the guns away? Doesn't the other side want teachers with guns in schools?

Well, it turns out the majority of Americans not only agree on the need for better gun controls, they actually agree overwhelmingly on certain specific controls as well.

It's a classic wedge issue though, and FUD is deployed to drive that wedge between both sides which prevents most major cooperation on the matter. Unless there is a crisis, and then both sides will make an easy sacrifice to look like they are doing something. Like bump stocks. Nobody really gives AF about bump stocks, so they banned them.


I sincerely believe that there is definitely some common ground. Otherwise I would not have posted that thought.

Is it easy to find that common ground? Of course, not. Will it take a lot of time and effort (from all sides)? Absolutely. But, in the end, it is certainly worth trying, at the very least. That is why I have listed the areas, which I think represent some aspects that I hope we all could easier agree on than some other aspects.

Finally, I think that it is important not to generalize people, based on our own (limited) experience. Some people on other side(s) are more flexible than others. Moreover, I believe that people can change, including their point of view on various issues. If we will dismiss the idea that others are or can become open minded, we will shut the door to a potential dialog, which could bring us even more trouble.


The USA seems bound for "illiberal democracy", a la Orbán in Hungary, Bolsonaro in Brazil, Erdogan in Turkey, Kaczyński in Poland, and Modi in India.

(If you are a Republican, assume a Democratic autocrat, and if you are a Democrat assume a Republican autocrat.)

Democracy in general has the weakness that the party in power can constrain the ability of the opposition to compete. We don't yet know how to stop the slide into illiberal democracy from happening.


Hi, I'm from Australia. Voting is mandatory here! Turn out in our elections is 99.x%. You are not obligated to make a choice, but you are obligated under pain of a $30 fine to be registered at a polling station on election day. You can avoid the fine if you present a valid reason for not voting after the election when notified. Such a reason would definitely include "I was prevented from voting" or "I was threatened if I voted", and would be registered with the AEC and investigated seriously.

Our Electoral commission is the most trusted government body in the country, and has maintained a culture of independence and accuracy. We don't have any form of electronic voting, but generally have election results on election night.

Our system has multiple viable political parties! Factions on both the left and right of the spectrum at multiple government levels have successfully won and lost seats over the years depending on their ability to poll within the electorate. This has not resulted in them being regarded as "spoilers" to the main political parties, and has acted at times as an effective check on government policy since it encouraged cross-party negotiation through multiple avenues.

Is our system perfect? No - no system is. But come election night, our representative government actually represents the people. If you got 51% of the vote, then 51% of the population, through some means, selected you as a preferred candidate.


24 hours ago, a group of demonstrators chanted "stop the count" at an elections office. How do you get there from here?


I'd say you lobby for preferential voting like we have here as the first step. You write numbers in boxes for your 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc until you're done.

They put all the ballots in piles by everyone's first choice. The smallest pile (e.g. least voted for candidate) then loses, and their ballots get sorted onto their second choices. Repeat until you have a candidate with a clear majority, and you have a winner.

This allows people to say, "I want Rubio, but if not, then Cruz, and if not then Jeb" etc. I suspect if this system were in play in both parties now, we'd have different nominees, and they'd be the candidates that the majority can live with instead of being the candidates that most excite the extremes. And the people on the extremes can see that their candidate lost even with people being able to vote for them without 'wasting' their vote.

Yes, in our senate this gets a bit crazy with tablecloth sized ballots (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Victoria...), and the first time I voted here I allocated every single preference down to about 160 something with pride. You don't have to obviously, but I chose to.


They weren't protesting voting though (but I'm sure you already know that).


In most cases you're likely just engaging in rhetorical volleys with the other person.

Until someone trusts you to handle their concerns and vulnerabilities with care, you aren't going to get anywhere.

The relationship is paramount in communication, and it's the one thing that social media (and the pandemic) has most effectively eliminated from our daily lives. In this particular case I think we all need to 'act local and think global'...stop sparring on the Internet and try to make inroads to mutual understanding with those that you can see and hear.


> Is there really any common ground?

Politics is all about uncommon ground. People hardly ever can have one, as the word suggests the tragedy of commons follows quickly upon reaching it. Mutually beneficial status qua don't last as somebody always want to get more of the benefit than others, and exploit the situation.

People are not born equal, tribes are not equal, nations are not made equal. There are always the weaker, and stronger.

Politics is how you get along, and live another day with all above concerned. How somebody weak can live along somebody strong, without having the later kill him simply because he can. Same way, how a strong one can live with peace of mind knowing that if he lets the weak leave, they may well live to grow big, and surpass him in the future.

Life is an endless play of king of the hill.


> Is there really any common ground?

Florida Amendment 2.

That's right, on the same ballot where Florida solidly selected a republican president, republican legislature and republican house delegation, they went >60% on a $15 minimum wage.

Progressive legislation is popular. Progressives are not, because of branding and demagoguery (and no small amount of bald-faced lying).

That's common ground. It may not look like it, but it's there.


> Is there really any common ground? There can be. On an individual level, where there's mutual trust. At the right time, better not in the heat of this moment.

I remember having a very fruitful discussion with a Trump/Pence supporting friend, somewhere in the middle of Trump's presidential term.

My friend's background as a conservative evangelical is _very_ different from mine. He is a decent and caring man, and I am 100% sure he'd describe me in the same way.

It started with hearing the news together. A few discussion points were Trump's pussy grabbing video, his anti-intellectualism, and the environment. The discussion also meandered through science and religion, religion as a fertile ground for symbolic language and ended up with virtue signaling.

We were able to come to the conclusion that this Trump-evangelicals alliance would damage them for years to come. How it would be better for them to ally with decent people instead, whatever their view on religion.

And here we are...


Try to assume their views, and then work from there. What would you believe if you start out with the opposite's viewpoint? What is the easiest acceptable modification of their believe system? Move them step by step.


There’s a slate star codex post that describes research demonstrating that conservative Americans can predict the responses of progressive Americans to political questions, but the converse is not true. It’s not that conservatives are “unwilling to consider” conflicting ideas; in fact, they do a much better job of modeling conflicting ideas than progressives do!

Most of the difference is, I think, not based on factual disagreement, but based on principal disagreements on issues like the personhood of fetuses.


> There’s a slate star codex post that describes research demonstrating that conservative Americans can predict the responses of progressive Americans to political questions, but the converse is not true.

All this demonstrates is ideological consistency on the part of Liberals.

> It’s not that conservatives are “unwilling to consider” conflicting ideas; in fact, they do a much better job of modeling conflicting ideas than progressives do!

Citation needed.

> Most of the difference is, I think, not based on factual disagreement, but based on principal disagreements on issues like the personhood of fetuses.

A fetus isn't a person in the eyes of the US government. It never has been. This is an orthogonal issue to how to handle abortion in America. Conservatives believe that those who seek and provide abortion should be punished, but we know that this does not result in fewer abortions. Liberals believe that we should take steps to limit the need to seek the abortion in the first place.


It's the old adage, "conservatives think liberals are stupid, liberals think conservatives are evil."


I know a lot of liberals who think conservatives (especially poorer conservatives) are stupidly voting against their class interests.


What that tells you is... they don't understand those interests.

Or they don't understand that their proposed solutions don't sound likely to solve the interests.


Suppose class mobility is good for poorer people. Canada has more class mobility than the US. Canada also has universal healthcare (like most developed countries) which helps people take risks like starting their own business which helps with class mobility.

Why do poor republicans in the US keep voting against universal healthcare?


They actually don't. You get that result only if you exclude non white people.

Overall, if you define working class or poor economically, they are more likely to vote for those things.


They probably still hate those conservatives though. Even now you can see the hate being directed to Blacks or Hispanics that may have voted for Trump.


One must consider the major confounding factor here that Republicans have made a substantial effort to publicly taunt and insult liberals from positions of power[1], and that being the target of that kind of thing can easily override what would otherwise be more compassionate interaction.

[1]: One example: https://twitter.com/CawthornforNC/status/1323813315169165313


This is because the heuristics low-IQ conservatives use are actually better than the low-quality first-order reasoning midwit liberals use. Policies that immediately enrich poor people at the expense of economically productive people are bad for poor people in the medium-long run. Low-IQ conservatives do not explicitly understand this, but their inherited heuristics encode it.


No. “Common ground” is a false peace flag... a friendly sounding phrase meant to play on liberal preoccupation with “a fair system” If you’re unfamiliar with how conservatives do business, it’s worth investigating. Start here: https://youtu.be/MAbab8aP4_A

When you need to expand your knowledge beyond YouTube videos I’d recommend this book: https://www.amazon.com/Reactionary-Mind-Conservatism-Edmund-...

A conservative plea for “common ground” is very similar to a mind game explained here: https://youtu.be/YOqJ4sc9TAc


Regarding common ground, I believe so. Just as several people were shy to admit voting for [candidate name redacted] those are the same willing to seek common ground.

I worry more about those for whom politics is a team sport, and who ignore whom they marginalize in their quest for ideals.


harimau777 asks:>Is there really any common ground?<

First one must ask whether there is "common ground" within the factions of the Democratic party itself.

Once victory has been declared and legislators and executives ensconced in their offices, a feeding frenzy will ensue within the Democratic Party. Each faction will demand that their agenda be pursued first with the most money, time and effort. Unfortunately resources are limited (in particular time is limited to 4 and, in some cases, 2 years). Political infighting amongst these factions will increase to a level so intense that people may long for the return of Donald Trump.


A lot of people support cannabis legalization, and Biden wants to decriminalize it and leave it to the states to handle.

I've seen a lot of people noting how drug policy liberalization won big across the country, even in red states.


This is not exclusive to any one side. That’s the problem with having “sides”.


My experience talking to the other side during this administration is that they are completely unable and often unwilling to consider any argument or information that conflicts with their views. How do you debate with people who don't care about facts or reason?

Your comment about "facts or reason" is sort of odd given your post gives no details concerning what you consider these to be. I mean, I could fill in some but it seems like without you giving a clue as to what you're referring to, people can only shout for you or against you.


Here's an example. My facts, which I think are shared by almost all people for at least hundreds of years (at least anywhere there has ever been a plauge):

1) Sometimes human spread illness to each other via spit, like when they talk

2) A piece of cloth in the path of spit will probably block some or all of the spit

That is the entire argument for wearing masks. Wearing a mask costs almost nothing, and you know it might help save lives if you believe 1 and 2. I live in a state where not wearing a mask is very common. Most people don't even have them on in something like a gas station. People are dying here at 2x the national average.

My neighbors, whom I have known for a decade, told me that my personal wearing of a mask was a politically-motivated attack on their beliefs. Millions of people have similar beliefs.


This is the thing that truly drives me crazy about the political deadlock, and the replies to this comment are a good example of it: Democratic politicians propose a common-sense, obvious measure that would be objectively good for society (e.g. healthcare; slowing down climate change; addressing a global pandemic ravaging our country; providing money to the people now out of work due to the economic recession caused by the pandemic). In turn Republicans (politicians and right-wing pundits, that is; not referring to constituents), respond by fighting tooth and nail opposing it, using nonsensical buzzwords and ad hominem attacks on whomever sponsored the bill, and make it one of "The Issues" for political points, further subverting any real, meaningful discussion on policy issues. I've watched the GOP degenerate from "kind of annoying, but valid counter-points" to "blatantly obstructionist" staring with the Tea Party during the Obama Admin, and only getting worse from there.

Today there's the "Let's actually do our jobs and keep the country running" party and the "Let's destroy our country and blame it on the other side because corporate lobbyists pay us to do so" party. And somehow we need to find common ground and unity when the other side is more interested in bullying and obstructing the Democrats than it is trying not to kill another 200K people. There's compromise, and then there's calling a spade a spade.

To be clear, I won't pretend the Dems are fine (and if there were a way to vote third party without throwing away my vote, I would do so in a heartbeat). But the Democrats aren't even particularly progressive anymore. Bad-faith concession after bad-faith concession to the GOP over the course of decades has slowly dragged the Democrats to the center, while the GOP's actual extremists making a mockery of our democracy have the gall to label providing healthcare as the real extremism.


Have you forgotten that we couldn't buy masks or other medical equipment for months because of China, and everyone, including WHO, Fauci, Obama, etc. were advising people against using masks due to shortage?

- January 14, WHO: Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳(https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1217043229427761152)

- January 31, Trump suspends travel from China: Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus(https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation...). A move condemned by many, including WHO and Biden.

- February 1, Biden: We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.(https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1223727977361338370)

- Feburary 2, Health Commissioner of New York City: As we gear up to celebrate the #LunarNewYear in NYC, I want to assure New Yorkers that there is no reason for anyone to change their holiday plans, avoid the subway, or certain parts of the city because of #coronavirus.(https://mobile.twitter.com/NYCHealthCommr/status/12240431558...)

- Feburary 24, Pelosi: You should come to Chinatown. Precautions have been taken by our city, we know that there's concern about tourism, traveling all throughout the world, but we think it's very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAEfSHeH4Lc)

- Feburary 29, U.S. Surgeon General: Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!(https://twitter.com/Surgeon_General/status/12337257852839321...)

- Feburary 29, WHO: Travel bans to affected areas or denial of entry to passengers coming from affected areas are usually not effective in preventing the importation of cases but may have a significant economic and social impact.(https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/updated-who-re...)

- March 2, Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of WHO: Stigma, to be honest, is more dangerous than the virus itself. Let's really underline that. Stigma is the most dangerous enemy.(https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/transcr...)

- March 2, U.S. Surgeon General: You can increase your risk of getting it by wearing a mask if you are not a health care provider(https://video.foxnews.com/v/6137596907001#sp=show-clips)

- March 3, Bill de Blasio (NYC Mayor): Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see "The Traitor" @FilmLinc. If "The Wire" was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.(https://twitter.com/BilldeBlasio/status/1234648718714036229)

- March 4, Obama: Save the masks for health care workers. Let’s stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science.(https://twitter.com/barackobama/status/1235246706817630208)

- March 8, Fauci (Director of NIAID): People should not be walking around masks. There's no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you're in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little better, but it's not providing the perfect protection people think it is, and often there are un-intentioned consequences(https://youtu.be/PRa6t_e7dgI)

- June 5, WHO: If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.(http://web.archive.org/web/20200605134037/https://www.who.in...)

- June 8, WHO: It still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual actually transmits onward.(https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/transcr...)

---

China brought up medical equipment all over the world, which is why you couldn't buy any masks and other medical equipment for many months. This was not just a result of Daigo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3gNQ9JnJ90), but rather, China had its overseas companies send their employees all over the country to buy up all the medical equipment they could find:

- Chinese property developing group Greenland scoured Australia to purchase bulk medical supplies - including masks, gloves and thermometers - which were flown to China. "Basically all employees, the majority of whom are Chinese, were asked to source whatever medical supplies they could," one company insider told the Herald. This exercise went on for weeks through January and February, he said. The entire accounts department, contract managers, the human resources team and even receptionists were sent on a mission to find bulk supplies of surgical masks, thermometers, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitisers, gloves and Panadol. According to a company newsletter, the Greenland Group sourced 3 million protective masks, 700,000 hazmat suits and 500,000 pairs of protective gloves from "Australia, Canada, Turkey and other countries."(https://www.smh.com.au/national/chinese-backed-company-s-mis...)

- Chinese-owned Risland Australia, boasted online last month that "90 tons (sic) of selective medical supplies" were sent "air transport direct from Sydney to Wuhan via corporate jet."(https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/second-company-sent...)

- Sydney-based Mr Kuang, former officer in the People's Liberation Army, imported 35,000 sets of protective medical suits, 200,000 pairs of gloves and 10 tonnes of disinfectant from Australia to China.(https://www.smh.com.au/national/former-chinese-military-man-...)

- China stockpiled 2 billion face masks and 25m medical items.(https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/revealed-china-stoc...)

Other related news:

- Beijing demanded praise in exchange for medical supplies(https://www.axios.com/beijing-demanded-praise-in-exchange-fo...).

- Chinese government rejects allegations that its face masks were defective, tells countries to 'double check' instructions(https://www.businessinsider.com/china-face-mask-defective-do...)

- Italy gave China PPE to help with coronavirus — then China made them buy it back(https://spectator.us/italy-china-ppe-sold-coronavirus/)

---

If Biden/the democrats were interested in uniting the nation then perhaps they should’ve united with Trump against China instead of pushing CCP propaganda to attack Trump and blame him for everything. Perhaps they should’ve been honest about why they didn’t want people to wear masks for the first many months. Accept responsibility for the fact that USA is so heavily reliant on China, largely thanks to the likes of Biden. Perhaps they should acknowledge that they were wrong to encourage people to gather, wrong to attack Trump for limiting flights from China.


Literally everyone has a little piece of cloth they could put over their mouth, and literally everyone should if it has a a reasonable chance of saving a life, to say nothing of many lives.

The fact that there’s any controversy about this at all leads me to believe that many have abandoned all reason.


>literally everyone should if it has a a reasonable chance of saving a life

This is a moral judgement and not everybody shares the same values as you, especially regarding what a "reasonable" chance is. Some people don't believe they should inconvenience themselves just because it would contribute to a tiny decrease in deaths. There's also an absence of data: given we've got months of data on death rates and mask usage rates in different areas, it should be possible to quantify exactly how strong the correlation is, but nobody's even done this.


This is like saying not purposely running into other cars is a just a moral judgment.

It’s not a moral judgment, it’s a foundational element of all functional human societies. If you don’t agree, you should remove yourself from society.


"reasonable chance" -- for anything less than well fitted N95 masks "reasonable" approaches zero.


Your facts are wrong:

- humans can spread viruses to each other just by breathing,

-a piece of cloth won't stop the aerosol particles you exhale! Even a mask won't stop them.

Furthermore there is no good experimental evidence that masks work for anything other than surgery (for which they were intended, designed and tested).

What DOES work? Distancing, e.g., keeping away from each other.

Distancing is about disease; masks are an exercise in political theatre and political control.


The question is 'do masks prevent the spread of covid' and the answer is yes (and we knew this back in April [1]).

[1] https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-1342?fbclid=IwAR...


The link you give above says "This article has been retracted. See Notice of Retraction." Here is the URL of the paper's retraction:

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/L20-0745

titled

"Notice of Retraction: Effectiveness of Surgical and Cotton Masks in Blocking SARS-CoV-2"


From the article...

> However, the size and concentrations of SARS–CoV-2 in aerosols generated during coughing are unknown. Oberg and Brousseau (3) demonstrated that surgical masks did not exhibit adequate filter performance against aerosols measuring 0.9, 2.0, and 3.1 μm in diameter. Lee and colleagues (4) showed that particles 0.04 to 0.2 μm can penetrate surgical masks. The size of the SARS–CoV particle from the 2002–2004 outbreak was estimated as 0.08 to 0.14 μm (5); assuming that SARS-CoV-2 has a similar size, surgical masks are unlikely to effectively filter this virus.

...and that's the least problematic part of the study.

The study is done on a sample size of n=4 (!!), and tests the immediate effects of masks against coughing. It does not test the longer term effect of staying in a non-ventilated room (like a mall or a train) with non-coughing (normal breating) infected people.


I'm sorry, but we've known that masks work for literally a century. They were also recommended during the 1918 pandemic. There is a wealth of literature on this topic; it is scientific consensus.

It's great that you're thinking critically about the ways that this individual study might fall short, but trying to poke holes in a study here or there does not undo the (literally) century of research underlying the efficacy of cloth masks in preventing the spread of airborne illnesses (or epidemiology in general).


This article clearly shows evidence that masks reduce the spread of covid.

In your critique you've changed the question you are debating (again) to 'does a surgical mask filter particles of the size we assume covid to have'. Because the answer 'not flawlessly' and the critique 'sample size 4' (when there were <100 cases in the country at the time!) support the answer you already had before your even read the article.

This is the conservative (and to be fair most people's) response to information that disagrees with whatever narrative hold.

Coupled with the amplification of a conspiracy presented with no evidence "masks are an exercise in political theatre and political control" and you have the right's playbook on pretty much every issue these days. Climate change, abortion, economics, disenfranchisement - experts say one thing, the right pulls out slivers of factoids "what about volcanoes and methane from cows" "what about pregnancies that have gone to 24 weeks" "what about communism", all micro-facts with almost no relevance to the overall discussion, designed to distract, enflame and stall in order to preserve the status quo.

On the left, there are similar issues, but at the end of the day, the left acknowledges and defers to experts on the subjects. The right has propagated such distrust and anti-intellectualism we have reached Trump as the ultimate demonstration of idolizing agreement over effectiveness.


This response shows exactly why Trump won, and more generally what the problems with today's society are. People cannot separate discussion from politics.

When I have to use public transport, I wear a N95 respirator. I avoid getting out as much as it is feasible. I have gifted many N95 respirators to friends and family. On a social level, I have been involved with arguing for, and implementing stronger measures against COVID-19. Specifically, getting the damn face shields and chin guards banned. And somehow you have managed to think that I am a COVID-19 conspiracy theorist because I dare to point out the flaws of what people think are solutions against the pandemic.

Good job.


I’m confused about what your disagreeing with - fundamental physics? you’re saying that when you cough, covering your mouth with your hand or arm does nothing? The aerosolized spit and mucous leaving your mouth passes through your hand unaffected by matter? If so, what are you doing wasting your time on HN? You have singlehandedly disproved vast swaths of scientific research, go claim your Nobel prize!

The claim is only that a little piece of cloth in front of your mouth will block some moisture. Less bodily fluids expelled into the environment means less risk of transmitting disease. It’s not perfect but it cost almost nothing and will save peoples lives. Even if it’s only very marginally effective, why would you not suck up the very very small personal discomfort if it would save even a few lives?


For example, during the impeachment hearings discussions generally went like this:

I presented officials who gave damning testimony before congress.

The person I was speaking to responded that person was biased or untrustworthy.

I pointed out that they were lifelong Republicans or respected experts and asked what sort of witness would change their mind.

The person I was speaking to responded that no witness could change their mind.


To be fair, a lot of reasonable people would say "no witness could change my mind" if I asked them "what witness testimony would convince you that politicians are secretly Lizard People from the planet Venus?" So I don't think this is really about rejecting facts & reason... it's more about having really strong priors that the rest of us don't share.


Yeah, the mainstream Democrats in particular engaged in crap arguments like the dubious, hyper-partisan impeachment effort. Impeachment just distinctly wounded the anti-Trump efforts and only Trump's fumbling Covid was enough to get it back on track.

But the super mainstream Democrats are one of 3-4 distinct factions who want Trump out. Those actually even the mild left were only partially on this train.


So to cover what you're washing over here: The US President and his subordinates attempted to use the office of the President's powers to compel a foreign country to "discover" evidence against the President's domestic political opponents, under the auspices of denying military aid for the defense of that country from invasion by one of the US's global antagonists.

That's what you're covering under "hyper-partisan". You know, just so we're all clear on that.


Correct and it appears that even though Trump lost, Trumpism allowed most Republican Senators to keep their seats and they even won more seats in the House, and didn’t lose a single Statehouse.

This election has been a repudiation of Trump but not Trumpism.


I think there’s a good chance that the GOP leaders are almost as happy to see the backside of Trump as the DNC leaders are.


Anyone read a practical 20 year plan to decrease divisiveness in the US (say, to 1990s levels)?

Or: Ignoring funding, what would you do?

An example year 1 goal: "Get X million people to watch 10 hours/year of strangers who they would normally not encounter or agree with, and to see them as real people."

To do that, produce and televise + stream a long-form TV show, like a version of Braver Angels' Red/Blue Workshops[1] that's actually fun to watch. Imagine a well-produced show with deep participant profiles - a cross between a reality TV show and a HBO/Netflix long-form movie.

It would humanize the participants first, then after viewers care about them, their lives, and their families, the actors gradually explain their backgrounds and opinions - some of which a viewer will disagree with. Viewers would "meet" people they may not interact with regularly. (Sarah Silverman's "I Love You, America"[2] is the closest I've seen to this, and it's not all that close.)

This would need to be a multi-decade plan, probably with philanthropic and public funding.

[1]: https://braverangels.org/what-we-do/red-blue-workshops/ [2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmQpf-B94mc


I think any plan that neglects ratcheting down high-stakes issues to more local levels is fighting against strong headwinds.

In other words, we can avoid winner-take-all dysfunction by allowing more diversity in governance. If we make every issue national, it makes it too important who runs the national government.

Within reason, we should find ways to let California be California and Alabama be Alabama. Alabama and California shouldn't have to struggle against one another as much as they do.


The only way that I could see that working is if we allowed states to impose tariffs embargoes and on each other. There would need to be some way for states to protect themselves from other states' negative externalities or a race to the bottom.


When there is an externality, of course the federal government can get involved. But does the majority of federal regulation really happen in domains where there would be inevitable externalities without it?


I don't think that the majority of federal regulation necessarily does, but I think that the majority of Americas current problems do.

For example climate change, immigration, poverty, healthcare, and gun control.


The fundamental flaw is that a lot of things can only be accomplished at the Federal level. 50 plans for global climate change not only doesn't make sense, it would result in direct violation of the interstate clause.


Climate change is just one thing, though. National defense and military activity may be another.

But do you really think it is not the case that most forms of regulation and resource distribution cannot be administered effectively, with some creativity, at the state level? I don't see any reason that 70% of issues can't become local or state issues. (Ignoring the lack of a political will to make that happen, I mean.)


Do you think you could name some of these topics you're thinking of? 70% seems like a substantial overestimate. As a back-of-the-envelope estimate, using budget as a proxy for "regulation and resource distribution", ~70% of government spending went to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense. You've called out national defense as something that should remain at the Federal level. Social Security spending consists literally of distributing money to individuals. Medicare and Medicaid in a roundabout way are essentially the same, and America's poor and elderly are certainly not uniformly distributed among the states. This leaves only a maximum of 30% of resource allocation that could even potentially be pushed back to the states.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget#/...


Abortion. Education. Controlled substances. Publicly funded media. Certain categories of environmental policy (polluted soil crosses state lines less than polluted air). Various subsidies for special interests. Labor issues like parental leave requirements. Housing issues.

Yes. Some of those are somewhat state issues now, but I'm talking about divisiveness in culture and discussion. People in political discussions should be OK with saying, "That's an important issue, but best solved at the state or local level."

Social safety nets is an interesting counterexample, but it seems like a hybrid approach should be doable in many cases, especially when it comes to funding externalities like retirees moving disproportionately to certain states.


Abortion is very tricky to push back to the states, because some states want to criminally prosecute the doctors and sometimes even the patients involved. Accepting a patient from a different state could lead to a doctor having committed a crime in that state and having in future to avoid traveling to that state or to any state that would extradite the doctor to that state. This would be a mess.

Education is already largely controlled below even the state level, by local school boards. The Federal government hands out a lot of money for the purpose, largely to even out the quality of education between wealthy and poor areas of the country, but it’s pretty hands-off.

Controlled substances is another place where criminal law differing state to state creates a legal mess. The more the law differs, the greater the mess. Delivery of drugs from states where they are legal to states where they are not has not yet blown up into a huge issue because the Federal government regulated interstate commerce and still considers the substances illegal. If the Federal government takes a hands-off approach and Amazon starts selling cocaine it’ll get messy fast. This sort of mess already exists due to patchwork laws about firearms, but in that case the problem is substantially mitigated by (a) the Federal department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and a constitutional right to at least have firearms in every state, even if the nuances differ.

Publicly funded media seems like a niche topic? Voice of America is a State Department effort aimed at influencing foreign policy. NPR gets most of its funding from donations. I can’t think of any other examples.

I could see certain classes of environmental issues being pushed back to the states, but it would be tricky and probably a mess. Polluted soil is likely to become an issue for other states if it’s in the drainage basin of the Mississippi, less so if it’s out on a salt flat somewhere in the desert west.

Labor issues, housing issues, and subsidies are already things that states have a lot of involvement in or control over. Housing activities by the Federal government mostly consist of welfare spending like subsidizing housing for the poor and underwriting mortgages for homebuyers. Another issue where the Federal government gets involved mostly for the purpose of shuffling money around between rich states and poor states.


You keep hand waving about messes. The current political climate seems to be heading toward more than just a mess.

If there were consensus about some issues not being national issues, your points about currently local issues would be stronger. But the fact is that it's still a minority, if not niche, view that all these issues should stay local indefinitely. I suspect the gridlock is protecting federalism more than principle or even court rulings are.


What do you think is being administered at the Federal Level that isn't 1) really just a way to distribute money to the states and 2) should be administered strictly by the states themselves that won't violate the interstate clause?


But we're not even trying. Why is the minimum age for consumption of tobacco and alcohol a national issue? Why does the national government need to get involved in housing policy at any level of detail?


Compulsory national service to prevent people from living their entire lives within the bubbles into which they were born. Compulsory service erases geographic distance along with racial and class divides.


1. Separate opinion journalism from reporting journalism.

Opinion journalism can be w/e. Reporting journalism has to be fact checked. Masquerading as reporting journalism should be a big bad. You gotta disclose opinion journalism up front, like you gotta put a Surgeon General's warning on cigarettes.

2. Mandate non-partisan districting boards and do away with "safe" districts.

This would lose majority-minority districts, which are responsible for a big proportion of our Reps of color. But safe districts skyrocket partisanship; politicians in safe districts can wander super far from the mainstream--think Steve King for example. And actually they oftentimes have to become radical in order to survive primaries. There's only so much you can do here with the current system but, a little would help a lot.

3. Empower state and local governments by repealing balanced budget amendments and term limits.

State governments have really hamstrung themselves with these policies, and as a result the federal government has to do a lot. This creates a perception--right or wrong--that a far away government is telling you how to live your life. If the federal government has secured rights for all and managed federal concerns, it should be reasonable for say, Oregon to have one set of gun regulations and Illinois to have another.

4. Make voting compulsory, make Election Day a holiday, expand early voting, establish same day registration everywhere.

The majority of Senators (and in midterms, the majority of Reps) are elected by a minority of people who are much more partisan than the mean. This pushes politicians out of the mainstream.

5. Federally finance elections, shorten the length, and amend the Constitution to obviate Citizens United.

Campaigns and their ads are super polarizing. Special interests run messaging campaigns on wedge issues (abortion, immigration, gun rights) in order to pass bills like SOPA or subsidies for fossil fuel energy companies in the night. Campaign finance reform disarms all this.

6. Limit the terms of Supreme Court Justices to 18 years and enact jurisdiction stripping.

The stakes of Supreme Court nominations are so high that it drives us all crazy. We should limit their terms so that 2-term presidents get to nominate 2 Justices, and we should limit the power of the Supreme Court on the basis that it's a deeply undemocratic and unaccountable institution. Pro-lifers feel this every day, as do progressives. We all agree it's bad; let's change it.

7. Enact affirmative action for mortgage companies, fund housing assistance, and reform public schools.

The US has a huge de facto segregation issue due to generations of discriminatory practices by mortgage companies, and the sky high cost of housing in neighborhoods with good schools. This creates fertile ground for bubbles and othering, not just in adults but also in children.

8. Re-establish affirmative action for colleges, and make it free.

The partisanship gap in the US now largely traces the education and income gap.

9. Establish clear boundaries on religious freedom.

Religious freedom is a fundamental part of the fabric of the United States, but so are personal liberty and individual rights. We need to give people the ability to live out their beliefs, but also establish a pluralistic society free of discrimination towards _and from_ the religious. Fighting a culture via religious freedom debases us all.


> 2. Mandate non-partisan districting boards and do away with "safe" districts.

This is critical, and if it can be done (and then move US presidential electors to be 1 per district) and you make things very, very different and the American people can decide what they want from there.


I don’t think this can be done without altering social media algorithms to revert back from the “engagement-maximizing” firehose of vituperative extremist polarizing political sludge they pump into everyone’s feed these days.


This was happening long before social media became a thing. As i keep saying, the best thing to do would be to re-instate the Fairness Doctrine.


The thing is, any reasonable, evidence based discussion is going to end up concluding that the 90% of GOP talking points are lies, so right leaning people would claim the show is left biased.


I can get along with people from a different political camp, no problem. My gf is liberal, I'm conservative. We have lively debates about it, but we respect each other and never let politics get in the way of the relationship. It's as simple as that.

But over the last few years friends called me a nazi and a racist, coworkers ostracized me for having unfashionable political views, many people cut contact entirely under the premise that I "support" white supremacy. This isn't some shit you easily forgive, and it isn't something you ever forget.

This wasn't just about politics, or teams, or policy preferences, or red vs blue or whatever. This is people denying your humanity on no grounds whatsoever, and when you point it out they say "well, minorities have always felt this way, so shut up and take it." That's fair enough, but it isn't about groups of people oppressing other groups of people. It's about Bill and John and Sally-- people who used to be friends and colleagues-- treating me like I'm a monster for no reason whatsoever other than a mass psychosis. That's not something you can ever come back from.


> This is people denying your humanity on no grounds whatsoever, and when you point it out they say "well, minorities have always felt this way, so shut up and take it."

Here's where they are coming from: Donald Trump was denying people's humanity on the grounds that they came from south of the border. He was literally separating children from their parents to scare others away.

When I have explained that to Trump supporters, they immediately gaslight me; telling me it wasn't that bad, or Trump's fault.

> It's about Bill and John and Sally-- people who used to be friends and colleagues-- treating me like I'm a monster for no reason whatsoever other than a mass psychosis.

They don't mean to. Really, they don't. The trouble is, they just can't find a reason.

The only reason I can think of is that Trump supporters really don't know what's happening. That they don't believe it. It looks a lot like mass psychosis.

It looks even more like a cult. I would know: I grew up in one. If I can come back from that, you can come back from this. The first step is empathy.

Are you certain that you aren't in the "group of people oppressing other groups of people"?

I know it can be hard to confront that question. I did it about a year ago. When I did, I found out the answer was "no".

I dug a little deeper, and realized it wasn't a soft "no", either. I was an instrumental part of an institution that tears families apart and drives children to suicidal ideation. I always knew there were issues, but I had plenty of excuses for those issues and the institution's part in them.

If you really aren't a Nazi or a racist, then will you reconsider your support for the GOP? Bill, John, and Sally didn't just pull that out of their asses. What they said to you was disrespectful and dehumanizing, but it didn't come from nothing.


> Here's where they are coming from: Donald Trump was denying people's humanity on the grounds that they came from south of the border. He was literally separating children from their parents to scare others away.

To put it precisely, the child separation policy is in clear violation of the fourth Geneva Convention, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which also governs the rights of aliens in times of peace. Specifically, Article 38 §5:

children under fifteen years, pregnant women and mothers of children under seven years shall benefit by any preferential treatment to the same extent as the nationals of the State concerned.

The US has been no stranger to Geneva Convention violations but this is a particularly egregious example within our own borders thats also arguably a violation of the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [2].

Coming from a country that lost tens of millions of its people to the war machine that inspired the Geneva Convention, I feel physically sick that people support someone who would intentionally enact such policies. The last four years of gaslighting has made it incredibly difficult to interpret that support as anything but a complete dereliction of empathy.

[1] https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/ihl/385ec082b509e76c412567390...

[2] https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/Treaty.xsp... - Article 2 is the relevant one


Well you see, normal people don't go into these sort of histrionics over -- and let me check my notes here -- detaining criminals.


This site used to not be filled with leftist cheerleaderism, as far as I can remember. Shocking that such a nebulous non comment is at the top.

It's my opinion that freedom should be of primary importance in America, not feel good authoritarian inducing woo.


It seems to me that the left is the side supporting freedom right now. I don't think someone is free if they don't have the material resources to make their own decisions. That's to say nothing of minority rights and ending the war on drugs.


>I don't think someone is free if they don't have the material resources to make their own decisions.

So who is the one who is to be forced to provide them with said material resources ? They don't just magically appear. The vast majority of people with material resources have worked very hard to aquire them, very often by working very hard at producing material resources.

>That's to say nothing of minority rights

What rights are being denied to minorities ?

As someone who always saw myself on the left, being a proponent of universal healthcare and focused on class issues, I can no longer recognize myself on the left with them going all in on identity politics, dividing people not by economic class, but by immutable characteristics like race and gender.


Your first point is a sentiment that I hear very frequently. I think the reaction that your hard-earned material wealth is rightfully yours is completely fair. However, it's worth pointing out that other people may also work hard and still live in poverty. Poverty can be systemic, in that things you're born into can limit your opportunity. Further, people are sometimes faced with unexpected situations such as health problems or pandemics that can make them unable to work. Many people have proposed plans that pay to distribute more wealth to these people by taxing corporate profits and the super wealthy. Some people will make a personal sacrifice to do this, but these people may actually have a better life experience if the majority of those around them are suffering less.

> What rights are being denied to minorities ? Until recently, the right to get married or adopt children, among other things. I see your point though: people of all skin colors are theoretically equal in the law. If by "dividing people" by "race and gender" you mean movements for criminal justice reform or to end police brutality toward minorities, I disagree that these movements should be divisive. They become divisive when non-minorities take offense at them, which can happen due to poor messaging from particular individuals. It can happen due to a lack of clarity about the actual goals of the movement. Some more extreme leftists might simply have views that I would also disagree with. But ultimately, "the left" doesn't hate non-minorities. When a movement is focused on minorities, it is to reaffirm that they suffer discrimination which they should not under the law. These movements focus on minorities not to say that others don't struggle too, but to bring attention to societal issues that continue to affect some types of people just because of their "immutable characteristics".


> So who is the one who is to be forced to provide them with said material resources?

Billionaires.

They took $50 trillion from the rest of us[1]. They are beyond capable of affording it.

> What rights are being denied to minorities?

Safety. Marriage. Financial stability. The list goes on.

> dividing people not by economic class, but by immutable characteristics like race and gender.

It isn't the left that did that. Race and gender were divided into economic classes by racists and sexists. Acting like that didn't happen only serves to perpetuate that oppression.

[1] https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-ameri...


Or you know protesting to stop counting votes!? Talk about freedom. I'm happy we won but my god I don't how we can move forward from here


Redistribution of wealth is not promotion of liberty. Quite the opposite.

Help your fellow man. Do not force others to do it for you at the point of a gun.


> Help your fellow man. Do not force others to do it for you at the point of a gun.

An alternative is that we could stop enforcing property rights at the point of a gun. What is more important; property or people? A selfish person in a society that provides for all may feel slighted but they will live comfortably. A selfish person in a society with strict protection of property can cause another person to die without lifting a finger. Frankly, if it's ethical to allow some individuals to die from neglect (thus losing everything of value) then it's at least as ethical to allow redistribution of some personal property (losing less than everything).


I don't see any practical difference between not being free to live life on your terms because of a government restriction or because of poverty.

The whole purpose of society is that people work together for the common good. When resources are not distributed such that that happens then I don't see anything wrong with redistributing them.


Government restriction is aggressive force or the threat thereof. It's unethical. That's the difference.

I have no problem with people redistributing wealth. Just don't use aggressive force or the threat of it to do so.


> Just don't use aggressive force or the threat of it to do so.

Is there any other way?

I don't know of any. Is it truly moral to reject the only method for equality?

It's not like billionaires are going to have someone pointing a gun in their face. They can afford to pay taxes.

50 people literally hold as much wealth as 165 million[1].

Just because poverty isn't aggressive does not mean it is morally superior to taxation.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-08/top-50-ri...


Of course there are other ways. I don't understand this myopic perspective.

Society has a problem: poor people exist. There are a UNIVERSE of possible solutions. Charitable organizations, churches, help from family - the list goes on and on and on.

Yet here you are, saying "I can't think of anything we can possibly do except point guns at not-poor people, take their money, and give it to poor people."

The crazy thing is that I believe you when you say it; I think you're saying it in good faith! I just can't fathom how you reached that conclusion. It's utterly nonsensical to me on its face.


> Charitable organizations, churches, help from family

Those "solutions" are as old as the problem.

They didn't work.

> I can't think of anything we can possibly do except point guns at not-poor people, take their money, and give it to poor people.

The gun pointing happens as a last resort, not first.

What you are telling me is that we should just wait around for the greediest people in the world to charitably give enough back.

That's just not going to happen. We all know it.

So what you are telling me is that we should just continue the status quo, because doing something about it is technically immoral.

Meanwhile, the wealthiest 50 Americans collect as much wealth as the poorest 165 million.

Tens of millions of Americans are in poverty[1]. Is that not immoral?

Approximately 14.3 million households had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources[1]. Is that not immoral?

You are so obsessed with the threat to inconvenience people who have more wealth than you will ever see that you are willing to keep millions in poverty. Get off your high horse. Children are starving.

[1] https://www.povertyusa.org/facts


The fact that one has the wealth for it to redistributed to begin with is because of aggressive force or the threat thereof.


You mean to say all of us are thieves, only reason we don't steal is due to threat of violence.


Absolutely not. I am saying that property, as it is right now, is not ethical, as all property in its current state was originally, or derives from something that was originally, stolen.

As a result, accepting the current order of property can only be justified by utilitarianism, which also dictates that there is no issue with redistribution if it is helpful.

In essence, private property is theft, but there is no feasible alternative (for now), so let's still have private property in a limited sense.


The distribution of wealth in the first place is a MUCH greater deprivation of liberty than any redistribution of wealth is.

I didn't ask to be born into a world where all of the resources had already been claimed, and asking me to accept it is as much of a pointed gun.


Distribution of wealth is a metric, it can neither provide nor deprive of liberty.

People protecting their property is an ethical action. People trying to take it from them against their will is not. This can't be reasoned away.

Fortunately, we have agency in this world that does not require violence. We can work to improve our lot.


It can absolutely be reasoned away, pretending it's a absolute fact is dogma, not logic. Look at any of the many shady things Nestle has done with water rights and tell me that's ethical.

Pretending that property rights somehow are more real than human need is an unethical action.


Re: Nestle - Corporatist structures twisting the state to do their bidding isn't property rights.

Property rights and human needs are both real things. I never argued otherwise.


The enforcement of property rights is literally the reason why the state was implemented. All property that one owns is theirs and not someone else's (or no one's) ultimately because of unjustifiable violence.

On this basis, property rights are not much more than a social construct and redistribution is not a problem if society deems that it is favorable to do so.


One can easily follow this all the way back to medieval Europe, at least in the Western world: early post-Roman European kings were just well-organized warlords, and for a very long time any idea of 'legitimate governance' was just a thin papering-over of the realpolitik involved in armies based on personal loyalty.


No, like the founders of the USA, I believe in natural rights. The right of people to be secure in their persons and their property being one of those rights.

If you and I get marooned on an unclaimed island and I construct a spear for hunting crabs, you have no right to my spear. I am within my natural rights to defend my property should you try to take it by force.


There is no natural right to private property. There is only something close to a right to your own labour.

You can make a claim to that spear, of course. It's the product of your labour, you would get to own it, and you made it with freely available resources. One would call this "personal property".

However, imagine this scenario. You and I get marooned on an unclaimed island. I claim the island before you get the opportunity. Because of my claim on this land, which now becomes my private property, I force you to give me that spear.

This is exactly what happened in all of the globe. People laid claim to land, resources and capital that they did not build, and this is precisely the base of all private property beforethen. If I were to get any object I own, I could trace my ownership of that object to someone that, at some point, violently decided that some land is theirs, and based on the idea that the land is theirs seized the product of the labour of various people who had no choice but to work it or die.

So, unless you agree that seizing land that was not yours violently is a reasonable way of generating ownership, you come to the conclusion that the ownership of essentially everything in our society is illegitimate, and can only be motivated for utilitarian reasons.

If you do, then you agree that I have a right to your spear :)


And if the island is resource poor and you quickly stockpile all of the good sticks and rocks for spear construction?


Is claiming property over things ethical? What inherent human right gives ownership of a resource to someone?


Traditionally it's been violence, but at some point(s) we decided that wasn't the best course of action.

The same can't be said of the government, of course.


Whatever the way in which something is obtained, it's possession does not seem to me to be an inherent right.

My question was aimed at the OP stating as fact that

>People protecting their property is an ethical action.

Which does not seem true to me.


If you and I get marooned on an unclaimed island and I construct a spear for hunting crabs, you have no right to my spear. I am within my natural rights to defend my property should you try to take it by force.


If you constructed that spear with the only stick on the island, would you still hold that it is ethical for you to keep it for yourself?

Can you claim ownership of part (or the whole) of the island?


The comment you are replying to says nothing about redistributing wealth...only that people should have the material resources they need. To your point, however, when people are not being payed appropriately for their productivity and executives are making excessive amounts of money than what one could ever need in a lifetime that is the truly fraudulent redistribution of wealth.


From my perspective, literally every word of your argument but one supports a progressive "left" policy.

Wealth has been redistributed already. $50 trillion has gone from the poorest 90% to the wealthiest 1%[1].

The one word is "gun". The wealthy don't need firearms to compel the rest of us to work for them. In fact, we beg them for jobs every day.

I want to help my fellow man, but I simply don't have the resources. They have all gone to the hands of 50 billionaires[2].

There is a way we can get them back. It doesn't require the point of a gun. It only requires better tax policy.

[1] https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-ameri... [2] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-08/top-50-ri...


> Do not force others to do it for you at the point of a gun.

Quite ironic considering the armed Trump supporters threatening the democracy of the country right now.


The left is abandoning enlightenment principles of individualism in favor of skin color. They define people based on external features rather than their actions or thoughts. That doesn't smell like freedom to me.

Ala, I am racist because I am a white person who is not racist.


I don’t know you do I’m not going to pretend to understand your beliefs based on a couple of comments in this thread.

Instead I wanted to try and reframe this in a way that is a lot more inline with how many people on the left talk about this issue which is in my mind fundamentally different from how I read your comments. I hope it offers a less inflammatory way to consider what often gets thrown under the umbrella of “identity politics”.

When trying to understand the root causes of problems and outcomes in society it’s often helpful to cut the data in certain ways to identify where patterns might be emerging or have existed for a long time.

This is basically the attempt to try and apply the scientific method to issues that simply can not be controlled in a lab environment.

If you were to take an issue like poverty or incarceration rates for example and then attempted to break those issues down through the context of education for example you might start to notice some interesting correlations.

However, there is nothing about this approach that does or should stop researchers from also looking at the data in the context of immutable traits either.

A big part of the conversation that is happening around these topics is that certain groups keep appearing again and again in ways that very few other groups do. The follow up question to that is obviously why?

This commonly gets reduced to comments such as the one you made like “I am racist because I am a white person who is not racist.” which is not at all what is being said.

I too am in the straight white male group and I’m not unaware of how often it can feel like that label is thrown around to the point where it can feel like a dirty word but I would beg you to put aside that initial knee jerk reaction and maybe consider that we as a society (not necessarily you personally) do in fact have some pretty serious issues that are going to overlap with immutable traits like gender, sexuality and race.


Critical race theory and its sister anti-racism reject liberalism by assigning blame, power, guilt, victimhood, privilege, etc., to individuals based on their race.

DiAngelo’s thesis [White Fragility]: All white Americans are racist. All white Americans are a product of white supremacy and are actively or unwittingly complicit in maintaining this power structure. If you say you are not racist, that is only proof that you are racist. If you believe you are not racist, same thing. Black people exist in America only to be oppressed by whites. In DiAngelo’s worldview, any progress black Americans have made is because white Americans have allowed such growth as pacifiers.

https://nypost.com/2020/08/06/peddling-the-idea-that-all-whi...


What kind of freedom? Many would like to be free to be freelancers without having to worry so much about health insurance. How do we get there?


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