March 12 Open Thread: The Resistance Has Legs, and Knows How to Use Them

Filed in National by on March 12, 2018

The mainstream media has made a gazillion trips to “middle America” trying to understand Trump voters (pro tip, journalists: They’re stupid, no other explanation needed), but this article makes the claim that they’ve missed the bigger, more important picture: suburban women between the ages of 30 and 60 are mobilized politically like never before.

Democrats, and the people who study them, are still analyzing where Obama’s voters went, and these political scientists have the answer:

Our analysis shows that while 9 percent of Obama 2012 voters went for Mr. Trump in 2016, 7 percent — that’s more than four million missing voters — stayed home. Three percent voted for a third-party candidate.

Who were the refuseniks? Disproportionately, they were young African-Americans, but this analysis found the non-voters hold the same positions on issues as Clinton voters, so should be easier to win back than the Obama-to-Trump contingent.

Trump backpedals more than an NFL cornerback, this time on guns. Remember all that stuff about age limits and background checks?
Yeah, he doesn’t either. He’s now in near-lockstep with the NRA on those issues. He also wants to arm teachers, because why should cops be the only ones who get to shoot black kids?

Every story like that makes people pine for Robert Mueller’s investigation to get down to brass tacks, but reports like this one from Bloomberg claim that, though his probe on obstruction charges is nearly completed, he’s expected to hold off on any charges relating to it until other facets of the investigation are finished. It makes one feel like an 8-year-old in October growing impatient for Dec. 25.

Given its history, it’s hard to pin the general upheaval in the Middle East entirely on Trump, but Jared Kushner is giving it the old bought-my-way-into-college try, and his father-in-law’s temper compounds the problem. For example, the Qataris compiled evidence of Kushner’s secret meeting with the United Arab Emirates, but chose not to give it to Mueller because they feared the wrath of Trump.

Scott Pruitt might be the looniest cabinet secretary, but there’s little debate about who’s the dumbest — naturally, it’s the Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, who went on “60 Minutes” last night and stumbled over several of Lesley Stahl’s basic questions.

Post any other newsworthy items in the comments.

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  1. bamboozer says:

    Chalk up the missing Obama voters to Hilary’s lack of charisma and notable absence of enthusiasm, she never “got on fire” for anything. Once again, we cannot win on hatred of Trump without a palpable message to go with it. As for Mueller he knows what he’s doing and how to get it done, like most things legal it takes time, lots of it. Hold you water for the finale, it’s going to be worth it. The NRA is winning using the same tactics they always use, Trump is being the worthless hollow man that he’s been all his life, however I do feel the NRA got one of it’s rare bloody noses this time. Jared for jail, in your heart you know it’s right. Unable to watch Devos yet alone hear her idiotic voice, I feel that with enough pressure and negative attention she can be driven from office. And yes, she comes off as pathetically stupid for a secretary of education.

  2. Jason330 says:

    Who could have predicted that voters would not turn out in droves to vote for Hillary Clinton? Who, I mean, besides me and anyone paying attention.

  3. Alby says:

    I liked that analysis because it answered some questions on how many people were in each category.

    My takeaway: Those 9 million who went for Trump are not worth pursuing — they’re too conservative and they’ll be dead soon enough anyway. Ditto for the 3 million who voted third-party, many of whom voted Libertarian, not Green. Democrats should concentrate on the other 7 million — people who voted for Obama but not at all in ’16. They don’t need to be persuaded on the issues, just motivated to leave the couch.

  4. Jason330 says:

    I agree. The problem is that DC based consultants don’t make any money by promoting very obvious, common sense solutions. They make money getting Dems to chance the “middle” what ever that is.

  5. nathan arizona says:

    I still don’t understand how anybody who approved/approves of Obama could sit out that election and give it to Trump. Seems self-defeating. Nose. Spite. Face.

  6. Homesteader says:

    Here is Bobby Jindal’s explanation of why people voted for Trump:

  7. Alby says:

    He means why Republicans voted for Trump. At least, that’s his argument — conservatives could have gotten pretty much the same policy positions from any of the 16 dwarfs; they just preferred a “fighter,” by which they mean a spittle-sprayer they can relate to.

    I already knew why Republicans voted for him. It’s the stupidity, stupid. Well, not just that. It’s the authoritarianism, too. Some people love the military because you never have to guess whether or not you’re superior to others — everyone wears it right there on their sleeves. In civilian life they substitute skin color for embroidered patches.

  8. mouse says:

    It was the perfect storm. Clinton was a poor candidate, the Democratic establishment screwed Sanders, Trump was a carnival barker and the rubes like that along with he validated all their racial resentments. They haven’t changed a bit. These aren’t people given to adjusting to being wrong or self reflection.

  9. Jason330 says:

    nathan arizona,

    I would add that 240 years of accrued traditiion and norms of behavior gave voters the impression that no single President could do as much damage as Trump claimed that he wanted to do.

    Those voters sat out because they thought Clinton would win, and even if she didn’t “what’s the difference?”

  10. nathan arizona says:

    I think almost anybody who bothered to look into it would have understood the danger of Trump. Maybe this time somebody better underline the urgency. The campaign’s focus on Trump’s negative personal qualities was not enough.

  11. puck says:

    You’d think the 2000 election would have been more than enough warning about the risks of sitting it out. The Great Recession and the unnecessary war in Iraq weren’t a big enough two-by-four to get our attention.

  12. Alby says:

    @puck: Those most likely to sit out were of the age group too young to remember any of that.

    @nathan: These are people disinclined to look into things politically. Elections are decided by people who are only sort-of paying attention.

  13. nathan arizona says:

    Alby: Sad commentaries indeed. I guess Trump was right to love the uneducated.

  14. RE Vanella says:

    Puck… Even remembering the Iraq war and the pain that deregulated banks inflicted, it was difficult to support Clinton. She’s responsible as well. Logic doesn’t follow.

    So instead we got a cult of personality based on cultural complaints & internet trolling.

    It’s actually pretty straightforward.

  15. Alby says:

    I blame algorithms.

  16. RE Vanella says:

    You’re not wrong.

  17. This is interesting news – and not the Onion – Scientists have established a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism

    …….According to Dr. Grafman and his team, since religious fundamentalism involves a strict adherence to a rigid set of beliefs, cognitive flexibility and open mindedness present a challenge for fundamentalists. As such, they predicted that participants with lesions to either the vmPFC or the dlPFC would score low on measures of cognitive flexibility and trait openness and high on measures of religious fundamentalism.

    The results showed that, as expected, damage to the vmPFC and dlPFC was associated with religious fundamentalism. Further tests revealed that this increase in religious fundamentalism was caused by a reduction in cognitive flexibility and openness resulting from the prefrontal cortex impairment. Cognitive flexibility was assessed using a standard psychological card sorting test that involved categorizing cards with words and images according to rules. Openness was measured using a widely-used personality survey known as the NEO Personality Inventory. The data suggests that damage to the vmPFC indirectly promotes religious fundamentalism by suppressing both cognitive flexibility and openness.

    These findings are important because they suggest that impaired functioning in the prefrontal cortex—whether from brain trauma, a psychological disorder, a drug or alcohol addiction, or simply a particular genetic profile—can make an individual susceptible to religious fundamentalism. And perhaps in other cases, extreme religious indoctrination harms the development or proper functioning of the prefrontal regions in a way that hinders cognitive flexibility and openness.