NYT op-ed: "Detested and defeated, Donald Trump is now in a tear-the-country-down rage"

His supporters would love that. They think if the country is destroyed, they can rebuild it into a white’s only nation.


Called it.


Honestly, though, this is nothing new. We’ve always known that a large number of people are jerks. And they were never shy about being jerks before this year. The only thing that’s different is that this year, they have a Head Jerk who holds rallies where they can all gravitate toward a center and share in the hate, and feed off each other. With TV CAMERAS.

(Jerks is an awfully benevolent word to use for bigots, misogynists, and Rush Limbaugh.)

And perhaps it’s not that the decent folks need to “do” anything about them. Lead by example, give love where you can, stand up to bullies, speak out and protest, refuse to live an unthinking life. That’s the remedy. It’s not a quick fix and it’s never going to be a total fix, but it’s how keep this thing afloat.


Oh, he has a wherever too, it’s just differently configured, and most likely quite tiny.


Bottom? It always goes still farther underground.


Interestingly, that was Charles Manson’s larger plan too.


I was talking pre-1900’s, hence the birth of a nation part. And even around the WW2 era there was much political nastiness, just disguised as jingoistic sentiment since the US had to worry about Nazis, Communism, and other movements. Politicians smearing citizens names and reputations and having people blacklisted. So political shenanigans has never really stopped.

i do concur that elections themselves have been rather civil within the last 60-70 years, but it hasn’t been all roses. However the good thing about this current race is that all the racist, anti-feminist people are now in the light.


It may come as a surprise to learn this, but many British people who have visited the US extensively - into which category I fall - do think you have an authoritarian tradition; you just fail to recognise it. From the status of your police forces to the conformism of the suburbs, there is a strongly Germanic strain in many parts of the US, which reflects the large scale German immigration. It’s also interesting to note just how many right wing American politicians have Germanic surnames.* The British business visitor quickly learns to keep his mouth shut until in definitely liberal groups, and once you have been sounded out a kind of social grapevine opens doors. In the UK it is of course much easier because of upbringing, and it can come as a surprise when unexpected Americans turn out to be well aware of, and to dislike, the authoritarian aspects of their own culture. (I once spent an afternoon at a racecourse in Kentucky while a Vassar graduate complained at length about the stifling conservatism of her community, to which her husband had been posted by his company, and how he didn’t see the problem. Until that point I had mentally labelled her “corporate wife”, which is a piece of stereotyping of which I am ashamed in retrospect. But there you go.)

What caused the German crisis in the 1920s was the Wall Street Crash, and what I think may cause the next big crisis is precisely global trade - or rather its seizing up because of increased protectionism, lack of business confidence, and MIC sabre rattling in places like Syria, Yemen, Ulraine, the South China Sea and Courland. You don’t need to elect a Trump to make those things worse.

*Edit - the paradox being, of course, that post-WW2 Germany has become a very different country which is anxious to avoid authoritarianism.


I mostly agree with you that the U.S. has its own authoritarian culture, except for the overly heavy attribution to Germanic influence. Americanized strains of Christian ideology, for example, are a much heavier influence on the mainstream cultural traditions you described.


I shudder to think of an American Christian Hitler being in charge.


The push and pull between a decentralized or centralized government has been a constant struggle in the US from the get go. But i do think Christian values have indeed played a big enough hand in politics, although it seems to be the case in most countries. Religion and politics is such a terrible mix.


This is going to sound a bit like victim shaming, and for that I’ll apologize in advance. I wonder whether the fact that the Democrats nominated an unpopular candidate who has been (in some cases literally) demonized by the right wing for decades has contributed to this. There are many people who have plenty of reasons to dislike Trump but feel like they have to stop Hillary by any means necessary. Faced with the unpleasant cognitive dissonance of voting for somebody that they dislike, they convince themselves that Trump not only isn’t so bad, but actually has some good points. The concentrate on those positives and become comfortable, even happy to vote for him. I prefer to believe this rather than the idea the misogynistic bigotry has appeal to close about 40% of the electorate.
Personally, at the end of the day, I’d rather lay down with Hillary’s bankers than Trump’s bigots. You may end up with your pocket picked, but you get fewer fleas.


In the Midwest, Germanic influence is profound…and we’re a big part of the country. Also, we’re one of the areas in the country hit hardest by the economic forces of the past few decades.


Hate is a vicious cycle. You see the boorish, misogynistic, sexist, racist, Rush Limbaughs and you think to yourself, I don’t want to be like them, I dislike them, I hate them…oh wait.
You can’t let yourself feel anything for these people because if what you feel is negative that will lead you to the darkside.


Please tell this to whoever within the Catholic Church is responsible for promoting that godawful1 abortion bill in Poland.

1Totally intentional.


The Pope is ultimately responsible for that atrocity. Even if he didn’t have a direct hand in it, he needs to be held accountable for the church meddling in women’s rights and a country’s politics.

Edit: Coincidentally in all the news reporting i’ve seen for what’s been going on in Poland no one seems to bring up the Pope. I find that curious.


Had to comment to second McCain’s concession speech. I remember being pretty anxious about how that was going to go down and my esteem for the fellow rose measurably after hearing that.

I hold out no such hope for Trump, though I wonder if other Republicans - particularly those no longer running for office - will pick up the slack and do so to calm the base Republicans Republican base.


Well the stock market crash was in 1929, so I think that you have cause and effect backwards. Certainly the contemporary perception on this side of the pond was that it was the Germans inability to repay the loans that they had gotten from Wall Street to pay reparations with that caused what had been the “roaring 20s” to crash to a stop.


That is exactly how I felt. The 2008 campaign got ugly at times, but the way that McCain chose to end it reminded me why his party thought he was a good candidate in the first place.


We have an authoritarian streak. This is not the same as having had a literal Kaiser ten or twenty years ago and we don’t have a literal Junker class in our officer corps. Also, while I think an outside perspective can be valuable, there is a strong tendency for outsiders to give the superficial more meaning than it has. Bear in mind that the United States does have the best defended and most liberal speech laws of any western democracy. To the extent that Congress went out of its way not that long ago to immunize Americans from British libel judgement abroad. This was a bipartisan measure. To the extent that there are social pressures against people expressing certain views, there is a certain authoritarianism there, but where the rubber hits the road, Americans have been remarkably (as in, I’m actually surprised by this) in being very concerned about preserving their speech rights. To the extent we complain about it and whine about it endlessly even when our rights aren’t being infringed. So in real terms, there is simply no comparison to Germany post WWI. If you’re being hyperbolic, I can accept that, but in real terms we don’t have that authoritarian tradition in recent enough history. That there exists kinds of authoritarianism in certain contexts doesn’t make the US an authoritarian nation, and I’ve lived in the Middle East. Those are authoritarian nations, and I could see those being compared to Germany pre-WWI quite easily.

This is, to some extent, Nazi propaganda we ourselves swallowed to reconcile a lot of troubling things about allying ourselves with the German government in the face of the Cold War. By the time Nazis were coming to power, much of the German economy was in recovery in real terms. The Nazis applied a lot of rhetoric about the global financial crisis in the twenties, but it’s not clear that this actually impressed people with Fascism more than German conservatism. It’s possible the Germans believed they were worse off with no end in sight and were desperate, but the real numbers showed that the Germans were coming out of the depression.

If you look carefully at the sources of this idea that Germans were driven to elect Nazis in the face of economic horror, you see that it doesn’t hold up well, and that the strongest evidence for this the existence of Nazi propaganda that referred to the crisis, but proving that this element of propaganda resonated with most Germans seems to have fairly weak evidence supporting it. I wouldn’t mind modulating my opinion if I saw decent secondary source documentation (I don’t read German) that this was not the case, but I learned the whole “German were so very cross” narrative in high school and swallowed it, and only later on reading further did I realize this narrative is complicated by a lot of other factors.

ETA: There are some things I got wrong here. Including a major one. But I don’t have time to fix it right now. Just throwing that in real quick before you trouble yourself with a long response pointing that out. I’ll be back later tonight. :sweat_smile: