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Showing posts from March 27, 2016

prisoners of the campaign

The problem with political campaigns in a democracy is very similar to the problems faced by the Red Faction Army (the group of urban guerrilas that the press labeled the Baader-Meinhof gang). The RFA began attacking industrialists and policemen because they believed Germany was still a proto-Nazi state and they wanted to bring about a revolution. Put off to one side the lunacy of the tactic – this, at least, is what they believed and how they acted. But – as was inevitable – certain of their comrades were captured and imprisoned. A true Red Faction Army would shrug and recruit more. But instead, the RFA turned from militating for Revolution to directing all their efforts to freeing their comrades. Freeing their comrades meant nothing to anybody but the RFA. In the moment they turned to that activity, letting, as it were, the feudal value of group loyalty trump revolutionary activism, they were lost not only as revolutionaries but as anything but another pathological criminal gang.

The working class GOP contingent

For once, a decent article in the NYT about the social conditions that have led to the rise of Trump. Still, it suffers from a flaw that I'd call Frankism, after its most famous advocate, Thomas Frank. The idea, here, is that the "uneducated" - the high school graduates and dropouts of the GOP working class - were led along like stupid zombies by a GOP that used "gods" and "guns" to trick them. This, I think, is a massive misreading of the strategy of the GOP cohort. They voted for politicians who continually promised to privatize Social Security and cut taxes not because they believed in cutting social security, but because they didn't believe the GOP was serious. They wanted the tax cuts because that was money in their pockets - and they needed that money. Wages have been bad for a long, long time, save for a few years in the nineties. This means that those households needed their discretionary spending. Meanwhile, fica was, due to the rotten