If you’re supporting anyone other than Clinton right now, this is who you’re helping.

Time to get busy to defeat this grifting demagogue. This from today’s Washington Post.

Time to get busy helping Hillary Clinton
Time to get busy helping Hillary Clinton

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

27 thoughts on “If you’re supporting anyone other than Clinton right now, this is who you’re helping.”

  1. The spirit of Edward R. Murrow and others like him of the McCarthy era has not passed away. It is good to feel our continuity with his and to get beyond the fear that arises from feeling that we are in an exceptional Now. This fear has been freaking me out a bit this year, but for one thing.

    I have been reminding myself a lot lately of what John Dos Passos wrote in 1941: "In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men's reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present and get us past that idiot delusion of the exceptional Now that blocks good thinking."

    Murrow is only one example. What other examples come to mind, and how do we sense our continuity with them?

    That is not a rhetorical question; I really want to know.

  2. William the Silent: "It is not necessary to hope in order to struggle". Harold's plea would hold just as much if Clinton were ten points behind Trump rather than temporarily tied.

    I wonder if the function of prayer may not be to get in perspective what is up to us, and what is not – putting that huge jumble of fears and hopes into the hands of God or fate frees us to concentrate on our little corner of responsibility and action.

    The darkness here is less the still low risk of Clinton's defeat but the fact that two in five Americans are prepared to vote for a contemptible bigot and charlatan like Trump. He's no Hitler, but electorally the pattern is much too reminiscent of Germany in 1933.

    PS to cheer you up: the UN have announced that 20 more countries are expected to ratify the Paris Agreement on September 21st, at a mini-junket in New York. They include Mexico and Brazil. With the 27 countries that have already ratified, that will [update] nearly [/update] cross the bar of 55 states for entry into force. It's not clear whether it reaches the second test of 55% of emissions, but it must be very close. The silence on this point by Ban Ki-Moon may presage a coup de théâtre. If not, it must be possible to round up a few stragglers before November and the US elections.

  3. News update: Apparently now he's decided Obama was born in the US after all. Can a man be more shameless in his pandering? (to quite what I cannot tell)

    What depresses me most is how insulated I feel from the right. It leaves me completely removed from understanding. It is as if I live in a separate country – and yet Trumpland is the last place I'd want to visit. But convincing my fellow countrymen through personal relationships the most effective possible thing I could do? The cultural divide is so wide.

    1. And, in the same breath, lied that Hillary Clinton started it! Thus the law of conservation of lies is preserved.

      1. Some good has come out of this. The Washington Post reports, “Trump admits Obama was born in U.S., but falsely blames Clinton for starting rumors.” I do not believe that I have ever before seen a mainstream media outlet report that a politician stated a falsehood. In my experience, they have always written something to the effect of, “Trump blames Clinton for starting rumors; some disagree.” Trump’s unprecedented degree of lying has caused the media finally to do their job and to recognize that to report when a politician states a falsehood does not constitute bias. We can be grateful to Trump for that.

        P.S. The NY Times also does its job: "Trump Drops Claim but Falsely Accuses Clinton of Starting It."

  4. Trump supporters tend to get on our nerves. Consequently, we want to tell them that they are flat out wrong, or deplorable, ignoring what we could learn from Pascal’s Pansies:
    9.
    When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.
    10.
    People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.
    15.
    Eloquence, which persuades by sweetness, not by authority; as a tyrant, not as a king. [ I am not sure what the hell this one means; it appears to mean that sweetness:authority::tyrant:king. If this had been on the SAT back in the day, I would have missed the question.]
    16.
    Eloquence is an art of saying things in such a way—(1) that those to whom we speak may listen to them without pain and with pleasure; (2) that they feel themselves interested, so that self-love leads them more willingly to reflection upon it.
    It consists, then, in a correspondence which we seek to establish between the head and the heart of those to whom we speak on the one hand, and, on the other, between the thoughts and the expressions which we employ. This assumes that we have studied well the heart of man so as to know all its powers, and then to find the just proportions of the discourse which we wish to adapt to them. We must put ourselves in the place of those who are to hear us, and make trial on our own heart of the turn which we give to our discourse in order to see whether one is made for the other, and whether we can assure ourselves that the hearer will be, as it were, forced to surrender. We ought to restrict ourselves, so far as possible, to the simple and natural, and not to magnify that which is little, or belittle that which is great. It is not enough that a thing be beautiful; it must be suitable to the subject, and there must be in it nothing of excess or defect.

    Having sought out Trump supporters at Trump rallies, I can vouch for the fact that you can get interesting responses if you agree that the establishment has failed to make things better for working Americans, but say that you also have to look at how he always blames someone else when things don’t go his way, and that you don’t see how we are going to get the world’s respect if the President of the United States is always bellyaching about how unfairly he is being treated by everyone who doesn’t see things his way. There is another side of Trump which you think is just plain wrong—this meets with agreement oftener than you might think.

    1. Yes, Trump supporters have some blind spots, as we all do, but to assume they are all stupid racists is a kind of stupid racism.

      1. This heads towards a debate on what the word "racism" means, but, at a minimum, Trump supporters are willing to tolerate racism, and several other forms of evil. And you can make a case that doing so constitutes a form of racism.

      2. aajaxx: Straw man. Hillary Clinton took pains to assert that half of Trump's supporters are not racists etc.

    2. "Pascal’s Pansies" is a beautiful piece of machine mistranslation. It's Pensées: thoughts, reflections. As a secondary meaning, pensée is also the name of the flower, carried over with little change into English.
      "Tyrant": to the Greeks a "tyrant" was a non-hereditary one-man ruler, who relied on force of personality for legitimacy rather than a legal or customary claim. Examples: Peisistratos of Athens, Dionysos of Syracuse. I think tyrants were always men, unlike monarchs.

  5. There is one person who could pretty much ensure that Trump would not be elected, and that person is Hillary herself. If she withdrew, the Dems could put in place a candidate who would elicit enthusiasm. Since she's not doing that, clearly she either believes herself the strongest candidate (which puts her judgement in question) or she thinks that it is so important that she be the one to occupy the office that she's willing to risk his election, even though a huge number of ordinarily Dem voters and Dem-leaning independents feel little enthusiasm for her (which makes her look a narcissist).

    1. You'd almost think she hadn't won the most votes in the Democratic primaries by a pretty significant margin. If she's so bad, why didn't anyone beat her?

      1. Obviously, she has supporters. Hell, my wife supports her, and it's a source of marital discord (not a lot) for us that I think Travelgate, and her remarkable success with futures, and her remarkable un-success with health care, and the 'pay to play' aspects of the Clinton Foundation and … a lot of other things … suggest that she won't be a good President. But my remark really doesn't depend on whether Hillary is in fact somehow swell, it is adequately supported by the many polls which have been reported showing that huge numbers of voters think ill of the both of them, and are basically going towards the voting booth trying to decide which of them is least worst.
        In that situation, if the Dems put in place a well regarded person – Kaine, or Warner, or even the genial place holder Biden – I expect that that person would win in a walk. You think this is wrong?

        1. Ditching the clear winner of a hard-fought primary contest on the basis of a fairly bad week in the polls and poor favourability ratings (still higher than Trump's) would discredit the Democratic party utterly and ensure the candidate's rousing defeat. No politician in their right mind would take the offer. Hell, the Republican establishment could not bring itself to ditch Trump, an unspeakable man with horrible policy positions, and probable hard loser. From the view of the long-term interests of the GOP, they were right.

        2. Yes, I think that's wrong. I also think you're list of "scandals" from Clinton's past is ridiculous. Travelgate was a nothing. Her "remarkable" success with futures is countered by investments she made with a lot of the same people that went bad, so you're cherry picking only the things that support your case. The 'pay to play' aspects of the Clinton Foundation consist of people who thought they would pay to play, made donations, and then found out that that didn't get them influence with Clinton. Well, except for a guy who won the Nobel Peace Prize and got access when the government of Bangladesh tried to illegally seize his assets, but I'm suspecting that his pull with Clinton didn't stem from the donations.

          And that's why I think you're wrong. If you think that Republicans wouldn't have cheerfully made things up about other potential candidates, and that the press wouldn't have cheerfully passed them along, and that a significant chunk of voters wouldn't have fallen for them hook, line, and sinker, you're not paying attention. Clinton also has plenty of strengths as a candidate that you're ignoring.

          1. I am unclear what is morally defective about firing the staff of an office that was as badly mismanaged as was the White House Travel Office.

  6. You're shifting the ground here – do you even see what you are doing? I did not say, Dems should dump her. She won the primaries, with the assistance of the supposed-to-be-neutral central staff led by Debbie W-S. She can't realistically be dislodged, and the reasons you've cited are valid. I said, if she withdrew, she would ensure Trump's defeat. Trump has at this point a remarkably high chance of winning for a candidate of his qualities, and since she is not choosing to withdraw she is choosing to expose the country to a fairly high chance of a Trump Presidency.

    1. She should withdraw because she is certain to lose? That ain't so. For just one week, her consistent lead – much larger than that of previous Democratic candidates – has shrunk to a tie. Sam Wang still puts her odds-on, and that is without non-polling factors like the asymmetrical GOTV campaigns (unlike any other matchup in recent history), the probability of Clinton handily winning the debates, the press worms finally turning against Trump for his lying and contemptuous manipulation of them, and the slow-burning Trump financial scandals. If she were 10 points behind for a month your argument might begin to have some force. As it is, it's absurd. Stop the bedwetting and start fighting for your candidate.

      1. She is NOT 'certain to lose'. I didn't say that. It's not true. She is 68 per cent likely to win, based on the amalgamation of polls done by Real Clear Politics. The back of my envelope says that's a 32 per cent likelihood of losing. She is saying, it will be a disaster if this ridiculous parvenu takes the office, but she is not acting as though a 32 per cent chance of disaster – my view is that if she withdrew, and the Dems nominated someone less unpopular, that person would romp to victory. So this suggests to me that she prefers a 70% or so chance of personally being president to a 95% chance of a Democrat being president.

  7. Calling all conspiracy theorists: we need to start an internet rumor that the bomb in Manhattan this weekend was a “false flag” operation by Trump and his team to increase our fear of terrorism and thereby elect him. Prime evidence: the bomb was in the “Chelsea” neighborhood, a clear coded attack on everything to do with Clinton.

    Other evidence can be contrived on demand. All we need is a nutjob radio talk show host to help promulgate the rumor and we are in business.

    1. ISIS presumably want Trump to win, as he confirms their "crusade against Muslims" narrative. Are they doing anything to bring this about? In the USA, ISIS does not seem to have any structure (recruiters, organisers, weapons logistics), unlike in parts of Europe. Its main, possibly only, instrument inthe USA seems to be exhortations on social media. These are taken up by an assortment of semi-deranged loners, who act by themselves with no outside support. It's a question of fact whether ISIS have been intensifying these incitements.

  8. you folks can delete this comment after you read it and reply to me via my email address. i'm just curious, did brett bellmore get banned? if so, when and why? it's just that i've seen several posts come up to which he would certainly have something to say and there's been no sign of it.

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