Open Thread: Politics

(by chris the cynic)

This space is being set aside for discussion of politics.  Why?  So that space elsewhere can be away from such discussion for people who need a break from the ubiquity of election news.  (Which is why, for example, as soon as I publish this I’ll be linking to it from Ramblings as an elsewhere to discuss political news.)

33 thoughts on “Open Thread: Politics

  1. Aibird July 26, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I was curious folks thoughts on conventions?

    And thanks, Chris! If there’s a newer political thread, let me know. I just clicked on the link in your current open thread Gulls on a Roof.

  2. Lonespark42 July 27, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    I watched Flotus kick all the butt, Warren speak, and Sanders do his thing. Kinda live commenting with some folks on FB it was inspiring.

    But now I’m back to being annoyed by everyone sniping at each other…

    Shaun King wrote an article encouraging people to support Clinton that didn’t annoy me because it seem to respect everyone. Rare exception. There’s way too much shaming and yelling rather than just building coalitions and getting stuff improved.

  3. WanderingUndine July 28, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I haven’t been watching. I’m voting for Clinton and terrified of Trump, so don’t need further persuasion on those matters. I’m glad Sanders is trying hard to *not* become the next Ralph Nader, but don’t know if he can convince enough of his followers to cooperate. I encounter so few people *enthusiastically* supporting Clinton that I’m puzzled by those who express optimism about her chances.

  4. Firedrake July 29, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Speaking as an un-American outsider, the impression I get is that during the primaries Clinton was the only “business as usual” candidate. Sanders was talking about huge changes, and all the Republicans were off in their own world where climate change and evolution don’t exist. Nobody gets excited about business as usual.

    Now we’ve got the Party for Vaguely Rational People and the Party for Everybody Else. Which is bad for both sides.

  5. christhecynic July 31, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I think this is my first election without TV. I still read articles about the conventions, but it’s not the same. Everything feels detached. It makes it hard to come up with any solid thoughts.

  6. Aibird August 2, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    It’s interesting to hear all your thoughts! I’m also terrified of Trump. Clinton is “business as usual” as in nothing will really change for the better, but I doubt it’ll get worse. Trump though is terrifying. Especially after hearing the NPR story today about how folks in the judicial branch are super worried he’s going to try to mess with it due to his comments he’s made on the campaign trail.

    I remember seeing a map someone posted that calculated the risks of voting third party, and then highlighted the swing states where voting third party will turn the election toward Trump. It was actually pretty nifty. And now I can’t find it on Facebook, as I don’t remember whose wall I saw it on…

  7. christhecynic August 3, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Chris Rock has delivered my favorite commentary on the election so far:

    I have become a single-issue voter in this election year and that issue is preventing the total destruction of human civilization.

  8. lonespark42 August 19, 2016 at 7:50 am



    So some people installed statues of Trump in different cities. Naked Trump. Apparently of a similar design to the painting someone made a while ago depicting him with a micropenis. So the statues are a caricature that makes him fatter and depicts his genitalia as not conforming with the norm for male anatomy that men are expected to have. And the installation is called, “The Emperor Has No Balls,” so I guess he’s also depicted without testicles? It’s hard to tell from the photos…

    A bunch of folks were posting this on Facebook, mostly with the “wow” face, but more approving than not. And it took a lot of other friends jumping in to say it’s not cool to use fatness and especially association with intersex or transgender people’s bodies AS AN INSULT for them to get it.

    My friend and spiritual leader was on a tear this morning about how it’s NOT punching up if you are using marginalized identities to attack a powerful person. It reminds me of a lot of liberal folks, mostly White, many gay and lesbian, using the idea that Ann Coulter could be a drag queen or a trans woman, or just a masculine woman IDK, as an insult… Also there has been a lot of slut shaming of women in Trump’s family, and people arguing that it’s not slut shaming, it’s pointing out hypocrisy (using slut shaming tropes…) Melissa at Shakesville is usually really good on this stuff, but I don’t think she has addressed this particular thing.

    At the same time these statues are artistic expression, and artists may use symbolic language in their cultures to send messages without agreeing with everything about that accepted symbolism. The painter who did a similar thing was attacked, so obviously this stuff gets a reaction from “the opposition…”

    I don’t think there’s a need to be good and pure in order to fight the end of a civilization that’s kind of decent and better than the chaos that would come. But people just don’t seem to think about what responding to body-shaming attacks in kind does continue normalizing this dehumanizing discourse.

  9. WanderingUndine August 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Yes! It’s frustrating that so many people who know that body-shaming is harmful and wrong nonetheless think penises are exempt and fine to mock and judge as indicators of relative masculinity and thus admirability. Gross messaging all around. >_<

  10. WanderingUndine August 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I’m glad to see that there has been pushback against it from Everyday Feminism, Upworthy, Feministing, and other internet presences. But many commenters still just…don’t…get it. Yes, we know it’s symbolically “exposing his weakness” — that’s the *problem.* Art can be transphobic even if it doesn’t depict a trans person. And regardless of what Trump deserves, he’s not the only one being harmed here! Gah.

  11. WanderingUndine October 9, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    To anyone struggling to come up with adequate descriptions of Trump and other despicable people, I recommend the Lovecraft Insult Generator:

  12. christhecynic October 10, 2016 at 4:35 am

    I think the best comes from Lucas Arts, though note that the insult never made it into the game.

    For those who can’t or don’t want to listen to the actual insult, I have quickly transcribed it:

    You lying, thieving, cheating, scum-sucking, dog-licking, spit-swimming, spider-eating, goat-hugging, dung-smearing, pig-kissing, frog- swallowing, mud-biting, cow-tipping, toilet-swabbing, cud-chewing, window-washing, half-warped, apple-polishing, worm-witted, chicken-hearted, lam-lusting, nefarious, untrustworthy, nasty person.

    Now if it were me, I’d have gone “lying, cheating, thieving” instead of bumping up the “thieving” and had it be “spit swilling” which gives the same rhythm and such but arguably makes more sense, but it’s a masterpiece of invective none the less.

  13. WanderingUndine October 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I would omit a few of those descriptors in this case. Trump probably never cleaned a toilet or window in his life, and there’s nothing wrong with hugging goats.

  14. christhecynic October 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

    In the times when I am around goats, I frequently give hugs.

  15. christhecynic October 14, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Ok, so there’s this list being kept of Republican positions on Trump.

    It now requires seven categories. Newest category: Supported Trump, then rescinded support or called for him to step down* and then changed their minds and went back to supporting Trump.

    To be clear, these are people who knew that Trump was a bigot of various types and a misogynist and under investigation for sexual assault, didn’t care, then heard a tape of him bragging about sexual assault, noticed his support was going down the toilet, and pretended to care, then decided to not even pretend to care and go back to supporting Mr. Sexual Assault.

    Because . . . fuck.

    Also, the media I’ve encountered (I’m basically internet only at this point, and I stick to text mostly) really dropped the damned ball in reporting what was on that tape. “Tape of Tump making lewd comments surfaces” so what? He’s making lewd comments constantly. It sounds like non-news. “Tape of Trump admitting to frequently committing sexual assault,” would have conveyed the substance of the matter better.

    * Step down calls are not the same as withdrawing support.

    To be clear, you can withdraw support and call for him to get the fuck out of the race, but if you just do the second you’re calling for something you know isn’t going to happen (he’s not going to drop out) and not saying what to do in reality.

    They don’t actually say they won’t vote for him, nor do they advise others not to vote for him. Step-down calls without, “and people shouldn’t vote for him if he stays in,” are more evasion than substance.

  16. christhecynic October 14, 2016 at 7:49 am

    And how bad it is it that the the most positive light in which to view Trump’s words is that he wants to be a serial sexual assaulter but isn’t and so was just bullshitting to seem like the kind of person he wants to be?

  17. WanderingUndine October 15, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Three years ago today, when government shutdown was impending and I was obsessed with A Song of Ice and Fire, I posted on Facebook:

    Dear congressional obstructionistic caudal peduncles: I would sentence all of you to a Walk of Shame through DC, but am not sure you’d mind. So I offer you the alternative options of a sky cell, a fighting pit equipped with sword-wielding dwarfs mounted on boars, a night of receiving the holistic Dreadfort Treatment with knives and leeches (which has been proven to reform obnoxious traitors in mind and body), or a permanent job aboard Crow’s Eye Cruises.

    I now extend that offer to Trump and his ilk.

  18. DawnM October 20, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I want to vote for Kate MacKinnon as president.

  19. WanderingUndine October 21, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Reminder to all US voters: PLEASE find out which of your Congressional, state, and local officials are up for reelection/replacement or leaving office — in Congress, this includes 34 Senators and the ENTIRE House — and make an informed decision on who you’ll vote for. The Presidential election has stolen the spotlight, but these races are also critically important.

  20. christhecynic October 21, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Seconding that. Down-ballot races are hugely important. This is regardless of your partisan persuasion.

    Now that I’ve said that inoffensive but highly important fact, let me get partisan because that’s who I am.

    President Clinton with a Republican House and Senate equals more deadlock. The House is unlikely to flip, but the Senate could if people, you know, care about it. That won’t do much to get laws passed (the House can still obstruct) but it can do a lot to make government function. Remember that the Supreme Court is currently understaffed because the Republican Senate refuses to hold confirmation hearings under a Democratic President.

    The Supreme Court is the biggest example, but it’s far from the only one. Basically everything that needs Senate approval has been on hold for at least two years (when Republicans no longer needed to filibuster to block appointments) which has left a staggering number of things understaffed.

    Of course, if you particularly like a non-functional government, vote to keep the Senate Republican, and if you really like governmental dysfunction, vote for Trump too. I live in Maine, so I’ve been living under Trump-lite for six years now. If I get started on how bad that is, I’ll be writing till tomorrow morning.

    Though I will note that, while Maine is currently in the metaphorical position of being on the ground and kicked while it’s down, it continues to be great and suffers only from having a government that’s trying to make it not-great. So to the Trump Pence people who keep on putting up signs saying they’ll make Maine great again: it’s already great, it doesn’t need you, and in fact what it does need is for you and people like you to stop fucking with it.

    Maine, for example, would be a lot greater if it didn’t have a government that’s trying to fuck over the native people more than has been done in 240 years of systematic fucking over.

    The major not-great thing Maine has dragging it down is the LePage regime, and getting the one guy LePagier than LePage put in charge of the entire fucking country isn’t going to solve that problem.

    Thank you for reading my partisan rant. I cut it down to a more manageable size, but it still seems kind of long.

  21. christhecynic October 21, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Random other note:

    I’ve wanted Elizabeth Warren for president since before Barack Obama got the nomination, and I’ve been vocal about that and it hasn’t changed.

    I like that she’s passionate about justice and that she’ll take on fights that people say are impossible. I like that she’s a coalition builder which is how she’s managed to win such fights. I like that she’s capable of growth and change so that her original fairly narrow focus on economic justice has expanded to many more forms of justice.

    At the same time, if I found out that Meaghan LaSala were running for anything I’d vote for her in a heartbeat. LaSala is someone I met at USM, and I’m sure the country is full of people just like her. The thing is, as a student she already knew more about the various forms of oppression going on today than most politicians and she somehow manages to fight them all. I’d soon collapse from exhaustion if I attempted what she does.

    I’m sure that she has a lot more to learn, I’m sure that there are a lot of bad things she doesn’t see or doesn’t understand, but she’s already so far ahead of the curve and she’s got time to grow and if I imagine someone like her backed by institutional power with the ability to delegate the things she doesn’t know enough about to experts then I’m automatically imagining a better world.

    Because it’s a world where the person at the top is willing to fight all the fights that need fighting, isn’t willing to say, “We’ll get to the problems you face eventually,” and is aggressively pushing to stop the bad shit. For everyone. Everywhere.

    Obama “evolved” on marriage equality, and good for him, but I’d rather have had someone who was already in the right spot on marriage equality, fighting for it, and was evolving on issues I hadn’t even heard of because obscure oppression isn’t acceptable, and it’s only when it gets brought into the light that people begin to consider fighting it.

    I’d like a president who is ahead of me, not beside me or behind me.

    As a side random note, pretty sure LaSala isn’t old enough to be president and isn’t going to become a politician anyway. She’s an activist, and damn is she active.

  22. WanderingUndine October 22, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Oh right, 12 state governor seats are open too.

    LePage should be a lesson to the nation on the dangerousness of third-party candidates splitting the vote, as he was elected with 38% of the vote in 2010 and 48.2% in 2014. Sanders is trying hard not to become the next Elliot Cutler or Ralph Nader, but I have Libertarian and Green Party friends who are resolved to vote for their presidential and down-ticket candidates this year.

    In encouraging news, a recent electoral-college snapshot shows more state shifts to battleground or Democrat-leaning:

  23. depizan November 8, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I know it’s far to early to panic, but I’m panicking anyway.

  24. christhecynic November 8, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    A friend’s prediction is Ragnarok for 2016.

    My advice is to offer Jörmungandr and Fenrir hugs.

    If all else fails, the tree burns, the world drowns, and so forth then I think that the new world that rises from the ashes and waters will probably be ruled over by Baldr and Hel* which isn’t that bad. Kind of an improvement, really. Not really willing to see the realms end in fire and water to get to that improvement, but if they do . . .

    *Hel is conspicuously absent from Ragnarok. She didn’t go with the pissed off hordes of her subjects to make war on Asgard (her dad did that) and given Baldr’s survival, Höðr’s too, it seems like those who stay in Helheim and sit out the battle have the best odds of survival.

  25. christhecynic November 8, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    I wasn’t even going to stay up tonight to see the results. But I did, and I’m definitely panicking right there with you. The prediction of Ragnarok is starting to seem overly hopeful.

  26. boutet November 8, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I am here to participate in the panic. I’m flitting from site to site, community to community hoping to find someone posting something hopeful.

  27. depizan November 9, 2016 at 12:06 am

    This is a nightmare.

  28. christhecynic November 9, 2016 at 12:16 am

    The Weavers did a reunion concert in Novemeber 1980. Thus Reagan had just been elected but was not yet president. The comforting words one of the members of the band shared with the crowd were “This too shall pass. I’ve had kidney stones, and I know.”

    Florida may be close enough to trigger an automatic recount. So expect to be given just enough hope to be crushed again. Unless things turn around nigh miraculously, this is going to hurt. It’s going to hurt for a long damned time.

    And just to destroy any optimism that may exist, I remind you that LePage, the mini-Trump, was reelected.

  29. Nothing November 9, 2016 at 1:08 am

    It’s terrible that someone sexist and racist and bigoted could be elected president. He is favored only by nations run by authoritarian rulers who deny freedoms of speech and of the press to their people. Almost everyone else prefers Clinton. And thanks to the election results the global stock markets have tanked, meaning my retirement account is in danger.

    His plans for the economy involve slashing education funding and giving vouchers for private schools, of the type that normally have a religious agenda. We can anticipate being put further behind in the sciences than we already were.

    He plans to end free trade. Chinese imports may see a double digit tax. This will be 100% the worst thing possible for consumer electronics such as cell phones, computers, TVs, and gaming consoles.

    He intends to go back on our word as a nation to work harder to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases that have resulted in climate change. He refuses to acknowledge that climate change is even a thing.

    But the worst thing is that voters have said it’s okay to be racist, sexist, and bigoted. That bullying people online and in person is fine–he did it even though his wife made a big speech about how terrible cyber bullying is. That it’s okay that fact checkers found lies in every other word he said.

    I will never understand it. I am hurt that this could even happen. I thought America was better than this, but I can’t afford to leave. Even if I could, I would not want to leave this country in the hands of evil that I could fight with my vote if I stayed.

    And conservatives hold the senate majority too. It really is a nightmare. He plans to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe vs. Wade among other things.

    How did we get to this point? Did people not vote? Voted third party instead? Decided that no matter what they were not electing a woman? I am not fond of Clinton either, but she remains a far superior option to Trump!

  30. christhecynic November 9, 2016 at 6:38 am

    How did we get to this point? Did people not vote? Voted third party instead? Decided that no matter what they were not electing a woman?

    It wasn’t the third party vote, at least it doesn’t appear to have been.

    As for people not voting, it appears that black and Hispanic voters didn’t turn out in as large numbers as they did four years ago.

    It has been said that the voting pattern of white voters with no college degree resembled that of a fearful minority group (I have to vote for this party no matter what because the other one wants to destroy me) which hasn’t happened in the past. Even white voters who have tended to vote that way did it moreso, if white evangelicals are any indication.

    The polls weren’t off by all that much, so it’s possible to look at, say, Fivethirtyeight’s instant poll agrigator (the “nowcast”), shift things by three points in the popular vote, and see how news events did or didn’t affect the outcome. If the election had happened after the final debate, we’d probably have President Elect Clinton because a 3 point error wouldn’t be enough to see her lose. That assumes, of course that the error was three points in general and not wildly swinging around as time changed.

    Also, Trump had an advantage in the electoral college. It remains to be seen who will win the popular vote and there’s a decent chance it will be Clinton.

  31. depizan November 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

    it appears that black and Hispanic voters didn’t turn out in as large numbers

    I wonder how much of that was voter suppression. :\

  32. lonespark42 November 9, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Now I’m hearing she did win the popular vote.

  33. lonespark42 November 9, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    White people ruined everything, which is never news and yet always so infuriating.

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