SL 758

Hi, guys. No long post today. I’m working on some paying gigs today. I also need to pop the hood on this blog and take care of some technical issues. But I do have some links to keep you busy.

In the history of this blog, I have probably never linked to a Tom Friedman opinion article. Well, you’re getting one today. In yesterday’s NYT, Friedman worries that the press’s fascination on “the Squad”, the new progressive congresswomen of color, which is being fed by the president, is going to derail efforts by more electable democratic candidates to get Trump out of office. Yeah, me, too.

There are two New Yorker articles that I’m planning on reading this weekend: “Kicked Off the Land” and “The AirBnB Invasion of Barcelona.”

Derek Thompson’s “The Future of the City is Childless” echoes some of the ideas that I wrote about last week about London.

From the archives: Can the computer and tech crowd disrupt higher education?

41 thoughts on “SL 758

  1. Pelosi, she said: ““We all know the argument that could be made against us in terms of our philosophy, in terms of our priorities and the rest,” Pelosi said. “And the president knows there are arguments that could be made against him and, therefore, he wants to distract from them.”
    “You have to give him credit,” she continued. “He’s a great distractor. That’s what this is about.””
    Yah, I read the Friedman piece, too. I think it’s perfectly plausible that in their attempts to out-left each other the Dems will give the coming election to Trump.
    Sort of like the GM and Ford and Chrysler execs who were striving for position within their companies and wholly ignoring the threat posed by Nissan and Volkswagen and Toyota.

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  2. Laura said, “In the history of this blog, I have probably never linked to a Tom Friedman opinion article.”

    You were doing so well!

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    1. Note that two of those articles are about the same topic and one is over a year old (the Dershowitz article). Folks have to be careful with the “most frequently read” lists since articles resurface as old topics become topical again. The Guardian now puts asterisks by their articles if they are old. Other online sites should adopt the practice, too.

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  3. The childless city is more than anything about housing. I know at least a dozen families that would love to have stayed in New York City, but can’t because the only homes large enough to fit their families in the city cost $2.5 million dollars. Or less but are coops with enormous monthly common charges.

    All these families make good incomes, even for NYC. But, two kids are hard to raise in a 2br, 950 sqft apartment. Housing in the NYC suburbs is expensive but not that expensive.

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  4. That Atlantic article would have to be a lot more granular before I knew what to think. I’m not sure it’s really news that middle to upper middle class families typically decamp for the suburbs once the children reach a certain age. Our hostess did it, as did many of my friends, both when I was a child and when I was a young parent. I think what may have happened is that the white working class families that used to live in certain neighborhoods and send their children to public school have been displaced by a combination of hipster gentrification and immigration and don’t live in the City anymore. But the article doesn’t give enough detail to be sure what, if anything, is changing.

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  5. I would just about guarantee you Trump will win again, and for the very same reasons he won the last time: the Democratic party shows no sign of any intention to change the same losing political strategy they’ve been practicing for decades: “vote for us, because our policies won’t damage you as much as theirs will.” Michael Moore told ’em last time, and they didn’t listen. They won’t listen this time either—they are under the delusion that the donor class can make up for all the midwesterners (and others, but let’s face it: losing key midwestern states that were taken for granted) staying at home.

    (really. read the Democratic Autopsy, both the 2017 and 2018 versions)

    Given the choice of supporting corporations or constituents, they’ve consistently picked corporations—and then get mad when termed “Republican lite”. Now….they’re trying their damnedest to portray really popular progressive policies as “unworkable” (despite the large number of first-world countries where these policies have worked for decades), or resurrect Cold War attitudes with catcalls of “leftist!” or “socialist!!” and comparisons with 60s Yippies (despite that most voters have to google what the hell a “Yippie” is). Or just take a page out of the Trump notebook and lie, saying they’re “unpopular” and “unelectable”. From the Autopsy (links are in the Autopsy):

    76%of the U.S.public supports higher taxes on the wealthy
    70%of the U.S.public supports Medicare for All
    59%of the U.S.public supports a $15 minimum wage
    60%of the U.S.public supports expanded tuition-free college
    69%of the U.S.public opposes overturning Roe v. Wade
    94%of the U.S.public supports an Equal Rights Amendment
    65%or more of the U.S.public supports progressive criminal justice reform
    59%of the U.S.public supports stricter environmental regulation

    I’m a lifelong Democratic voter. I’ve been walking precincts since I was a child (my dad was a precinct committeeman. “Hey kid…I gotta job for you.”). I’ve kept walking precincts, kept phone banking, kept writing letters in my union newsletter and lobbying people on the job…..but FFS, I don’t even know what the goddamn party stands for anymore, other than looking out for the interests of wealthy liberal suburbanites. “The Dream Hoarders” was a hard book for me to read, since the author consistently kept the conspiratorial voice of assuming his readers would all be UMC folks like him….but it was vindicating, because it confirmed (and backed up) what I’ve been speaking to the wind (or a wall) for years on end—-the Democratic party abandoned its base. I’ve been calling it “neofeudalism”, but that hasn’t taken off yet. Too close to home, I guess.

    It ought to go without saying that you can’t abandon your base and still win elections, but there it is. “We won’t hurt you as bad” doesn’t bring people to the polls. Neither does “we’ll get to your needs later….much later…after we take care of people doing much better than you!” And blathering on about how “great” the economy is doing, when none of that is trickling down to the average American is insulting.

    This is the Democratic party’s election to lose, and they seemed determined to lose it again.

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    1. every poll in the past couple of months has shown that the person who has the best chance of beating Trump is the moderate Biden. At this point, I don’t care about policies. I just want Trump out of office. I’ll vote for anyone, even Nancy Pelosi’s glass of water, who can beat Trump.

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      1. I agree that a moderate would have the best chance of beating Trump (not a consummation I particularly desire, but put that aside); however, Biden is such a doofus that I seriously doubt he can win. It’s a shame that the Democrats don’t have any moderates with national reputations or name recognition.

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      2. Y81, I am pretty much with you on ‘doofus’, and my nightmare scenario is, Biden crowds out everyone else in the center lane, then either does something which makes the whole country see him as ‘aged doofus’ or dies, and we end up with a strident lefty as the Dem candidate who either loses to Trump or, if elected, faces the same level and intensity of opposition as Trump has.

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      3. Laura, tbe polls of 2016 showed Clinton winning against Trump. Biden *won’t* win agaunst Trump. But Warren or Sanders could, and they are both moderates.

        That’s the crux of the matter: well-off, upper-income Democrats view Sanders and Warren as channelling the spirit of Che Guevara, while working class Democrats, or working class people who would consider voting for a Democrat view Sanders and Warren as common-sense moderates. You’ll vote for somebody’s left sneaker to be president, but people who’ve been on the negative side of a literal lifetime of trickle-down economics are completely done with that. We’re tired of being told “later, wait till later”. We’re tired of being lied to with “that can’t work here” in the face of evidence that it works everywhere else. We’re bone-tired of attending mostaccioli dinners to help friends pay for medical bills, only to see the inevitable bankruptcy follow (that the ACA was supposed to prevent, but didn’t). The Democrats need people to go to the polls, and milquetoast candidates with a strong history of being Wall Street suckasses aren’t going to get them there.

        If winning is everything this time—and it is—they need to go hard in the paint on a pro-working class, anti-Wall Street agenda. Nothing else is going to win.

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      4. y81 said,

        “Biden is such a doofus that I seriously doubt he can win.”

        He’s SO old (76), as is Bernie Sanders (77). In fact, they’re both so old that they’re not even Boomers.

        Before anybody says, “Well, Trump is 73,” that is true, and it’s a big ingredient in why he isn’t firing on all cylinders.

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      5. lubiddu said,

        “working class Democrats, or working class people who would consider voting for a Democrat view Sanders and Warren as common-sense moderates.”

        Cite?

        Maybe things have changed, but back in 2016, Bernie Sanders was not that strong with working class people.

        https://www.vox.com/2016/5/19/11649054/bernie-sanders-working-class-base

        At least back in 2016, some observers were making the mistake of assuming that Sanders had strong working class support–whereas his strength among young low-income whites seems to have been largely college students.

        “If Sanders’s “white working-class” voters aren’t just college students, you’d also expect him to be doing better among downscale middle-aged white voters than rich ones. But this turned out not to be true: Low-income white people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s did not break for Sanders. There was little difference in support by income among older voters, with higher-income older white voters actually more likely to support Sanders, according to Grossmann’s Michigan data.”

        “Similarly, Abramowitz ran a multivariate analysis to help figure out this question. Abramowitz looked at a large survey data set and asked: What forms of identity actually predict support for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? “It was age, and beyond that nothing mattered. Maybe ideology mattered a little bit,” he said. Income was not a factor.”

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      6. Laura said,

        “I’m having a hard time squaring current events with my basic optimism about democracy.”

        Second look at federalism?

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    2. I am seriously horrified that this man is our president and that people will put him back in office given everything he’s done in the past two years. I’m having a hard time squaring current events with my basic optimism about democracy.

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  6. The Barcelona article was thought provoking. We were in Barcelona two summers ago and loved it, but could see the ways in which it was becoming a tourist destination and not a working city. Venice, which is briefly mentioned in the article has reached the extreme version of the phenomenon, especially with the cruise ships, which post-date my last visit there. Ten+ years ago, in Venice, I felt like I was visiting a version of Disneyland (no cars, canals, . . .) and I had to poke myself to remember that it was a city that played a significant role in the world (unlike Disneyland).

    The airbnb effect of driving out those who live there and turning a city into a tourist attraction where the only thing that is done there is to serve those tourists is ultimately unfulfilling travel experience. If I feel like I could be on my waterfront restaurant in my home town instead of Barcelona (as I did at a burger shop where we ate), there’s no there worth traveling to. So, I would like to figure out ways to travel that allow the city to remain as something more than a destination. The one useful piece of advice was to go to unusual places, to distribute ourselves, rather than to aim for the same experiences.

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  7. I do not know what it means to complain about the press’s “fascination” — how would one prevent covering the news? I don’t think that the story of what Trump has done to the “squad” can be ignored as a distraction, as, say Lamar Alexander would choose. This story has been very personal for me. Although I do not wear a head scarf, am not a Somalian refugee, and am not a member of congress, I cannot ignore the fact that the president, who is supposed to be my president, too, encourages his supporters in shouting “send her back” to someone who could be me (outspoken, brown, naturalized American). Looking the other way would be complicity.

    Mira Jacob has a book out, “Good Talk” based on convesations with her half-Indian descent half-Jewish son, in which she talks about the tough conversations she has, trying to explain to him (no she can’t explain) that people who say they love her son (his Jewish grandparents) are willing to help put people in power who make his world less safe, who wish to exclude him from the American experiment. That people are willing to do so, is a fundamental test of our democracy and I am very fearful, too.

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    1. And does she explain people who ask Allah to awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel? I really can’t explain people who ask the Almighty to curse their enemies in pursuit of some sordid, transient political gain, but they exist. I don’t understand them.

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  8. Of course, it’s horrible. I don’t want to ignore it, but I want to be suspicious about this topic. I do think that Trump is purposely stirring up this nonsense, because A) keeping the conversation at this very low level is good for him and B) he is trying to keep the press focused on this and not on the bigger crap, like the fact he was partying with Epstein and some 15-year olds.

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    1. The problem is, what does it mean to be suspicious? How do we act differently? Part of the issue is that it keeps getting worse. Maybe we can stop looking if Trump actually acts to stop his supporters from chanting “Send her back”? As long as that keeps happening, how can we not talk about it?

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      1. If I’m leading a classroom conversation and most of the class is having a serious chat about the subject matter and one guy in the back of the room is saying the most outrageous crazy shit, who do I interact with? I do my best to focus class conversation on the smart people. I ignore the crazy shit as much as humanly possible without telling him to STFU.

        Trump is doing this on purpose. He is trying to rally his base and keep the conversation away from serious matters. He’s totally playing the media. I refuse to be manipulated by that asshole.

        Of course, nobody should tell immigrants and non-immigrants to go home. I don’t even know what to say more than that. The guy is disgusting. Let’s get him out of office and hopefully we can fix whatever he breaks in the next two years.

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      2. If the Democrats manage to shift the discussion to serious matters like abolishing the Department of Homeland Security and authorizing reparations for slavery, they will lose worse than McGovern. (Even if everyone you know votes for McGovern.)

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      3. Anyway, I don’t expect any of the usuals here (i.e. people who saw Star Wars in the theater on its first release) will live long enough to see what Trump has damaged fixed even if he did nothing else from tomorrow until 2021.

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      4. “people who saw Star Wars in the theater on its first release”–Hey, that’s just yesterday. I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan! Beat that.

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  9. You guys know me. I’m a policy geek. I love ideas and dissecting the best way to achieve a goal. I would love to do a break down of free college policies with the winners and losers, costs and benefits, and all that. But right now, it just doesn’t matter.

    Our biggest national crisis is the fact that we have a highly dangerous wing nut in the White House, who is continuing to hold Nazi-style pep rallies. He’s undermining centuries of democratic norms that have been slowly been growing since the Enlightenment. His use of social media is unprecedented and has turned the Bully Pulpit into Bulliest Bully Pulpit ever imagined. He is Thanos.

    The only thing that I care about is getting him out of office. My second concern is whether we’re going to need to use the army to get him physically out of the White House. He’s not going to go easily.

    Sure, polls aren’t perfect, but what’s the alternative? Hunches? Looking around at the people nearest to us? Relying on information from our friends on Facebook and Twitter? Hell, if I relied on the people that I know for information, I would be expecting that we would soon be rewriting the constitution so someone around the age of 28 could run for president.

    Right now, the polls tell me that Biden has the best chance of beating Trump with Warren and Sanders coming in second. Harris has a 50/50 shot. I think it’s interesting that the top three candidates are older. Come primary time, I’ll vote for anyone who the polls say will beat Trump. That’s it. I’m a single issue voter in two years.

    (I might turn this into a standalone blog post later. Right now, I have to drive Ian to computer camp.)

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    1. By popular demand PPP tested how a Megan Rapinoe v. Donald Trump 2020 match up would shake out, and we found that Rapinoe gets 42% to 41% for Trump.

      “Trump’s 41% standing is familiar territory. On PPP’s last public national poll we tested 8 of the actual Democratic candidates against Trump, and his standing was in the 40-42% range against all of them. His performance against Rapinoe fits with that general trend. Trump’s approval rating is 42%, with 52% of voters disapproving of him.

      “In addition to having a slight edge over Trump already, Rapinoe has a lot more room for growth. The voters who are undecided in the Rapinoe/Trump head to head voted for Hillary Clinton by 58 points and just 8% of them approve of the job Trump is doing to 82% who disapprove. They’re likely undecided either because they’re not familiar with Rapinoe or aren’t sure about her as a Presidential candidate, but given their past voting history and feelings about Trump, it seems unlikely they’ll end up in his camp.

      “Rapinoe may be an unlikely Presidential candidate but her numbers still speak to a broader truth about Trump’s standing- the fact that he polls in the low 40s against any Democrat he gets tested against shows that electability concerns are overrated and Democrats should feel comfortable voting for the candidates they like the best, not just the ones they think have the best chance of beating Trump.”

      Emphasis added.

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  10. Without Trump, that small, evil group of people won’t have a platform and will slink back to their greasy holes. I hope. And white nationalism is just one of host of evils that were let out of Pandora’s box when Trump was elected. It will take a long time to restore normality after he’s gone.

    Doug, I think you’re dead wrong. 538 has been saying something totally different for months. Wall Street thinks Trump is going to get reelected, too. All their number guys are predicting Trump. They’re not happy about it either, but they aren’t going totally apeshit because the economy is doing okay.

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    1. Trump showed that the path exists. The Republican party that existed prior to him showed that it has no willingness to resist. There will be another, probably smarter, person taking the same path.

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      1. Yes, national polls don’t matter. I’m more and more nervous this won’t stop until it gets worse in ways that hurt Trump voters.

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      2. “Thanks, Laura, I’ll have a look at it once we get internet restored at home.”

        It me.

        No word yet on when the brain will be working again.

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