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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

As Pariah says.

 

Thomas F. Madden's book Empires of Trust noted the oddity that, with the fall of the Soviet Union, there was no real alliance to counter American power. When one country gets really powerful, usually other countries band together out of mutual fear. His suggestion was that for all the bitching about US influence in the world, most people and most leaders are okay with it. They trust that American leaders won't do anything too crazy and menacing.

 

One reason I have difficulty imagining a scenario in which the US would actually, no kidding try to annihilate another country -- even Afghanistan -- is that I can't see many situations in which potential consequences would not be worse. (Though I do think there is value in occasionally reminding some leaders that there are limits they dare not pass -- when the rest of the world might not mind seeing the US utterly destroy them.)

 

I am in no position to argue whether Madden was right in his estimation of how the rest of the world sees American power. I do think it was a good high-level strategic suggestion for American policy. Donald Trump sure seems determined to kill that possibility.

 

Though China and Russia both have global ambitions the US blocks. This may have less to do with fear of American power than hope that Trump will create a power vacuum through isolationism and alienating allies. I find it more concerning that Turkey's Erdogan apparently values good relations with Russia more than membership in NATO.

 

Dean Shomshak

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I note that Empires of Trust was published eleven years ago and a whole lot has transpired since then.  In particular, the current regime has methodically destroyed the U.S. State Department; any trust that foreign leaders might have had in a U.S. system that attenuates the worst swings of its electorate has by now been shattered.  And the ruling party's tacit acceptance of foreign assistance only reinforces the impression that the U.S. government is literally for sale to the highest bidder.

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Indeed. President Trump has very effectively shattered the world's confidence in America's policy consistency built up over generations. It will take generations to rebuild that, if ever.

 

As one example, I've read several commentators who pointed out that Trump's withdrawal from the Kyoto climate accords, the Pan-Pacific trade deal, and the Iran nuclear arms limitation agreement, impacts America's ability to negotiate future deals, since the assumption by other nations will henceforth be that the longest any deal with the US can be counted on to last is the term of one president.

 

Of course, that will be after Trump has left office and will no longer be held personally responsible. So why should he care? :rolleyes:

 

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During the Second World War, we (Americans) had the Nazis (and the Axis in general) to unite against.

 

After that, we had the Soviet Union and Communism in general as the reliable common enemy to unite against.

 

With the fall of the Communist Bloc, we haven't had a reliable Big Bad to unite against, although the nebulous specter of "Islamic terrorists" filled the role for a few years after 9/11. And in that interim, our country has become more fractured, more polarized, and more divided than perhaps any time since the Civil War.

 

We don't seem to be able to get along with each other unless there's a Bigger Bad for us to focus on. In the absence of an iconic evil to oppose, American unity goes to seed.

 

And so this President has taken things to the logical conclusion, that everyone is The Enemy--immigrants, Moslems, "Socialists", foreigners, people who believe in climate change, Liberal "elitists", the list goes on. That Americans fall into many of these categories is inconsequential; if they do (or if they support anyone who does), well, they must be The Enemy as well. And The Enemy must be defeated at all costs--even in America is weakened in the process.

 

And his base eats it up. In defiance of logic, reason, and evidence, they're convinced that he's the only one who can save America.

 

Honestly, I don't know how the Democratic Party is going to beat this in 2020.

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Trump uses fear and hatred to motivate his supporters. To counter that the Democrats will have to offer a counter message, of hope and compassion. "Anybody but Trump" is not going to do it -- Americans are hungry for a positive vision. But the Dems will need someone who can inspire voters to hope again, as Barack Obama did. No more party apparatchiks like Hillary Clinton.

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59 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Trump uses fear and hatred to motivate his supporters. To counter that the Democrats will have to offer a counter message, of hope and compassion. "Anybody but Trump" is not going to do it -- Americans are hungry for a positive vision. But the Dems will need someone who can inspire voters to hope again, as Barack Obama did. No more party apparatchiks like Hillary Clinton.

Well, an Obama who can counterpunch effectively.  A positive vision is great, but we also need a real fighter in there.  

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10 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Trump uses fear and hatred to motivate his supporters. To counter that the Democrats will have to offer a counter message, of hope and compassion. "Anybody but Trump" is not going to do it -- Americans are hungry for a positive vision. But the Dems will need someone who can inspire voters to hope again, as Barack Obama did. No more party apparatchiks like Hillary Clinton.

 

Had the DNC not screwed Bernie over in primaries I think he could have won.  I think most reasonably charismatic candidates could have beaten Trump.

 

Hillary's disdain for mere mortals was not helpful.

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Personally I agree with you, but Sanders's "leftist radicalism" scared Democratic campaign planners, and no few Democrat supporters from what I hear. But at least Americans would have been given a clear choice. Sanders is Trump's opposite in almost every way.

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14 hours ago, Pariah said:

 

Honestly, I don't know how the Democratic Party is going to beat this in 2020.

 

They probably can't.

 

Yesterday on The Daily (with Michael Barbaro), Nate the polling expert (I assume this was Nate Silvers, though I missed the first minute where they gave the guy's last name) pointed out that because of the electoral college, Dems must win in closely divided states. That mostly means the Midwest. And to win the Midwest, one needs white working class voters, who have been drifting away from the Democratic Party for years, and whose drift became a stampede to Trump in 2016. Well... IIRC he said 20% of white working class Obama voters switched to Trump. If Dems can't persuade a significant portion to flip back, forget it. There aren't enough minority voters or young voters not yet mobilized to overcome them.

 

(As Nate points out, a flipped voter is twice as valuable as a new voter, because it denies a vote to the opposition.)

 

Hopes of an alternate path by flipping Sun Belt states such as Arizona are... not mathematically impossible, but extraordinarily difficult.

 

Dems are also not doing themselves a favor with 20+ candidates, a condition where the most extreme voices become the loudest.

 

A month or so back, my local paper ran an editorial by a PoliSci professor who suggested Dems should keep the superdelegate system (and Republicans should adopt it), with one change: Apply it before primaries, not at the nominating convention. You don't get to appear on the debate stage or receive any sort of party help until you can show support from a certain number of elected party members and other people of influence. This might have blocked Trump in 2016, and it would cut down the present mob to a manageable number. When there are so many candidates the debate moderator has to ascertain views on issues with a show of hands, that's just ridiculous.

 

Dean Shomshak

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14 hours ago, Pariah said:

 

Honestly, I don't know how the Democratic Party is going to beat this in 2020.

 

They probably can't.

 

Yesterday on The Daily (with Michael Barbaro), Nate the polling expert (I assume this was Nate Silvers, though I missed the first minute where they gave the guy's last name) pointed out that because of the electoral college, Dems must win in closely divided states. That mostly means the Midwest. And to win the Midwest, one needs white working class voters, who have been drifting away from the Democratic Party for years, and whose drift became a stampede to Trump in 2016. Well... IIRC he said 20% of white working class Obama voters switched to Trump. If Dems can't persuade a significant portion to flip back, forget it. There aren't enough minority voters or young voters not yet mobilized to overcome them.

 

(As Nate points out, a flipped voter is twice as valuable as a new voter, because it denies a vote to the opposition.)

 

Hopes of an alternate path by flipping Sun Belt states such as Arizona are... not mathematically impossible, but extraordinarily difficult.

 

Dems are also not doing themselves a favor with 20+ candidates, a condition where the most extreme voices become the loudest.

 

A month or so back, my local paper ran an editorial by a PoliSci professor who suggested Dems should keep the superdelegate system (and Republicans should adopt it), with one change: Apply it before primaries, not at the nominating convention. You don't get to appear on the debate stage or receive any sort of party help until you can show support from a certain number of elected party members and other people of influence. This might have blocked Trump in 2016, and it would cut down the present mob to a manageable number. When there are so many candidates the debate moderator has to ascertain views on issues with a show of hands, that's just ridiculous.

 

Dean Shomshak

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On 7/26/2019 at 9:38 AM, Lord Liaden said:

This is an opinion peace that is obviously biased against the American Republican Party; but nonetheless, the tally of historical parallels is sobering: The American version of fascism is alive and prospering.

 

This line did make me do a double take: "Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court . . ." The author's not much of a history professor if he thinks this is something new, or something that the modern Republican party came up with. He also makes several vague, unsupported statements. Not that I don't agree them, but if you make an assertion, you should support it with some facts before rolling on to the next one.

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5 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

...but if you make an assertion, you should support it with some facts before rolling on to the next one.

 

I'm sorry, but where have you been for the last three and a half years? Facts are soooo 2015.

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