Democrats and the Losing Politics of Contempt

Democrats didn’t lose for lack of political talent, campaign financing and organization or enthusiasm among their base. They lost because of their brand.

.. Democrats may think the brand is all about diversity, inclusion and fairness. But for millions of Americans, the brand is also about contempt — intellectual contempt of the kind Nimzowitsch exuded for his opponent

.. Contemporary liberalism now expresses itself chiefly in the language of self-affirmation and moral censure: of being the party of the higher-minded; of affixing the suffix “phobe” to millions of people who don’t appreciate being described as bigots.

.. It’s why a political strategy by Democrats that seeks to turn every local race into a referendum on Trump is likely to fail.

.. One temptation Democrats would be smart to avoid is to see Ossoff’s loss as evidence that the party needs to move further left, on the theory that not enough of the base showed up to vote.

.. And nominating more progressive candidates isn’t likely to solve the contempt problem, at least with voters not yet in sync with progressive orthodoxies on coal, guns or gender-neutral bathrooms.

.. Speaking of the 42nd president, many are the charges that can be laid at his feet, but contempt for half of all Americans was never one of them.

Trump Family Wedding Planner to Head New York’s Federal Housing Office

A longtime associate of President Trump’s family, who organized golf tournaments on the president’s courses and planned his son Eric’s wedding, will soon oversee billions of federal dollars as the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office.

Lynne Patton had been working as a senior adviser and director of public engagement at HUD for several months before Ben Carson, the department secretary, recommended her for the new role

.. The appointment of a Trump family loyalist to a key government post fits a pattern. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, work in White House offices. Dan Scavino Jr., who was the president’s caddie, is the director of social media. His longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller, has become such an important White House figure that he hand-delivered the dismissal papers to James Comey, the former F.B.I. director.

.. Ms. Patton had earned the trust of Mr. Carson after organizing his listening tour in several cities.

.. “Dr. Carson calls her, ‘the general’ because she can lead an army. She’s that tough,” Mr. Williams said.

.. “If Donald Trump is intent on showing the contempt he has for the social safety net, then the appointment makes sense.”

.. Mr. Torres, who grew up in public housing, said Ms. Leicht had been a “strong advocate for affordable housing in New York City,” and acted as a liaison between local officials and the federal housing department.

.. Morale among some career officials at the city’s local office of the federal housing department has been low because of proposed cuts to the agency’s budget.

Silicon Valley is Driving American Media, Not New York

Yes, sportswriting has moved far left. The entire media has moved far left. The media used to cater to New York, the hub for traditional liberal values. Journalists used to be obsessed with working at a New York magazine or newspaper or TV network. Now the entire industry is obsessed with going viral and how words will be received via social media. Who determines this? San Francisco/Silicon Valley, the hub for revolutionary, far-left extremism, the home base for Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Facebook’s employee base is from the area. New York and San Francisco are distinctly different. San Francisco is driving the American media, not New York. You have young, microwaved millionaires and billionaires reshaping the American media in a way that reflects San Francisco values. This is a major story the mainstream media ignore. San Francisco hacked the media. Frisco-inspired clickbait is the real fake news.

.. Whitlock puts his finger on why today’s conservative complaint about a liberal media is different from that of ten years ago or twenty years ago. The old New York establishment Left, shaped heavily by Watergate — Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Anthony Lewis, Woodward & Bernstein — could drive the right batty but it was all driven by a noblesse oblige: a self-awareness of the power of their positions and a duty to correct the world’s injustices through exposure.

.. The old journalism saying, “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” implied punching up; the more powerful you were, the more you needed scrutiny.

For Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, My Lai, all that the press needed to do was expose the wrongdoing and the public would instinctively recoil and dole out appropriate consequences.

Today’s social-media outrage-mob-driven click-bait journalism is much more about punching down, finding someone who has deviated from the range of acceptable thought and ostracizing them and enforcing the tenets of a shame culture.

It’s less about exposing the sins of the powerful than exposing the sins of the near-powerless, whether it’s those gorillas-in-the-mist reports from Red State America or gleeful exposé about the hypocrisies of religious conservatives.

The hypocrisy of a self-proclaimed environmentalist who enjoys a private jet with a massive carbon footprint never quite stirs the hearts of the media as much as a preacher’s affair.

.. No wonder their dominant attitude towards immigration, legal and illegal, is so welcoming, if they feel such contempt for the Americans who are already here.

.. most of those in journalism are driven by the impassioned belief that Republican lawmakers represent the preeminent threat to all that is good in America

.. our media today is driven primarily an ostentatious, smug progressivism

.. Of course, a good portion of what Silicon Valley develops runs on our now-ubiquitous smartphones, built by Chinese workers on 12-hour shifts that few Americans would ever tolerate for themselves. Silicon Valley’s super-elites may not be as different from those old, exploitative plutocrats as they like to think.

.. One can’t help but wonder if there is some repressed guilt coming out in the form of demonization of others:

“Silicon Valley has stopped being the place where people who can’t get jobs elsewhere go. Now it’s like the first stop on the privileged elite bus from the Ivy League—and do not even stop by Wall Street on the way,” Mr. Garcia Martinez said.

.. at least some of California’s wealthy progressives find solace in the thought that if flyover country is comparably poorer and struggling to get by, it must be because they’re morally worse people – “deplorable,”

The Bad, the Worse and the Ugly

the most revealing thing in the interview may be Mr. Trump’s defense of Bill O’Reilly, accused of sexual predation and abuse of power: “He’s a good person.” This, I’d argue, tells us more about both the man from Mar-a-Lago and the motivations of his base than his ramblings about infrastructure and trade.

.. How much difference has it made, really, that Donald Trump rather than a conventional Republican sits in the White House?

.. the ignominious collapse of the effort to kill Obamacare — owed almost nothing to executive dysfunction. Repeal-and-replace didn’t face-plant because of poor tactics; it failed because Republicans have been lying about health care for eight years. So when the time came to propose something real, all they could offer were various ways to package mass loss of coverage.

.. Tax reform looks like a bust .. because nobody in the G.O.P. ever put in the hard work of figuring out what should change and how to sell those changes.

.. it’s clear that the administration has no actual infrastructure plan, and probably never will.

.. there are some places where Mr. Trump does seem likely to have a big impact — most notably, in crippling environmental policy. But that’s what any Republican would have done

.. Trumpist governance in practice so far is turning out to be just Republican governance with (much) worse management

.. Trumpism has brought is a new sense of empowerment to the ugliest aspects of American politics.

.. one thing the interviewees often say is that Mr. Trump is honest, that he tells it like is, which may seem odd given how much he lies about almost everything, policy and personal. But what they probably mean is that Mr. Trump gives outright, unapologetic voice to racism, sexism, contempt for “losers” and so on

.. Mr. Trump isn’t an honest man or a stand-up guy, but he is, arguably, less hypocritical about the darker motives underlying his worldview than conventional politicians are.

.. they provide a safe space for people who want an affirmation that their uglier impulses are, in fact, justified and perfectly O.K.

..

whether unapologetic ugliness is a winning political strategy.