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Thursday, November 24, 2016


but you must read this column by Charles Blow in the NY TIMES.  As this column, my son's faceBook post, and much more shows, this country is blessed with a great number of people who see Trump for what he is and can say so eloquently.

Let us all keep it up.


Jerry Fresia said...

Bravo, Mr. Blow!

Tomasz J,. Popielicki, Warsaw, Poland said...

Dear Professor,
I am looking at all issue with and around Mr. Donald Trump from the great distance (literally, 10 hrs flight to New York from here) and I am perplexed and worried. I sense the NYT's article stops short of declaring war on President-Elect of the United States. I hope you all realize what's going to happen next to the United States of America, to Americas and the World.
Please accept my best and kindest regards,
Tomasz J. Popielicki

Jerry Fresia said...

Another blow by Mr. Blow:

‘F*ck you Piers’: Charles Blow scorches Piers Morgan in heated Twitter spat over Trump meeting with NYT

Chris said...

I want to support this guy, and incorporate dems into the anti-trump movement, but it's really hard to praise Blow when he's exactly the establishment problem of recognized illegitimacy that got us into this mess.

Back in April:

and blaming Clinton's perceived illegitimacy on Sanders run:

It's stuff like this that makes the anti-establishment left and right not trust the media, or op-ed elites.
So when a guy like this comes out cursing Trump with gusto it's probably a self-fulfilling prophecy for the right, and too little too late for the left.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Oh, Chris. You have now managed to winnow down the community of people you find ideologically pure enough to make common cause with to roughly eleven. Good luck winning a democratic election [or even launching a revolution] with that army!

Chris said...

I'm happy Blow said what he said, but I do fear these sorts of reactions playing into the hands of the right and not helping the left. That has NOTHING to do with ideological purity, and is strictly an analysis of the rightward shift of the political spectrum - over the course of my life - and the continual distrust in the establishment.

I talked to my wife's Dad this week about his Trump support. Unsurprisingly he said a large part of the reason he voted Trump was because he was tired of turning on the TV and reading the news and just being laughed at, mocked, and made fun, and talked down to, by establishment liberals. Again, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IDEOLOGICAL PURITY ON MY END, it's a sober assessment of the facts. Some NYTimes op-ed columnist cursing up a storm on a blog does NOTHING to motivate Trump supporters away from Trump, and I'm not confident what it will do for the anti-establishment left.

Please stop discounting my criticisms in such ad hominem fashion professor.

s. wallerstein said...


One problem is that people like your wife's Dad are willfully blind to the fact that they are talked down to and completely scorned by establishment conservatives, not to mention by Trump.

Do you recall the incident Professor Wolff refers to in his lectures on ideological critique when Romney, speaking to his rich friends, writes off the entire American working class and most of the middle class, white, black and green? Well, many Trump voters just don't want to see that kind of thing. I doubt that Charles Blow or Paul Krugman would ever say anything like Romney did or like surely Trump does about working class people.

Chris said...

"One problem is that people like your wife's Dad are willfully blind to the fact that they are talked down to and completely scorned by establishment conservatives, not to mention by Trump."

Except he/they aren't. He was quite explicit that he voted Trump not because he's a "rhino" but because he's "not the establishment". There's a reason Trump defeated a dozen republican candidates in the primary.

The irony here is Professor Wolff announced on his blog that he would be no longer reading Krugman's op-ed due to his hostile Bernie articles. I point out Blow has a similar issue, and my character, and not my argument, are attacked. Ad Hominem....

s. wallerstein said...


Trump is the establishment pretending to be a rebel. You have to show your dad's father that. I can imagine that when Trump is off camera talking about the working class, white or black, he refers to them as "losers". No one is more contemptuous of "losers" than Trump.

s. wallerstein said...


Excuse me. I wrote "your dad's father" when I meant "your wife's father". That was a genuine typo because I'm writing too fast since I have to leave for an appointment.

David said...

Right now, I will take my allies where I can find them. Even NY Times columnists.

We need not only to create new power structures that will resist and challenge Trump fascism, but also to draw on existing power structures that will join us in that fight.

Chris said...

No worries Wallerstein. I agree with you, but this conversations are slow and take time. This is the first time in my 13 year long relationship with his daughter that 1) he was even willing to talk politics with me 2) recognizes I'm not a liberal, nor democrat, and also not a cheer leader for Clinton. I can only say and push so much in such an initial conversation. He did make it clear that he does not like Trump the person, it was a lesser of two evils choice, and so he choice the anti-establishment. He does have delusions that Trump has no agenda to cut medicare or social security. But as an equally anti-establishment individual, the benefit of the conversation is that we agreed on quite a bit (e.g., Democrats sacking sanders, liberal elites coronated Clinton all too early, Clinton Foundation has shady deals with theocracies in the middle east, no one in DC cares about the working class, etc.). It's due to these agreements, that I'm wary to start championing figures like Blow that alienated these people AND progressives in the first place. And again this has nothing to do with ideological purity, and more a sober assessment of strategy going forward in line with Thomas Frank for instance.

s. wallerstein said...


First of all, I understand that relations with your father-in-law may be tricky and that they may affect your relation with your wife. As someone who very stupidly threw away (as in the song, I Threw it All Away) a great relation with a wonderful woman because she was not sufficiently politically aware about 30 years ago, let me tell you that a relation with a good woman is more important than a classless society.

The New York Times irritates me almost as much as it does you. Some time during the campaign the Times began to get on my nerves to such an extent that I stopped reading it completely and Professor Wolff's link to Blow's column was my first contact with the NYT since the beginning of October.

Still, Professor Wolff has a point that we need all the allies we can get, and if Blow's present political positions serve the cause, why not ally ourselves with him? We're not "trying" him for his past sins: that's not the point. We're looking for allies at the present.

The "rebel" thing is pure hype in American culture. Trump is the "rebel" candidate, there's a "rebel" cigarette and a "rebel" beer and a "rebel" SUV. The word almost means nothing today and never meant much. Even in the 50's, the "rebels" like Elvis or James Dean only "rebelled" in their clothes styles or the way that they danced.

I understand that establishment political correctness is often a mask for snobbery against lower income whites and that that irritates them immensely. Still there is no excuse for voting for Trump.

Chris said...

My wife and I have been together 13 years, this man just started acknowledging my existence the past few weeks, convinced I was a "communist liberal democrat" (2 of those offend me greatly ;)!). She's a working class gal, hair stylist, she's read some Marx, she knows the game is rigged, our relationship is stronger than anyone I've met whose made it this far into a marriage, so all is safe on that front.

On to the politics. I'm glad you're engaging my point. I'm not saying Blow should or shouldn't be rejected, that's precisely the strategic question I was trying to open up. As discussed last week and the week before, if we want to swing an anti-establishment hammer leftward, to counter the rightward anti-establishment hammer, what do we do with establishment figures that side with us against Trump? On the one hand if we want to appeal to those working class anti-establishment folks, praising and linking and citing and rehearsing establishment articles seems very counter productive. On the other hand ANY AND ALL resistance to Trump is paramount for survival, but it has to work! And this was exactly my concern and the conversation I was trying to open up with my criticism of Blow. I have no answer, I'm seeking help, and guidance (hence my being rather disappointed at Wolff's initial dismissal). Again I'm not talking from a perch of ideological purity, I'm inquiring purely on strategy as someone who knows Trump must be defeated, but is wary of the role of the establishment in his defeat.

s. wallerstein said...


First of all, what did we mean by defeating Trump? Do we mean defeating him in four more years or in defeating Trumpism as an ideology and both? Probably both.

Second, I'm an old hippie, from the counter-culture and I dislike and feel uncomfortable around establishment types like Blow or Krugman, but that someone is establishment or not seems neither here nor there in this context. The establishment is a cultural category and we're talking politics and economics here.

If some white working class people confuse cultural and political categories, well, we have to explain the difference to them. I used to do the same thing myself back in my hippie days. Yes, there are some people whom one cannot explain anything to and that's a fact. My mother is one of them. A goodly number of people are amenable to reason, though.

Finally, I imagine that our way of defeating Trumpism isn't pure moralizing, in Blow's style, but offering an alternative to the working people, be they black or white or brown. I think that we need to establish a clear Bernie style program, not the classless society or expropriating the expropriators or all power to the Soviets, but free single-payer healthcare, free university education in public institutions, condoning student university debt, a decent minimum wage, no more mortgage foreclosures for low income and middle class families, etc. and to insist on those clear, simple measures.

Chris said...

I do mean both, although getting him out of office seems like the more compelling activity at the moment. And I agree completely with the last paragraph.