How to Lose Friends and Influence People

Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts speaks at an event in Cambridge, September 8, 2018
Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts speaks at an event in Cambridge, September 8, 2018 (Warren for President)

Social justice warriors can be their own worst enemies.

For the first time, an openly gay man is running for president in America — but queer activists like Greta LaFleur and Dale Peck (whose article was pulled from The New Republic for its obscenity) are still unhappy, because Pete Buttigieg is white, married and middle-class, and therefore somehow not gay enough.

The current United States Congress is the most diverse ever, but for Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (one of the Democratic lawmakers President Donald Trump shamefully told to “go back” to their own countries, no matter that she was born in Ohio), this isn’t enough:

We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.

If you thought the point of equality and liberation was that gender, sexual orientation and skin color would one day no longer matter, well, you’re just blind to your own oppression or an Uncle Tom for the patriarchy, heteronormativity, white supremacy — pick your poison. Read more

Britain, EU Agree Transition Deal, Black Men Face Challenges in America

David Davis and Michel Barnier, the Brexit negotiators for the United Kingdom and the European Union, deliver a news conference in Brussels, June 19, 2017
David Davis and Michel Barnier, the Brexit negotiators for the United Kingdom and the European Union, deliver a news conference in Brussels, June 19, 2017 (European Commission)

The United Kingdom has agreed to remain part of the European single market during the transition period following its departure from the bloc on March 29, 2019.

For the next year and a half, goods, services, capital and people would continue to move freely in and out of the United Kingdom. However, London will no longer have a say in the making of EU rules, including fishing quotas.

Other parts of the transition agreement include:

  • Britain will be allowed to negotiate and sign trade deals that go into effect after December 31, 2020.
  • Short of an innovative solution, Northern Ireland will continue to live under EU regulations, avoiding the need for a hard border in Ulster but creating the need for one between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Hardliners in Britain are appalled by the concessions. Read more

Charlottesville and a Country Coming Apart

Minnesotans demonstrate against white supremacy in Minneapolis, August 13
Minnesotans demonstrate against white supremacy in Minneapolis, August 13 (Fibonacci Blue)

A lot of the news is focused on President Donald Trump’s failure to condemn this weekend’s racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and rightly so.

Given the opportunity to denounce white supremacists who carried Confederate flags and torches through the university town and chanted “Jews will not replace us” as well as the Nazi slogan “blood and soil”, Trump equivocated, saying he blamed “hatred, bigotry and violence that’s on many sides, on many sides” — suggesting that the people who came out to protest against the neo-Nazis were just as responsible for the altercations that occurred.

When asked if he considered the murder of one counterdemonstrator by a white man in his car an act of terrorism, Trump — to the delight of his alt-right fanboys — refused to say anything and walked off the stage.

Compare this with his insistence on using the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” whenever a Muslim commits an act of violence — and his insinuation that anyone who doesn’t must be an appeaser or sympathizer of radical Islam. Read more

High Hispanic Turnout Could Doom Trump’s Candidacy

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

One the factors that could decide the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election in the United States is turnout among Hispanics.

Spanish-speaking Americans have been warier of voting than other ethnicities. Less than half voted in 2012 against 62 percent of whites and 66 percent of black voters.

This year, the Republican candidate’s anti-Hispanic rhetoric is driving up Hispanic turnout to his disadvantage. If more Hispanics than usual turn out to vote in states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, it could decide the election in Hillary Clinton’s favor. Read more

White Backlash Fueled Donald Trump’s Candidacy

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Fountain Hills, Arizona, March 19
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in Fountain Hills, Arizona, March 19 (Gage Skidmore)

Edward Luce has an excellent essay in the Financial Times this weekend about how white working-class backlash in America has propelled Donald Trump’s candidacy.

He cites Carol Anderson, a professor of African American studies and author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, which appeared in May, arguing that the trigger for white rage is inevitably black advancement.

This is the subtext to proclamations like “let’s take our country back” and “make America great again” that can be heard at Trump’s rallies. Read more

Trump Whips Supporters Into Frenzy Over Black Protests

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Just when it seemed that Donald Trump would — for once — not exploit an incident of violence, he has come out with characteristic lies and hatemongering.

The Republican kept mum in the days after five police officers were assassinated in Dallas, Texas while protecting a rally against police violence. He was even praised by some for not inserting himself in the national debate about police brutality and making the situation worse.

That’s the bigotry of low expectations: when you expect someone to jump on every tragedy to further his political cause, you are relieved when he doesn’t.

But Trump can’t help himself. Read more

What Liberals Can Learn from Donald Trump

Scene at a protest against Donald Trump in New York City, New York, April 14
Scene at a protest against Donald Trump in New York City, New York, April 14 (mal3k)

Some Republicans in the United States have tried to make the case that Donald Trump, their party’s likely presidential nominee, is somehow the left’s fault.

Bobby Jindal, the former Louisiana governor and a failed presidential candidate, blamed Trump’s popularity on Barack Obama in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. After eight years of the Democrat’s cool and nuance, it was little wonder, Jindal argued, that voters longed for bluntness and “strength”.

That was followed by an article in The Daily Beast that said “political correctness” had created Trump. Britain’s The Spectator published something similar. At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum rejecting this thesis, but recognized it was not entirely without merit.

Before blaming others, conservatives should take a long, hard look in the mirror. There is more right- than left-wing complicity in Trump’s rise. I argued back in December that mainstream Republicans had for too long ignored or tried to co-opt the crazies among them. Conor Friedersdorf has made a similar argument in The Atlantic. Jonathan Bernstein argued much the same at Bloomberg View not long after Trump launched his presidential bid.

Even so, we can see that Trump is a reaction to liberal pressures in several ways. That’s not to say the left is to blame. But liberals can learn from this. Read more