Saturday, May 14, 2016

You won't believe this one stupid trick the Washington Post used to get clicks

You can't use a simple algorithm to decide which way is left; you have to apply some real-world conteztualized knowledge.
Seeing some chatter originating in the Wapo this morning about the startling new Trump strategy of "running to Hillary's left", wooing the Sanders voters:
“Now, I’m no fan of Bernie Sanders, but he is 100 percent right,” Trump told a crowd [in Eugene, OR] this weekend. “He is 100 percent right: Hillary Clinton is totally controlled by the people that put up her money. She’s totally controlled by Wall Street.”
It's obviously worth asking yourself to what extent this is "left", as opposed to typical Republican populist posturing—how it's different from Ted Cruz railing against "crony capitalism" and "corporate welfare" and the "Washington cartel". What's Trump's proposal? You know, for not being controlled by Wall Street, other than claiming that he's as rich as Lloyd Blankfein, and therefore incorruptible, just like um wait a minute.

There was that weird moment during the Great Birther Debate where he hinted that if Obama couldn't be bought, even for a billion, that just showed how untrustworthy Obama was:

The real estate mogul has sought to develop a clear contrast with Clinton on foreign affairs and international trade, calling for an “America First” policy that simultaneously turns her experience as the nation’s chief diplomat against her while tapping into the anxieties of angry voters worried about being left behind by globalization. In recent days, he has also moved to the left on the minimum wage and tax policy, suggesting that he is willing to alter his positions to benefit the middle class.
Can anybody possibly hear the phrase "America First" without associating it with the pre–World War II rightwing isolationism of Father Coughlin and Charles Lindbergh? Yes, we remember that socialist Norman Thomas and populist Bob LaFollette were part of it too, but it's still rightwing in retrospect, because it's our common understanding that the war itself was a progressive necessity.

I can't accept that there's an isolationism of the left at all. I can see demanding that our international relations should be demilitarized, refocused from security issues to economics, and I can see insisting that there should be programs to offset the damage done by free trade, but asking for an end to international cooperation and open markets is not a left stance: it's Pat Buchanan and the Ron Paul & Successors firm, and it's not for workers but for their bosses. As always the anti-immigrant stance is a stance for the status quo and against legal immigration: effectively for leaving the situation as it is, out of control, and ensuring the supply of undocumented workers who can be underpaid and abused, couched in a language that can—unfortunately—convince some angry workers to vote for it.

On the minimum wage and taxes, he hasn't "moved to the left" either so much as danced around them, changing his positions several times per week, sometimes even per day.

And then explains everything he's said is only a "suggestion". So it's really just stupidity, and clickbaiting. We really need to get over the idea that there's a parallel between liberal or progressive or whatever on the one hand and conservative on the other. Where the progressive starts with the idea of a problem that needs to be solved, and some people that need some help, and a concept of looking for an appropriate relief through policy, the conservative starts with this sense of aggrieved identity and loss, nostalgia for a time when good people like "us" had power over bad people like "them", and a desire to "take our country back" in which the idea of any particular policy can be no more than a rationalization.

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