Reasons Behind anti-Trump Hysteria

Democrats spent years being trounced in elections at every level. When they lost the election to Trump, they could have started looking at reasons why voters don’t want them. They could have started finally to elaborate answers to the pressing issues of the day. They could have started addressing voters’ concerns over globalization and fluidity.

But they chose not to. Instead, they gave voters a raging Trump hysteria. The non-stop shrieking and screeching about Trump masks how little of value they are offering to us. We are supposed to vote for them not because they are good but because Trump is so horrid that we should disregard the emptiness at the heart of their program.

I don’t think this will backfire in the electoral sense. I think they will win in 2018 and 2020. What is it that they will win, though? Other than the right to continue not doing anything of value, that is.

As 19th-century theorist of nationalism Ernest Renan said, when politicians try to appeal to your emotions, that’s because they are hoping you will switch off your reason.

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25 thoughts on “Reasons Behind anti-Trump Hysteria”

  1. When people do things, there’s always a reason, even if it’s a poor one. Let’s think about this for a moment. (1) the far left is emotional because they blame themselves for giving the election to Trump by not voting. (2) the Democratic party is just as divided as the GOP; there is no common ground in terms of concrete proposals; we really should have a multiparty system in place; the appeal to emotion is based on an inability to do anything else.

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    1. // the far left is emotional because they blame themselves for giving the election to Trump by not voting.

      If they are so fanatical, it may even be seen as good that they don’t vote since then mainstream, normal Americans’ votes weigh a little more.

      People who choose not to vote for reasons of ideological purity do not deserve any consideration neither from politicians (who anyway don’t give them any as rational agents) nor from other citizens who do vote instead of throwing hysterical fits.

      Wonder if reading this would move any of them to yes vote.

      Also, isn’t it interesting that I have never heard of the far right shooting itself in the foot by not voting? I am sure such people exist but in much smaller numbers.

      Clarissa, you have previously written of not self-destructively voting if Bernie chooses a far left figure to run with him. Do you think such fringe individuals would wield any real power even if accidentally voted for together with a mainstream left politician? Or you think they will destroy academia specifically? How?

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      1. “Also, isn’t it interesting that I have never heard of the far right shooting itself in the foot by not voting? I am sure such people exist but in much smaller numbers.”

        • Destroying one’s cause over ideological purity is the favorite pursuit of the Left. 🙂 This has existed for as long as the political Left existed. The Civil War in Spain is a great example. Or, obviously, the Stalinist purges.

        “Clarissa, you have previously written of not self-destructively voting if Bernie chooses a far left figure to run with him. Do you think such fringe individuals would wield any real power even if accidentally voted for together with a mainstream left politician? Or you think they will destroy academia specifically? How?”

        • My friend, they already wield all the power. And they are already destroying academia. Competition for academic jobs is enormous and it’s very easy to set us against each other. Academics are terrified of expressing any opinions that depart from the dogma by half a millimeter, even anonymously, even on a blog. Some of us still have the temerity to whisper in the corners, but the younger generation that’s coming up has some ferocious ideologues, utterly brain-washed. They look at you without seeing you because they are possessed by the knowledge of a superior truth. Real fanatics.

        I believe that the unavoidable next step is state-mandated removal of tenure for ideological crimes (saying something not fully in accordance with dogma on Twitter, for instance.) And the step after that is mandatory ideological reviews that everybody will have to undergo to prove compliance to the dogma. This will be one of those things that the Left adores: promoting neoliberal goals while screaming progressive identity slogans.

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        1. \ Academics are terrified of expressing any opinions that depart from the dogma by half a millimeter

          After rereading a post “A Fireable Offence of a Tenured Prof”, I am unsure which dogma you refer to here.

          https://clarissasblog.com/2011/09/09/a-fireable-offence-of-a-tenured-prof/

          I understand from the context you talk about left wing dogma, but I remember you telling in one post long ago that the real pressure comes from right wing, religious students.

          // the younger generation that’s coming up has some ferocious ideologues, utterly brain-washed.

          Aren’t there such right wing students too? Also, I do not remember you linking to those ferocious ideologues – it would be interesting to see who they are.

          Re who is brain-washing them: I know, some conservatives like to blame universitites, while the only place I can think of is the echo chamber of certain blogs and RL organizations / circles.

          The impression I get (please, correct if I am wrong) is that right wing is stronger both in Israel and America than the Left. Only in very few spaces “ferocious ideologues” of the Left have any power, with academia being one of them and suffering pretty much equally from ideologues of Left and Right.

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          1. “Aren’t there such right wing students too?”

            • The problem isn’t the students. I love students. I’ve had students of all ideological persuasions, socialists, Trump supporters, Evangelicals, atheists, feminists, transgender, gay, Catholic, undocumented, anti-immigrant, Hillary supporters, Marxists, libertarians, apolitical, anti-feminist – and I sincerely love them all and I think they love me. I’m a teacher, I can connect with anybody if I wish. I’m professionally trained to expose unwanted truths to unwilling audiences without alienating them. So I’m fine with students.

            “The impression I get (please, correct if I am wrong) is that right wing is stronger both in Israel and America than the Left.”

            • I would never speak for Israel because I honestly have no idea. But in the US, the symbolic has been completely and utterly conquered by the neoliberal left. Neoliberal left means promoting the idea of consumerist individual choice in the service of capitalism as the highest good known to humanity and eviscerating any opposing views as murderous and horrific to the point of meriting no discussion whatsoever.

            And let’s please stop discussing religion in the US. It’s dead and gone. Churches are closing, attendance is non-existent, the younger generation even in the Bible Belt has no idea who Cain and Abel are or any of the Biblical tropes. Every semester I have to explain the basic differences between Catholics and Protestants to self-identified Catholics and Protestants. There is no religion. Consumerism has no place for religion, so religion died.

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            1. “with academia being one of them and suffering pretty much equally from ideologues of Left and Right”

              • I hate Trump. I’m now a registered Democrat. I’m to the Left of most of the population in this country on all issues. Yet I’m sitting here terrified of Leftist fanatics and not giving a second thought to any Rightist fanatics whatsoever. I am hiding all of my posts that veer a bit from the Leftist dogma under a password or just don’t publish them at all. But I have no compunction or fear to publish or to preserve for public record my posts that are anti-Republican or anti-religious freakazoids. What does this tell us?

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              1. \ I’m professionally trained to expose unwanted truths to unwilling audiences without alienating them.

                I have a teaching license, yet do not remember being taught anything of value there. 😦
                Do you know any books capable of teaching how to f.e. project authority and deal with discipline issues?

                \ Yet I’m sitting here terrified of Leftist fanatics

                So, are you talking of Twitter mobs pressuring universities to fire “unsuitable” academics?
                Why would universities listen to people unconnected to academia?

                Sorry for asking too many questions, but your descriptions are kind of vague even if you do not use a passive voice. 🙂

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              2. “So, are you talking of Twitter mobs pressuring universities to fire “unsuitable” academics?
                Why would universities listen to people unconnected to academia?”

                • Because we have bunches of such fanatics in our midst. And because they carry all the cultural capital and it’s impossible to oppose them without being named a fascist.

                “Sorry for asking too many questions, but your descriptions are kind of vague even if you do not use a passive voice.”

                • Very true. I’m uncharacteristically vague precisely because I’m afraid. Remember this story about a colleague who wanted to discuss why our black male students were dropping out and not graduating at such enormous rates? He was bullied into a terrified silence within one day. And nobody spoke up to defend him. Not even me. Because he was called a white supremacist and nobody wants to be in the same corner with a white supremacist. This is one story among a million. And this is just something he said in a conversation. Imagine what would happen if he did any research on the subjects we consider closed and resolved. Actually, don’t guess. Read Alice Dreger’s book that I keep recommending.

                “Do you know any books capable of teaching how to f.e. project authority and deal with discipline issues?”

                • Read Makarenko. He’s available for free online. A nerdy guy in round eye-glasses domesticated a bunch of out-of-control delinquents with history of violent crime. I honestly don’t know anybody who influenced my pedagogy more than he did. Curiously, he was brought down and had to leave teaching precisely because of a bunch of dogmatists of the kind that I fear. They even say the same things that contemporary US dogmatists say.

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          2. // Re who is brain-washing them: I know, some conservatives like to blame universitites, while the only place I can think of is the echo chamber of certain blogs and RL organizations / circles.

            Again, there are plenty right wing echo chambers too.

            The American people chose Trump. Had right wingers not wanted to destroy academia, nothing would’ve happened there.

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            1. “The American people chose Trump.”

              • Well, the majority of American people did choose Hillary. The electoral college chose Trump. But yes, the Leftist dogma had an emptiness at its core that Trump filled with lies and bluster and attracted millions of voters as a result. I keep saying that we need to address the emptiness instead and fill it with something good. That’s what I want. That’s the whole point of these posts I’m writing. WE have a problem. Forget Trump and how bad he is. And he truly, truly is. But we need to do something here to address the issues we have been leaving unaddressed.

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    2. “the far left is emotional because they blame themselves for giving the election to Trump by not voting”

      What do you mean by “far left”? Can you name some individuals who feel this way?

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        1. Well, I was hoping for public figures (bloggers, vloggers…). But mostly I want to know what “far left” means in this context. Far-left used to mean Maoists or perhaps Trotskyists. These days it can mean people who support open borders or 57 genders. In the American context, maybe it means “progressives” in general, as viewed from the right.

          I don’t doubt that there are American progressives who didn’t vote for Hillary and now genuinely regret it. But the ones I am most familiar with, while deploring Trump, evince no regrets about their own political choices. They’re either Sanders Democrats who want new leadership in the Democratic Party, or they support third parties like the Green Party.

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          1. “But the [American progressives] I am most familiar with, while deploring Trump, evince no regrets about their own political choices. They’re either Sanders Democrats who want new leadership in the Democratic Party, or they support third parties like the Green Party.”

            And those idiots are the reason why the Democratic Party has less than a hundred days to grow up before the midterm election in November, and then proceed to lose the 2020 election to Trump.

            What does it matter if Trump is a total buffoon, if all his credible opponents are aging and gutless centralist adults who can’t control the rabid socialist ankle-biters scampering over the political terrain at their feet?

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          2. The far left doesn’t blog any more. It used to back in 2005-11. But with a couple of isolated exceptions, they have all left blogging. Their medium is now Twitter. The most hardcore crazies are all there. I’m terrified of them and hope they don’t notice me.

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  2. Well, the neoliberal turn, that Reagan put a face on, started in the late 70s since we were getting too much democracy for some to stomach & also because it had already been decided it was time for this (cf. Chile coup 9/11/1973). Bill Clinton did a very great deal to solidify the neoliberal state. Then there was the effective coup of the 2000 election. After that, the deep changes put in post 9/11 (torture, Patriot Act, establishment of Homeland Security, etc.). Note that Obama did not reverse these things. Now we have Trumpski. We’re really just jostling around trying to see how power will flow in the post-democratic US, I think.

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    1. Absolutely. The sad truth is that Democrats never did anything whatsoever to prepare a cogent response to neoliberalism. Instead they actively participated in the destruction of “the partial domestication of capital by welfarism” (Habermas). They did nothing to oppose liquid capital. So instead, they hustle and bustle to prevent us from seeing it.

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  3. Alas, that’s what happens when you have a far-right Electoral Select as POTUS. The Overton Window gets yanked from “let’s address overarching problems” to “holy fuck let’s stop this idiot from destroying the good bits of the status quo” or “let’s react!” Anybody that gets elected will spend much of their political capital repairing the damage this freak and his party have wrought.

    So what are you doing to protect the rights of voters who agree or would agree with your model platform? I would suggest informing everyone you know about changes in polling places or hours and to make big stinks about it. This election and this freak’s party has actually made it much more dangerous for me to do activities such as GOTV, going to rallies, and Election Protection.

    They could have started finally to elaborate answers to the pressing issues of the day. They could have started addressing voters’ concerns over globalization and fluidity.

    Neither party is. Here’s an explanation that fits with your favorite hobby horse: nations attempt to deal with fluidity by strengthening nationalism and one way of doing that is saying there is an external existential threat from the outside that has made roads inwards. Of course, one party is addressing it by strumming the strings of “We’re not over the Mexican-American War yet” and the other is by “We’re not over the Cold War yet.” The “threat to the nation” differs. [I’m not commenting on the validity of either.]

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    1. “So what are you doing to protect the rights of voters who agree or would agree with your model platform? I would suggest informing everyone you know about changes in polling places or hours and to make big stinks about it. This election and this freak’s party has actually made it much more dangerous for me to do activities such as GOTV, going to rallies, and Election Protection.”

      • These are great suggestions. I’m obsessively checking my polling address already. But which model platform, though? Nobody is trying to create it because vociferating about treason and other such fantasies is a lot more fun.

      “Here’s an explanation that fits with your favorite hobby horse: nations attempt to deal with fluidity by strengthening nationalism and one way of doing that is saying there is an external existential threat from the outside that has made roads inwards. Of course, one party is addressing it by strumming the strings of “We’re not over the Mexican-American War yet” and the other is by “We’re not over the Cold War yet.” The “threat to the nation” differs.”

      • And that’s how a student surpasses the teacher. 🙂 This is a brilliant explanation.

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  4. I think it’s important not to confuse the liberal media with Democratic politicians. Although the party has its Russia shriekers, from what I see the party is more focused on healthcare than mindless Trump hate. Many of the challengers for the House I see are barely even mentioning Trump.

    Of course, that brings the question, why are Democrats so bad at getting media coverage of their message, even from liberal media sources? I also agree with your broader point that Democrats aren’t doing enough to address globalization and fluidity. Some are interested in it, especially in the Rust Belt; the Blue Collar Coalition in the House is an example of that. But the pro-fluidity forces are stronger and louder.

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    1. We’ve got good people locally. Very impressive people. The real future of the party. This is what gives me hope in the face of everything. But as you say, our PR stinks.

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      1. “We’ve got good people locally…The real future of the party. This is what gives me hope in the face of everything.”

        Hope always arises from the ashes. The “good people that you’ve got locally” may ultimately represent the “real future,” but that future is the day AFTER tomorrow, not 2018 and probably not 2020. America will re-orient itself to a reasonable., slightly-right or perhaps slightly-left-of center government, ONLY after Trump finally leaves the stage. (Don’t worry, there’s no similar second act to replace him). In the meantime, the Democrats have no effective opposition except a 28-year-old child screaming, “Abolish ICE!” running alongside ethnic idiots wearing “Open borders” tee shirts on one hand, and ancient has-been white people (Biden, Bernie, Bloomberg. Warren) who were too old and too out of touch to connect to a general electorate three elections ago! The Sherrod Browns have no more chance in the next election cycle than the moderate Republican candidates did in 2016.

        I’m old enough to have seen several political cycles like this play themselves out (albeit less dramatically). So hey, take a deep breath and chill out.The checks and balances in the U.S. government system always bring the pendulum very close back to the center, even if it takes too long for individuals with a short view of history.

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