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Great post. It reminded me of this article about a Pat Buchanan adviser in 1996.

How an obscure adviser to Pat Buchanan predicted the wild Trump campaign in 1996

(S)ooner or later, as the globalist elites seek to drag the country into conflicts and global commitments, preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States, manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people, and disregard or diminish our national interests and national sovereignty, a nationalist reaction is almost inevitable and will probably assume populist form when it arrives. The sooner it comes, the better…

(Samuel Francis in Chronicles)

Imagine giving this advice to a Republican presidential candidate: What if you stopped calling yourself a conservative and instead just promised to make America great again?

What if you dropped all this leftover 19th-century piety about the free market and promised to fight the elites who were selling out American jobs? What if you just stopped talking about reforming Medicare and Social Security and instead said that the elites were failing to deliver better health care at a reasonable price? What if, instead of vainly talking about restoring the place of religion in society — something that appeals only to a narrow slice of Middle America — you simply promised to restore the Middle American core — the economic and cultural losers of globalization — to their rightful place in America? What if you said you would restore them as the chief clients of the American state under your watch, being mindful of their interests when regulating the economy or negotiating trade deals?

That's pretty much the advice that columnist Samuel Francis gave to Pat Buchanan in a 1996 essay, "From Household to Nation," in Chronicles magazine. Samuel Francis was a paleo-conservative intellectual who died in 2005. Earlier in his career he helped Senator East of North Carolina oppose the Martin Luther King holiday. He wrote a white paper recommending the Reagan White House use its law enforcement powers to break up and harass left-wing groups. He was an intellectual disciple of James Burnham's political realism, and Francis' political analysis always had a residue of Burnham's Marxist sociology about it. He argued that the political right needed to stop playing defense — the globalist left won the political and cultural war a long time ago — and should instead adopt the insurgent strategy of communist intellectual Antonio Gramsci. Francis eventually turned into a something resembling an all-out white nationalist, penning his most racist material under a pen name. Buchanan didn't take Francis' advice in 1996, not entirely. But 20 years later, "From Household to Nation," reads like a political manifesto from which the Trump campaign springs.

To simplify Francis' theory: There are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite. These Middle Americans see jobs disappearing to Asia and increased competition from immigrants. Most of them feel threatened by cultural liberalism, at least the type that sees Middle Americans as loathsome white bigots. But they are also threatened by conservatives who would take away their Medicare, hand their Social Security earnings to fund-managers in Connecticut, and cut off their unemployment too.


Another thread had this Pew poll from 2013 on Muslim attitudes - some surprising, some predictable -

in one of the responses. I thought it would shed some light on the stereotype of Muslims that seems so prevalent today among republicans and others.

The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society

Given a choice between a leader with a strong hand or a democratic system of government, most Muslims choose democracy. Regional medians of roughly six-in-ten or more support democracy in sub-Saharan Africa (72%), Southeast Asia (64%) and Southern and Eastern Europe (58%), while slightly fewer agree in the Middle East and North Africa (55%) and Central Asia (52%). Muslims in South Asia are the most skeptical of democratic government (a median of 45% say they support democracy).

In a majority of countries surveyed, at least half of Muslims say they are somewhat or very concerned about religious extremism. And on balance, more Muslims are concerned about Islamic than Christian extremist groups. In all but one of the 36 countries where the question was asked, no more than one-in-five Muslims express worries about Christian extremism, compared with 28 countries where at least that many say they are concerned about Islamic extremist groups.

Across the 23 countries where the question was asked, most Muslims see no inherent conflict between religion and science. This view is especially widespread in the Middle East and North Africa (median of 75%) even though, as previously noted, many Muslims in the region are highly committed to their faith. Across the other regions surveyed, medians of 50% or more concur that religion and science are compatible. The one exception is South Asia, where fewer than half (45%) share this view.

Asked specifically about the origins of humans and other living things, Muslims in Central Asia, Southern and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East-North Africa region agree with the theory of evolution (regional medians from 54% to 58%).


Muslims' attitudes are easy for Trump and others to stereotype but the reality of their diverse opinions makes things more complicated that the right would have people believe.

I was surprised, perhaps I should not have been, that Muslims were supportive of science, particularly theory of evolution. I don't know what the figure for American Christians is in terms of their believe in evolution but a large segment of them seem to reject evolution.

Well said. This may help too: 5 Major Myths Of Europe's Refugee And Migrant Crisis Debunked

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to Europe from repressive and conflict-laden countries this year in the largest refugee crisis since World War II. The sudden influx has sparked an urgent discussion among the European Union nations over what response is necessary to mitigate the crisis. While incredible displays of generosity and solidarity have come out of that debate, the conversation has also included talking points and narratives that are more rooted in myth than fact.

Many of these false claims about the refugee and migrant crisis have been repeated ad nauseam in the media and online comment sections, as well as by prominent politicians in Europe and the United States. The propagation of these myths not only distorts the reality of the crisis and those caught up in it, but can also affect how states and populations move to help those in need.

"A lot of politics is relatively fact-free in this arena, and we need to much better understand what drives migration before we can form the right policies," migration expert Hein de Haas told The WorldPost in an interview on the subject last month.

The WorldPost took a look at five of the major myths circulating around the refugee and migrant crisis.

Myth #1: The Majority Of People Are Economic Migrants
Myth #2: Migrants And Refugees Can Just Stay In Turkey
Myth #3: They Don't Look Like They Need Help
Myth #4: Islamic State Militants Are Posing As Refugees
Myth #5: Refugees And Migrants Will Ruin Economies


The "relatively fact-free" nature of politics when in comes to refugees sounds like a republican creation but the far-right in Europe is good at it too.

"But on the left ... there are some people who ... minimize the differences between the parties.

But the truth is that Mr. Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012 had some real, quantifiable consequences. For one of the important consequences of the 2012 election was that Mr. Obama was able to go through with a significant rise in taxes on high incomes.

If Mitt Romney had won, we can be sure that Republicans would have found a way to prevent these tax hikes. And we can now see what happened because he didn’t. According to the new tables, the average income tax rate for 99 percent of Americans barely changed from 2012 to 2013, but the tax rate for the top 1 percent rose by more than four percentage points. The tax rise was even bigger for very high incomes: 6.5 percentage points for the top 0.01 percent.

Speaking of Obamacare, that’s another thing Republicans would surely have killed if 2012 had gone the other way. Instead, the program went into effect at the beginning of 2014. And the effect on health care has been huge: according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of uninsured Americans fell 17 million between 2012 and the first half of 2015, with further declines most likely ahead.

The bottom line is that presidential elections matter, a lot, even if the people on the ballot aren’t as fiery as you might like. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Obviously, Krugman is not a fan of the 'both parties are the same.'

The Return of the 1920s (in Donald Trump and the republican base in general)

America is again caught between nationalists longing for the glories of an imagined past, and activists invoking ideals the nation has never yet attained.

The United States is wracked by a spasm of anti-cosmopolitanism and fear of radical subversion. It is exemplified, for many Americans by the election and presidency of Obama himself: black, yet biracially cosmopolitan, urban, intellectual, raised partly in a Muslim country, and the abandoned son of a Kenyan activist and academic. Millions of conservatives still suspect him of being un-Christian and, literally, not a native-born American qualified to serve as president. ... The current conflict is a continuation of one over the past century in the United States between what the historian Gary Gerstle has called the racial nationalism of blood and ethnic supremacy and a more expansive civic nationalism which promises a common political project of equal rights and respect for all. America has seen expressions of both racial and civic nationalism in its history—both are quintessentially American articulations of political power and hierarchy. Yet these different national projects—one culturally and ethnically homogeneous, the other inclusive of differences, yet seeking to subsume them into a “Party of America”, in political theorist Rogers Smith’s words—both risk canceling out a third strain of American nationalism.

There is no period of American history that so pervasively demonstrated the power of ethno-nationalism to suppress pluralist differences as that following the Russian Revolution, the end of the First World War, and then continuing through much of the 1920s. There are many broad parallels between this era and our own. In both historical moments, there is a rising racial nationalism that takes hold of a significant (and demographically similar) portion of the country. Following the 1920s, Franklin Roosevelt’s leadership during the Depression and a massive labor movement—which, at least, in its ideals (if often not its practice) extolled the social solidarity of Americans of all races, ethnicities, and religions—renewed civic nationalism.

Black soldiers returning from the war, looking for jobs after fighting for their country, were often met with rage; their simple expectation of respect precipitated a violent, racist backlash. In Chicago in 1919 and Tulsa in 1921 dozens were killed in race riots; across the country, whites killed blacks who dared to imagine they could be equal participants in a project of civic nationalism. ... What these various fears shared in common was the concern that the centrality of America’s Anglo-Saxon heritage was being undermined by radicals, immigrants, and African Americans. Understandable concerns for personal safety merged with resentment for groups who sought to disrupt long assumed hierarchies.

One consequence was the introduction of the Immigration Act of 1924. ... The stated goal of the bill’s sponsors and supporters was to enhance an ethnically and racially homogeneous American population.


Trump and his supporters have always seemed to be a throwback to an earlier republican era of anti-immigration, anti-trade sentiments, described by this writer as ethno-nationalists. It is interesting to see the parallels between the 1920's and republican view of the 21st century.

Liberals do seem to support "a more expansive civic nationalism which promises a common political project of equal rights and respect for all" even if that has never been achieved. Conservatives, OTOH, seem more worried about "the centrality of America’s Anglo-Saxon heritage" and their "(u)nderstandable concerns for personal safety merged with resentment for groups who sought to disrupt long assumed hierarchies."

The 1920's revisited.

LA Times OpEd: To understand Donald Trump, look to the far-right in Europe

True, Trump's naked appeals to nativist, anti-immigrant populism have parallels in American history, from Pat Buchanan in the 1990s to George Wallace in the 1960s and 1970s to Millard Fillmore's Know-Nothing Party in the 1850s. (Trump) has totally ignored the Planned Parenthood undercover video controversy; and he has been griping about foreign trade since the 1980s (then it was Japan, now China).

In a European context, Trump would fit more comfortably. Many countries on the European continent pursue a “consensus” politics of the center-left and center-right. The moderates in power support a generous social-welfare state and more business regulation than Americans would accept, marginalize religious social-issue conservatives, and ignore crime and immigration.

By shunting so many issues beyond the pale of the mainstream, the elite fuel right-wing populist parties. Leaders like Geert Wilders in Holland, Marine Le Pen in France and their counterparts in Poland, Sweden, Belgium and Hungary give vent to the anxieties that establishment politicians would rather pretend did not exist. Accordingly, like conservatives in the United States, they stress security, including border security. But reflecting their working-class constituencies, European right-wing parties are often more anti-business, anti-trade and pro-social-welfare than American Democrats, let alone American Republicans.

The European right wing traces its heritage in part to the old monarchists. Yet its populist leaders also echo mid-20th century dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler, who were simultaneously violent nationalists and self-proclaimed socialists who disdained individual rights and sought domination over private business and Christian churches. ... In that sense, Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-trade, “Make America great again” nationalism may not be un-conservative, but it is literally un-American. It lacks the reverence for America's founding principles and the Lincolnesque concern for individual rights to life and liberty that have long called American conservatives to the more hopeful better angels of our nature.


I wonder if Trump is a student of RW European populist politicians and sees in their recent successes a pattern for him to follow here. Or if he is just the latest in a long history of American "nativist, anti-immigration" populists ( like "Pat Buchanan in the 1990s to George Wallace in the 1960s and 1970s to ... the Know-Nothing Party in the 1850's").

Krugman posted a graph of global income changes that shows the rise in poors' income.

What you see is the surge by the global elite (the top 0.1, 0.01, etc. would be doing even better than his top 1), plus the dramatic rise of many but not all people in emerging markets. In between is what Branko suggests corresponds to the US lower-middle class, but what I’d say corresponds to advanced-country working classes in general, at least if you add post-2008 data with the effects of austerity. I’d call it the valley of despondency, and I think it’s going to be a crucial factor in developments over the next few years. More eventually.


It also shows the rise in the incomes of the 1%, particularly the top 0.1%. Most liberals do not lament the rise in the incomes of the poorest 75% of the world's people. We do see the dramatic rise in the incomes of the 0.1% as the real cause of the decline of the Western middle class and working class.

RW populists like Trump & Le Pen, prey on two insecurities, economic and cultural.

Economic insecurity is widespread in Europe and the US. The right exploits this and uses cultural insecurity to blame economic problems on THEM (Mexicans, Chinese, Muslims, immigrants, the EU, etc.)

In Europe they hate the EU, refugees, immigrants and anything that infringes on sovereignty and the rights and privileges of 'real', native-born French, Swedes, Dutch, etc. (Monoculturalism is prized by the right in both the US and Europe.) In the US cultural insecurity is the right's fear of the increasing number and power of minorities, immigrants and secular or non-traditional groups.

Of course, LW populists recognize widespread economic insecurity. We differ in that we tend to blame our own 1% rather than the foreign version of THEM the right worries about.

There is not much 'there' there with Trump, but the same is true of Le Pen and a host of other RW populists who have been gaining in popularity. Their proposed solutions won't work - because their THEM is not the real problem - but every country has folks who are different in some way for the problems. Trump and Le Pen may espouse flawed policies but they know how to make a speech and simplify a complex world.

Krugman's review of Reich's new book: Inequality results from corporate market power which in turn

comes from the rise in corporate political power.

Economists struggling to make sense of economic inequality are, increasingly, talking not about technology but about power. This may sound like straying off the reservation—aren’t economists supposed to focus only on the invisible hand of the market?—but there is actually a long tradition of economic concern about “market power,” aka the effect of monopoly. True, such concerns were deemphasized for several generations, but they’re making a comeback—and one way to read Robert Reich’s new book is in part as a popularization of the new view ...

Meanwhile, forms of market power that benefit large numbers of workers as opposed to small numbers of plutocrats have declined, again thanks in large part to political decisions. We tend to think of the drastic decline in unions as an inevitable consequence of technological change and globalization, but one need look no further than Canada to see that this isn’t true. Once upon a time, around a third of workers in both the US and Canada were union members; today, US unionization is down to 11 percent, while it’s still 27 percent north of the border. The difference was politics: US policy turned hostile toward unions in the 1980s, while Canadian policy didn’t follow suit. And the decline in unions seems to have major impacts beyond the direct effect on members’ wages ...

There’s growing evidence that market power does indeed have large implications for economic behavior—and that the failure to pursue antitrust regulation vigorously has been a major reason for the disturbing trends in the economy. Suppose that we hypothesize that rising market power, rather than the ineluctable logic of modern technology, is driving the rise in inequality. How does this help make sense of what we see?

Part of the answer is that it resolves some of the puzzles posed by other accounts.
... Furthermore, focusing on market power helps explain why the big turn toward income inequality seems to coincide with political shifts, in particular the sharp right turn in American politics. For the extent to which corporations are able to exercise market power is, in large part, determined by political decisions. And this ties the issue of market power to that of political power.


Great to see one liberal economist comment on another liberal economists new book.

We all know that the rise in corporate political power has increased exponentially since the 1980's while corporate regulation has declined precipitously during the same period. Likewise, the rise in corporate political power has resulted in more regressive taxation, the rise in 'right-to-work' legislation and other anti-worker policies.

European citizens, like the Paris terrorists, can enter the US visa free already. They don't need

to pose as refugees.

Why Congress is moving to tighten restrictions on refugees, but leaves the Visa Waiver Program untouched

Of the various ways of getting into the United States, applying for political refugee status is hardly the easiest.

Since 2012, there have been 1,854 Syrian refugees admitted to the US. President Barack Obama has said that we will take in an additional 10,000 in fiscal year 2016, likely now with increased vetting and background checks after more than 30 governors have said they would reject refugees in their states.

While the refugee debate continues both in Washington and at the state level, 20 million people traveled to the US in fiscal year 2013 under the Visa Waiver Program — a program that allows citizens of 38 approved countries, mostly Western allies and Japan, to travel here for tourism or business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.

The Belgian and French citizens who were involved in the Paris attacks could have, in theory, been able to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program.

But even before Republican Rep. Mike McCaul, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, introduced the bill earlier this week, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle admitted they didn't really think the refugee program posed a major national security threat. ... So going at the refugee program is a way to bring frightened and demanding voters results.


So the voters wanted action. republicans and a minority of Democrats gave them 'action' even if they knew that that 'action' had little to do with making anyone here safer. It's all about responding to fear, largely generated by republicans who fear-monger as standard procedure.
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