So how are people reacting to recent electoral results in the US?

Several weeks ago I discussed a way of classifying different styles of Trump support that I encounter online – mainly in ex-Puppy circles. [see https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/a-typology-of-some-online-trump-supporters/ ] I have been watching to see how different political events generate reactions from these groups and what that might presage about Trump’s overall support.

With the impeachment proceedings it would be simplest to say that there’s no obvious change in any of the groups. They see the Democrats as bad and the impeachment as partisan as per the GOP line. The same essentially pro-Trump message is seen in all three groups including the group I called ‘Sceptical Advocates’ who claim not to be actually supporters of Trump per-se.

I was wondering how these groups are reacting to recent Democrat electoral victories [https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/democrats-score-election-victories-in-virginia-and-probably-kentucky/ ] and it is probably too early to say. The main reaction appears to be ignoring but among the ironic cheerleaders there are dark mutterings about defeatism. More generally there is the usual fact-free conspiracy theories about election fraud.

The other continuing marker (particularly among the ‘Sceptical Advocates’) is the objection to urban voters. Simply put, they portray the idea of people in towns having more people and hence out-voting people who live in more sparsely populated areas. It’s such an entrenched idea that it often doesn’t need to be overtly argued. However, it carries with it a whole bunch of related poorly thought through concepts particularly around immigration and the idea that towns and cities have big populations because of illegal immigration. That last idea is what creates a straight line between the Sceptical Advocates who portray themselves as moderate libertarians and the Ironic Cheerleaders who are more overtly white nationalists.

And if I’m going to talk about poorly thought through ideas from a person who sees themselves as a moderate libertarian than who better than our old pal Brad Torgersen [archive link to Facebook]

Remember this is while the Republicans still control the federal Senate and the Presidency. The point being that Trump’s support will continue to be backed by people who actively dislike him but who regard not only the left, but moderate Democrats and indeed anybody who lives in more densely populated areas as politically illegitimate.

[ETA post script: Woah…in the comments to his post Brad goes somewhere even I’m surprised by:

>image removed<

Good grief.]
[Update 2: So apparently Brad T must have thought better about that comment and it’s now gone. As this isn’t the ‘Document every appalling thing Brad ever said’ blog (I can’t afford the storage upgrade) I’ll take that image away.]

[Update 3: …so…Brad T has since put up a Facebook post complaining about Facebook taking something of his down for breaching Community Standards ” I don’t know what FB’s bots are tripping on, and it’s not explained what specific item(s) are “against community standards” which has become such a laughably absurd concept this past year I almost have tears in my eyes. Suffice to say this is what happens when we let the software do the thinking. Perhaps I ought to be reassured? Skynet and The Borg aren’t super-genius evil. They are in fact drooling-moron stupid, and incapable of parsing fundamental human interactivity. ” From this I infer that Brad didn’t take his comment down, Facebook did and according to Brad he can’t work out what they took down.]


48 thoughts on “So how are people reacting to recent electoral results in the US?

  1. Yes, this is always the problem with geographically based assessments – you get maps that appear to show 90% of a country supporting one party when all the elections and the numbers themselves show a 50/50 split.
    The reason there is such a thing as “flyover country” in the US is precisely because large swathes of it are empty (and, unlike, say, Australia, they are also marginally habitable!)

    But whoah, those last comments are disturbing. Especially since they conform very much to the Wilhoit definition of conservativism : “There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”
    (Or, in traditional irregular verb form: I am a patriot; you are bending the law; they are traitors.)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Isn’t Brad the one who claimed being criticized was the same as being sent to the gulag? Yet literal threats to execute his fellow citizens for disagreeing with him politically — this is fine.

    This habit conservatives have of claiming that people who don’t vote like they do shouldn’t have their votes counted (because they live in cities, because their grandparents were immigrant, because they have college degrees, whatever) is also just priceless.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Doesn’t this concept harken back to the days when only land owners were allowed to vote? All that land is “red”, and land is really what determines voting eligibility, right? All those people crowded into the “blue” cities don’t have land, so they don’t count?

      Feudalism, here we come again!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Very early in the Puppy kerfuffle I found myself in a weird discussion on a fannish board. Most of us on the board in question had been staff or volunteers for a small local convention which has since shuttered, so until this happened, we had hardly ever talked politics.

        Several of the people on that forum were adamant that the majority of the population of the country lived in small towns and rural communities. It took several others of us posting a bunch of links to various sources before they were willing to let it go. (If you go by the Census Bureau definition of city, btw, it’s 80% of the U.S. population that lives in cities). But I noticed a few months later that at least two of those same people who had grudgingly agreed to accept the statistics were commenting positively on one of Crazy Uncle Lou’s posts about how cities must stuff ballot boxes, because it’s the only way they could outvote the majority that live outside the city.

        So for many of them they literally don’t believe that the population density is as sparse as it is outside cities.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Big numbers are tough. A large part of my country can’t comprehend how vast our distances are, or how many people are in them, or what things should cost, or how long natural processes have been at work, or how darn big the universe is, and it’s because they’re on a slightly modified “one, two, many” system.

        I wouldn’t mind, but they use their mistaken ‘facts’ as a club, and insist they be honored and acclaimed, and their politicians tell them that book-larnin’ is bad and makes you an ivory tower egghead.

        Meanwhile, DFT has a similarly illiterate underling input his tweets when he’s visible to others, because he hates to have to put on his big old glasses, because eclipses have consequences. But sure, they know better than scientists.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I don’t think they actually believe that the population is mostly in rural areas. I think they just find it useful to say it, as part of the “we’re the real Americans” myth, along with the idea that most of the population of cities is supposedly immigrants who can’t vote but do (imaginary voter fraud, etc.) Other myths they like to push: that the rural population is mostly white. An enormous chunk of rural populations are not white, which they know because they work very hard to make sure that non-white rural population has a hard time being able to vote — closing polling places in black and Latino majority rural areas or making poll tax I.D. laws, then closing the only DMV in those areas to get the id.

        There’s the myth that non-whites and particularly non-white immigrants are sucking up the government cash when they know full well that white rural folks get most of the aid and food stamps. That they provide most of the money in the rural areas with agriculture when it’s the cities that make economic engines run. The myth that suburbs are rural, etc.

        All of these myths, repeated over and over enough, form a catechism that is used to justify what they want to do — harm neighbors not like them and steal from them on the grounds that they are threatening inferiors. You can hand them facts all day long, but they’ll just go off and either come back after a bit or go somewhere else and lie again. We saw that with the Puppies — they would advance a “reason” why they were doing what they were doing and when that reason was debunked as a myth, they would switch to another one, which would also be debunked, so then they’d select a new myth. They didn’t believe any of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that it was David Frumm, former GW Bush speechwriter and now Republican apostate, who said that when conservatives can no longer win elections, they will give up on democracy.

    Personally, I’m appalled at the idea Trump should be executed for his egregious malfeasance. Simple impeachment and removal from office will do. That is what Brad was talking about, right?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. now Republican apostate

      Well, yes. David Frum is an awful human being in many ways, seeing no problem with enabling the excesses of Bush/Cheney (until after he wasn’t working there anymore), and he’s occasionally made me ashamed to be Canadian; but he’s still at least vaguely connected to reality in a way that Trump and the ‘Freedom Caucus’ types aren’t.

      He’s pretty much a ‘if you want to keep winning elections, you don’t talk about this stuff‘ sort of person who’s been pushed out by the ‘you can’t tell me what to do!’ folks.

      Which makes him one of the large class of people who failed to grasp that enabling an entire generation that would push a button when a certain promises were made would backfire when that generation grew up enough to get tired of the promises not being kept and try and get into power themselves…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Fox News plays a role in this too. It was a useful tool for rallying the troops, but now we have a president who (as I.F. Stone put it once) smokes the hashish himself and believes it. We’ll probably have more like him in the years to come.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. @frasersherman:
        Yeah. I’ve been saying for a while now, since the Tea Party became a thing, that it seems to me that fundamentally the biggest problem in American politics (and, unfortunately, in politics elsewhere as well, but it’s easily chartable in American politics) is that you had one of the major political parties that literally built itself into winning by lying to people and whipping them into a frenzy to get them into the voting booths, while deliberately not following through on the promises to fix things because if they did they wouldn’t have the levers to use to whip people up anymore.

        Unfortunately, once you’ve done this for 40 years (the Moral Majority was founded in 1979) the people who have been fed a steady diet of lies, conspiracy theories, and broken promises are old enough to run for office themselves. They don’t know that it was all originally just a scam, so they try and make good on the promises despite the fact that they can’t work. They believe the only reason it didn’t work before was because of the conspiracy they’ve been fed, so if they’re just hardheaded enough they’ll break through the wall.

        They’ve never been taught that the walls they’re trying to break down are part of the support structure that keeps society running, because keeping things running for a country with a population in the hundreds of millions takes a lot more work than the frontier days when you were talking about hundreds of thousands.

        Yes, Fox News is definitely a part of this. It mainstreamed a particular bubble of opinion and meant that people literally never had to step outside their comfort zone because it was on 24/7. Stuff that had previously only been on Alex Jones or the like was getting national and official-seeming attention.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m just amused and bemused by the notion that in Virginia and Kentucky, the Republicans and Republican-adjacent are actually arguing that they would have won if they just didn’t count the votes of people from the cities. Are they that self-deluded about how democracies and/or republics are supposed to work? Judging from the comments, evidently so.

    Where I’m from (adjacent to Kentucky), both times Obama won the local right-wingers and Tea Partiers made lots of noise about ‘voter fraud’ and promised investigations. They just couldn’t believe that their folks had lost.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Last time (a day or 2 ago) I looked, the argument du jour was “oh, those independent voters would have voted Republican so we’ll try to add their votes to ours and steal the election back.”

      Liked by 4 people

  5. I was born and raised in a town of 3000 in the middle of a bunch of cornfields. I moved out at age 18, as did half of my high school class. (The ones that weren’t ALWAYS stoned.) We moved to the big cities because of jobs and opportunity.

    When I talk to my relatives and acquaintances who still live in the small town, I am struck by how some of them are frankly ignorant of how dependent they are on the tax dollars flowing to them from the urban areas. I’m also struck by how they simply don’t understand how badly outnumbered they are. In my state, Illinois, 7 of 10 people live in the six-county urban area of Chicago.

    Finally, I’m struck by how some conservatives seem to think Congress is composed of invaders from Mars, imposed on us mere Earthlings. In one discussion, somebody said Congress has spent 3 years fighting against Trump. When I pointed out that 2 of those years Congress was controlled by Republicans, I was told that Republicans aren’t friends of Trump. Yet those Congressmen were ELECTED BY THE SAME PEOPLE who voted for Trump!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. All that land is “red”, and land is really what determines voting eligibility, right?

    Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. They throw up the electoral maps with all the red, not mentioning these are sparsely populated counties (and in the case of Montana and both Dakotas, entire states). How, pray tell, does uninhabited land suddenly become more important than actual voters? Oh that’s right, it’s okay when Republicans cheat. (And try to hide behind the fake curtain of “voter fraud,” which study after study demonstrates does not happen.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. which study after study demonstrates does not happen.
      Which study after study proves the Republicans are the ones doing the cheating.
      There, fixed it for you.

      Liked by 6 people

  7. I love it when they pretend there are no major cities in the middle of America. Chicago, Houston, St. Louis, Denver, Nashville, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Phoenix — these are all part of “fly-over” country, middle America, etc. But they are places where a small group of white supremacist landlords don’t get to run things as their private fiefdoms, so how dare their votes be counted equally to dying small towns that are still clinging to medievalism.

    There has always been this tension between the rural dream of wealthy landowners controlling people and government in a centralized, stagnant fashion (serfdom, the plantation, the company store, lynchings) and the growing cities where a middle class develops, there are broader economies and trade and no centralized control. Young workers flock to city industries and become the middle class, pulling up out of poverty and authoritarian control. Slaves and serfs escaped to cities and found work and started businesses, able to get higher if not to the top than they can in tightly controlled rural areas. Third world countries become economic hotspots because of burgeoning cities that grow their middle class, provide jobs and undermine authoritarian and theocratic ideologies (although cities themselves are still controlled by authoritarian rich people, just less centralized.) Underground markets are easier to set up, again avoiding control. The city of Chicago produces about half of the economy of the state of Illinois — and it’s still an incredibly white supremacist city. But for the rural white folk in Illinois, they resent that the non-whites in Chicago can have an equal vote. So they pretend that it’s a stolen vote to justify trying to strip them of their votes and rights.

    Just recently, your Australian PM declared that he was going to outlaw organized boycotts — i.e. that he was going to force people to buy things from companies they don’t want to buy things from. You can’t even do that with rural Australians, much less the ones in the cities. It’s a sign of panic. People who are supposed to be controllable and non-challenging are not controllable and are challenging.

    In Virginia, last election the Republicans won a legislative chamber by a coin toss due to a supposedly tied election — an out-dated gambit. So it wasn’t a real surprise that the Democrats took the whole thing this time. All of Virginia’s cities are growing in leaps and bounds, with massive spreads of suburbs, and those city/suburban middle class voters, many of them white, don’t find whining about rural “fly over” country and farming very interesting compared to concerns about healthcare — a massive industry in the state — infrastructure, prepping for Amazon’s invasion and housing issues, public schools and other issues where Democrats do better. They aren’t, on average, authoritarian white evangelicals who want to control their local towns, bust labor unions and graze cattle in national parks. They live in sprawling suburban counties with rising housing values.

    In Kentucky, middle class suburbanites dissatisfied with Bevin turned out. Because again, while they are fly over country, they are more concerned with non-rural issues. And then there were the coal miners who took a chance on the Republicans, were further screwed over in their dying industry and flipped back this election. But it’s close enough that the Republicans are going to try to steal the election like they did in Georgia. So mostly they’re pretending that the trends in Kentucky don’t actually exist to justify it. That includes oddly enough having to lambast Libertarians for voting Democrat or Libertarian and trying to illegally take the Libertarian votes. Because they are losing their young people to cities, they are losing authoritarian control of rural areas and influence over cities, they have cut white people off from healthcare in trying to cut the brown people from it, so they’re dying off, and fewer and fewer landowners are needed by Big Agriculture, which shrinks fiefdoms and rural populations.

    So they’re essentially standing on a beach, yelling at the ocean tide coming in to go away. Which is also the issue going on with climate change. But it’s still a very slow tide (unlike climate change.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kat –

      As far as Brad is concerned, evidently, middle-class suburbanites and broke coal miners don’t actually count as fly-over country. Even though Kentucky is in the middle of the goddamn country, and is less densely populated than at least 19 or 20 other states. And is chock-a-block full of strip-mined mountains, at least in the eastern half.

      No, what really matters for his purposes is that a majority of the kentucky voting public voted against the candidate that Brad favored. So they can’t really be located in fly-over country. That’s defined by … OK, I can’t figure out what it’s defined by, but you can be sure that however it’s defined, Kentucky ain’t part of it.

      So there.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Kentucky has Lexington, which is a university town and has tech (and other) industry, as well as Louisville. Lexington was considered something of an island inside Kentucky even thirty years ago (I have family there) and these days is easily discernible on electoral maps as a big blue dot in the middle of a sea of red.

        BTW, I’ve been to Kentucky several times and have never even seen a coal mine. I suspect they are in a different part of the state.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @Cora: I go to rural Kentucky at Christmas every year (and more often now that my mother-in-law is in an assisted living facility) to see my wife’s family and I have never seen a coal mine. I have seen coal on barges on the Ohio River and on the train tracks running along it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m reminded of something that happened between Canada and the U.S. back in the early 1990s, under the original Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement that would shortly be superseded by NAFTA. Basically, one of the provisions of the deal was that automobiles from Canada would be considered ‘imports’ and ineligible for the free trade aspect if more than half their parts were from outside Canada, in order to prevent the FTA from being used to bypass other import controls.

      Well, at one point there was a big argument over whether or not a particular car (don’t remember which one) counted as an import. From the Canadian point of view, it didn’t, because only about 35% of the parts were from overseas. From the U.S. argument, once you broke down the car into subassemblies, and treated each subassembly as coming from overseas if more than half of its parts were from overseas, then the car was an import because more than half its subassemblies were ‘from overseas’. This, of course, meant that in the most deliberately constructed case, a car could count as an import if as little as 25% of it was made from overseas parts.

      I can’t help but think that any discussion of a Electoral Collage at the state level, especially if the GOP is floating it, is meant to try to leverage exactly this sort of math and to try to continue maintaining ‘majorities’ even as support drops below 35%.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Of course the Republicans are searching out new ways to cheat now that we’re more aware than ever of their old ways and the Courts are finally striking down Gerymandering.
      Republicans have known that they can’t win without cheating since 1980.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I imagine they’ll want it for senators too. And if they can be confident of putting their own people in, they’d be very eager to protect the “independence” of the electors. Whatever it takes.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I can’t see how this would change the outcome of such elections in any material manner. The reason that the Electoral College has an impact on Presidential elections is that the number of electors is determined by the number of members of House plus the number of Senators – meaning that smaller “flyover” states have disproportionate impact on the election because they have a representative plus two Senators, which is a large part of the GOP’s “edge” in such elections. But in a state “electoral college”, in which you divvied up the counties and gave them all electoral votes, it wouldn’t change the outcome unless you intentionally underrepresented the urban areas in how electoral votes are allocated, and it would be hard to see those urban areas consenting to that type of change.

      Like

  8. A local columnist back in 2000 (local being the very, very, very red Florida Panhandle) made the argument that W really won the popular vote because he won more counties, so who cares about the number of people? Gore only won the popular vote because of those decadent liberals/illegral immigrants flocking to the big cities. So this has been in the air for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s also part of the great myth that somehow the big cities are just resource sucks taking away valuable government money from the rural areas. Go to any state like Illinois and the people in southern Illinois will tell you how Chicago is a black hole taking up all their tax money. In almost all cases, it’s the big cities that raise the tax money which keep the rest of the state afloat.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I suspect it’s less ignorance than a choice to believe what they want. When they get government benefits, it’s what they’ve earned but those Other People, they’re just moochers! At some level I suspect a lot of them know it’s not true, but they choose not to know.
      It would be amusing to see their reaction if all the blue areas seceded and they found themselves subsisting on their own. but a)I don’t want a world where more people suffer, even if some of the sufferers suck and b)they’d just convince themselves the liberals had somehow cheated them.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Singapore is an obvious example of a city state that went its own way. In the UK London has many of the qualities of a state in itself (arguably more viable as an independent state than Scotland).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did once say that if the Scottish IndyRef had gone the other way*, I’d be joining the London independence Party the next day. Not that I think London should actually be independent (even though I’m a London resident), but because London has distorted England (and Britain and the UK) horrifically over the centuries and we should probably begin reparation payments forthwith.
        I suspect that the main reason London wouldn’t be properly viable is land usage. Whilst it is absolutely untrue that “Britain” is full (the actual percentage of built-on land is tiny), London itself is not well suited to simple expansion either outwards or upwards. At least not without some government extremism and even the current Labour party would draw the line at what would be needed for that!

        *If the IndyRef had gone the other way, mind, we’d have experienced most of the same horrors of the last three-and-a-bit years but with extra knobs on because that referendum had all the same problems of the Brexit one except that instead of trying to extricate from a 50 year marriage, it would be attempting the same with a 250+ year marriage (and however many centuries before that of attempting to live together…)

        Like

      3. That’s a fair point. Then again, some of us spent a long time trying to get “four nation consent” into the legislation (i.e. that all four main constituent nations would have to vote the same way) and even proposed the theoretical case that was exactly what came to pass (E&W “leave” / Scot & NI “remain”)
        But I don’t want to relive the hell that was “referendums can only ever be advisory” again. At least, not until the confirmatory referendum happens next year. When we will have a whole different catastrophe of problems… (In passing, I wonder why our disaster words begin “cat…” (catastrophe, cataclysm) and not, say, “dog…” – oh, wait, on second thoughts no, it’s pretty obvious.)

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Interestingly, there has been occasional discussion about Toronto going ‘city-state’, mostly due to Ontario Premiers who won election mostly by playing the ‘everybody hates Toronto’ card and actively screwing with the city. Of course, the province can do this because the laws that incorporate the City of Toronto are written at the Provincial level. (Including the current one, though I haven’t heard much discussion of this yet in his term.) It was noted that Toronto has a higher population than all but four of the Provinces.

        This, of course, is complicated by the fact that Toronto is the capital of Ontario, so splitting would be… difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

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