Power to the people?

I just finished Bernie’s new book. Pretty much a lot of pontificating about stuff I already agree with. One theme throughout is how the “working class” has gotten screwed in so many ways by corporations. And that includes unions getting decimated.

So his whole goal is to put power back into the hands of the working class. And I definitely have always agreed…until it dawned on me. The “working class” by and large are uneducated, uninformed, though mostly good, people millions of whom voted to put the likes of trump in office. Why in the world would we want to give Them power? And I think this was the idea behind the electoral college, which was devised at a time when things were even worse - the working class at the time were completely uneducated, and didn’t know what’s good for them.

So how do we think about this? I’m assuming no one here, me included, thinks the opposite system, authoritarianism, is the answer.

Couple issues there. As someone who has had advantages, I can see how there is such as thing as “better” people in the world. I don’t often say it, because it can’t be said without sounding elitist or prejudiced. There’s a difference between treating everyone equally, and people actually being equal. But that’s too much to go into, and I don’t have a solution for it. To balance out the problem of power and intelligence, any plan to empower the working class should include improvements in education. The other thing to keep in mind, and to celebrate and make common knowledge, is that intelligence doesn’t care what socio-economic status you are born into. The goal should be to allow everyone’s skills to be applied.

As for electoral college, I don’t think it solves anything. I’ve run the numbers, and if a candidate ignored a state, or some business like farming or coal mining, they couldn’t win.

Great topic. I have to nitpick about the term working class. It’s an outdated term that meant factory workers. American doesn’t have many factory workers anymore so it now basically means “blue collar” workers – who vary a lot in income but are usually more at risk during economic crises than white collar workers.

Trump’s base was definitely blue collar, but we can’t blame people for voting for a candidate that appeals to them. That is how democracy works. If we don’t want them to have the ability to participate in democracy, then we don’t actually have a democracy.

Sadly, these last years experience has shown that education and social status do not guarantee political lucidity and acumen.

Some members of my family and some people i know are Trump and Putin supporters, repeating the usual hoaxes from them.

When i ask them why conservative people, sincerely religious and hard liner anti communist as them support Putin, they are unable to answer rationally.

When i ask them how it is that they support Trump a dangerous man totally devoid of any moral sense, they are unable to answer rationally.

My idea is that they are blinded by their ideology.

Good point. I’d say it’s open secret that Republicans can’t win with only a business friendly platform. Economic downturns will happen and unemployed people won’t vote for them. So, they keep floating made up memes and create crises with bad legislation, then blame liberals. They only need to tip the scales with a few million votes.

Heather Cox Richardson has an excellent grasp of American history. This is from her facebook post today

Beginning in the 1980s, Republican leaders found voters to support their “supply-side” economics, which cut taxes and regulations to concentrate wealth so investors could bolster growth, by turning their base against “liberals.” Calling those who opposed their policies “socialists” out to rig the system to redistribute wealth to minorities and women, they began the process of forging a base that considered itself the only real Americans. That process continued over the decades as right-wing media reinforced the idea. Still, though, leaders focused on their economic policies, especially tax cuts, and emphasized culture wars primarily to turn out voters.

Trump turned that formula on its head, playing directly to the base. He offered its members the anti-Black, anti-immigrant, and antiabortion measures it craved, in exchange for utter commitment to his leadership. His drive for authoritarianism dovetailed with a religious movement to create a new ideology for the Republican Party, one that explicitly rejects democracy.

That argument, articulated most clearly by Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, is that the secular principles of liberal democracy—equality before the law, free speech, freedom to go to church or not, academic inquiry, a free press, immigration, companies that can make decisions based on markets rather than morality—destroy virtue by tearing down the sexual and religious guardrails of traditional society. In order to bring that virtue back, right-wing thinkers argue, the government must defend religion and self-sacrifice (although it’s hard to miss that they’re looking for other people to make those sacrifices, not themselves).

Or, another way to look at. To sell the narrative, they have twist it.

Thanks for the quote - she expresses it exactly. And that’s what I’m talking about in this thread and the other one. There’s a group of very powerful well connected people, with an incredible messaging platform so to speak. And they believe (as she states so well) pretty much the exact opposite of what we believe, i.e. they do NOT believe in democracy. Who’s to say they’re wrong?

Republicans can manipulate voters, but they haven’t had to in the past decade. All of the problems Trump’s base are concerned with could have been fixed by democrats, yet they weren’t. That’s all it takes to open the door to somebody like Trump.

Well, I do. But since I believe in democracy, I accept that a bunch of communists could outvote me. That’s how my 7th-grade civics teacher explained it. Unless someone comes up with a really good implementation of communism, I’m not too worried about it.

What does worry me are people like a guy I knew who actually said, “that’s the problem with democracy, when people actually use it to vote for the wrong things”. It’s kind of like the teacher who says you aren’t thinking for yourself when you don’t think like they do. Unfortunately, I think some of those powerful people think that way too.

But, lately, I’m seeing a different kind of “belief”. It’s not a well-thought-out, reasoned choice, based on considering facts. More like a reaction to a crazy world that seems hostile to morality and decency. It doesn’t make sense, so if someone blames something that doesn’t feel right to them, like trans-storytellers, then just go with that. Or, like oneguy, make a vague reference to solutions, and blame people not like you for not doing the work.

That it not correct. All of the problems could have been fixed by the Democrats, but only with the help of Republicans. And that help was withheld.

Moreover, the Republicans actively obstructed many programs that Democrats proposed.

The proof of this is in the current debt ceiling debate.
The Republicans are refusing to pay for the bill they ran up unless Biden cuts some of the Democratic programs that you mentioned above.

Note that Biden already has cut spending by a trillion dollars and has planned additional savings.

Biden budget aims to cut deficits nearly $3T over 10 years

Biden budget aims to cut deficits nearly $3T over 10 years | AP News

The Republicans don’t want any Democratic programs at all!
And they will resort to every dirty trick to gain their aims based on Trump’s tactics.

Trump voters weren’t concerned over the problems you are talking about.

The flaw in that thinking is that they fabricated inflated problems, always looking to make an enemy of some ‘other’
they used snippets of truth drenched in strategic lies and brainwashing with emotional manipulation.

That was nothing rational or constructive about Right Wing behavior, ever since it was decided that lying about what scientists were actually reporting about things such as, tobacco, climate science, dangers of chemicals, was Aokay. It started while I was in high school and was freak’s half century ago. And I watch it grow like a cancer. But the Guys final all that history and all those facts easy to ignore.

It doesn’t matter one bit to you that trump was always a self-serving manipulative criminal mind out to defraud his workers when he could get away with it, he hated the US government because he hated taxes, he hated contract obligation and broke them with sadistic glee.

What did trump do for you?
What was it about his politics you thought was honorable, decent?

And just what were Trump voters concerned about? Having a mob boss as president?

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The dotard lies about everything, including the problems. The U.S. has problems, but what the dotard calls problems is nothing more than racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, and pure hatred. Overthrowing the government and keeping him in office, despite that voters put Biden in, will only perpetuate those things, not make them better. The dotard is a vile, uncouth, and disgusting racist, sexist, hypocritical bigot.

I believe that there are some 200 letters from psychologists, confirming that Trump is a clinical case of Narcissism.

The Psychology of Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s niece traces development of his “dangerous” psychology.

Posted August 8, 2020

In 2017, a group of mental health professionals gathered at a “duty to warn” conference and then published their informed opinions in the book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, contending that he was unfit to be president (Lee, 2017). In the book, they illustrated their professional perceptions of Donald Trump (DT) with his statements and actions known to that point. (See also the 2020 film, Unfit, for more discussions of the psychology of DT by clinicians.)

Many of the mental health professionals drew a connection between DT’s behavior and extreme or pathological narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) which entails entitlement, exploitation, and empathy impairment, along with the typical characteristics of narcissism:

  • Believing you are superior to others
  • Fantasizing about success
  • Exaggerating talents and achievements
  • Expecting constant admiration and praise
  • Believing you are special and acting that way
  • Failing to recognize others’ feelings
  • Expecting others to do what you want
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for the “inferior”
  • Jealousy of others
  • Easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing tough and unemotional
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Unable to keep healthy relationships

Craig Malkin, Ph.D., pointed out that pathological narcissism can spiral into a psychotic spiral of paranoia, impaired and volatile decision making, and gaslighting.

Lance Dodes, M.D., reminded readers of the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder:

  • Failure to conform to laws and social norms
  • Deceitfulness
  • Impulsivity
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Reckless disregard for safety of others and of self
  • Pattern of irresponsibility
  • Lack of remorse
  • Conduct disorder (impulsivity, aggressiveness, callousness, and deceitfulness starting before age 15)

Dodes discussed sociopathy and its various descriptions, which all include cruel, callous, bullying, dehumanizing, sadistic, unempathic, predatory, devaluing and immoral behavior. Sociopaths project their feelings onto others, who are seen as aggressive and dangerous. Sociopaths exhibit a loss of reality, attack others with raging outbursts. People are categorized in the moment as good or evil, with loyalty critical for landing in the “good” category. He described DT’s behavior as fitting into these categories.

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And yet millions of people voted for him. And my guess is, they voted for him BECAUSE he’s all those things - i.e. he’s just like them. Versus some research-quoting-history-referencing-fancy-speech-making intellectual who makes them feel like losers. (for ex Obama).

And so, back to my OP - are those the types Bernie wants to give power to?

I say no. I think that is oversimplifying the problem, but I agree it is a big problem. The Republican party has successfully captured the working class demographic, but, how they did that is important. In Episode 4 of Vervaeke’s series (new post coming soon) he talks about Socrates, and how he integrated the ideas of what’s relevant and what’s true. If you can capture someone’s attention, with sports, beer, video games, whatever, then you can distract them from what’s true.

It’s a lot harder to make economics fun and interesting. A person would need to interrupt their more base desire for instant gratification and reflect on it. Bernie is actually pretty good at making a compelling story about corporations screwing us. I think he believes, as do I, that empowering the working class will give them that little extra bit of freedom, that time to feel safe, some time to listen rather than just react, and that will open ideas like taking some effort and putting it toward supporting a union, or maybe just helping a stranger.

The problems were there long before Trump . All he had to do was talk openly about them and that instantly shifted the overton window.

Sanders does not indicate otherwise so it’s safe to assume he does.

The problems are real enough to affect 10s of millions of Americans. Nobody talked about it like Trump, and that’s why he won. It’s as simple as that.

The biggest issues for Trump voters were immigration and the wars.