Historical Antecedents of Trump

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Historical Antecedents of Trump

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Edited: Feb 28, 2016, 10:11pm

I am fascinated to learn more about the Historical Antecedents of Trump....


Or is he maybe more like Silvio Berlusconi?


Or is he similar to Huey P. Long?

I am fascinated for 3 reasons:

1-Since I don't agree with him politically, morally, or aesthetically, I feel I can sit back and be more objective in looking at his ascendancy.

2-He can often be truly humorous and unusually truthful at times.

3-He can be dazzling in his simplistic summaries of people and issues. I listen and cannot believe what I hear.

My guess at this point in time is that he has no idea who he truly is. He has no interior life whatsoever. But if I were to make a wild guess at this point in time, I would say he is a cross between Silvio Berlusconi and Huey P. Long. There careers were both dedicated to accumulating as much money and political power as possible.

Feb 28, 2016, 6:15pm

He can often be ... unusually truthful at times.

Oh? What is it you think he is so unusually truthful about?

Feb 28, 2016, 7:13pm

One of many examples is his point about the degree to which all politicians are beholden to money and that it was his monetary contributions that persuaded Hilary Clinton to attend his wedding.

As he says repeatedly, that is why he gave to all politicians regardless of their party affiliation. I know of no politician who would be so forthright.

Feb 29, 2016, 4:08am

Is that really forthright? Or is that manipulative faux-honesty, serving to tar his adversary and advance his own self-interest?

Feb 29, 2016, 4:30am

His faux-honesty is offset by his very real dishonesty about many issues. His main dishonest thing is saying there is an easy solution to a problem.

Feb 29, 2016, 7:10am

So to whom is he most similar in history? I have made my suggestions but have not heard suggestions from anyone else.

Feb 29, 2016, 7:42am

Early Adolf comes to mind, although that's always a contentious comparison. I'm not knowledgeable enough really.

Feb 29, 2016, 10:26am

I think that Huey Long has bee completely trashed by the right. Their success is the only reason I can see anyone comparing him to Trump. Long forced the oil companies to pay taxes, he built roads that connected Louisiana's rural population to the 20th century, he built schools outside the few rich districts that already had quality education. Yes he saw politics as a street fight, which no one complains about until they are on the loosing side. For instance when he integrated the nursing staff at state hospitals he told the man that asked him to do it, "I will but you won't like how I do it."

Edited: Feb 29, 2016, 11:07am

>6 Urquhart: Urquhart

"have not heard suggestions from anyone else" in our group but other people elsewhere are coming up with suggestions...


Feb 29, 2016, 11:19am

I'm not sure who to compare him to. But it should be someone who cares little or not at all about the positions he takes, but merely uses his stance on the issues to acquire support. No one who is committed to an ideology. And someone who is shameless about lying to achieve his ends. I also feel the quiet threat of violence under the surface, so the ideal comparison would share that. Hitler might work for the last, but I'm afraid Hitler really was committed to an ideology.

Feb 29, 2016, 1:39pm

<10 I'm not altogether sure how committed to an ideology Hitler was. I've heard it claimed that he was extraordinarily lazy, both physically and philosophically. Such was the personality cult he developed that his underlings busied themselves trying to do what they thought he might want or the general directions he gave. (This is not me trying to absolve AH of responsibility for the Holocaust, btw - anything but).

I suppose you could say the difference is that Hitler genuinely hated many groups of people, while Trump (we think) merely uses popular bigotry and hatred to stir up support. It that analysis letting Trump off the hook for his openly racist rhetoric?

Feb 29, 2016, 2:34pm

>8 TLCrawford: TLCrawford

Tim, I respect your judgement and would defer to your analysis when it comes to Huey Long. You are always very thorough.

All I know of him is the book
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren that I read and that made a big impression on me. It was a wonderful book.

Wikipedia seems to think:

"He remains a controversial figure in Louisiana history, with critics and supporters debating whether or not he was a dictator, a demagogue, or a populist."


I wonder if a person can be a force for good while at the same time being part dictator, demagogue, and populist.

Feb 29, 2016, 3:14pm

>11 IanFryer: you may be right that Hitler in some ways was lazy in thought and deed. But fwiw he did lay out his point of view in Mein Kampf a decade before he came to power, and he more or less held to it.

Edited: Feb 29, 2016, 4:07pm

>13 stellarexplorer: Thank you. I'm aware of Godwin's law being in danger of applying here and the possibility of bringing Hitler in derailing the discussion. Still, it's one heck of a thing that it's not an especially controversial comparison with regards to a leading Presidential candidate.

Feb 29, 2016, 4:19pm

>7 JerryMmm:
>10 stellarexplorer:
>11 IanFryer:

Trump's appeal to the worst nationalist, xenophobic, and racist tendencies of the lumpenproletariat are highly reminiscent of Hitler, as is his media-savviness and inflammatory rhetoric. Hate to go there, but if the shoe fits...

>11 IanFryer:

I suppose you could say the difference is that Hitler genuinely hated many groups of people, while Trump (we think) merely uses popular bigotry and hatred to stir up support. It that analysis letting Trump off the hook for his openly racist rhetoric?

As I've stated elsewhere, I think that Trump is less a racist/xenophobe/misogynist than he is a misanthrope. That is to say, he views everyone who is not is great as Donald Trump (i.e., everyone on the planet besides himself) with utter contempt, a worldview that is familiar to those who have spent any amount of time studying the psychopathology of narcissism.

PS Anybody reading this may feel free to invoke Godwin's law at any time. :)

Feb 29, 2016, 5:36pm

>9 Urquhart:

The Guardian article calls Trump a demagogue (which is fair) and compares him to George C. Wallace, the former Alabama governor, segregationist spokesman, and three-time populist candidate for president.

One little-known fact about Wallace is that, as a state judge, he was a liberal on racial issues, known for insisting that black attorneys and their clients be treated with equal dignity in his courtroom. That was until his first try for governor, when he was trounced thoroughly by the race-baiting John Patterson. So Wallace adopted racist rhetoric as a means to power. Realizing how much racism and fear was harboring in the breasts of white Americans throughout the country, he made himself into one of the most disruptive third-party presidential candidates in U.S. history. (Wallace maintained until his dying day that the gunman who shot him down during the 1972 campaign had been paid off somehow by Pres. Richard Nixon.)

Wallace may also provide a clue to the kind of president Donald Trump would make, should he win. (I'm still not sure he wants to.) Wallace was a tremendously popular politician with almost no interest in governing, slow to respond even to crises except to blame people from outside the state. Not all of my home state's backwardness can be blamed on Wallace, of course; there's that whole slavery/Confederacy/Jim Crow thing that we still haven’t lived down. But Wallace’s long tenure in office (supplemented by three years in the governor's office for his dying wife, when term limits prevented him from running) did give us the most regressive tax system and the most endemic and intractable budget crises in the Union.

So maybe look for the USA to become more like Alabama if the Donald wins.

Or maybe not. Instead of Indifferent Donald, we may get Dissembling Liberal Donald. In that case he would resemble Dr. Karl Lueger (loo-WAY-ger), the powerful mayor of Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, credited with modernizing the city.

Lueger, despite his academic credentials, was a fiery populist who came to power by galvanizing the working class with anti-Semitic speeches. Once in office, however, Lueger held discreet meetings with the leading Jewish community representatives and assured them he would take steps to equalize their political status and improve conditions in their neighborhoods. He was as good as his word, and his track record is admired by almost everyone.

Historians, as I understand it, see Lueger as a calculating politician who (like Wallace ca. 50 years later) used hate speech as a means to power. The masses kept returning him to power until he died in office. The downside: Among the admiring throngs who turned out for Dr. Lueger's speeches was a greasy-haired bumpkin named Adolf Hitler.

So there are two likely outcomes to a Trump presidency:

1) President Trump is a popular do-nothing who blames all the country's woes on outsiders, stoking xenophobia and racism to new heights
2) Trump is a dissembling liberal who abandons the hate rhetoric as soon as he attains power, using his popularity to push through reforms

The GOP establishment acts as if they are terrified that no. 2 is the likelier outcome. I'm sure they could live with no. 1.

Many of Trump's supporters — who are generally more sophisticated than the Viennese voters of 110 years ago — are I think motivated by outrage with the status quo and hopes that a true outsider, as opposed to a fake one, can achieve something that will make a difference in their lives. Or if not, they can at least "send a message" to a government that we Americans are increasingly programmed to resent and mistrust.

Some of Trump's appeal is truly unprecedented. He has a mastery of (post-)modern media, including social media, that I don’t think anyone else in politics has attained. We've had businessman/outsider candidates for president before — Ross Perot comes to mind — but never one who was able to generate so much publicity seemingly at will.

Whatever happens, though, Trump's rhetoric during this campaign is sowing dragon's teeth, and he won't be able to control the consequences. That is a lesson from Dr. Lueger's career.

The USA is already operating one concentration camp for Muslims (Guantanamo Bay). Partisan gridlock and some extremist activism have conspired to keep the camp open indefinitely. Trump's demagoguery makes it a little likelier that Muslim US citizens will be rounded up and fenced behind razor wire. Is his political success worth the risk?

Edited: Feb 29, 2016, 8:09pm

Donald Trump is the archetype of many different strands of demagoguery and populism in America both past and present. However what makes his appeal especially deep to the American psyche in particular is his promise of not just a better tomorrow but a “Great” tomorrow.

America has been built on salesmen/businessmen ever since the Mayflower. In America in particular the traveling salesman has been a man imbued with great power or expectations for making possible a Great tomorrow.

In the computer world, “consultants” are always promising to come in and “fix” all the problems.

In religion, evangelicalism offers everyone or, at the least, the “select” a great tomorrow.

The travelling salesman has always offered elixirs for relief, cures, or panaceas. Two movies exemplary of this are The Rainman and The Music Man. They are American to the core.



What many people don’t realize is that Trump is mining a vein in the American psyche that goes very deep. He is not just another fad or the usual demagogue that many might expect. He is an American demagogue that is inventing himself as he goes. He is writing his own playbook on the fly and it is obvious he is having a hell of a good time.

The other candidates certainly aren’t. Consequently so many of the other politicians are grabbing on to his coat tails and have no idea where it will take them any more than he does. He has hit the “mother load” all prospectors and politicians dream of and he is clearly thriving on it all.

To dismiss him as a fly by night who has no real traction is to do so at one’s peril. He is able to reach the American people and strike a nerve that no number of position papers of Hilary or Bernie could ever reach. He is mining the American psyche in a way that has not been done since JFK.

It’s the salesman with the promise of a Great tomorrow that Americans just can’t resist. It is the person who legitimizes the self-righteous hurt of financial failure or forced lowered economic and political expectations.

It’s the best show in town, and we could all very possibly be part of that show after November elections.

Edited: Feb 29, 2016, 9:59pm


"The USA is already operating one concentration camp for Muslims (Guantanamo Bay)"

If you wish to discuss Islam, Muslims, or any aspect of your religion you are welcome to do so by putting it in a separate thread. Thank you for your assistance.

Feb 29, 2016, 10:21pm

>19 Urquhart:
If you wish to discuss Islam, Muslims, or any aspect of your religion you are welcome to do so by putting it in a separate thread. Thank you for your assistance.
OK, but I didn't think that was a gratuitous reference. Maybe it's provocative to call Guantanamo Bay "a concentration camp for Muslims," but — as a citizen — nothing about current government policy frightens me more than the normalization of unlawful perpetual detention and torture. I believe that in the long run it's a threat to everyone's liberty.

Concerning Trump and his apparent juggernaut — I was struck by the appearance of an ad (in this Super Tuesday state) that targets black voters, not a common strategy for Republican candidates. In it, a black man tells the story of how his son was shot to death by an "illegal immigrant." Voting for Trump, he assures us, will fix stuff like that.

Feb 29, 2016, 10:55pm

As I have suggested to you before, I believe all of us in the group could learn a lot if you were to start a separate thread on the topic of Islam today and why you have chosen it as your faith.

I know for myself, that I have many questions that I would like answered.

Thanks for your assistance on this matter for this thread.

Mar 1, 2016, 8:16am

6 Urquhart
Yesterday, 7:10am Top

"So to whom is he most similar in history? I have made my suggestions but have not heard suggestions from anyone else."

No one with suggestions? Really!

Mar 1, 2016, 9:42am

Why does one have to compare Trump to anyone anyway? The Kingfish was poor and intelligent and honestly wanted to share the wealth. This got him assassinated. Trump on the other hand knows who made him that rich and you can bet that even he won't be stupid enough bite the hands that once fed him. Trump´s wealth is nothing compared to the accumulated wealth of the East Coast establishment; it's billions (hardly any of them liquid) vs. trillions. Any comparison to Wallace, Goldwater et al. are equally silly.

Trump´s family (unlike the Heinz family, who is from the same backwoods town in the Palatinate) has a historical reputation of being rancorous and unpleasant. Donald´s ancestors were merchants, not politicians. Must be genetical.

Anyway, for the sake of discussion I´ll throw in another name: Millard Fillmore.

Mar 1, 2016, 11:28am

As a slight aside, someone I follow on Twitter turns out to be a Tea Party supporter (thankfully, we generally talk about movies). She hates Trump because she thinks he's a secret progressive.

I'm struggling to even process that theory.

Mar 1, 2016, 2:54pm

Drumpf's style does remind me of some of the Kingfish's cruder moments but again Long had real commitment and accomplishments earlier in his career. Both are completely missing when you seek them in our subject.

His unexpected success based on a frightened racist response to change is also reminiscent of George Wallace's electoral success in the 1972 Democratic primaries.

For sheer meanness and small mindedness, Andrew Jackson is a good comparison but again Jackson unlike our subject had convictions and accomplishments before becoming a candidate for the Presidency.

Those are the American antecedents that come to mind but Berlusconi is probably the comparison that I find the most compelling.

PS The story of Long and the LA hospital system, while apparently true, does not refer to the Kingfish who had been dead for almost 20 years when it happened, but to his brother Earl.

Mar 1, 2016, 9:39pm

>23 Phlegethon99:

Why does one have to compare Trump to anyone anyway?

We don't, obviously, but there are many of us here in the States that are starting to get a little bit anxious regarding the outcome of this year's presidential election (perhaps there is a similar feeling internationally as well; I can't really speak to that). Looking at the successes and failures of past political figures that are analogous to Trump can be helpful in giving us some much-needed perspective on his chances of success/failure.

Mar 1, 2016, 9:47pm

26 artturnerjr

"Looking at the successes and failures of past political figures that are analogous to Trump can be helpful in giving us some much-needed perspective on his chances of success/failure."


Gaining perspective from the past is what this History group is about. Thanks for reminding us.

Mar 2, 2016, 7:05am

>26 artturnerjr: I can't speak for everyone in the UK, but generally we're aghast and terrified at the prospect of President Trump.

We've had smaller-scale versions of the same thing - currently the absurd demagogue Nigel Farage, who appeals to racism for those who require easy solutions to difficult problems in a very similar way to Trump.

Mar 2, 2016, 7:23am

I hope for Bernie. Actually this false, lying, deceitful, born-with-a-silver-spoon hypocritical war criminal Hillary Clinton is a much bigger threat to world peace than Trump and maybe even batshit crazy Cruz could ever be. Probably the biggest security risk since Henry Kissinger´s secret presidency. She does not belong in the White House but before an international court of law together with her husband.

Mar 2, 2016, 11:24am

>27 Urquhart:

You're very welcome. This is the first thread that I've posted in in this group. Your hospitality is greatly appreciated. :)

>28 IanFryer:

I gather that that's the general consensus abroad. I don't know if you know who Rachel Maddow is, but on her television show here in the States she has made some very apt comparisons between Trump and various far-right/fascist European politicians such as Oswald Mosley and Jean-Marie Le Pen (I don't recall whether she mention Nigel Farage or not):


Mar 2, 2016, 1:11pm

Here's a quick read that may stimulate some comparative thoughts, while also suggesting what may be unprecedented here, at least in the short span of United-Statesian history: How the GOP made Donald Trump inevitable. Nice micro-blogged version of an argument that's been made at greater length elsewhere.

Mar 2, 2016, 3:59pm

Doing the rounds on social media today:


Mar 2, 2016, 5:17pm

32 JerryMmm


2-Thank you!

Mar 2, 2016, 9:27pm

>32 JerryMmm: excellent!

Mar 3, 2016, 7:14am

I can't help but wonder how real these people are.

Is this Poe's law at work, and are we just confirming our biases here, or are we naive enough to hope that these people are actors?

Mar 3, 2016, 7:53am

Poe's law is an internet adage which states that, without a clear indicator of the author's intent, parodies of extremism are indistinguishable from sincere expressions of extremism. Poe's Law implies that parody will often be mistaken for sincere belief, and sincere beliefs for parody.

Mar 3, 2016, 9:10am

>35 JerryMmm:

It's difficult to say, but the following gives some indication of the level of intolerance among Trump supporters:


From the article:

The P.P.P. poll asked voters if they thought whites were a superior race. Most Republican primary voters in South Carolina — 78 percent — disagreed with this idea (10 percent agreed and 11 percent weren’t sure). But among Mr. Trump’s supporters, only 69 percent disagreed. Mr. Carson’s voters were the most opposed to the notion (99 percent), followed by Mr. Kasich and Mr. Cruz’s supporters at 92 and 89 percent. Mr. Rubio’s backers were close to the average level of disagreement (76 percent).

According to P.P.P., 70 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters in South Carolina wish the Confederate battle flag were still flying on their statehouse grounds. (It was removed last summer less than a month after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.) The polling firm says that 38 percent of them wish the South had won the Civil War. Only a quarter of Mr. Rubio’s supporters share that wish, and even fewer of Mr. Kasich’s and Mr. Carson’s do.

Nationally, further analyses of the YouGov data show a similar trend: Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states during the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.

Scary stuff.

Mar 3, 2016, 9:18am

> 32

This video is entertaining but uninformative. While the intention is different, the methods are comparable to those used to produce the notorious videos that attacked ACORN and Planned Parenthood.

1. Selected responses: Instances where the subjects reacted negatively to a quote are omitted.
2. Tiny sample size: Only four people are interviewed and two of them seem mentally impaired.

The gray-haired man on the bench sounds drunk, and the sole woman in the group has trouble understanding words like "fortunate." She reacts to the quote about liars being magicians in a way that suggests she takes it literally, i.e., that liars are capable of casting magic spells like Harry Potter.

We have no way of knowing how other self-identified Trump supporters may have responded to the video. So I don't think Poe's Law applies here. The video makers simply shot footage and selected the most outrageous clips from the most bizarre people they interviewed.

All the video gives us is a condescending glimpse of four marginal "low-information voters."

Mar 3, 2016, 11:47am

>38 Muscogulus: I took it as pure entertainment. This was not a serious inquiry into Trump supporters. But I did get momentary enjoyment out of it, which is more than I usually get from Trump-related material.

Mar 3, 2016, 12:45pm

>37 artturnerjr:

Link to the 2/16 PPP poll of South Carolina voters: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/PPP_Release_SC_21616.pdf

And the discussion: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2016/02/trump-clinton-still-have-big-sc-...

One of their latest shows Trump ahead of Rubio in Rubio's home state of Florida: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2016/02/trump-leads-rubio-even-head-to-h...

I'm certainly no fan of Trump. But I'm also critical of the way our news media has by and large tried to inflate Rubio's prospects while adopting the Republican Party establishment's priority of stopping Trump. True, some media commentators have noticed and criticized this tendency as well. And it's nothing new, really; the anointing of "viable" and "electable" candidates, on the basis of insider buzz from unnamed sources, has been a staple of election coverage for as long as I've been paying attention.

Lately NPR (National Public Radio) and other media bastions have been atwitter about Trump's lackluster support among women, and I assumed this was a fact. But on reading the pollster dispatches above, I find that while far fewer women than men support him, his support among women is far ahead of that for his Republican rivals. To be fair, the media chitchat may have been speculating about problems for Trump with women in the general election, not in the primary. But whoever gets the Republican nomination seems likely to have a tough row to hoe with women voters.

Some South Carolina voters will disagree, but: Gotta love that 19th Amendment.

Mar 3, 2016, 2:21pm

I often feel that pundits and journalists don't do a good job of differentiating between primary voters and general election voters, let alone the public at large and the likely voters that will actually turn up to vote.

Past elections suggest a rough 50/50 split when it comes to the general election, there's not that much in it really. About 1/3rd of the likely GOP voters support Trump at the moment. That means only 1/6th of American support him, yet the feeling out there is that A large part of Americans like him.

Mar 3, 2016, 4:37pm

>41 JerryMmm:

About 1/3rd of the likely GOP voters support Trump at the moment. That means only 1/6th of American support him

It doesn’t even mean anything that definite. Primary voters and caucus-goers are an even smaller fragment of the general electorate, and their views are well out of the mainstream. And as polls increasingly turn to automation with push-button responses, they do an even poorer job of accurately gauging opinion. Adding to the noise are click-bait polls with questions designed to produce sensational results.

Of course, the concerns and opinions of most voters are also absent from the salons of Washington. For the political class, voters are like cattle: to be managed, not consulted.

Mar 5, 2016, 3:15pm

How many americans will vote against Trump for president, but will vote for Republican senate and House seats? Trump's success also relates to the standing problem of gerrymandering. If the Trump vote is spread through the lesser populated high numbers of seats, who seem to have a leaning to republican candidates with simple answers to complex questions, you may well end with the consumate actor, Donald Trump. The real question is how many Senate and house seats will switch to the Democrats, even if Hillary doesn't win the presidential struggle...even if she does win, House and Senate seats remain of serious importance.
Are the congressional districts re-designed every election?

Mar 5, 2016, 5:17pm

>43 DinadansFriend: "Are the congressional districts re-designed every election?"


Mar 10, 2016, 3:32pm

This is an interesting link, that will be of interest, not an historical antecedent, but a literary one.
"It can't happen Here by Sinclair Lewis has sadly too many parallel, and the reviewer's thoughts are illuminating.

Mar 10, 2016, 4:16pm

Mar 14, 2016, 7:12pm

Mar 16, 2016, 1:58pm

Lewis' second wife, Dorthy Thompson was a correspondent based in Berlin. Lewis spent some time with her there and listened to her stories of the third reich. That inspired him to write It Can't Happen Here. It was a popular book in Germany until the Nazis realized they were the "bad guys" in the story. Authoritarians are not the brightest it seems.

It Did Happen Here is an interesting read about political oppression in the USA.

Mar 28, 2016, 2:53pm

Richard Nixon experts on Donald Trump's rally violence: we've seen this before


Edited: Apr 8, 2016, 7:47pm

> 51

Lewis´ "It Can´t Happen Here" quite obviously deals with Huey Long´s 1936 election campaign. Dorothy Thompson could not have told him much of the actual Third Reich first-hand because she was the first foreign correspondent to get extradited in 1934 already and Lewis had´t been to Germany after 1926. "It Can't Happen Here" wasn´t a popular book in Germany because it never got published there before 1954 by Rowohlt. The 1935 translation by Querido only got published in Amsterdam in a very small edition. The 1954 edition is a very bad translation, by the way.

By American standards Lewis was a Nazi anyway because of his membership in the America First Committee, together with other celebrities Lillian Gish and Charles Lindbergh. Only well after WW2 "It Can't Happen Here" for some reason was reinterpreted as an anti-Nazi novel despite the fact that it is a very thinly veiled roman à clef dealing with the American political system and its machinations. Lewis and Mencken actually were one of the very few actual Germanophile authors in the U.S.

Apr 11, 2016, 2:49am

Demagogues usually appear during difficult times, when people lose confidence in their government (eg: the Great Depression). So perhaps the question we should be asking is 'why now?' Why are a right-wing demagogue and a self-proclaimed 'socialist' the most popular candidates to be the next President of the United States?

Apr 11, 2016, 8:00am

56 madpoet

Thanks for the question.

Would be interested in your answers from your perspective.

I believe the causes behind "right-wing demagogue " are:

1-that large segments of our nation are victimized by uncontrolled migration on our Southern borders.

2-also the fact that the govt and Congress are at a stand still or totally dysfunctional and that the repercussions of that also builds anger.

Apr 11, 2016, 8:32pm

>57 Urquhart: I'm not sure about point #1 (I don't live there), but #2 is definitely true. I'd add that the growing wealth gap and disappearance of manufacturing jobs over the last 30 years has a lot to do with it. A major US city, Detroit, has been left to die a slow death and no one in the US gov. seems to give a damn. Many of the same economic problems affect Canada and Europe, too.

Apr 12, 2016, 2:47pm

> 57 Urquhart; from a resident Canadian point of view:
The southern parts of the USA are not particularly victimized by the illegal (Not uncontrolled) migration to your Southern states. Most of the Hispanic influx want to get as far north as possible, to the northern states like Minnesota or Washington and Oregon, where they can enjoy a more lavish and calmer life. A number come all the way to Canada where we have even got a less violent life style and better social safety net. But they settle in and work hard, making their lives useful to their fellow Canadians.
The illegal immigrant structure also controls the migration, they want their cut from all illegals, not just the ones they move!
The Southerner of any race or provenance is much more abused by the prevailing unrestricted capitalism ideology, with the white ones being a bit better off. Trump will not alter the status quo there, and given the history of the Trump family with the KKK, I believe his racism is as sincere as a massive narcissist can harbour. Google Trump and the KKK, there's even a song about Trump's father by Woody Guthrie the folksinger!
>58 madpoet: Madpoet:
Canada has recently elected a leftish Liberal Federal Government , which has promised a good deal of help to our cities, as infrastructure spending does boost the economy as a whole. The money is forthcoming, and that's good. As the Liberals are in power all the way up there's no great chance for the current USA legislative paralysis.
So, please American readers, do not vote for Republicans in the House and Senate races!
Even though "All politics is local politics" in your country, Don't do that this time!
As long as I'm at it, Vote for Bernie in the New York Primary! That'll move Hillary to the left! 'Specially if she loses!

Apr 12, 2016, 3:46pm

3 cheers for Bernie!!!

Apr 13, 2016, 2:33am

>59 DinadansFriend: I am a Canadian myself, although I live in China. I think Canadian politics hasn't gotten as polarized as American politics, although it depends on what part of the country you live in (Alberta tends to be farther right than Ontario, say). We have suffered even more from free trade, though, and the Liberals don't appear to be reversing that trend.

Bernie Sanders would not be considered far left in Canada. He might be right of the NDP, even. Some of the policies he is proposing, such as universal health care and maternity leave, are available in Canada and are non-controversial.

Donald Trump? The closest parallel we had was probably Rob Ford, former Mayor of Toronto.

Apr 13, 2016, 5:43pm

Not very sadly I must report that Mr. Ford is now dead of cancer, and his great old friend Stephen Harper did not attend the funeral....not many Conservatives did. With a substantial majority of Liberals in the HoC, the Conservatives are walking quite small in the public eye at the moment, tooling up for a leadership race, which I hope keeps their party very busy for the rest of this year, and for a large part of the next. One can hope they will split.
As a man who lived in Calgary for fifty years, I agree the rednecks are thick on the ground in Wild rose country, but even there, one finds pockets of NDP support, enough in fact, to place an NDP government in power in the province this last round. But they are facing difficulties, what with the lack jobs in the shrinking oil sector.
Bernie would be and is, seen as the right of the NDP candidate in the USA election. He's almost seen as a left Liberal in Canadian terms.

Apr 14, 2016, 5:04pm

>57 Urquhart:

The migration is not 'uncontrolled'; it's governed by economic laws. Several segments of the U.S. economy find cheap labor that's unable to agitate for better conditions to be highly desirable. And the wages are still higher than what can be gotten in their native countries. (Note that this is not solely agricultural; a great deal of the urban waste disposal and recycling is handled by immigrants.)

But the concept that we're losing jobs because of illegals has caught on as a handy scapegoat for economic woes. The blue collar, working class people of the U.S. feel that no one is paying attention to their concerns and issues. Along comes Trump, who says what many of these people think...and gets away with it.

Edited: May 4, 2016, 10:40am

Speaking of Historical Antecedents of Trump, after Ted Cruz dropping out last night, the distant marching sound of "the Brownshirts" just got a whole lot louder and closer.

The Circus needs red meat; The Donald provides red meat. The Circus does not think rationally. The Circus needs constant entertainment and distraction, and Donald provides it.

I say again that The Donald will be the next President of the U.S.

May 4, 2016, 11:53am

>64 Urquhart:

I say again that The Donald will be the next President of the U.S.

I disagree, but I thought there was no way in hell that Americans would reelect George W. Bush in 2004, so what do I know?

May 4, 2016, 12:03pm


Edited: May 4, 2016, 3:59pm

H. L. Mencken

"No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

P. T. Barnum

-There's a sucker born every minute.
-Money is in some respects life's fire: it is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.
-Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.

Edited: May 4, 2016, 6:52pm

Well, go forth and work for Bernie, my friends, then hold your nose and vote for Hillary. I draw your attention to the first volume of Richard Evans excellent history of the Third Reich. He shows a definite connection between the disrespect for politicians, and for the idea of competent government, and the rise of the para-military and the growth of fascist movements in the German world of the 1920's. Evans' second volume "The Third Reich in Power" has the sad story of the quick decline in the level of education in the Fascist world.
I fear that is what may be in store for North America.
The abyss gapes, and Mencken and Barnum are rolling in laughter. The rest of us will have to live and scamper in that world. I'm an optimist, and hold that Bernie's people, vastly tilted toward the young, and better informed, will vote for Hillary rather than endure the Doom of Trump. The whirlwind he will sow will be considerable.

May 4, 2016, 10:18pm

May 5, 2016, 1:15pm

May 5, 2016, 4:33pm

While I think Trump would be a worse president than either Hillary or Bernie, I do believe that he will be more pragmatic than he's appearing now, while he's pandering to the primary populace.

Edited: May 5, 2016, 4:40pm

>70 Urquhart:
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Just saying. grin.

May 9, 2016, 12:33pm

Yup, Urquhart, I begin to think "Donald Trump Could Really Win" too.........

May 9, 2016, 11:04pm

>72 JerryMmm:

Which, it should be noted, appends all HuffPost stories about Trump:


May 10, 2016, 4:12pm

Ah. Even funnier.

May 17, 2016, 7:33pm

A psychological profile of Trump comparing him to Andrew Jackson, among others. Didn't learn a ton I didn't already know, but found it a very interesting read nonetheless.


May 18, 2016, 7:09pm

>76 artturnerjr:
Best analysis so far, and even scarier than the man seems so far. Now go out and work for Bernie, and then, if you must settle for Hillary. But never vote for the Donald, as he'll permanently alter your future, and in a bad direction for nerds and ordinary Americans.

May 18, 2016, 8:16pm

Jackson certainly did lay bare the political structure of his generation, and IMO it took until Millard Fillmore to re-steady the boat...but this man Trump could kill us all while trying to feed his ego. And on Behalf of the non-Americans on this planet, we will hold it against you if we have to co-exist with him...he won't much allow it!
Look up Marius the heir of the Gracchi, and who led to Augustus, not to the sunny and pleasant uplands we all strive for.

May 19, 2016, 12:42am

>77 DinadansFriend:
>78 DinadansFriend:

My favorite passage from the article:

For psychologists, it is almost impossible to talk about Donald Trump without using the word narcissism. Asked to sum up Trump’s personality for an article in Vanity Fair, Howard Gardner, a psychologist at Harvard, responded, “Remarkably narcissistic.” George Simon, a clinical psychologist who conducts seminars on manipulative behavior, says Trump is “so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example” of narcissism. “Otherwise I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

May 29, 2016, 4:23pm

Rise of Donald Trump Tracks Growing Debate Over Global Fascism


May 29, 2016, 6:43pm

I know I already posted this on another thread, but upon reflection it does belong here.
While we are discussing Trump, let's go to Plutarch's lives and examine the curious case of Marcus Licinius Crassus, a man who parlayed a career in a sad style of disaster capitalism, land speculation and political ambition into a role as a triumvir. And as Trump has a "crass" act, I just thought of this sidelight. :-)

Bernie Sanders is a still better example of the man from nowhere, and "Da Donuld" has toyed with and then fled from a face to face with Bernie, for the older (by five years) New Yorker offers real change, not a lip-sticked pig! And he's not linked to big money.

As long as we are discussing "Rage" as a political meme, that brings us to Henry II of England whose rages were epic, and Richard I who was also a tent-sulker of serious proportions.

Jul 17, 2016, 2:54pm

Not directly related to the OP, perhaps, but likely of interest to members of this group:


Of more immediate concern: will Cleveland 2016 be Chicago 1968 redux?


Jul 17, 2016, 6:35pm

To me there is a potential for immense violence at the Cleveland Convention. To choose a rust-belt city with a large unemployment problem, and then in a state where the open carrying of weapons will further complicate the policing of the event. the current flare-up about "Black Lives Matter", and the very recent direct attacks on the police forces, have made the potential for violence in Cleveland even greater.
>82 artturnerjr::
An excellent link that should help those who are looking for aid from the rational in what many believe is an irrational process, a representative democracy's election.

Jul 17, 2016, 6:47pm

>83 DinadansFriend:

To me there is a potential for immense violence at the Cleveland Convention. To choose a rust-belt city with a large unemployment problem, and then in a state where the open carrying of weapons will further complicate the policing of the event. the current flare-up about "Black Lives Matter", and the very recent direct attacks on the police forces, have made the potential for violence in Cleveland even greater.

Agreed. In spite of all the violence, nobody got killed in Chicago in '68. If only one person dies in Cleveland this week, I'll be amazed.

Jul 17, 2016, 7:09pm

And if there's violence in Philadelphia, for God's sake don't blame the protest organizers. That will be the spin. That's already the spin. And here's someone modeling the appropriate response of going ripshit over the spin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehw3DpuFy4g

Jul 17, 2016, 8:49pm

>83 DinadansFriend:

Cleveland police union asks for suspension of 'open carry' in wake of Baton Rouge, ahead of RNC

"We are going to be looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry," {Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association} said. "An AR-15, a shotgun, multiple handguns. It's irresponsible of those folks -- especially right now -- to be coming downtown with open carry AR's or anything else. I couldn't care less if it's legal or not. We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can't go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that's exactly what they're doing by bringing those guns down there."


Jul 17, 2016, 9:32pm

Whose bright idea was it to pick Cleveland, anyway? I mean, that's just hostile territory for the RNC; Kucinich land!
At least for the convention, there does need to be an ordinance. Otherwise the situation is ludicrous.

Jul 18, 2016, 11:49am

The Trump campaign would probably enjoy a bit of "violence" to help underscore their new manta: "Make the USA SAFE, again".

Jul 19, 2016, 12:28pm

>88 Rood:

There was a commentator on MSNBC the other night that said something along the lines of: if there is a climate which facilitates an authoritarian leader's rise to power, this is it. :(

Jul 20, 2016, 2:43pm

Especially after the Chris Christy speech where he led a shout-and-response about jailing Hillary Clinton. It was too much like the scene in "1984" featuring the "Two Minute Hate" where the public is obliged to assemble and demonstrate against the "Enemy" of the moment. I know I'm not original here, but if this is what the USA is looking forward to, I'm sure that sites like this will become an object of scrutiny for the security forces. We are too rational here, too prone to quote from books as if the authors actually knew stuff, instead of relying on our "Gut Instinct".

Jul 20, 2016, 2:55pm

This did not occur at the convention, but might relate to the gathering of law enforcement because of the convention leaving other locales short on policemen.

Edited: Jul 22, 2016, 9:47pm

I sat through and listened to the entire Trump acceptance speech looking for some evidence that M. Trump is not what Tony Schwartz the ghost writer of "The Art of the Deal" said that he was, a creature with a desperately short attention span, and a very limited set of information sources. I didn't find it, and when Trump began with the personal attacks on Hillary Clinton, and then started reading a sentence, then swinging sideways to a profile shot, then visibly pulling himself together to read another sentence, reading it, then another profile shot...I became very sure Tony Schwartz was correct. Into the bargain, Mr. Schwartz has been served with a demand that he return to Mr. Trump the royalties that his contract guaranteed him for his work for Mr. Trump, and had already been paid him...well...just another case of Mr. Trump trying to stiff his suppliers and workers, I guess.
Are the Republicans now wishing that somehow Godwin's law could have been invoked on the Trump Campaign?
This is the link regading Mr. Trump and Mr. Schwartz.
I've really got to stop writing on this thread..it's not doing my character any good. I haven't a vote, just a rising level of insecurity....

Jul 23, 2016, 2:11pm

okay, I'm weak, but this is just a link that's all!
I'm not smug...just worried for you all!

Jul 23, 2016, 11:23pm

>90 DinadansFriend:

It was too much like the scene in "1984" featuring the "Two Minute Hate" where the public is obliged to assemble and demonstrate against the "Enemy" of the moment.

Good catch.

We are too rational here, too prone to quote from books as if the authors actually knew stuff, instead of relying on our "Gut Instinct".

Like, say, Donald Trump:


Aug 4, 2016, 8:47pm

Donald Trump and Richard Nixon Campaign Comparisons

Professor Kevin Mattson compares Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, including messaging, advertising, and key campaign issues. Mr. Trump had said he has been inspired by Nixon’s 1968 acceptance speech.


Nov 9, 2016, 3:01pm

> 64 Urquhart

Evidently Urquhart has been shown to be correct, when he wrote on 4 May: "I say again the The Donald will be the next President of the U.S." God help us all.

Only ... does anyone know what has become of Urquhart ... the Administrator/Creator of this site? As far as I know there has been no word from him since 24 September which is nearly 7 weeks ago ... (at Trump vs Hitler and Mussolini). No word at all.

Nov 9, 2016, 8:49pm

>96 Rood::
No word on Urquhart, I wonder if he's got health troubles? Will poke about and see if he has posted lately.
To return to the original start of this thread....If Obama was Marcus Aurelius is Dunuld Commodus?
It does look as if the kind of person who collects books, will have to hunker down until the storm passes. Don't make eye contact, shuffle a little, drop your shoulders, and try to keep people from noticing your literacy. I never like it when the NineteenFifties return.

Nov 9, 2016, 9:14pm

>96 Rood:

SomeGuyInVirginia predicted (in Pro & Con) Trump's win as soon as the creature came up as the candidate for nomination, months and months before this thread. Needless to say, at the time I (and as far as I could tell, everyone else) hardly bothered to comment, taking it as a trivially bad joke and/or a bit of idle trolling of earnest progressives.

>97 DinadansFriend:

They just stuck a flamethrower into the hands of the cretin whose favourite phrase is "You're fired!"

Nov 10, 2016, 3:06am

When he's ready, Urquhart can and shall speak for himself. A lot this site's self-styled "liberals" got exactly what they, in their ignorance and stupidity, deserved with the election of Trump.

Urquhart isn't one of these. He understands and understood that Clinton vs. Trump was always a guaranteed disaster and he took Clinton only as a desperate last resort. I can attest that he never insulted, belittled or mocked Trump's supporters as ignorant, or Bible-thumping rednecks or admirers of racism, misogyny, as xenophobic authoritarians.

He has a respect for democracy that 99% of those who post here can't even grasp.


Nov 10, 2016, 6:23am


Thank you proximity1; that is very high praise to live up to. I will do my best to do so.

Nov 10, 2016, 1:03pm

>100 Urquhart:

That's recognition for the person you are--as I see it. Nothing needed in efforts on your part to deserve the credit due to the character you already exemplify.

Nov 10, 2016, 2:09pm

So now that he's in, what's our situation based on who we believe his supporters are and what comparison does that suggest between him and historical figures?

Seems as though the votes came primarily from white America, and rural. I think that makes the intellectual class stand out as his enemy, those most likely to support progressive social reform. On the other hand, clearly he's business-minded and appears to want to run his country accordingly. He's ready to wipe out Obama's health care, ignore environmental concerns, and step back from the USA's modern tradition of international policing where other nations aren't pulling their own weight. I see stripes of libertarianism.

Edited: Nov 10, 2016, 6:22pm

2016 was the last chance for White Christian (Male) America to revolt, four years on that group will no longer have a structural majority in elections. I think Trump is actually a lot smarter than we all think while it is exactly the opposite with Hillary. And therefore: Ding Dong, the witch is dead! Arrogance, corruption, and open disgust for Trump's underprivileged voters were the nails in her coffin.

I had one of the funniest TV nights of the last quarter century, watching the faces of Europe's system media whores getting longer and longer. State television no longer even pretends to be impartial and have gone fully post-factual bleeding-heart biased. For the real coverage I watched RT International. Thank God for that channel!

Nov 11, 2016, 12:57pm

Schadenfreude does seem to be one of the mainstays of the Trump Universe.

Nov 11, 2016, 7:39pm

No Schaden (damage) yet. And it's not the end of the world, just the end of their world.

Nov 12, 2016, 10:44am

>105 Phlegethon99:

Your joy in their pain is a classic example of Schadenfreude.

Edited: Nov 12, 2016, 11:16am

>106 cpg:

For reference:

Duden: "boshafte Freude über das Missgeschick, Unglück eines andern"

Langenscheidt: "gloating"

OED: "Malicious enjoyment of the misfortunes of others."

M-W Collegiate: "Enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others."

Nov 12, 2016, 6:42pm

The troubles of special interest groups is a misfortune only to them, not per se.

Nov 13, 2016, 7:25pm

>108 Phlegethon99::
So the object of Democracy is the dictatorship of the largest minority? The history of Western Civilization seems to deny that!
>106 cpg::
good post!

Feb 2, 2017, 9:55am

2016 was the last chance for White Christian (Male) America to revolt

With a champion like Trump, the demise of the demographic can only seem richly deserved.