Wednesday, November 23, 2016

We've Moved to TPSReport.co!

Eventually I'll be shutting down this domain but I'm re-branding! Please go to TPSReport.co for my take on Tech. Politics. Science.  -- get it, TPS? So clever. And follow me @tpsreportco on twitter.

Cheers!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump's a Disaster and Democrats Had it Coming

That I am disheartened at how the whole election process and results played out is an understatement. From all the ways the DNC violated its supposed neutrality in the Democratic primaries to the hatred and bigotry that Trump has emboldened in his supporters to the lack of introspection and accountability on the part of the Clinton campaign following their loss.

The post mortem analysis seems to center on two primary factors for the election results:
  • The fear of older white people at the changing demographics of the country
  • Increasing income and wealth disparity as a result of economic globalization that Trump exploited in his populist rhetoric
I suspect there is a good amount of the latter fueling the former - economic anxiety manifested by scapegoating already vulnerable and marginalized populations like immigrants, muslims, the LGBTQ community. As a privileged coastal progressive, it is tempting to attribute the motivation of Trump supporters to the very real and ugly racism and xenophobia that Trump abetted and fueled with his rhetoric while dismissing the economic reality that many of his supporters have been left out of the benefits trade deals, deregulation and corporate globalization. Establishment Democrats will undoubtedly try to absolve themselves of their complicity of the election's results without introspection. But the truth is that both Democrats and Republicans have pursued neoliberal economic policies, financial deregulation and corporate globalization in roughly equal measure since the Reagan administration. Certainly the world (and the US) economy as a whole has benefitted greatly as geographic barriers have fallen as a result of trade deals like NAFTA and perhaps to a greater degree, the emergence of the internet as the backbone of commerce and communication. And yet, income inequality has only increased over that same time period (more charts that illustrate this point from Bill Moyers here):





And despite the writing on the wall - in particular the emergence of the occupy movement, Bernie Sanders' rejection of neoliberal policies and his attendant popularity in the primaries, and Trump's paper-thin populist rhetoric that attracted so many left out of the economic recovery (indeed most of the wealth generated in the recovery went to the 1%) - Clinton largely maintained her advocacy for the economic policies that her husband and Obama pursued. Certainly for her to repudiate her own views and activity with respect to trade and financial regulation would rightly be seen as flip-floppy. 

And that gets to the deeper issue that Democrats writ large repeatedly insisted that Clinton was more electable than Sanders (despite all the polls that indicated otherwise), that things are going pretty good and we just need to tweak the dials, that incremental progress is the best way to achieve prosperity. That Democrats would nominate such a disliked candidate with so much political baggage - some of it self inflicted like the private email server, some of it ginned up by hack Republicans like Benghazi despite their own investigations absolving her - while Sanders enjoys the highest favorability rating in Congress and is an icon of civil rights and workers rights demands a wholesale change in Democratic leadership. Of course, we'll never know if Sanders - even if he was more electable - would have won, but it is clear that both Trump and Sanders recognized the plight of many Americans that centrist/establishment Democrats ignored. 

This is why the Democratic party must break free of its corporatism and its adopted faith in trickle down economics and adopt a more progressive agenda that captures the benefits that technology produces while creating jobs to support an aggressive infrastructure maintenance and upgrade program as well as developing a green energy economy. Trump may have won on a 'platform' that rejects corporate lobbyists and supports the little guy, but he's already assembling his transition team chock full of lobbyists. So while Trump pulls a bait and switch on his supporters, Democrats should be ready to reclaim those voters with real solutions for the working class.