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There’s really not much to say at the moment. At least I can’t think of much after staring at my screen for the last few hours. The only positive outcome of this depressing election, other than the massive comeuppance to the clueless media elite, is the destruction of the Clinton political dynasty.

It’s fitting that Hillary lost because she couldn’t win over a tiny number of working class voters in the Midwest. She might have had better luck if the Democrats hadn’t worked so hard for the past 40 years to undermine the union movement in order to court corporate money, a strategy that dates to the Jimmy Carter years.

Anyway, I’m surrendering for today but if you’re looking for an interesting post-mortem, here’s one of the best, from Juan Cole.

A year ago Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Princeton University economists, published a study with the startling finding that since 1999 death rates have been going up for white Americans aged 45-54. It is even worse than it sounds, since death rates were declining for the general population.

One of the big reasons for this increased death rate has been increased use of opiods and other drugs, leading to overdoses, along with liver disease from drinking too much alcohol and increased suicide rates. The problems were especially acute among working class and rural whites with only high school or less, and later studies found that they extended to younger members of this social class in their 20s and 30s. Loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs was clearly a primary reason for this despair.

The only comparison I can think of to this situation is what happened to Russians in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian Federation had a population of nearly 150 million in 1990 and thereafter fell to about 144 million. The end of the Soviet Union caused their confidence in the future to collapse and the end of the old economic system created very high unemployment. They stopped having children and drank themselves to death.

Neoliberalism– putting the market in charge of social policy and actually encouraging industries to move abroad for higher profit margins (but for fewer industrial jobs at home)– had much the same effect on the white working class as the fall of the Soviet system had on the Russian working class.

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  • Brian McKeever

    Top 5 people responsible for Trump’s election:

    5). Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
    4). John Podesta
    3). Huma Abedin
    2). Barrack Obama
    1). Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton has just proven to be the most massively incompetent global politician of the 21st century.

  • TheaterGeek

    Good article by Cole. Posted below is a thoughtful comment made in response to Cole, reflecting arguments made by Martin Ford in his book, “Rise of the Robots”:

    spyguy 2016.11.09 12:52 Reply
    This is why trump will fail.
    Starting with the industrial revolution, machines slowly eliminated jobs that required human muscle. Since the machines had no ability to “think,” humans switched to jobs that controlled machines rather than do the actual labor.
    NOW, all those machines have the ability to “think,” often better and faster than humans.
    When machines were first developed, they cost a lot of money, but we have now developed the ability to make machines and their “brains” for almost zero cost.
    As a result, very quietly, for over 50 years, mechanical technology controlled by non-human “brains” has been eliminating most human jobs. Because technology INCREASES in capability and DECREASES in cost exponentially, humans simply can not compete.
    The basic REALITY is human “labor-saving” devices have now eliminated most human labor and there is absolutely NOTHING trump or congress can do about that. Their ideology will prevent them from doing what actually needs to be done.
    The many white, poorly educated people that voted for trump in hopes their lives would improve will soon discover that their lives will now be worse. Unfortunately they will probably just double-down on their racism, anti-intellectualism and extreme greed rather than take positive steps to improve their lives through education and comprehensive social programs (which will disappear).
    The USA (and the world for that matter) is going through an extreme change where it takes less than 3 billion “producers” to provide ALL the goods, services and food, that 7.5 billion “consumers” need and want. That is, there are over 4 billion humans that are “unemployable” and the human social structures that have existed for over 10000 years are unable to cope.
    Things are going to get much worse, especially for most trump voters, before they get better.
    BTW – as a quick measure of just how fast things have changed . . .
    My first “personal computer,” a mere 40 years ago (1976), was a “fully loaded” DEC PDP-11/45 which was ~2.5 feet deep, ~5 feet high and ~15 feet wide and cost over US$300,000 ($1.4 million in 2016 dollars).
    Today, I can buy a Raspberry Pi-3 computer that is HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of times more powerful, for less than US$50. Raspberry Pi and its competitors also make slightly less capable computers for as little as US$5.
    Computers and software are so cheap that there will be no need for most humans in just a few years – Then what will we do?
    I can post LOTS of other examples where technology has eliminated most human jobs over the last 50 years, but most people are not consciously aware of this rapid and profound change.
    A video to think about . . .
    link to youtube.com

  • 8thgenerationamerican

    Spot on! The Clintonistas are doubling down on hating the white male and while blue collar men particularly. They are ignoring that Clinton underperformed across the board. She was so uninspiring that in all the states she lost that she had been leading in, turnouts in places like Detroit and Milwaukee were significantly down from 2012. Conclusion? She was so uninspiring that groups the Clinton folks took for granted like many African Americans and millenials for granted. Always a bad move. But then we’ve seen the Clinton campaign throughout the year was incompetent. Had they not cheated she wouldn’t have gotten the nomination and Bernie Sanders would be President elect. But instead of asking “what did we do wrong” the Clinton loyalists are scapegoating everyone who didn’t “fall in line”. Given Hillary Clinton’s similarities to Nixon, tis fitting that her supporters should have such a similar reaction to that of the Nixon loyalists during and after his impeachment. It was everyone’s fault but Nixon then and everyone’s fault this time except for Clinton (the most unpopular and disliked Democrat ever nominated).