Open Thread and Link Farm, Trump Edition


I’ve divided this link farm into two categories: “Trump” and “Not Trump.” The idea is, those of us who need a break from reading about Trump and the election can scroll down to the “Not Trump” section.

UPDATE: In response to Kai’s suggestion, I’ve moved the non-Trump links to their own post. This post has Trump and election related links.


  1. What A Difference 2 Percentage Points Makes | FiveThirtyEight
  2. J.D. Vance, the False Prophet of Blue America | New Republic
  3. The GOP’s Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-Covered Story of 2016 | The Nation
  4. Why did some white Obama voters for Trump?
  5. In record numbers, Latinos voted overwhelmingly against Trump. We did the research. – The Washington Post
    I’m not saying this is settled fact. But I do think it’s important to remember that exit polls, like every poll, can be in error.
  6. Political commentators, remember to turn your clocks back – The Washington Post
  7. Why social media is terrible for multiethnic democracies – Vox
    Can we possibly trust each other when we all spend so much time in an online bubble that demonizes those who disagree?
  8. Blaming political correctness for Trump is like blaming the civil rights movement for Jim Crow | Lindy West | Opinion | The Guardian
  9. The Debate Link: The Media Does Not Get To Blame Hillary Clinton for their Own Choices of Coverage
  10. Don’t let Donald Trump’s antics distract you from what’s really important – Vox“He’s paying fraud fines and collecting bribes — and distracting you with Hamilton tweets.”
  11. Why the Electoral College is the absolute worst, explained – Vox
  12. The hard question isn’t why Clinton lost — it’s why Trump won – Vox
  13. Protecting Reproductive Autonomy in the Age of Trump: A Call to Fellow White Feminists
  14. Trump Backs Away From Idea Of New Clinton Email Investigation, Prosecution
  15. Trump just announced he’d abandon the TPP on day one. This is what happens next. – The Washington Post
    Basically, there will still be a big international trade agreement – but it’ll be led by China and exclude the US.
  16. Trump Formally Picks Two Net Neutrality Opponents To Head FCC Transition | Techdirt
  17. Trump’s infrastructure plan is not a simple public-private partnership plan, and won’t lead to much new investment | Economic Policy Institute
  18. The Debate Link: Who Benefits from a National Popular Vote?
    Good post about (or against) the Electoral College.
  19. White Nationalists on Trump’s Attorney General pick: ‘It’s like Christmas’
  20. Advice on contacting your representatives from a former Congressional staffer / Boing Boing
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20 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Trump Edition

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    Re: Trump #5 – if this election has taught us anything, it should have taught us not to trust polls – especially ones that disfavor Trump. It seems rather clear that there were a lot of people who voted for Trump who simply did not respond to polls.

    Trump #8 – invalid premise. Jim Crow came before the civil rights movement, whereas Trump came after “political correctness”. I think it’s fair to say that the civil rights movement was in part caused by Jim Crow laws.

    Trump #11 – The facts presented here are pretty good – few people realize that they have no right at all guaranteed in the Constitution to vote for President or even to vote for their State’s EC electors – but in talking about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, while they emphasize Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 2 – “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress ….”, they don’t seem to think that Article I, Section 10, Paragraph 3 poses a problem. It says “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, ….” (my emphasis). Opponents of the compact (the originators even named it using language from the section of the Constitution banning such) will be sure to bring that up. I’m sure you can make arguments for deciding the issue in either direction, but anyone who thinks they can predict with any surety what the Supreme Court would say is a fool.

  2. 2
    Jake Squid says:

    re: The polls, Ron…

    Everything I’ve seen shows that the polls were off by 2% nationally which isn’t significantly different than the error in any of the recent Presidential elections. Do you have any links that contradict that?

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    Jake – National polls are one thing. Polls for a specific State or a specific ethnicity or a specific sex are something else.

    Trump #12:

    Exit polls suggest Trump’s big issue margins were among voters who said immigration and terrorism — which Trump managed to turn into another form of immigration by focusing on refugees — were their top priority. I see no reason to doubt them. This is a place where Clinton and Trump really did disagree. And that makes this split harder to resolve, as I don’t think Democrats should turn against immigrants, or shut America to those desperately seeking safety.

    So far the author has tried to be evenhanded. But here they are showing that at least in this case they’re still drinking the Kool-Aid. The claim is that Trump’s voters were essentially anti-immigrant. But they weren’t. They were against allowing illegal aliens to enter and remain in the United States. “Anti-illegal alien” != “anti-immigrant”, but that is how the Democratic party has been labeling GOP candidates for years now. If the Democratic party does not drop this pretense they will consistently lose this issue.

    Terrorism? I can understand and even agree with the idea that America should admit refugees, at least to a certain extent. But when an Australian, Japanese, French or German citizen applies to immigrate there are birth records, school records, employment records and police records that can be checked. When you look at someone entering from a village in Afghanistan none of these things exist. People are also seeing that people from the Middle East who are entering Sweden, Norway, Germany and elsewhere are not assimilating. Some are – those who are professionals of one kind or another or who were Westernized in their home countries generally do. But those who are not such often are not assimilating and are causing huge cultural upheavals and often are contemptuous of their new country. When you hear of mass upheavals in Cologne and elsewhere, of mass attacks on women, of having to separate men and women in public pools, of gays getting thrown off of building in their home countries, etc. it does not encourage people to say “Hey, let’s bring a bunch of those people over here.” When you appear to be more concerned for people entering this country than you are for the feelings of people who are already here, it’s going to cost you votes.

    I brought this up to a Clinton voter and she told me “Assimilation into ‘American’ values is old-fashioned. That’s not what people expect anymore.” That was unbelievable for me to hear.

  4. 4
    Michael says:

    Not Trump#5- Didn’t Oswald also try to kill General Walker? Did he have a grudge against him too?

  5. 5
    Harlequin says:

    The methodology in T#5 looks decent to me. Probably not perfect, but what is?

    When it comes to polling errors, I’ve been thinking of Isaac Asimov’s “The Relativity of Wrong” lately. The polls were not wrong beyond their margins of statistical + systematic error. But it still wasn’t enough to predict the outcome. I think that says something about the numerical instability of elections more than it says something about the instability of polling, really.


    It seems rather clear that there were a lot of people who voted for Trump who simply did not respond to polls.

    To follow on what Jake said, this doesn’t actually appear to be true. In particular, the “shy voter” theory does not appear to be true (Trump voters weren’t less likely to talk to pollsters because they were embarrassed), or at least it does not appear to be true beyond the pollsters’ ability to correct for differential response rates from the different parties–which they do.

    (Not disagreeing that our political discourse needs to be less about polls and more about actual politics, though.)

    Also RonF:

    The claim is that Trump’s voters were essentially anti-immigrant. But they weren’t. They were against allowing illegal aliens to enter and remain in the United States. “Anti-illegal alien” != “anti-immigrant”, but that is how the Democratic party has been labeling GOP candidates for years now.

    I believe you when you say this is a distinction that matters greatly to you. But it does not matter to all Trump voters, nor even all Trump voters who care about immigration at all. For example: “Donald Trump’s supporters are more likely than other Americans to say the U.S. admits too many immigrants legally and that those who receive visas take jobs away from Americans and increase crime” (LA Times). Or, for a more direct example, “A Puerto Rican family’s car was vandalized on November 17, with the words “Trump” and “Go home” scratched into the car in West Springfield, Massachusetts” (via CNN; Puerto Rican!).

  6. 6
    Harlequin says:

    To clarify that comment about the Asimov essay a bit since that paragraph got muddled–I mean people seem to be saying “the polls predicted Clinton” means “the polls are useless,” and I don’t think that’s true. But more careful interpretation would be definitely helpful, and so would focusing on things that are not polls, as so much of the media coverage failed to do.

  7. 7
    Harlequin says:

    And, sorry about the three comments in a row, but continuing the immigration thing–

    The policy language on his website has now changed, but the first version of Trump’s immigration policy included a reduction in H-1B and J-1 visas.

  8. 8
    Duncan says:


    Trump #8 – invalid premise. Jim Crow came before the civil rights movement, whereas Trump came after “political correctness”. I think it’s fair to say that the civil rights movement was in part caused by Jim Crow laws.

    You have a point, but it’s very common to blame persistent white racism on the Civil Rights Movement, which racists interpret as giving “special privileges” to non-whites and women, especially in terms of “giving our jobs” to them. The assumption is that all jobs belong to white men. (Which is one reason I’m skeptical of the “sending our jobs overseas” trope — which, remember, Trump used to appeal to his base.) “Political correctness” is a red herring. As it’s used in mainstream political speech, it’s really just a euphemism for anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-antigay.

    By the way, Barry, thanks for the link to Sarah Jones’s piece on J. D. Vance.

  9. 9
    Kai Jones says:

    Because the comments are mostly about Trump, it would be more useful to me had you (Ampersand) made separate link posts, one political and one not. I enjoyed several of the non-political links but am discouraged from posting about them in the political comments.

    However, that is not a complaint: the free ice cream is still delicious and generously-sized.

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    That’s a good point, Kai, thanks. I’ve moved the non-Trump list to its own post.

  11. 11
    RonF says:

    Spent 2 days with my 2 older brothers, neither of whom I’ve seen in a year and one of whom I drove with for 3 hours to get to the other one’s house. The one I drove down there voted for Clinton (he’s a UU) and the other one didn’t vote for either one (as did I). During the drive we talked about the election a fair amount – even though he voted for Clinton he seems to have a solid understanding of why people didn’t vote for her, instead of taking the knee-jerk “Trump voters are all racist and hate strong women” tack. Once we got there the agenda was pretty much food, Scotch, college football and poker, with very little talk about the election.

    The brother who we stayed with takes the Sunday New York Times. I’d never read the NYT, so I read all through the huge obit/story on Castro and the entire editorial section. Damn but that’s a left-wing newspaper. I’d been told that but you always have to take what a partisan group about media bias says with a grain of salt. But in this case it seems justified.

  12. 12
    Jake Squid says:

    Damn but that’s a left-wing newspaper.

    FWIW, from my POV, the NYT is pretty conservative paper.

  13. 13
    Ruchama says:

    I got into an argument with my sister about who Logan Huntzberger (a character from Gilmore Girls) would have voted for in this election. That was one of the odder political arguments I’ve had. (My answer is that he probably didn’t vote, but if he did, then he voted for Trump, because he would have thought it was the greatest joke in the world to get a bunch of poor people to vote for Donald Trump as a “populist.”)

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    The brother who we stayed with takes the Sunday New York Times. I’d never read the NYT, so I read all through the huge obit/story on Castro and the entire editorial section. Damn but that’s a left-wing newspaper.

    I’m honestly a little confused by this, Ron. Are you saying that it’s left-wing to have a long article about Castro’s death?

  15. 15
    Charles S says:

    I think he means that it was an insufficiently denunciatory obit:

    For comparison, here is the New York Times publishing a denunciatory obit of a brutal dictator (Pinochet). Pinochet is a “Dictator Who Ruled by Terror in Chile” in the headline of his obit, and a “brutal dictator” in the lede sentence. His death toll of 3200 shows up in the 3rd paragraph.

    Meanwhile Castro is a “Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S.” in the headline, a “fiery apostle of revolution” in the lede sentence, and his death toll is never estimated (500 executions of Batista loyalists are mentioned many many paragraphs in). Forced labor camps get a single passing mention, imprisonment of dissidents gets 2 mentions. Both combined get less mention than Castro’s efforts at breeding a super-cow.

    The NY Times is far from left wing, but that was a pretty weird and Castro-friendly obit.

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    Okay, I’d have to agree, that is an insuffic9iently denunciatory obit. Sheesh.

  17. 17
    RonF says:

    No, I’d say that it’s pretty left-wing to publish about 6 full pages about Fidel Castro on the occasion of his death without emphasizing the fact that he established and maintained a totalitarian government by being a ruthless killer and suppressing the civil rights of the people he ruled for about 70 years. There was also no real analysis of whether the supposed benefits of his rule (increased literacy and health care) a) really occurred and b) were worth it.

    I’m not surprised on the difference between how they treated Gen. Pinocet and Castro – after all, Pinocet was right-wing and Castro was left-wing. What else would you expect?

    But my commentary about how left-wing I found the NYT really is was also meant to refer to the various editorials and commentary I read. I can’t give any examples; I didn’t memorize them. I’m talking about my impression, I don’t mean on that basis to open up a debate on the matter and attempt to prove it objectively.

  18. 18
    desipis says:

    This article has some interesting comments on how things work at the New York Times:

    For starters, it’s important to accept that the New York Times has always — or at least for many decades — been a far more editor-driven, and self-conscious, publication than many of those with which it competes. Historically, the Los Angeles Times, where I worked twice, for instance, was a reporter-driven, bottom-up newspaper. Most editors wanted to know, every day, before the first morning meeting: “What are you hearing? What have you got?”

    It was a shock on arriving at the New York Times in 2004, as the paper’s movie editor, to realize that its editorial dynamic was essentially the reverse. By and large, talented reporters scrambled to match stories with what internally was often called “the narrative.” We were occasionally asked to map a narrative for our various beats a year in advance, square the plan with editors, then generate stories that fit the pre-designated line.

    Reality usually had a way of intervening. But I knew one senior reporter who would play solitaire on his computer in the mornings, waiting for his editors to come through with marching orders. Once, in the Los Angeles bureau, I listened to a visiting National staff reporter tell a contact, more or less: “My editor needs someone to say such-and-such, could you say that?”

    The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”

    It sounds more like a propaganda outfit than a newspaper.

  19. 19
    Senastian_H says:

    That obit was horrible. But it is a great teaching moment, an almost perfect distillation of a tiny piece of the puzzle. The reason it is horrible is because it deeply warps the truth, in ways obvious to anyone with even a tiny bit of knowledge about Castro, for the service of scoring ideological points by a major institutional player. It is the constant drip drip of things like that which make liberal partisan media seem like a realistic charge.

    The reaction to decades of feeling that they have been on the losing side of that game, played by major institutions like the NYT, is a huge part of the dynamic which appeals to Trump voters. The saddest part is that the reaction hasn’t spawned as “we need to stop rigging the game and focus on what’s real” it has become “let’s get someone who will rig the game for us“. The recent history of the Democratic Party plays right into that narrative (especially with the “save the banks let the homeowners drown response to the economic crisis which both Obama and Clinton went along with).

    That’s why I fear the focus on Trump’s corruption needs to be carefully tied to understanding what is appeal is. If you focus on the wrong things you’re feeding his power.

    One of the ways that Trump is going to be horrible is how he unleashes pay-off political structures. That won’t be easily rebottled.

  20. 20
    kate says:

    I’d like to respond to Ron’s post on Richard’s thread (which Richard deemed off topic there):

    “So much support”? Over 60 million people voted for Donald Trump. How many white supremacists do you think were among them? How much money do you think they donated to him?

    My answer is at least 1/3, and possibly over 50%

    From Think Progress

    A national poll of 2000 people taken in January by YouGov found that one-third of Trump supporters believe the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, one of the most shamefully racist programs in American history, was a good idea.

    65% of Trump supporters thing Obama is Muslim
    59% of Trump supporters think Obama was born outside the U.S.
    40% of Trump supporters think Blacks are more lazy than whites
    50% of Trump supporters think Blacks are more violent than whites