Trail Mixers Say: A Leftward Shift

Nash 2.5 says:

The change in attitudes towards guns is part of a much more fundamental change in US politics, which I’ve been watching evolve since the late 1960′s.

The political center of gravity in the USA, after forty years of moving to the right, now seems to be moving to the left. This is of profound importance. I think all the elements are there for this to be a long-term, multi-decade trend, not just a temporary reversal.

It’s bigger than Obama. He and his staff certainly recognized the potential for this shift and have brilliantly exploited it, using social media for organizing. I won’t deny that Obama has played an important role in this change but, as I said, it’s bigger than him. He’s just riding the crest of the wave.

One piece of evidence is the changing attitudes of college students. They are now becoming much more interested in politics. Their interest is driven by two insecurities: they are worried about the environment, and they are worried about the economy. They do not take their own long-term survival for granted, as baby boomers (like me) did when we were young.

Every semester I poll my economics students on whether they consider themselves “liberal” or “conservative.” After many years with no changes, in just the last year, I have seen the numbers change significantly with a strong shift towards “liberal” economic policies. They are moving to the left because the left has better answers to their questions.

Another piece of evidence is the increasing hysteria on the right wing. They KNOW the country is changing course, and they are confused and angry. They tried everything, voter suppression, removing limits on campaign financing, and they even have their own 24/7 propaganda network, Fox News. It didn’t work. They lost the election. And the indications are that they are going lose many more in the future. — Nash 2.5

69 thoughts on “Trail Mixers Say: A Leftward Shift”

  1. Quite honestly, I’d much rather hear voices in our forums from Guam, PR, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and votes from those territories as well as DC, than active criticism from Iceland.

  2. And remember one absolutely unbreakable rule that you can take to the bank: The American political pendulum may swing one way or another from one election cycle to another, but sooner or later it returns to the center, and in the meantime, Republicans will be passing by Democrats, and Democrats will be passing by Republicans, as they assume each other’s previous political posturing and positioning.

    Stay tuned.

    lanny davis just after the election with a similar observation

  3. “Former president Bill Clinton joked earlier this week that Hillary refers to him as “her first husband” and also said that Hillary will live to be 120 years old and have “three more husbands” after him.”

  4. Oh, I agree, these secular trends seem to be about two generations in duration. Hillary’s election will mark the official inflection point from the Reagan trickle down.

  5. “I can’t for the life of me figure-out why these circumstances are not being discussed more” -Billy Bova @ 11:28 yesterday.

    Has anyone established a political affiliation ? With big money and an arsenal at home of weapons particularly well-suited for a killing spree I’ll bet there was one.

  6. XR,
    I’m a Tree-Hugging Eleanor Roosevelt Liberal. But, after what happened after the infamous Rules Committee meeting, I will not affiliate with the Logical Party again as I refuse to be taken for granted.

  7. Maya Angelou just gave a marvelous interview on MSNBC. She is truly a National Treasure.

  8. I was determined to get out of the house today, but it’s too damned cold. Maybe if I bundle up, I can make it down to the end of the driveway for the morning newspapers. 😕

  9. sjwny,
    Were you questioning my patriotism because I said this?

    “we don’t have to worry about being thrown in jail for our beliefs”

    As long as we keep them to ourselves!”

    Surely, anyone who knows me at all, knows I was just joking!

    There’s not one person here that believes in free speech more than I do. Nor anyone who loves and appreciates America more than I do. Believe me, if being controversial were illegal, I would have been jailed long ago.

    You must have read (even in the relatively short time you’ve been here) how many times I professed my love for America; my gratefulness for being born here and my gratitude for all we have.

    I don’t understand what you were trying to tell me?

  10. Flatus, re yours of 2:18pm. I read you. I kept my Whited Sepulchre Party (wasp) card in my drawer for years after I began to caucus with the Dems. The reaganista theocrats hi-jacked the party and the nation; they said I was a dumbocrat in elephant clothing. So, like Dumbo, I flew. 3 decades later and
    I’m still flying on the left. Away from all the puguglican chanting, I discovered that Eleanor was a great human being.

  11. .. and jeez, is it illegal for some one from another country to come here to talk about their differing point of view, with out us feeling threatened by their words even if we disagree with them.

    How can we possibly control what’s being said about us around the world, knowing that they have no way to understand without living here — living through it with us.

    I can understand our pointing out our disagreement without insinuating they have no right to be here to begin with.

    I think that Craig has tried to create an environment here of: come one, come all.

  12. Nash, with politics and beliefs, the old adage is true: “Follow the money.”

    Prior to 1929, everyone was an economic budget balancer. Micawber Principle ruled supreme. It was the mantra of the era. Social policies were framed accordingly. (Doesn’t this sound all too familiar in Europe and America right now?)

    The Depression was seen to be exacerbated by this belief in balanced budgets through declining revenues and so declining expenditures exacerbated the impact of the social malaise. (Think Greece right about now.)

    In response John Maynard Keyne came up with a supply side economics approach which was all about economic stimulus (priming the parish pump). The quickest way to stimulate the economy was through welfare, health and education. The former are so poor they spend their money quickly and on local products while the latter two take a bit more time, they have long term benefits to the economy. The longer term leg was large scale construction projects which were labour intensive and thus got people off the unemployment queues and spending money. (Think stimulus 2008 and Obamacare.) This creates a whole raft of social policies which please the more left or liberal thinkers in the community.

    The reaction to this was Milt Freedman and the Chicago School of economics. His idea was essentially, the Micawber Principle. His laboratory test subject was that dratted freely elected Commie regime in Chile. After the Military Putsch which saw the death of Allende and many thousands of its citizens whose only crime was to criticise, Friedman had open slather on creating his perfect society. So long as there was a corrupt military willing to kill unwilling participants, the system worked. The rich got richer and unemployment was held at an acceptable 20% so there was a vast reservoir of almost slave labour to keep wages to rock bottom. (Think GOP at this moment.)

    In the interregnum we had Reganomics or voodoo economics where the credit card could be used with reckless abandon. No economic or social theory here, just spend like a drunken sailor and everyone will benefit. Worked well until the credit card was maxed out and the collapse of 1988. Totally destroyed the vitality of the Japanese economy for the last 30 years.

    Then the free traders came along with their ideas. Open all the borders. (Pre-Great War thinking down to the letter.) And so everyone looked at open borders as the solution to the economic malaise brought on by Reganomics. So we got NAFTA, the Euro, the death of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia etc etc, all social consequences from Free Trade. Added to this was the ability of Banks to use their assets to boost investment bank arms. (This was another little sleeper.)

    Everything seems to be okay when Bush comes along with Reganomics Mark 2, max out the credit card again.

    Then we have the Wall St Collapse showing that Investment Banks cannot be linked to Retail Banks (something that was learnt in 1929) and that borders cannot be open because a whole wave of Mexicans will drive down the wages of ordinary Americans (Milt Freedman’s nirvanah) and the Micawber Principle fails to deliver anything except social chaos.

    What is the inevitable result?

    Well a movement to the left again. Economic stimulus through welfare programs. Decoupling of the investment and retail banks. Reducing the impact of free trade.

    Doesn’t this all have the ring of déjà vu?

  13. And now something that signals a worrying trend from the pages of the Foreign Policy magazine. It bears repeating.

    The Obama administration’s inexplicable mishandling of Marine Gen. James Mattis

    Word on the national security street is that General James Mattis is being given the bum’s rush out of his job as commander of Central Command, and is being told to vacate his office several months earlier than planned.

    Why the hurry? Pentagon insiders say that he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way — not because he went all “mad dog,” which is his public image, and the view at the White House, but rather because he pushed the civilians so hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran. Some of those questions apparently were uncomfortable. Like, what do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf? He kept saying, “And then what?”

    Inquiry along these lines apparently was not welcomed — at least in the CENTCOM view. The White House view, apparently, is that Mattis was too hawkish, which is not something I believe, having seen him in the field over the years. I’d call him a tough-minded realist, someone who’d rather have tea with you than shoot you, but is happy to end the conversation either way.

    Presidents should feel free to boot generals anytime they want, of course — that’s our system, and one I applaud. But ousting Mattis at this time, and in this way, seems wrong for several reasons:

    TIMING: If Mattis leaves in March, as now appears likely, that means there will be a new person running CENTCOM just as the confrontation season with Iran begins to heat up again.

    CIVIL-MILITARY SIGNALS: The message the Obama Administration is sending, intentionally or not, is that it doesn’t like tough, smart, skeptical generals who speak candidly to their civilian superiors. In fact, that is exactly what it (and every administration) should want. Had we had more back in 2003, we might not have made the colossal mistake of invading Iraq.

    SERVICE RELATIONS: The Obamites might not recognize it, but they now have dissed the two Marine generals who are culture heroes in today’s Corps: Mattis and Anthony Zinni. The Marines have long memories. I know some who are still mad at the Navy for steaming away from the Marines left on Guadalcanal. Mattis made famous in Iraq the phrase, “No better friend, no worse enemy.” The Obama White House should keep that in mind.

  14. I believe there are political swings, I just don’t believe there is a 2 dimensional continuum. There are several axes in our political universe : human & civil rights, free markets vs monopolism, private ownership vs collective ownership, social & legal heirarchies vs social and legal equality, tradition vs innovation, short term opportunities vs long term investment, pacifism vs jingoism, faith vs evidence, yatta, yatta, ad nauseum.

  15. Who ever insinuated they had no right to be here to begin with. I’ve always felt enriched when learning about others’ countries and their views.

    But, if those views become so pointed, dogmatic, and unrelenting, then I think it’s best that said individuals visit the nearest US Consulate and submit applications for immigration visas.

    Once they are stakeholders in this great country, they will have earned the privilege of saying whatever they wish and of running for office in an effort to change what one believes needs changing, or of wielding the mighty pen and writing and signing one’s name trailed by the statement ‘U.S. Citizen’.

    Then, I will not be offended by what I now believe to be, gratuitous criticisms.

  16. There was a show on last night called, Undercover Boss…

    I have been amazed that people actually take this set-up program seriously…

    Last night they had on the owner of Moe’s Southwest Grill…

    Here we only have one that I know of in Wilsonville…

    A year ago or perhaps 2, I walked in and began reading the board menu…

    I noticed that one item was called The Other Lewinsky…

    I asked if that referred to Monica Lewinsky…I was told , yes…

    I left and never returned… I don’t know if the item is still on the menu…Whatever, I will never patronize a business whose owners are so tone deaf…

  17. We seem to be swinging toward some new social acceptance and agreement about gender and affinity. Imo, rippers are in bad odor because they allied with child molesters against gays, don’t like Americans, particularly women, and find rich crooks more desireable that honest laborers. Now, we discover they think small arms are preferable to children. Rippers are in for a long hard decade or three.

  18. Flatus,
    I was in no way referring to anything you’ve said in my emotional comments. I never miss your comments because I respect you so much.

    I love it that we’re all ‘free’ to say whatever we want here (in America and at TM).

    As you know, for a long time now, I’ve complained about what I have perceived to be discrimination against differing points of views and lifestyles. But I’ve never had you in mind when that thought entered my mind.

  19. I think countries may be like the NRA and big clips. If it is necessary to go around bragging that you are the biggest and best, you probably aren’t.

    Nothing upsets the right wing more than the internationalists who actually believe the US might learn a thing or two from the experience of other countries.

  20. Mr. Democrat,
    Thanks for the warning about moe’s sowgrill. I was going there this week; with Sweetie off, capering amongst the Xenos of unAmerica, there is no one here worthy of my cooking. Sob.
    White Castle or Chris and Rob’s Chicago Dogs?

  21. Shawirma and lentil soup from Black Sea, the TC’s original Turkish restaurant.

  22. reagan saved a buck by cutting Fed spending on destitute people. He didn’t just buy stuff w/the credit card. He bought hi-tech weaponry, some of which worked. He’d save a buck by tossing helpless mental patients into the streets, then blow $100 bucks plus interest on laser guns for satellites. If saint ronnie hadn’t saved $$ by selling advanced weapons to our dear friends the Ayatollah khomeini and his puguglican guard, fidel castro would have captured Harlingen, Texas.

  23. Xrepub…we do not have White Castle here…They have frozen burgers in stores, but not as good…The only one I ever visited was on Vaness in San Francisco…very good and cheap…I am going to SanFrancisco in April and will see if it is still there…Did I spell Vaness correctly?

  24. I dunno about Frisco. Here in St. Paul we have 2 on University Avenue, and some others scattered about. Frozen Castles from the store need frying + fried onions. Ovens or nuking just don’t do it.

  25. Xr’s LA, CA
    top half dozen burger floggers

    1. Ruby’s
    2. Apple Pan
    3. In N Out
    4. Hawkins
    5. Imami
    6. 5 Guys

  26. I remember the first chainer burger joints…15cent hamburgers. there was jack’s, mcdonalds, hardees, probably bunches more…..they contriputaried to the deaths of the local drive-in burger joints with chicks on roller skates and whatnot which were such a part of the 50’s and early 60’s. KFC’est la vie.

    The first pizza palace which opened here, a village inn A-roofed pizza joint which featured old black and white laurel and hardies on the walls and people dressed like gay nineties boulevardiers and dettes also featured as part of the schtick a piano player playing all the old sing along songs.

  27. White Castle, they don’t callem sliders for nothin’.

    Best chain burger that don’t have beer. In and Out burger followed by Hardees thick burger followed by Burger King whopper

    Best burger where they do serve beer and best chain burger period, Rock Bottom Cafe. Top quality beef that is great well done or rare. Such good quality that you don’t worry about rare burgers.


  28. there was a time there in the fifties where the dads would build whole brick firepit grills in the back for saturday burgers in the yard and dizzy dean on the television.

  29. Actually, college students are pretty much the same as we were in the 1960s.

    Alcohol, drugs, sex, music, and trying to figure out how to write kind of B.S. the professor wants to hear.

    And yeah, they want to save the planet, end war and poverty and other stuff.

  30. it light-bulbed on me while watching “Lolita” by Nabokov and directed by Kubrick made in ’51 how obvious they had to make everything just to tell the story.


    I have been enjoying your intelligent, caring posts, thank you..
    Please keep them coming.. Your welcome here with your opinion same as anyone..
    My co-worker Grace feels like a non citizen shouldn’t have an opinion on US policy too, rubbish!! America and its muscle/money is prevalent around the world so you have every right to comment on US policy..
    I have an opinion on your PM(playing politics) and her lack of support for gay marriage and i have expressed it often to Baz( my Australian best friend)without the least bit of animosity. Give us all you got regarding America or whatever else is on your mind…

  32. Those movie scenes cost In N Out a bunch, and McDonalds prolly a few million. It’s called product placement.

  33. i went to some white castles up nawth….same old burgers and fries….read “Southern Fried” a short story by Wm Price Fox….took place in columbia sc 50’s or so.

  34. Dissing Burger King prolly cost McDs a million extra. I first noticed overt prod placement around 1970 : The Last Picture Show.

  35. I was toggit electronics in millington by an arnold stang doppleganger….he come before class one day and lights his usual first cigarette…..blackboard, pointer, cigarette, ash building, blackboard, pointer, shaking cigarette, ash building…..the ash is now 2/3 of the cigarette and hanging there like a 3 inch ash on a 4 inch cigarette….every eye in class was glued to the waving wand which was a simple cigarette in the hands of a magician from the bronx who had roamed japan after the big one and just happened to look like the immortal Arnold Stang.

  36. I just returned from a 12 hr shift; catching up on reading.
    Let me be clear: My comments were not about what people say, it is about the tone of response. That is my concern. And I have noticed this tone used by person(s) towards other blog members. That is my concern. PERIOD.
    Nobody here has all the answers, no one. This is why this forum is great – we can freely give our thoughts, and not feel intimidated. And it is a community effort.
    Chloe, in no way do I question your patriotism. If you read my piece, it was crying out against mocking or denigrating anyone for speaking their opinion.
    No one’s opinion is trivial, and speaking freely is not trivializing.
    We’ve lost some neat people who stated they were leaving precisely because of these issues in the past. This is a super forum and I will repeat myself ad nauseum: Every voice counts. I believe this. Your voice counts, so does mine.

  37. Several of us just had to know. how you do dat? so pressed, he told. straighten out a paper clip and stick it up the center of the cigarette. smoke said cigarette as usual, ash will not fall.

    he also told us the story of “The “umbuggara”.

    There weren’t many coasties on base at that time.

    I really had no choice but to heartily agree.

  38. Here’s Taegan Goddard’s Quote of the Day.

    “They are used to defend our property and our families and our faith and our freedom, and they are absolutely essential to living the way God intended for us to live.”

    — California Rep. Tim Donnelly (R), talking about guns on The Bottom Line.

    Must be talking about the National Weather Service.

  39. Morning. Sometimes you guys start using words I don’t understand. I’m just swamp simple here and my scope is very limited. I come here to learn.

  40. Nash, when you were talking about your college students being more liberal, it made me try to remember some saying about younger people having a tendency to be more liberal and that we tend to get more conservative as we get older. I kinda thought that college students were more liberal, maybe not here in the south.

    I Googled to try to find the quote that I thought I remembered but couldn’t. Maybe it was just a dream. That happens sometimes. I did find one quote that did mention age and political leanings..

    “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”
    ― Winston Churchill

    Don’t really care for that one.

    Can any of you political junkies remember another saying about age and politics?

    I qualify as liberal but those words always bothered me. I think of liberal as abundant and lavish and that really doesn’t fit me. I feel like I would be better explained by the word conservative. I’m very thrifty, I don’t like to waste anything. I’ve got a serious problem because if I bought it, I think that I musta needed it and I probably will again some day. Problem is, I know I got it here somewhere but can’t find it so I went out and bought another and another.

    Other things that I would also associate more with the WORD conservative…I’m cautious, I usually think things through before I do anything, I’m practical. Actually I did find that when the word conservative is used in a medical sense, it works for me…”not extreme or drastic; especially : designed to preserve parts or restore or preserve function”

  41. I did find some other sayings that I did like. I like this one and in it, the word liberal does define me and I’m proud of it:

    “If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
    ― John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

  42. And I promise ya, I never intend to hurt anyone but I’ve reread some of the things I’ve written before and I cringe, thinking how that might have come across to some. It was not meant to be as mean as it may have sounded.

    Occasionally I might just mean to be mean but that’s only if I think someone is being mean first. Can’t help that. It’s the Scorpio in me. I try to be nice and I’m loyal to a fault but that barb can come out. It’s a reflex, I can’t help it.

  43. And Chloe, I’ve never seen you not being patriotic. And you always try to be nice. I remember back when I first hit the Trail. We’d join forces when we thought someone was after one of us. You always had my back and I tried to have yours. I felt that way about Patsi also. She always had my back. I loved that woman. I feel that way about many of you guys here also. You’ve been my Knights in Shining Armour. Any many of you girls, actually most of ya.

  44. And Craig, you’re always Mr Nice Guy. That’s not easy when you’re a political pundit. Not very profitable either. Being a crazy asshole is what brings in the bucks, sells the books.

  45. And as burgers go, I’ve never found a restaurant chain that made a burger I liked, even 5 Guys. It’s more likely the small ma and pa burger joints where I’ll find one I like. A couple of small towns, down the road a ways, have some killer burgers. It seems like the smaller to town, the better the burger.

  46. … Carol, I forgot.

    I wanted to mention ‘5 Guys’ last night (love them), but didn’t know whether or not they’re nation wide.

    What I like is that you get what ever you want on them, and they’re so quick. Ymmm!

  47. Before leaving this post, kudos to Nash for his observations on perceived political shifts amongst students in his classes. UCLA does a national freshman survey of politics and social values every year for the past forty years. Their survey in 2011 and published in 2012 supports Nash’s conclusions.

    Well done, professor! And, nary a snarky remark — LOL!!!

  48. Bill,

    I’m so saddened, ashamed and sorry that I couldn’t have helped you more. I was too wish-washy in defending you because I’ve often been intimidated for being disagreeable and complaining here (for being different). I throw tact out the window when I’m mad.

    It’s a continuous cycle and I have to wonder if I enjoy pain, because I keep coming back. This time I hope I don’t.

    It’s been an honor getting to know you.

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