Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trump wins the football culture war: "The refs are ruining the game."

Trump bashes the NFL   It is a win for him.

This seems so wrong, so contrary to the news about traumatic brain injury, it cannot be true.   But it is true.  Fans are watching the violence, not experiencing it, and they are thinking about their team, not the brain damage.

There is a long history of crowds enjoying watching violence and death.  Gladiators in Rome. Public executions.  Lynchings. Football back in around 1905.  Boxing matches.  NASCAR crashes.  Football today.

President Theodore Roosevelt intervened to attempt to change the game of college football back in 1905.  Back in those days there were, among the smaller number of colleges that fielded football teams, hundreds of serious injuries and multiple deaths right there on the field, some 18 in 1904.  The game involved players locking arms in a V formation, there was piling on after the ball was down, there was kicking and choking and eye gouging.   This went on for several years.  Some colleges dropped their football programs, others were considering it.

There are two takeaways I draw from this history.  

One is that Theodore Roosevelt met privately with the leading representatives of the game, at that time the Athletic Directors at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.  He gave them an ultimatum.  Change the rules of football so it is less violent or he will do something to ban the game.   They did.  They changed the rules to allow the forward pass and to require six men on the offensive line.  This opened up the game and ended the worst of head to head bashing.

The second is that the colleges adopted this reluctantly.  Amid yearly deaths on the field, the colleges had been voting year after year to continue the program.  Football was popular with the players, the institutions, and the fans.  Students died on the field and they kept doing it.

Donald Trump criticizes the "disrespect" shown by players by kneeling for the National Anthem, and he criticizes the game for becoming sissified.  Too many rules, not enough hits.   Here is a transcript of Trump in Alabama, but it is best to watch the three minute video.  In it he takes up the related themes:  the kneeling players are bad, the owners should get tough and fire the "son of a bitch" players, the fans should boycott the games, and that the refs are ruining the game by being worried about the safety of the players.

“Today if you hit too hard—15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys, just really, beautiful tackle. Boom, 15 yards! The referee gets on television—his wife is sitting at home, she’s so proud of him. They’re ruining the game! They’re ruining the game. That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game."

Click Here. 3 minute video. Trump in Alabama this week.

The most important thing to notice when watching this video is the element that is not the center of attention.  The center of attention is Trump, thoroughly enjoying himself.   Trump says that the NFL ratings are down because so many people are watching him instead.  He preen and congratulates himself.

What is important to notice is the crowd.  The crowd is cheering wildly.  They love this, too.  They interrupt his speech to chant USA, USA, USA.

Trump is defending the moral value of respect for authority, of group solidarity as Americans, and of cleanliness, i.e. avoiding desecration of holy things, i.e. the National Anthem.   These are core moral values held by cultural conservatives.   These are the values that multicultural liberals feel less strongly and therefore under-appreciate.   Liberals are often tone deaf to their appeal.  All humans understand the moral value of fairness and not doing harm, but conservatives include those three additional values.  Those are the ones that Trump is defending.  

[There is another subtext, which this speech brings to the surface, and it is an opportunity to consider in future blogs.  The owners of football teams are white men.  Most of the players are black men.   Trump is urging those white "owners" to re-establish control.  The owners make the rules.  The players obey.  There is a hierarchy that has been broken and needs to be re-affirmed.  Race is a subtext.]

The crowd loves it.
Doesn't watching violence offend the value of not doing harm?   Yes, but it gets transformed.  A public execution or lynching is seen as an affirmation of group solidarity and cleanliness, ending a defilement of group or values.   It isn't harm.  It is a cleansing.

Football players are seen as warriors, not victims.  They put on a uniform are transformed from victims into the group identity and brand itself,  fighting for Fair Harvard, the Oregon Ducks, or the New England Patriots.  We see courage in their effort and risk taking, not harm.  

The harm takes place later and off field. If football players died right there on the field the game would, in fact be banned.  Football has been made safe for fans to watch, not for players to play, but what we do not see we need not contemplate.

As it is, Trump can celebrate the "two guys, just really, beautiful tackle" as he bangs his fist together.  

Many of this blog's liberal, progressive, gentle readers were astonished by Trump's victory.  They would not have been in that crowd chanting USA, USA and cheering Trump.  But those were American voters in that crowd, and he would have found such a crowd in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, states that Obama won and Trump did as well.  
Peace Corp

Trump has connected with a great many voters by appeals to patriotism, identity, and sanctity.  These can be progressive values as well.   Indeed, there is a long tradition of it.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Candidate Watch: Jason Chaffetz

The 2020 Campaign has already begun.

A close look at Jason Chaffetz.  He is running for something.

Let me remind readers that this blog began over two years ago, meaning that in less than two years we will be deep in it again.  I attended my first campaign event for the season, one for Hillary Clinton, in August, 2015.  In September, 2015--two years ago this week--I was in New Hampshire meeting multiple candidates.   

They were all there. The candidates below, and more.   Of course, it seems crazy-early to think about 2020.  But actually it isn't too early.  People are already jostling.  If we are not looking now we are missing something that has already begun.

First, a look back:  

September 17, 2015
September 19, 2015

September 20, 2015

September 23, 2015

September 25, 2015

September 26, 2015

At the time I did not know what to look for in a candidate.  No one did.  The issues that motivated people had not yet begun to jell.   That is the very point of these early observations.   Things that don't seem important usually aren't important.  But some will turn out to be important.   So I tried--and still try--to notice everything.

Back then, Donald Trump was just one of many candidates, but his event that week was the biggest.  His was the only one with a high school band greeting visitors. He had a stemwinder of a introduction from a talk show host.   He had the biggest crowd--about 3,000--compared with crowds for Hillary of 250 and 300.   I noticed the way he did not correct the person who said Obama was a Muslim.  People at the time thought that was an error.  I certainly did.  It wasn't an error.  He wanted people to know he did not mind one bit if Obama was described as a Muslim in his presence.  That wasn't a bug.  It was a feature.  I noticed things but did not know if they were important yet.

I noticed that Hillary stood for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  I did not know that her stamina would become an issue.   

I noticed that Lindsey Graham, whom I had seen on the Sunday shows every week or two for a decade, did not draw a crowd, and I surmised that was important but I did not understand why he drew so little interest.   

At the event with Chris Christie I asked the gathering's only hostile question from the front yard of a local county commissioner, a question about Bridgegate, posited as the sort of question that mean-Hillary would ask of him.  His response was that he hardly knew the people who caused the traffic jam and how could he be expected to know what all 60,000 New Jersey employees were doing.  I guessed right then than the George Washington Bridge closure was going to be a major problem that endured since his answer would never hold up.  Those employees were his closes aides.

I watched Rand Paul with his hands in his pocket at a meet-and-greet and thought he was more of an ideologue than a politician and that this would hurt him.  But I didn't know; it was just a guess.

You don't know what is going to be important.  The effort of this blog was to look closely, be open minded, and be ready to notice things that seem little at the time.  Some will turn out to matter a lot.

We will see more of Chaffetz

Let's look at Jason Chaffetz.

He is a Fellow at the Kennedy School.   He is not just there for a drop-in speech.  He is there for at least a semester.  He has students and teaches regular classes.  I saw him repeatedly, talking with secretaries, getting teacher-administration questions clarified, solving problems with student lists, access to printers, etc.  He has a job there.

This is a nice gig for him.  It positions him to be nice to people who will be useful to him, but more importantly, it will give him stories to tell.  He will be able to describe the snooty condescention of coastal elites from the inside.  It wont be sour grapes of someone on the outside.  

I watched how he interacted.  He is in the middle of an interesting re-positioning of himself.   He is charming and friendly.  He is making useful friends. 

First, some quick background.  He is 50 years old but looks 40.  He was elected to Congress in a very Republican district in Utah in 2008, running to the right of a very conservative 6-term incumbent Republican.  Chaffetz was a newcomer-outsider, though he had been the campaign chairman for John Huntsman's gubernatorial campaign and then his chief of staff. He knew his way around. Chaffetz won over the party delegates, which is how primary elections happen in Utah.

In office Chaffetz quickly moved up becoming head of the House Oversight Committee where he became the scourge of Hillary Clinton, investigating her tirelessly on Benghazi and everything else.  He was a frequent news contributor on Fox and elsewhere.  Upon Trump's victory things changed; he did not want investigations of Trump.

His politics in Congress were uniformly conservative hard right, as libertarian as Rand Paul and as Christian cultural conservative as Ted Cruz.   He had a near-zero rating from environmental groups, he said solar energy was bad for the environment, he opposed gay marriage, he wanted to crush Planned Parenthood, he wanted to end Obamacare.   He openly broke with Trump after the Access Hollywood "pussy grab" exposure but then, prior to the election, said he would vote for him.

He is good looking, has jet black hair, he is well spoken and articulate, and he was considered a rising star.  Then he abruptly quit Congress saying he wanted to spend more time with his family and became a Fox contributor.   He said he did not like being away from home so much, sleeping on a cot in his office.   But there he was at the JFK school, once again 1,500 miles from home.   Strange.

His behavior at the JFK school offers signs that Americans will see much more of him.  I expect him to be a candidate for president in 6 years, and possibly in 2 years.  

He is giving off the signals.

***At a study session I watched him circle the room twice, meeting and shaking hands with the students.  As he went around the second time he remembered which people he had met ten minutes before, and which ones had filed in later.  He wants the human contact.

***He did not use the word "Democrat" as an adjective.  Republicans and Fox News people have a style manual which involves referring to "Democrat legislation" and "Democrat thinking".  Newt Gingrich taught it: mess with the opposition party brand.  Turn the word "Democrat" into a slur.  Chaffetz did not do that.  He said "Democratic."  At Harvard.

***He introduced a visitor to his class: Dan Balz, of the Washington Post.  He did it gracefully and respectfully, saying Balz was a towering figure in journalism.  He is ingratiating.  He is making friends.

***He made two mentions within an hour of his work with Senator Ron Wyden, and his efforts for bipartisan legislation.

Speculation and guesswork, based on bits of behavior and body language (which this blog has consistently argued are, actually, the most important things):   He has a pathway to the White House.:

1.  Avoid loser issues.   His exit from Congress means he can wash his hands of the two-direction stink of health care.  Either Republican officeholders are stuck with failure to repeal and replace, or, worse actually, they are stuck with having created something unpopular.   Chaffetz saw first hand at his Town Meeting that this issue is a loser.   So is investigating Trump or failing to investigate Trump.  Lose-lose.

2.  Stay visible on Fox News, and pick up some Harvard glitter.  He can pick and choose issues, look like an expert, stay on the side of Republican electorate, with tough talk but without tough votes.  After he leaves Harvard he will be in a perfect position to mock it.  He will have stories to tell of liberal arrogance, of the liberal bubble, of the vegan bicyclists multicultural elitists sitting in the classes he taught.   He can tell the stories and roll his eyes in helpless dismay.  This is perfect for him.

3.  Run for Utah governor, or not.  Trump showed that being a TV star is qualification enough.  If he doesn't run for governor he can stay on Fox News.  If he runs and wins the Utah governor race, he has the supposed ideal qualification--Congress plus Governor--the one that John Kaisich has.  Kasich showed that Republican primary voters did not insist on qualifications and experience in government.  They wanted an angry tone and conservative politics plus media celebrity.
Safe Ground on Fox:  Investigate Hillary

4.  Libertarian Moralistic Conservatism.  Run essentially on the platform of Donald Trump on immigration, trade and cultural issues and sound like Ted Cruz on religious issues, but be understood to be nicer than Ted and a fresh face alternative to Trump.  Keep bashing Democrats and liberals on TV but be nice in person.

Chaffetz smiles. He brings waffles to the hosts on Fox and Friends.  Click Here: Resentful, angry, accusatory, outraged.    Chaffetz is perfect for Fox News..  

Click Here: Trump is right. Shut down government.
5. Be a Tea-Party-Acceptable-Non-Trump.  There is an assumption built into this, that Trump personally is exhausting, and people will have had enough.  It is unclear to me if people will want this a lot longer.  People want to be entertained, but they also want "normalcy."   A great many voters will want Trump-ism, but not Trump.  

Watch Chaffetz on Fox.  He is a successor to Trump, the next generation.  He is clean of the multiple issues around Trump: the tweets, the marriages, the emollients, Russia, Trump University, plane rides, Cabinet choices.   He is both Trump and a fresh start. 

Leading the Class
On Fox he is still banging away at Benghazi, media bias, Hillary Clinton's email servers, the visit between Bill Clinton and AG Loretta Lynch, Obama appointees that Trump has not replaced, and the FBI failure to do more investigations of Hillary Clinton, when they instead waste their time in a witch hunt.   This is safe ground.

Is there room for that kind of candidate?  We will see.  He is positioning himself.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

North Korea Strategy. Or Bumbling Idiocy.

The situation with North Korea is stable.  Relax.  No one can start a war. Let's call that what it is:   Peace.

Maybe there is craft in all this.  Or blustering foolishness.   And there is the nasty problem that accidents do happen.

Yesterday this blog, and commenter Thad Guyer, described the situation with North Korea as stable and at equilibrium.  We are at a stalemate with hostages on both sides of the border.  No war.  Go live your lives.   

The divided Korea is acceptable for both China and the US.   China gets a buffer, which is better than a strong, United Korea trading competitor right on its border.  The US has an excuse for military bases right near China, helping to define and limit its sphere of domination.   Win-win.
Sixty five years ago, and today

A different president might be thought to be advancing a complicated bit of long term strategy with the frightening round of trash talk.   Imagine this:  a tough talking President Hillary Clinton might be publicly goading Kim Jong Un for a long range strategic purpose carrying out carefully planned US policy.   By raising tensions and threats in the region it would give Japan and South Korea reason to re-arm to prepare themselves agains regional threats from wherever they might come.  Instead of relying on the US they would create their own defense forces.  Japan would build aircraft carriers and ship to ship missile systems under the cover of needing protection against North Korea.

The actual American strategic purpose would be execution of a thirty year plan: to keep China a great regional power, but not a world power, and to surround China with armed neighbors wary of regional aggressors.   

The great challenge for the US in the next century is to co-exist peaceably with China.  We must avoid direct confrontations.  If there is scuffling over control of the South China Sea it needs to be China vs. proxies, not Chinese ships vs. American ships.   The shouting going on regarding North Korea could be all about public opinion and public policy in Japan, toward the goal of re-setting American commitments and creating Chinese containment.
Great domestic politics for both.

That would be Hillary, doing long range statecraft.

But America elected Trump.   Nothing we have seen about Trump gives credibility to the idea that he is calculating in that manner.  He is spontaneous.  But there are two ways to get to the same place.  One would be Defense-State-Generalship calculation and the other is gut.  Trump might simply think: Japan is rich and they have been coddled.  Pull your weight, Japan.  We are sick of subsidizing you.

It gets to the same place: regional allies serving as a nearby counterweight to the inevitable growth of Chinese power, based on its increasing economic and geopolitical heft.

Possibly--it is conceivable--there are backchannel contacts between the US and North Korea, expressing a "wink wink" telling Kim Jong Un not to sweat the verbal fireworks, that this is just Trump doing domestic politics.  I doubt this, but this is unquestionably great politics for both Trump and Un and each realize this.  Each get to sound tough.  

It is harmless--unless it isn't. The back and forth name calling and trash talk looks familiar:  junior high school boys trading insults.  But accidents happen.  One boy might actually touch the other boy.  That must be countered with a touch back,  which escalates to pushing, which escalates sometimes to hitting.  Neither side dare back down.  Self interest is trumped by pride.  Real fights start with taunts.

Trump and Kim Jong Un both love this.
Does this happen with grownups?  Yes. 

Barbara Tuchman described it in The Guns of August.   It nearly happened in the nuclear age when JFK and Khrushchev had mis-cues over intentions in the Missile Crisis.   What could go wrong?  An earthquake could be misinterpreted as nuclear blasts.  A North Korean test missile could go astray and be seen coming down onto Japanese land.  A fishing boat could be confused with a spy boat.  Something can happen on the ground that convinces one side or the other that the war has already begun and that fast countermeasures are utterly essential.  The other guy started it.

Mis-cues happen.

This brings us back to the temperament of Donald Trump.  In 1962 John Kennedy chose to interpret an ambiguous message by the Soviets as unintended, and superseded by a different message, even though that message had actually come earlier.  It turned out to be a good guess.   

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un may make different choices.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Are you willing to die for South Korea?

Geography still matters

Americans take the good fortunes of geography for granted.   We have some things to learn.
North and South Korea at night

The United States is protected on the east by the Atlantic, the west by the Pacific, the north by a land that will not support dense populations.   Our only neighbor that creates a threat of invasion is the land portion of the southern border.  

There is an irony there.  The Mexican border had been Spanish and Native American Indian from the Spanish Conquest of the early 16th century until the 1840s--some 320 years.  The United States concern now is that the area is once again reverting back to Spanish/Hispanic for the same primary reason it became Anglo 180 years ago: demography.  It is filling up with the same kind of people who possessed it for centuries.   

Americans give barely a thought to the great advantages of our own geography, including the great fertile center connected by the navigable Mississippi.   We take geography for granted.

So we give barely a thought to the great strategic advantage possessed by North Korea.  Americans perceive it as a tiny, poor, weak country, ruled by a blustering madman who holds power illegitimately.  In the back of American minds:  they haven't got the status to be a great power, one to be entrusted with nuclear weapons.  Russia and Pakistan might themselves have unreliable and irresponsible rogue governments--and some would say the USA as well--but at least these are large countries.

Americans have a lesson to learn and integrate.  Small countries can have special advantages.  Israel has its own, an extraordinary resource in human capital.  North Korea has its own: strategic location.  

North Korea will become--already is--a nuclear power for the simple reason that their location gives them hostages.   The Korean Conflict ended 65 years ago in a cease fire, leaving Korea divided.  It served Chinese and American interests at the time.  North Korea was a friendly-enough buffer state, keeping a western ally, South Korea, at arms length.  America stationed their own hostages in South Korea to keep the boundary secure.   An attack by China would instantly involve American troops and military bases.  They were a placeholder.  An attack to the north by an American/South Korean army would instantly engage China.  Therefore, both sides were held in check.  Peace.

For a refresher course on Korean history, the Korean War, and Korean geography, click here:  

It was a happy enough result:  a stable border.  But there is a great problem that emerged over time.   South Korea got rich and populous, and North Korea's government retained power the way that strong-man governments do: by military power and monarchical succession.  Seoul, South Korea is one of the dozen or so great mega-cities of the world.  It is 30 miles from North Korea.  It is undefendable itself, which is why the US raised the stakes by stationing some 30,000 American troops there.   They are a bookmark.  They are hostages, along with the 20 million South Korean ally hostages, the people of northern South Korea.

I estimate that few Americans of non-Korean extraction care deeply about South Korea--deeply enough to think that it is a good trade to preserve South Korean independence in exchange for perhaps fifty million deaths--but the US has promised South Korea protection and walking away from that promise would mean American allies would realize that American guarantees are meaningless.  Americans don't want to die to save Seoul, but we are stuck.  North Korea has nuclear weapons because there is nothing anyone can do about it.  They have geography on their side as surely as the USA has the Mississippi River.

Somehow the Middle East survives with both Israel and Pakistan having nuclear weapons.  Currently Donald Trump is acting as if North Korea having them is impossible.  Taking nuclear weapons from North Korea is possible, but at the expense of at least 30,000 Americans, 20 million South Koreans, possibly 25 million Japanese, and tens or hundreds of million Americans in target cities.   This is true not because the USA is weak or irresolute.  Bill Clinton, George H. Bush, Barrack Obama, and presumably Donald Trump all confronted the same thing:  geography is on the side of North Korea.

What about China? Cannot they do something, anything?

Korea is to China somewhat as Israel is to the USA.  It is a bother, but it is mostly a bother for others.  Eventually Korea may re-unite rather as North and South Vietnam reunited, but such an event makes things worse for China rather than better.  A united Korea might well be prosperous and not inclined to be a quasi-client state of China.  North Korea can be managed.   A prosperous United Korea might not be.

Meanwhile, readers have sent me various suggestions on how to solve the great problem of North Korea.  My own sense is that it not a problem; it is a fait accompli.  Donald Trump acts and sounds as if he considers it an unacceptable outrage.  If it is that then Americans need to be prepared to pay the price.  Move from the cities, protect your family, get a bomb shelter.   Readers and correspondents have generally accepted the Trump view:  it is an outrage.  Maybe some tens of millions of people need to die.

Or we can live with it, like we live with Pakistan having nuclear weapons.

Reader Peter Coster in Virginia makes a suggestion:  Get China more involved.   It is their problem and their neighborhood, he says.   His suggestion has three presumptions:  one is that is in the interests of world peace that China and not North Korea be 30 miles from Seoul, since they are presumably going to be led by sounder leaders than Kim Jung Un.   Another is that it is in China's interest to remove North Korea as a buffer state.  And the third is that they actually can do it without creating a different war with millions of deaths.

Peter Coster is a retired trucking executive, an self-taught historian, and a progressive living in a red area of a purple state.  I consider him to reflect a certain kind of practical American can-do perspective.  If the course of action outlined below could, in fact, happen, it would be considered a good outcome by most Americans.  He considers nuclear war from a perspective on the beach in Virginia and Florida.   Readers contemplating a post-nuclear world are invited to read, by Nevil Shute, On The Beach, written in 1957.  He predicts it works out badly.

On the Beach

Solving the North Korea Mess:  a comment from Peter Coster

The key to the N. Korean problem is to somehow remove Kim Jong Un.  It could be done with bombs, but lots of innocent people would have to die, which would not endear us to many in the rest of the world and we would appear more like a conqueror than a liberator.  Typical United States stuff.

However, there is one other solution that might work.  Invite China to take it over.  Let the Chinese invade and make N. Korea part of the Chinese territory.  Although we are sort of enemies, they are at least responsible when it comes to nuclear weapons.  They seem to treat their own people fairly well and the ordinary N. Korean would most likely welcome the change.  We do trade with China and Western tourists frequent their cities. 

We should let China do it.  In fact, if they do it right, they would convince the N. Korean army to not resist.  Just let the Chinese army walk in and take over.  Execute Kim Jong Un on the spot.  Declare N. Korea a Chinese territory and give every N. Korean Chinese citizenship.  Boom. Done.  World breathes a sign of relief.  Trump takes the credit.
Of course, the deal would have to include a guarantee that China not interfere with S. Korea in any way.  We would support S. Korea with our full military force if China oversteps it's bounds.  I could see normal trading between the two countries, which would boost both their economies.  That area of the world would finally stabilize and would put everyone at ease.

Russia might object, but probably not too much.  It wouldn't make China any stronger, it just adds a little more territory.  Even Japan might be on board.

Something must be done and this is doable.  There isn't much downside to this idea, but the upside could be enormous.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Becoming American-American

Lumps in the stew.

Trump word cloud based on word count in polling interviews
Americans are working through what it means to be a real, regular American.  

American-ness is the perennial subject in America, from the authors of the Constitution through the 2016 election, and today.   The word cloud created by Gallup in September, 2016 reports the centrality of immigration and American-ness to the election.   The populist revolt against elites showed itself most clearly not in an attack on the financial system or globalism generally.  It focused on immigration and foreign trade and foreigners generally. Trump identified immigrants and foreigners as the source of the problem.   It resonated.

Immigrants are different from "regular Americans", i.e. native born whites.    In southern Oregon they are noteworthy because Hispanic ones work longer and harder in difficult agricultural jobs and in low-wage hospitality jobs, i.e. hotel maids.  They are visible.  Local teenagers used to do that work.   They often speak Spanish but not English.   The Asian ones are noticeable because their children excel at school, driven by high parental expectations.  The Chinese or Indian valedictorian is a cliche.
From Facebook group: "Feminists against Islam."
Comments on this blog and elsewhere report negatives: male attitudes toward women.  Sometimes these national and ethnic customs are conflated with religion.  One commenter to this blog ascribes to the religion, Islam, behaviors that reflect rural and traditional attitudes from a Middle East region, not necessarily the religion which encompasses many regions.   But there is overlap in behaviors and a word I hear often at Harvard is "intersectionality".   Poverty is associated with crime is associated with drug use.   Rural-ness is associated with religious fundamentalism is associated with anti-feminist attitudes.     Education is associated with modern views on the role of women is associated with living in a coastal city.   

It fits: some political liberals but cultural conservatives object to the behaviors of rural traditional men from the Middle East, and ascribe their behavior to their religion, not their rural-ness or lack of education or cultural traditionalism.  Therefore urbane, sophisticated Muslims like Fareed Zakaria are swept into the intersection.   But turnabout happens as well:  rural American men oppose policies favored by American feminists and vote for Trump and wouldn't hire a female job applicant because they think Hillary Clinton sneers at them for their tastes in food, country music, and NASCAR.  Is it unfair?  Of course.  It is intersectionality.  People profile others; they are profiled.

[This is sensitive ground so let me state my position clearly.   I think that associating Islam with offensive images and behaviors like the photo above is dangerous and deeply unfair to Islam. But there is a Facebook group with that photo up front.  Similar examples could be cherry picked from Utah polygamists or KKK statements to shame Christians; examples of black criminals could could cherry picked to characterize "the real nature of black men"; verses from the Bible could be cherry picked to show the genocidal nature of the Jewish holy text.  The world is full of ugly examples of bad behavior that can be chosen to represent whole groups.  I consider the effort to do this an example of profiling and prejudice.  I show it here not to validate it, but to document that it exists and that there are prejudiced people who point to bad behavior and generalize them.  It is part of how humans react to one another.  We don't love our neighbors, especially if they seem strange.  It is part of the real world, and therefore a problem to understand and confront .] 

Cultural changes from immigration has the potential to upset some people.  (Mexican and Thai food used to seem strange and foreign in my home town in my youth.) 

I agree that immigration is a matter to be confronted and managed, not avoided.   I consider immigration to be an essential element of the nature of Americanism, and not a dilution of it.  The progressive impulse to favor equality of opportunity pushes cultural liberals and progressives to want to enable immigrants.   People will be drawn to America as long as it is a better place to live than other places.  The progressive challenge is to consider what works to make immigration a positive force. 

One thing that helps is for the government to have credibility that immigration is being handled, that it is under control.   Alcohol and cars are useful but inherently dangerous.  We accept the risks because the culture has rules regarding them.   That would be a model for Democrats.  Enforce rules.

Monday afternoon Timothy Ash, a scholar of international relations, said that every G-8 country had failed miserably to control its borders and therefore was experiencing populist uprisings based on ethnic tensions, except one.  Canada.  Canada, he said, had the priceless advantage of two oceans and the arctic, plus one human element: effective government policy.  Their citizens understand that their policy is to allow significant immigration, but that their immigration laws are effectively enforced.  People in Canada illegally are deported promptly.    The result is that immigration is less controversial in Canada.

Immigration enforcement is not the enemy of immigrants.  It is an essential element of its continuation and success.

I received a useful comment from Herb Rothschild, a retired professor of English Literature, a peace activist, and a political observer, living in Talent, Oregon.  He grew up in New Orleans and had a front row seat on the Jim Crow south and its transition during the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s.  The "melting pot", he writes below, was really a WASP pot.  Immigrants could theoretically wash themselves clean and become regular Americans, "white."  Black Americans, native born for seven generations, could not.  They were separate.  There is no melting pot for them.  

He observes that ethnic politics is not always self destructive for the ethnic minority.  It worked in big eastern cities with concentrated groups of first, second, and third generation immigrants.  Hillary Clinton's campaign was consistent with that tradition, and she emphasized identity and difference,  and indeed it won in the big cities.  In 2016 it wasn't enough.

Guest Comment by Herb Rothschild, Jr.

Herb Rothschild
"The subject matter of the September 18th blog is both fascinating and complex, one with a very long history in America. I'm sorry you headed it with a very simplistic either/or challenge to Democrats, because I don't think adoption of single payer is contingent on rejection (or soft-pedalling) of multi-culturalism. Canada adopted single payer, and it has a very diverse population, one that, like ours, was always built on immigration.

I wouldn't dwell on that criticism were it not symptomatic of how difficult it is to derive from so complex a subject good advice to Democrats on how they should shape their public self-presentation. 
"What Trump successfully tapped into is the Know-Nothing strain of U.S. politics that goes back well into the 19th century. It has had varying electoral force over the years, but overall it hasn't prevailed, and I think that, in the crude form it assumed in his campaign, it has little future. 

Acceptance of the need to appeal to discrete ethnic voting blocs was the norm in big city, such as Chicago and New York and Newark. When the matter gets projected onto the nation as a whole, what we see is that areas where there hasn't been a lot of 0th & 21st century immigration (the Deep South minus Florida and more rural parts of the Midwest and Mountain states) tend to vote Republican, whereas those that have--the west and east coasts and big Midwestern cities like Chicago--are blue or purple. Interestingly, Texas has been experiencing lots of immigration and a growing cultural diversity--Houston is the most diverse city in the nation. I predict that by 2024 Texas will be a purple state, and by 2030 blue. If we don't change the electoral college system, when that happens the Republicans cannot elect a President.

There are other really interesting points in your blog that don't fit easily into the framework of electoral politics. One in particular attracted me--the semi-rejection of the expectation that immigrants melt into the pot as soon as they can. What we became aware of as far back as the 60s is that the melting pot was really a WASP pot in which every other ethnicity was supposed to wash itself. Rejection of the demand that people melt was a rejection of WASP cultural hegemony. High time! 

Does this mean it's unreasonable to expect immigrants to learn English ASAP. Of course not. My guess is that they learn it at least as fast as earlier waves of immigrants, not because public policy requires it, but for practical reasons. But learning English doesn't mean becoming mono-lingual or ashamed of one's own culture. In southwest Louisiana years ago, the public schools tried to eradicate French culture and language, just as the Indian boarding schools tried to eradicate Native American culture. Surely such practice was parochial, arrogant, and deleterious to a healthy society. Surely we don't wish to reinstate such public practices.

Then, there is the very difficult issue connected with cultural practices one finds abhorrent, usually having to do with treatment of females--e.g. honor killings, female genital mutilation, child brides. If careful discrimination is exercised, I see no reason why we cannot find agreement on rejecting by law such practices. By careful discrimination, what I mean is being alert to the difference between principled and prejudiced decisions. I wouldn't want the US to emulate France by outlawing the burkha. Note that France never outlawed similar garb by Roman Catholic nuns.

Finally, you make the connection between multi-culturalism and globalism of the economy. I think that connection may be valid in terms of people's awareness, but I think it is wrong to suggest that one cannot be "nativist" enough to reject the inequalities of the current structure of global economics without being "nativist" culturally. Bernie Sanders agreed with Trump that trade agreements like the TPP were unjust (and he really cared about it), but he didn't share Trump's chauvinism. After all, it isn't just US workers who are screwed by the elites that control the global economy. The appeal to justice isn't a parochial one."