Sep 8, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

I am still searching for the reason why well-educated, intelligent, and well-off Americans with seemingly good moral character continue to support an obviously immature, narcissistic sociopath. Is it really just lower taxes and racism? Opposition to abortion? Some kind of hidden, irrational fear of socialism, Antifa, diversity? Are they acting out their evangelical fantasies? I honestly do not recognize these people anymore, they've become zombified by a virus.

Expand full comment

Like all of Bernie Sanders' supporters, I watched with shock and horror as Bernie was being marginalized by the media during his run for President. Even news anchors like Rachel Maddow and those of NPR were doing it; Rachel made no bones about her support for Hillary Clinton. I was appalled then and still am because Bernie's message, which he repeated over and over, was so important - that the 1% had more wealth than the 99% - and that billionaires were buying political offices. He was the only one called for a living wage and for an end to laws and practices that have led us to this horrific economic imbalance. As soon as it became clear to the powers that be that Bernie's message was gaining traction, that he was becoming very popular, they worked their magic through the media to marginalize him. That was when I stopped watching CNN, NPR, MSNBC. I lost all trust in these so-called news organizations. They have become propaganda outlets. And our country has suffered the consequences.

Expand full comment

Well said. Without our orchestrated economic inequalities, many other social tensions, such as race, gender, and political ideology would be much less severe. But until the 1% understands that presiding over Brazil 2.0 is actually not in their long-term interest, we will continue our national descent. Predictably, they are showing no signs whatsoever of realizing that a prosperous middle-class will actually make them safer and more powerful. Instead, they persist in choosing razor wire and private security in return for relatively modest gains in short-term profit. Ethics aside, it's remarkably stupid.

Expand full comment

Yes, yes the bald brazen truth which silently underlies all the political turmoil. In the past 40 years the oligarchs have stolen the country and made bank. They used the Republican Party and the Supreme Court to do it and the vast number of Americans are feeling the pain. The Republicans now divert their attention from how they are screwed with a focus on "values" issues.

Expand full comment

I think the answer is simple. The USA is unique in the western world in not having a a two party system divided on left/righjt wing lines. The USA has succesfully made socialistic policies non acceptable. There is no non capitalistic alernative to offer a counter balance in which each keeps the other in check. This leaves the working classes in the USA as easy prey for populists, racists and conspiracy theory mongers. They have nowhere else to go.

Expand full comment

White men are drawn to Trump because he gets to be the bad boy that they always wanted to be, but didn’t have the guts to. They love his demeaning ways, so much so that they have invested part of their own identities into his success.

The dots can’t get any closer together, but to actually connect them is to say that over the last eight years of their lives they’ve been played the fool and been proud of it

Expand full comment

I don't believe it is a coincidence that tRump rose to power right on the heels of Barack Obama. The core of the groups that became the MAGAT movement became terrified that "They" were taking over. The MAGATs were easy prey for someone like tRump that sensed he could exploit them; aided and abetted by morally challenged Republicans that were so desperate to regain power that they were more than willing to sell their souls to a worthless example of humanity like tRump. Lord help us: we still have 14 months until the general election and four separate trials that tRump is no doubt planning to turn into a circus.

Expand full comment

I would add going to college is expensive; the debt incurred and repayment of loans during the years they would be trying to build a family and future. Also ending company funded pensions in favor of self generated IRAs for old age was also a factor.

Expand full comment

So they think they're getting screwed, but they vote for someone who's going to screw them. Even further. Makes no sense to me except that they don't seem to have the sense to figure it out.

Expand full comment

I was astounded to read recently that US median wealth (net worth) is lower than Spain’s. Naturally, the same is not true about mean wealth because all the billionaires bring up the average. American inequality will spell the death of its democracy.

Expand full comment

“Last June, after being charged with retaining government secrets, he told a Republican gathering in Michigan: ‘I’m being indicted for you.’ On August 3, the day of his indictment for seeking to overturn the 2020 election, he posted, in all caps, ‘I AM BEING ARRESTED FOR YOU.’ A week later, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, he said, ‘They want to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedom. They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you.’”

If all of that sounds familiar, it should: Trump is playing Christ-as-martyr, merely refashioning the concept of Jesus’s dying for the world’s sins in his own image, for his own purposes. A lot of his target audience is attuned to exactly that sort of claim, and it’s Trump’s calculation that he is the opiate of these masses.

More concretely, a great deal of the disaffection Bob talks about can be traced back to globalization, though even before GATT was ever formulated, let alone put into effect, advances in air and sea travel made the exporting of goods cheaper and more efficient. Generations ago, when the great majority of what the U.S. was consumed in the U.S., it was in employers’ interest to pay their workers well because the more money workers had, the more they’d spend on the manufacturers’ wares. But ship most of it overseas, for foreign customers to buy, and there’s no incentive to pay workers a penny more than absolutely necessary.

In effect, American employers have rewritten the old Communist slogan into From each according to his abilities, to each according to OUR needs.

Expand full comment

I hope the privileged elites who run the Democratic Party are listening to you.

Expand full comment

I grew up listening to my Dad, a staunch Democrat and my Uncle, a staunch Republican, arguing with each other. They loved each other deeply. My way of putting their politics into words was: Democrats and Republicans want the same going for our country: A good life for all.

However, it seems, now, as if many Republicans want to build a wall around what they have, to keep anyone else .

Expand full comment

Trying to use a Republican to fix the mess a Republican got us into 40 years ago . . . or, and they got tired of hiding their racism . . .

Expand full comment
Sep 8, 2023·edited Sep 8, 2023

They identify with Trump, they like Trump, they are just like Trump, Narcissists and Sociopaths.

It's their personality, that is why they migrate to the Republican party, they see the others that are just like them. The Republican wolf-pack mentality, they all obey the top dog no matter what, 100% absolute loyalty. If the Devil were a Republican running for office, they would vote for him as that would be "their guy."

Thus, it is their psychological disorder - educated or not.

> > > This is what we are up against:

“10 signs for spotting a sociopath – Warning signs:”

“Sociopaths are masters are presenting themselves as heroes with high morals and philosophy, yet underneath it they are the true criminal minds in society who steal, undermine, deceive, and often incite emotional chaos among entire communities. They are masters at turning one group of people against another group while proclaiming themselves to be the one true savior. Wherever they go, they create strife, argument and hatred, yet they utterly fail to see their own role in creating it. They are delusional at so many levels that their brains defy logical reasoning.”

“#1) Sociopaths are charming. Sociopaths have high charisma and tend to attract a following just because people want to be around them. They have a "glow" about them that attracts people who typically seek guidance or direction.

“#2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. They tend to do bizarre, sometimes erratic things that most regular people wouldn't do. They are unbound by normal social contracts. Their behavior often seems irrational or extremely risky.”

“#3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. Their brains simply lack the circuitry to process such emotions. This allows them to betray people, threaten people or harm people without giving it a second thought. They pursue any action that serves their own self interest even if it seriously harms others.”

“#4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. They wildly exaggerate things to the point of absurdity, but when they describe it to you in a storytelling format, for some reason it sounds believable at the time.”

“#5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and "win" at all costs. They hate to lose any argument or fight and will viciously defend their web of lies, even to the point of logical absurdity.”

“#6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent, but they use their brainpower to deceive others rather than empower them. Their high IQs often makes them dangerous. This is why many of the best-known serial killers who successfully evaded law enforcement were sociopaths.”

“#7) Sociopaths are incapable of love and are entirely self-serving. They may feign love or compassion in order to get what they want, but they don't actually FEEL love in the way that you or I do.”

“#8) Sociopaths speak poetically. They are master wordsmiths, able to deliver a running "stream of consciousness" monologue that is both intriguing and hypnotic. They are expert storytellers and even poets.”

“#9) Sociopaths never apologize. They are never wrong. They never feel guilt. They can never apologize. Even if shown proof that they were wrong, they will refuse to apologize and instead go on the attack.”

“#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth merely because they say it! “

Expand full comment

Up until quite recently, I looked down on MAGA Trump supporters with the same disdain. I have even likened them to ‘brain dead zombies’, my words.

But I think I now understand these Americans. These people feel they have been forgotten and overlooked by their government for decades. They have.

They have been brainwashed by listening to conservative media lie to them and misdirect the blame from where it belongs, our government’s longstanding policies, onto minorities and immigrants and the left and LGBTQ community.

Our government, regardless of whether Republican or Democrat administrations, prioritizes and serves the interests and agendas of the elites, billionaires and corporations, and does just the barest minimum, and only when compelled, to help individual hardworking Americans.

Both political parties have largely ignored the needs of the people in favor of accommodating their respective wealthy mega donors. This has been the case for decades. But since 1996 when Fox News first began its daily disinformation and misdirection propaganda, their viewers have become radicalized over the 28 years of exposure to the conservative lies the right propagates nightly and daily.

Donald Trump merely capitalized on their resentment, the dissatisfaction of those Americans for his own political gain. And because he is charismatic, he has gotten away with it.

I grew up in NYC where Trump was based, and although his father was a KKK supporter, Trump used to be for a time a liberal who financially supported the Democratic party long ago. Even back then, the man who wrote ‘The Art of the Deal” was commonly viewed by many New Yorkers as a con man. So I was not surprised, that he reverted to his father’s ultra right wing conservatism as he grew older.

But Trump, whatever one might say about him, understands his base. So much so, that they were ready “to fight like hell” for him on January 6, 2021, to storm the capitol and ‘hang Mike Pence’. So much so, that they overlook Trump’s actual ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ and are now even more committed to discarding true democracy altogether and enthusiastically supporting Trump’s stated vision for authoritarianism and autocracy, if re-elected

I mention all this, (and I hope you will read this in its entirety, Dr. Reich. Because the Democrats could, (I submit it is at least very possible for the Democrats,) if they were so inclined, to steal Maga voters from the GOP in the next election.

There’s no way MAGA Trump supporters would vote for Biden. (Frankly, nor will I.) However, they could be persuaded by a Democratic candidate who would really address their needs and concerns AND provide and be ready to vigorously defend, intelligent workable progressive solutions in a manner that everyone could easily understand.

That person is not Joe Biden, unfortunately. But there are many Democrats who would make persuasive, charismatic, populist candidates who would restore unity and faith to the American people in their government on both sides of the political divide, IF they were genuinely and sufficiently committed and motivated to fight to better the lives of “regular Americans”.

Vote Blue, but for someone New 2024. 🇺🇸

Expand full comment