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All Right, Then

Q: So, how was your Election Night?

A: Pretty horrific – thanks for asking. As someone who very much did not want Donald Trump to be president, things started off OK, but gradually became more and more worrisome as it became clear that Clinton was having trouble closing the deal in a lot of crucial parts of the map. It was never going to be a joyful election for me; I hated both candidates. But this morning was no bargain, as I spent my first few half-awake minutes wondering where that vague sense of uneasiness was coming from, then remembered what had happened. Unpleasant.

Q: How did this happen?

A: That’s the proverbial above-my-pay-grade question, but here goes. It seems clear that a lot of what many people thought about the Obama years was, in fact, illusory – where’s the Great Progressive Realignment that people were talking about in 2008, eh? It will be tempting to think, for many in the Democratic party,  that Stupid Redneck Racists are to blame. It’s for sure that all of this demographic that bothered to vote voted for Trump, but that’s not the whole story – I still don’t think that they deliver a victory on their own. There are surely quite a few people who voted for Obama and then turned around and voted Trump, because they didn’t get any of that hope and change that they were promised and thought the next guy could deliver it.

So some putatively Democratic voters went Trump, but many more, it appears, just stayed home, and that gives you the electoral map we have today. (Conservatish folks like me who held their noses for Clinton do not seem to have been much of a factor). It seems that Trump will, in fact, have gotten fewer votes than Romney and fewer than McCain. (Hell, neither candidate this time looks to have gotten as many votes as Romney did while losing in 2012, which I have to interpret as widespread disgust). Compared to Romney and McCain, though, Trump’s smaller vote was just better proportioned electorally, and (very importantly), the Democratic votes simply were not there. Clinton has far fewer votes than Obama did in either of his elections, many million fewer. People who were expected to vote for her just did not turn out. So much for the Incredible Ground Game, and so much for likely voter models in the polls – these are in the same trash can as the Great Progressive Realignment of yesteryear.

Q: Thoughts on what it means for the drug industry?

A: The ostensible subject of this blog! Actually, biopharma stocks are likely to start off the day going straight up. There was a lot of worry about what a Clinton administration and a partially Democractic-controlled Congress might have been able to come up with, and a price control measure in California had a lot of industry investors worried as well. But Clinton is history, and the CA measure failed. As for my own portfolio, I’d rather give the money back and not have Trump, though.

Q: Anything else good that you can come up with?

A: A few things. First off, I think that a lot of Trump supporters will be disappointed when it turns out that their man cannot Remake The World for them the way that he’s been promising. Trump said a lot of wildly irresponsible and stupid things during the campaign, and (fortunately) many of them are going to be impossible for him to realize, such as turning the US economy back to what it was in 1952. Others are going to be impossible without the consent of Congress, and most of the people there (R and D) are saner than Trump is, and certainly have a lot more experience of actually governing. I very much hope that Trump finds that he likes being cheered by crowds more than he actually likes the details of running the country, and leaves that to others, but who knows? Either way, he’s likely to end up in the same position as Gov. Schwartzenegger in California or Gov. Ventura in Minnesota, where his supporters eventually wonder “Why did we even elect this guy anyway? Nothing we wanted has happened!

Secondly, another thing that this might do (I can only hope) is to put a dent in the way that too many people think about the Presidency, as a sort of elected kingship. The people who kept complaining about those foul Republicans obstructing the Obama agenda are now desperate for someone who can obstruct Trump’s. We have a deliberately divided system of government in this country, very carefully designed that way. Some people get frustrated with that and long for a Big Leader who can just ram through whatever they want. This longing is not specific to either the Right or the Left – you can find plenty of examples on both sides, but our system makes that the least likely outcome. Even when presidents have had both houses of Congress to work with, somehow the millennium does not seem to arrive on schedule. Disappointment of the sort I’m expecting might make Trump’s supporters wonder about all this Big Man stuff, and his opposition will meanwhile be frantically trying to reduce the power of the presidency any way they can.

Three: one thing this election did certainly do was break up a rationale for running/winning that had been taking hold over the years, namely “Because I’m a Bush” or “Because I’m a Clinton”. As nasty as it is this morning being a Never-Trump former Republican, it has to be even nastier being a committed Democrat and knowing that the voters did not exactly come flocking to your candidate, party royalty though she was. It’ll be tempting for some in the party to reach for some more of the dog that bit them, decide that the problem was the Hillary was Reagan in a pantsuit, and that they need to go really hard Left next time, but I think that would be a serious mistake. Trump did not win by going really hard Right; he went hard Trump (populist nationalist protest).

Finally, a couple of the less honorable reasons for not being depressed this morning. As mentioned above, I tend to think that Trump will actually find that he hates being president – at least, will come to hate the parts of the job that involve work, rather than the “Hail to the Chief” parts. The dog has caught the mail truck, now we get to watch him try to eat it. Similarly, I look forward to his more rabid supporters turning on him when they realize that their dreams don’t seem to be coming true. You take your comforts where you can.

But schadenfreude is not something you can survive on for four years. Much as I would like Trump’s hard-core fans to be disgusted, some of that disgust would follow Trump crashing the economy or wildly screwing up foreign policy. And yeah, he’s capable of either of those, and how, but I am very much willing to trade the dubious pleasures of watching him bungle up the country (and the world) for a chance to see him ineffectively putz around instead. May he end up doing some good, even if it’s in spite of himself, and may the harm he’s capable of be contained. Those are my goals and hopes for the next few years, and here we go.

215 comments on “All Right, Then”

  1. bhip says:

    Note- a Democrat but not a Clinton fan. I am absolutely horrified. The “hard working Americans” who voted for this turd should consider reading a book.

    Paraphrasing a tweet from last night – Americans are misogynistic than racist. And Americans are pretty f’ing racist.

    1. M1798 says:

      I hope you realize constantly demeaning half of the country only feeds into Trump’s narrative. Middle America is tired of being called racist, sexist, homophobic, and dumb. Regardless of the truth of any of those labels, doubling down on the “let’s point and laugh at these redneck morons” tactic is only going to blow up in your face.

      1. UudonRock says:

        This is true. We can only feed into the issues that have divided the country with that kind of rhetoric. We would be better served as a nation to move past it and continue to live our lives the best we can. I honestly hope that all of us who did not vote for Trump are wrong. I won’t hold my breath though…

      2. Unintentional Bias says:

        I don’t think that they mean to be, but honestly: they need to take a hard look in the mirror and own up to the fact that, had Hillary been identical save being male, they would have likely voted democrat.

        Many of these sexist and racist things are unintentional biases (aside from the flaming klansmen etc that endorsed trump, a minority of america, certainly) and we can only move beyond them by 1) admitting we have a problem, and 2) constantly being vigilant.

      3. Phil says:

        The real reason middle America put their faith in Trump is that they have been left behind in this new economy. I blame both party establishments as neither did much to curb the greed of corporate investors who have rewarded CEOs for maximizing profits any way they can – particularly by automating and/or outsourcing the jobs that middle America used to rely on. This isn’t about the last 8 years, it’s about the last 30.

        Is Trump the answer? Almost certainly not. But it’s desperation, not stupidity, that got him elected.

        1. Anon says:

          The anti-establishment cause is fair, and I understand wanting to shake things up, but the only things Trump has detailed are the exact same things as Bush did (minus the middle east invasions, hopefully). How will we respond to even worse income inequality in a time where that is a major issue? To even more military spending when pulling away from the world police position should shrink the military and the economy desperately needs smarter spending?

          If Trump can enact some of the political reform he claimed to want, that will be good, but the GOP won’t support him on those things. The things most likely to actually get through are the things that those that voted for him don’t want.

          1. Phil says:

            Believe me, I’m with you that Trump isn’t going to help the working class at all. But peple wouldn’t have voted for him if they didn’t it might help them.

            It makes more sense in the context of prospect theory. When faced with the potential of loss or gain, people display more risk-seeking behavior when there is a low-probability gain (Trump) or a high-probability loss (Clinton).


            It’s not rational, but its explicable.

          2. tts says:

            “But peple wouldn’t have voted for him if they didn’t it might help them”

            People vote against their best interests all the time. See the Kansas economy and Brownback for a real world practical example. People frequently aren’t rational. Particularly when they’re getting their news from the alt-Right sources like Breitbart or Infowars.

      4. Sleepless in SSF says:

        Definitely. There are two not-mutually-exclusive groups of Trump voters: those who were captivated by his dog-whistling, and those who’ve seen their way of life eroded and who were justifiably seeking an agent of change.

        I personally don’t think Trump’s potential as their savior is worth the risk that he really is a demagogue (especially given the slim chances he can actually help, as Derek says) but I can understand the urge to give a middle finger to the establishment.

        The aspect of this that I find very worrisome, beyond the risk of Trump himself, is that the racist redneck crowd seems to have taken the victory of their candidate as license to come out of the closet. There have been several instances of boorish behavior towards minorities at my kids’ high school today and as a society I think we need to come down hard and fast on that crap to make it clear that civilization still exists here, despite what was said on the campaign trail. I know I’m going to have beyond zero tolerance for it in my earshot, not that I ever had any tolerance before.

        1. Derek Lowe says:

          Absolutely – that’s one of the jobs that awaits, making sure that the country and its culture doesn’t get any more damaged than it is already.

        2. Oliver H says:

          “The aspect of this that I find very worrisome, beyond the risk of Trump himself, is that the racist redneck crowd seems to have taken the victory of their candidate as license to come out of the closet. ”

          But that was entirely predictable. Anyone who voted for Trump and claims they have nothing to do with it is just dishonest. The Brexit vote in the UK was a case study demonstrating precisely the same issue, and it happened just a few months ago.

      5. bhip says:

        Said nothing about Middle America. I am geographically agnostic; the racist, sexist, homophobic, and dumb description applies to his voters across these United States.

        1. loupgarous says:

          While you’re obviously meek, thoughtful, and know what’s best for everyone in these United States. Sure you’re not wearing orange hair plugs? You sound just like a caricature of the guy whose voters you just pinched a loaf on, in your smug condemnation of them.

        2. Phil says:

          I understand where you’re coming from. But you and I and everyone else who opposed Trump is going to have to come to terms with the fact that many of the people who voted for Trump are not racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or dumb – at least no more of any of these things than most “normal” people (we all have biases and flaws, even those who cognitively reject our biases are still affected by them).

          They were willing to accept his flaws for a shot at change. They could be wrong (I still think they are), but that does not make them inferior human beings. It especially does not give us an excuse to write off their grievances. That they were willing to go to this length demonstrates how dire their situation seems to them.

          1. MiredinDespair says:

            One upside is that half the country just gave up their “moral high ground” on most of the wedge issues that have kept them in the sway of a crassly exploitative establishment these past 40 years. Trump voters also clearly voted in business as usual for Pharma. I’m with Derek, I’d give back all the upside from yesterday if I could keep this amoral orangutan away from the nuclear codes.

          2. Phil says:

            If you think this will keep evangelicals from claiming the moral high ground, you must be standing on a different type of high ground (do you live in CA, MA, or NV?).

            And it’s not the evangelical vote I’m talking about. It’s the blue-collar Midwestern vote that got Trump elected. There is some correlation between the two, but his focus on bringing jobs back is what really distinguished him from Clinton for those voters.

            No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, you are missing the point if you credit the Bible Belt for Trump’s victory. This was about factory workers fearing that they won’t be able to provide for their families unless something drastically changes.

          3. WhoAmI says:

            Of course everyone who voted for Trump is supremacist. Voting for him waiting for some “change” is basically saying “i don’t care about those black men and gay kids dying i want something NEW goddammit”. If anything, all those people want change because they’re scared they might be slowly losing their nice pedestal made of pure concentrated privilege.
            I personally don’t have time to try and understand those people who basically signed for my life to be at risk just so they could continue to have it better at the same level and not one iota less. They can all choke for all I care.

      6. Dr. Nick says:

        Nice AnCap flag

  2. Hap says:

    Well, I guess I get to learn the limitations of my knowledge and experience, and that stories based on an incomplete knowledge of those are going to fail, badly. That’s something.

    I hope we learn the value of our country and of other people with as little pain as possible.

  3. bhip says:

    sorry- should be “more misogynistic “…

  4. Mister B. says:

    To be fair, I will retain all my comments as we will certainly have the same situation in France in 5-6 months with our “lovely” Presidential election.

    At the moment, we don’t have a “Trump-like” candidate, but those we’ve got are quite close.

    I may look naive, but back in 1952, R&D in the US was the best in the world, isn’t it ? Is it enough to be optimistic in Trump’s programm ? 🙂

    1. fajensen says:

      Don’t be so sure, In France, the choices will be the pathetic loser François Hollande, the known crook Nicolas Sarkozy and the nationalist Marine Le Pen. Nobody’s life improved, even one single bit, by the policies of the crook and the loser so …. maybe … the third option will do the trick or at the very least kick some sand onto the establishments picnic?

      Probably Dominick Strauss Kahn would have a decent shot at it.

      I wonder what the odds are on Le Pen, now? The Danish bookies had Donald Trump at 6:1 right up until the actual election result. Maybe they learned something. Probably not, “it couldn’t happen here” is what we say, right up till it does.

  5. Thoryke says:

    This is the most comforting thing I’ve heard in the last 18 hours. Thank you for the perspective.

    1. johnnyboy says:

      The fact that you find comfort in Derek’s message, which boils down to “I hope he doesn’t fuck things up too much”, just shows in how much trouble the US is.
      For another meager and unsatisfying bit of comfort, you could also consider the fact that Hillary actually won the popular vote. The fact that she got trounced is essentially due to the absurdity of the electoral college.

      1. Derek Lowe says:

        That’s a whole other argument, but I don’t find the Electoral College necessarily absurd. It’s specifically there so you can’t win by running up the score in a few areas to cancel out all the others. Sure, people in Illinois complain that Chicago often ends up swinging the whole state’s electoral votes, but that state-by-state breakdown is the price for not having the whole country be subject to the same effect. It’s also a firewall in the case of a contested national election (for example, 2000 being limited to Florida, which was certainly bad enough).

        1. Joe Q. says:

          From an outside perspective, the Electoral College seems to me to be mostly about making sure that the US national government is based around the states (rather than the people living in those states). It amplifies small margins of victory and elevates the voices of small states disproportionately. Per capita, Montana gets double the electoral college votes that California gets.

          I realize that there are historical reasons for this, but for a country like the USA in its present form, it can be baffling.

          1. MrRogers says:

            That’s why it’s called the United States of America, rather than the Federal Republic of America. Our system has the potential to enable substantially more diversity at the expense of inhomogeneity in representation.

        2. johnnyboy says:

          It would be less absurd if the states’ electors were distributed in proportion to the vote in the state (as they are in Nebraska), rather than being ‘winner take all’. This would add at least some degree of accuracy in representation, while still keeping the regional balancing effect that you mention. And elections wouldn’t be decided essentially by tiny shifts in voting proportions in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, but by the whole country.

          1. Nobody says:

            Look at by-county maps. Nationwide proportional allocation of electoral votes would all but guarantee GOP presidencies.

          2. Me says:

            Indeed, it would be less absurd. And what many people forget, due to how long it has been this way, is it was never intended to be so. The first political parties started changing it before Washington was out of office as a way to amplify their power and marginalize anyone who was not a party member. And several of the nation’s founders were furious when the states started doing things this way, because it sabotaged the entire purpose of the electoral college. And it has made a farce of every election ever since.

            I do agree with Derek that the electoral college has valid and useful purposes, and shouldn’t be ejected wholesale. I also believe that the current system is broken beyond belief.

            I am, however, almost completely absent the rage, despair, and loathing so many other people are feeling. I ran through my stock of that months ago when the primaries left me with the certain prospect of either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump as my president.

            So at the polls, I wrote in Cobra Commander. If those two clowns are the best America can come up with, we don’t DESERVE self-governance, and it is a sad day when a cartoon villain is the lesser evil. Besides, he has a WEATHER DOMINATOR. That would’ve fixed global warming.

            (And no, I did not “throw my vote away” or “hand Trump the election”. I made a clear statement that I could not in good conscience support either viable candidate. Besides which, I live in Texas. There was no question that Trump was taking every last one of my state’s electoral votes no matter who I marked down on a scrap of paper. I could’ve voted third party, but that wouldn’t make the statement as loudly.)

        3. Eric says:

          I’ve got to disagree with you on this one Derek. No one would be ‘running up the score’ in any one area. It wouldn’t matter where you live – every vote would have equal weight. That ought to be the case in a national election in a democracy. Even in a republic this ought to be the case. People vote – not large empty fields in Nebraska. The senate can be used to ensure states rights if we want that.

        4. M says:

          That has never made any sense to me. As “running up the score” means “winning more votes” and it doesn’t seem something so scary that I want to cling to any system that prevents it.

          Even accepting the implicit regional logic it doesn’t make sense. You can only win by concentrated votes in one specific area if you’re at least moderately competitive in most of the other ones. The electoral college doesn’t guarantee you have to appeal to all regions; it means you can completely ignore one or two because getting 49% of the vote there is no better than 0%.

          1. Derek Lowe says:

            The thing is, people look at the popular vote and say “If only we didn’t have the Electoral College!” But the popular vote would be very different without it, because the candidates would campaign in utterly different ways. You’d see get-out-the-vote efforts in Texas and Tennessee, in California and New York. I don’t know how it would shake out, but thinking that (for example) it would have resulted in a narrow Clinton win this time is a proposition for which there’s no evidence.

  6. Hap says:

    I guess at least some people will learn that letting other people choose your president for you is probably a bad idea.

    1. Carl says:

      That’s a pretty steep learning curve for some, illustrated by 2000 and now 2016.

    2. Ed says:

      Perhaps you would like to suggest an education requirement in order to be eligible to vote.

      1. Hap says:

        My point wasn’t that people weren’t smart enough to make the correct choices, but that lots of Democrats didn’t vote at all, so they allowed other people (the general population, more Trump voter-enriched) to vote for them – they may have either assumed that Trump and Clinton were functionally equivalent, or that they didn’t care enough to vote for Clinton (she wasn’t enough better than Trump for them to vote), or that Clinton was so bad they couldn’t vote for her. If the first or third option, it didn’t matter, but the second might have led to a suboptimal outcome for its choosers.

  7. luysii says:

    “The people who kept complaining about those foul Republicans obstructing the Obama agenda are now desperate for someone who can obstruct Trump’s. We have a deliberately divided system of government in this country, very carefully designed that way. ”

    Exactly. This is what was so unsettling about the last 8 years. The unbridled use of executive action (aka ruling by decree) beloved by the left when Obama wielded it, will now come back to bite them, as predicted by the WSJ. We’ll see how consistent the WSJ is in their opposition to same when Trump begins to wield it.

    1. Anonymous says:

      The same guy who gets into early morning Twitter wars with celebrities will soon have the power to start small wars, issue executive decrees, and extralegally assassinate US citizens overseas. Where was our outrage when it was needed?

    2. No Perch is Necessary says:


      In “recent” times, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and GWB have all EOs more extensively than Obama. I would not classify his usage as “unbridled.”


  8. mr two iron says:

    Everybody shut up, get to work, and discover some drugs.

  9. 10 Fingers says:

    I have been sitting here wondering how I counsel my daughter, now in her first year in college, about going forward in a world in which the mœurs of sexual assault, venality and a contempt for rational thought have all been validated.

    It’s been a pretty bleak couple of hours.

    1. dearieme says:

      You’ve misunderstood. The Clintons lost.

      1. Hap says:

        Yes, and Clinton lost to someone who openly advertised his contempt for a wide variety of people and reason and information, and harnessed the frustration of people with similar values. So, while Clinton was the key target, there’s some significant collateral damage.

        1. Janex says:

          And Clinton called half the country a basket of deplorables. And Bill is as bad or worse than Trump in his treatment of women. So you have 2 candidates who who openly advertised contempt for a wide variety of people. Two candidates for which the male mistreats women (and in Hilary’s case, the female is an accessory). There is a reason these 2 are both widely hated by about 70% of the country.

          1. Jim Hartley says:

            “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”

          2. Anon says:

            Clinton called half of Trump’s supporters (not half of the country) a basket of deplorables. That’s a pretty big difference.

          3. loupgarous says:

            While your>/i> candidate covered this up for her husband:

            “She (Broaddrick) told NBC’s Dateline in 1999 that she resisted when Clinton suddenly kissed her:

            Then he tries to kiss me again. And the second time he tries to kiss me he starts biting my lip … He starts to, um, bite on my top lip and I tried to pull away from him. And then he forces me down on the bed. And I just was very frightened, and I tried to get away from him and I told him ‘No,’ that I didn’t want this to happen but he wouldn’t listen to me. … It was a real panicky, panicky situation. I was even to the point where I was getting very noisy, you know, yelling to ‘Please stop.’ And that’s when he pressed down on my right shoulder and he would bite my lip. … When everything was over with, he got up and straightened himself, and I was crying at the moment and he walks to the door, and calmly puts on his sunglasses. And before he goes out the door he says ‘You better get some ice on that.’ And he turned and went out the door.”

    2. 10 Fingers says:

      I neglected to mention that one of the items on the table is her decision on whether or not to pursue a career in the sciences. It has been a hard enough road for women to travel, to this very day. However, if misogyny and anti-intellectualism have become acceptable social norms, I not only worry about her prospects for an enjoyable and rewarding career, I become concerned for her emotional and physical safety.

      1. jbosch says:

        Send your daugther to Europe. Education is almost free compared to US. Not saying it is better but its a viable option and you get the benefeit to visit every now and then.

      2. fajensen says:

        “””However, if misogyny and anti-intellectualism have become acceptable social norms, I not only worry about her prospects for an enjoyable and rewarding career, I become concerned for her emotional and physical safety.”””

        It is “funny” that you say this is an issue, because, “the left” in Europe is currently busy losing to the nationalists everywhere, mainly because “the left” is seen as defending mass immigration and Islamic values, which are *exactly* about making misogyny, creationism, physical attacks on “loose” women the actual law of the land.

        Everyone who disagrees with “the left” on anything at all, even the crushing of lower-class wages and working conditions by mass immigration, are – of course – stupid and racist.

        Having said that, Denmark is a very safe place. Sweden, not quite so much, still OK though and today the Swedes have better universities and university culture than Denmark, by far.

        Problem here in Sweden, is that there are too many young men with vanishing prospects, therefore no access to women (prostitution is illegal here) and then right on top of our own problems we have the recent refugee wave adding to the trend:

        Drugs are highly illegal in Sweden too, so the teenagers will stupidly use any kind of weird shit they can get, this leading to OD rates much higher than Denmark’s where everything is much more relaxed.

        Zero-tolerance *anything* is very much against the Danish mentality, we have to have some degree of “sinfulness” to live properly; Sweden is more “American” in that respect, the Swedes like rules followed exactly to the letter.

        I do notice that my male Swedish colleagues, even consultants, tries to avoid mentioning my female “sidekick” even when they are on a direct assignment from her. They really do not like to be seen as working for a woman. As a Dane I secretly enjoy rubbing their little faces in it on every occasion (Sweden, Norway and Denmark have for centuries been like three siblings in a car on a long drive, it is how it is).

    3. you_worry_too_late says:

      Why you worry so late? Do you worry some lawyers will rape 12-year old girl for the 2nd with ridiculous theory. Or whenever your daughter did something wrong, she can defend everything by “I did not recall”. or had you taught your daughter “sexual assault means whenever the husband did something on women, his wife would do something even worse”
      you have too much to worry, for both the one who won the election an the one not.

    4. Eric says:

      I can certainly understand your concern, my three kids are also young adults. 2 black sons and a white daughter. We’ve undoubtedly had a different experience than most of the US. Counsel her that there is good and bad in the world. Speak up for what is right and the world will be a better place for her children some day.

  10. dearieme says:

    Q: How did this happen?

    A: Because the Dem’s selected an appalling candidate. For how that selection was done, see Wikileaks.

    1. Krusty says:

      I think that the locking in of the DNC to Clinton was a major part of the deal. Sanders would probably have lost too but other feasible candidates (Biden, Elizabeth Warren, et al) were kept out of consideration. I think that this was a done deal 8 years ago when Obama beat HC. The fact that the total vote for HC was lower than Obama is a strong piece of data for that idea.

      1. tts says:

        Warren didn’t want to run, she was quite vocal on that. And Biden couldn’t have won it either, he has failed before. They weren’t kept out at all. Clinton certainly used some influence to help sway things in her favor with the help of the DNC but nothing that was particularly shady. Certainly not enough to claim it was a rigged primary like the Bernie or busters do.

        I would’ve loved to have Warren to vote for but I can’t honestly believe she would have won either.

  11. Anon says:

    Look on the bright side – heroin imported from Mexico is now 12% cheaper!

  12. mallam says:

    Also not a fan of either candidate, she was less objectionable to me than he. Looking at the total votes, it appears this will be the second in five of the last presidential elections that the candidate with the most total votes concedes at the end.

    The electoral college is as arcane as was selection of Senators by state legislatures; the latter has been changed but the former still hangs on like a vestigial organ that is passed from one generation to the next, no longer with a real purpose, need, or function except able to become diseased or troublesome.

    1. Janex says:

      Derek is quite correct in noting the system of checks and balances limits the power of the president and that Democrats will be very glad of this over the next 4 years even though they weren’t during Obama’s presidency. The electoral college serves the same function. The president is supposed to represent the entirety of the country, not just a region of the country. You are unhappy now because it negatively impacts your preferred candidate, but imagine it the other way around. Clinton lost in part because she (and to a certain extent the Democratic party as a whole) lost the confidence of the working class and thus lost the rust belt. If her support was wider than the coasts that wouldn’t have happened.

      1. Joe Q. says:

        I would emend that to say that the electoral college is there to ensure that the President represents the entirety of the *states*. The states as units, not grouped into regions.

      2. Eric says:

        But I’m liberal and I wouldn’t be upset if it happened in reverse. It shouldn’t matter where you live, every voice should be equal in a national election. Take it to the extreme – if 95% of the population moved to New York and LA shouldn’t they be able to decide who is the next president? Why would a rural farmer in Iowa have more say? States were given specific rights not granted to the federal government – that should help protect the regional interests. President is not a regional appointment.

        1. Mr. Rogers says:

          Why should every voice be equal? Under those circumstances, citizens of California would wind up ruling the state of Idaho (or Rhode Island), two culturally very different states. Allowing states to retain substantial sovereignty enables retention of distinctions that enrich the nation, but it also means that citizens of state that are small, or equally divided between the parties will have an outsized effect on elections.

          1. Eric says:

            Do I really need to justify that every vote should be equal? That seems like a given for a democracy.
            As far as California ruling Idaho, the senate is elected by each state which will ensure that Idaho receives adequate representation and can’t be overrun by other more populated states. But I see no reason why the Senate, the president, and the supreme court (which is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate) should all be overrepresented by predominantly rural states.

      3. mallam says:

        The Electoral College was a compromise, like many other aspects of the Constitution. But a compromise over 200 years ago isn’t necessarily of par value today…eg, in the 1790’s only white men with property voted, and slaves were counted as 3/5 a person but did not get to even give a 3/5 vote, let alone a full one. So the slave owning states were over represented compared to the north by voters, and under represented by total human beings. That “compromise” no longer exists, thankfully, why do we give faint praise to the electoral college? Why do votes in NY or CA count less than one in WY or ND? We teach our children about one person , one vote, and that each citizen over 18 can vote for president, but that’s not the truth, since not everyone’s vote is equivalent. Why should the vote by a black woman in Philadelphia count less than a white man in Montana? Or a Hispanic in CA compared to a Aleutian in Alaska?

        1. anon says:

          By your reasoning, maybe California should also have more US Senators than Montana since it takes many more votes (and money) to elect a Senator in California? The electoral college picking a President is in many ways a compromise between selection in the House (population proportional by census) and Senate (same two per state). The Romans figured out you could give the “voters” bread and circuses and they would uncritically approve whatever direction their rulers picked. It would make campaigns much easier if aimed only at one man, one vote. They could concentrate free concerts or other bribes in major cities/ suburbs where the bulk of people reside and totally ignore flyover America.

    2. biotechbiologist says:

      Write to your state legislature and push to change and remove the electoral college which no longer serves its original purpose.
      Although the Founding Fathers wanted the people to have a say, there was concern that a charismatic tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come into power (sound familiar?!). Alexander Hamilton briefly addressed these concerns in the Federalist Papers. The idea was that the electors would be a group of people who would ensure that a qualified person would become president. We are obviously not going to use the electoral college to change the outcome even though we may think that in this case it is warranted!

      The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire U.S. It has been enacted into law in 11 states with 165 electoral votes, and will take effect when enacted by states with 105 more. The bill has passed one chamber in 12 additional states with 96 electoral votes. Most recently, the bill was passed by a bipartisan 40–16 vote in the Republican-controlled Arizona House, 28–18 in Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate, 57–4 in Republican-controlled New York Senate, and 37–21 in Democratic-controlled Oregon House.

  13. Erebus says:

    Trump did turn Right, and that’s among the primary reasons he won. The “Progressive Realignment” left many people cold, and it’s a damn good thing that it’s on its way to the dustbin of history. The things Trump was selling — lower taxes, less regulation of productive industries, less “free trade,” more jobs for Americans — resonates with the heartland. With me, also.

    Trump does not need much support from the House or the Senate. The power of the Executive has expanded greatly over the years, and Trump will find that he can get a hell of a lot done via executive order, and via applying pressure to the various regulatory and bureaucratic agencies he now leads. (For e.g., Obama’s DOJ, with its selective enforcement of the rules. “Prioritization.”)

    Let’s not forget that the Civil Service comprises the vast majority of the Federal government, and most of that is in the executive branch. President Trump will be able to fire executive branch political appointees at will, at any time and for any reason. There are many administrative judges, DOJ officials, and other bureaucrats, who should start packing up their offices. These people will be replaced with folks loyal to Trump and his vision.

    Sure, congress can play chicken with Trump on the budget. But that’s just about all the power they’ve got. And we’ll see who flinches first.

    1. Hap says:

      So you’re actively looking for a dictatorship? Those always work out well.

      1. Erebus says:

        It won’t be a dictatorship. Not any more than what we have now is a dictatorship. Trump will set the tone of government — from NASA, to the DOJ, to the Foreign Service, to the border with Mexico, and so forth — much as Obama has. Trump’s tune is going to be different, and surely unpleasant to progressive ears, but by no means does this mean that he’s going to be a dictator!

        If you were President, wouldn’t you appoint judges and bureaucrats loyal to you and your vision? Is that not what virtually every previous President has done? So why begrudge Trump the same, and call it “dictatorship”?

        Besides, Trump’s election is great news for the US chemical industry. If he follows through on his promises, manufacturing in the USA is going to become much more competitive. And his positions with respect to the pharmaceutical industry are very reasonable. If he keeps his word and manages to get things done, he’s going to be a great president.

        1. Hap says:

          Because you seemed to be saying that Trump should take budget powers onto himself as well, and that an optimal presidency would involve him dominating Congress. Separation of powers is sort of important.

          1. Erebus says:

            I’m saying that if it comes down to a contest of wills, Trump will emerge victorious.

            The only power Congress truly has is the “Power of the Purse” — and it’s a very feeble weapon, these days, given the way Congress has taken to using it. The powers of the Executive — leader of the civil service, arbiter of foreign policy, wielding the power to issue executive orders, veto Congress’s bills, and wield the “Power of the Sword” as commander-in-chief — are, taken together, almost infinitely more trenchant weapons. For better or worse, Congress has never been weaker, and the office of the Presidency has never been more powerful. Trump should be able to bully Congress and bend it to his will.

            …But this doesn’t mean that Trump is going to be a dictator. To the contrary, it’s perfectly legal and well within the rights of any strong President. Practically speaking, it merely means that Trump shall have sufficient power and leverage to enact all of his policy goals, which is a damn good thing.

            Besides, Trump prides himself on his negotiating ability — even if Congress is utterly hostile, which doesn’t look to be the case, I’m sure he’ll manage to work with ’em, get things done, and make everybody look good. And, if Congress is friendly, so much the better!

    2. Nat says:

      I guess it’s refreshing at least to see Republicans admit that they only support free markets and oppose government-driven redistribution of wealth when they personally benefit.

      1. Steve says:

        Of course we should only support free trade when we benefit! Why would a nation – why would the white working class – support any policy that harms them!

        Acting in one’s own interest is rationale! Lol, that you would try to shame Trump voters for voting for their own nation’s behalf.

        1. Nat says:

          I don’t expect people to vote against their self-interest. I merely ask that they be honest about their supposed principles, and not conflate their self-interest with the interests of the nation as a whole. A large part of the country has spent the last eight years whining about “socialism”, but nonetheless voted for a candidate who promises massive government interference in the economy. They don’t oppose redistribution of wealth – they just think it’s going to the wrong people.

    3. Anon says:

      There hasn’t been a “Progressive Realignment”, the DNC banked on the centre and the established by picking Hillary. Whether that alignment would work in an election isn’t yet known because there wasn’t a progressive Democrat to vote for.

  14. Vader says:

    I pretty much am grabbing onto the same small consolations as you are. Perhaps Democrats will now begin to see some merit in a less powerful President; it’s probably too much to hope that they will also begin to seem some merit in a less powerful government generally, but one can dream. And I plan to wallow in the Schadenfreude when Trump fails to deliver on his more ridiculous promises; I predict the accusations that he’s a sellout and a RINO will begin around March 2017.

    I’d add one more. Horrified as I am that Trump, I can at least take consolation that Hillary lost.

    1. Hap says:

      I fear the Gilded Age too much; I think if you think that government can be turned by large businesses into a weapon (regulatory capture), then you would have to balance how much power you want government to have knowing it could be turned against it versus the power that large businesses have.

      On the other hand, Democrats/liberals should have been more consistent in opposing the power Obama took. As Dr. Lowe retweeted, we should have been circumspect about allowing someone to use powers we would not entrust to our political opponents. I hope we all won’t get to learn that lesson too horribly.

      1. Vader says:

        I am inclined to start loudly promulgating the Trump/Hillary Rule:

        Any proposal to give more power to a new Federal office or agency should be evaluated in terms of the likely consequences if a Trump/Hillary (pick your poison) gains control of that office or agency.

  15. Lane Simonian says:

    It appears that at least four factors played a role in Trump’s electoral victory. First his anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-minority rhetoric actually strongly resonated with some people–not a large basket of deplorables but maybe a larger percentage of the population than we would like to imagine. Second, he won the rust belt by promising to tear up free trade deals and bring jobs back, especially to the midwest, Third, he appealed to people who dislike/hate the federal government and political corruption in general (i.e “drain the swamp”). Fourth related to this he magnified (and in some cases distorted) Hillary’s own past actions and record to turn out his supporters and to “suppress” the Clinton vote.

    If he is to be an effective president, he needs to ditch the slogans and poorly thought out policies (the precious few which he actually has) and begin to realize what it actually takes to govern. For instance, he better make sure his alternative to the Affordable Care Act works at least as well as the act itself before he takes away health care from millions of people. And he better send some clear signals to Putin that the U.S. will protect its allies before Putin thinks that he has the green light to continue his expansion. If he does not come up to speed rapidly and does not learn to moderate his tone and path we are in for a very long four years.

    1. fajensen says:

      Eh? Europe didn’t have any beef with Vladimir Putin until Victoria “Fuck Europe” Nuland arrived. Also, we didn’t really have enough of an immigration problem to get real fascists elected until Hillary’s “regime change” in Libya uncorked the whole of Northern Africa.

      Donald Trump making the US “Allies” doubt the American NATO support is one of the best things that could happen:

      The EU needed to wake the hell up, realize that we have interests here too, start being responsible for their part of the world, make their own decisions, their own policies, and stop relying on the USA for everything. Trump did what Snowden could not; people are busily securing their IT systems now, this is a Good Thing.

      Denmark used NATO membership as an excuse to cut down our military to the point where it probably cannot even contain a serious outbreak of civil unrest. The Home Guard is the biggest land force we have today! That is not Security!! That is stupid!!! Sweden is even worse.

  16. Anon says:

    Never mind Trump. How could the US vote to make such a thick and shallow slut as First “Lady”?

    1. Mike says:

      See, is this kind of thing ok from the Left? Because it’s horrifying misogyny from the Right. This kind of crap is one reason why Trump is president-elect.

      1. Anon says:

        You’re mixing up cause and effect. Trump was elected President despite (as a result of?) calling women “pigs”, etc. Therefore mysogyny must be OK. The millions of women that voted for him only have themselves to blame.

      2. Jorden Kass says:

        I am on the left and this is not ok. And I am willing to use my real name, not Anon

        1. Deborah says:

          Well millions of women voted to say it *is* OK, so who are you guys to judge?

          1. Kirsten Chalmers says:

            Yes, we all like to be grabbed by the pussy.

          2. Anon says:

            Good point. In fact about 25 million women (more than 40% of all those women who voted) voted for Trump despite all his mysogynyst comments, rather than for the first female President.

            This tells you that his behaviour is completely acceptable to so many women, including his own wife, so I’m sure he won’t mind me treating his wife with the same disrespect, and neither should she.

        2. Eric says:

          Absolutely agree. It’s not OK. Civil discourse is the only way we move forward. This doesn’t help and it really doesn’t matter how many people supported Trump. Be the better man/woman and rise above this.

          1. Anon says:

            “This doesn’t help and it really doesn’t matter how many people supported Trump.”

            Then we should just abandon the idea of democracy, if we can’t support the behaviour of the people we elect as our so-called leaders.

    2. loupgarous says:

      That’s the sort of thing we saw directed at Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan (who deserved some of it, but by no means all) and George W. Bush’s daughters.

      I don’t want to hear what a misogynist Trump is from Democrats. They never fail to do misogyny when they think it helps them. Think Whoopi Goldberg’s “bush” jokes at a DNC “family day.”

  17. SPQR says:

    Obama offered Hope and Change and delivered neither. I am sure Trump can at least cause Change!

    1. Design Monkey says:

      Technically, Adolph too made quite a lot of Change.

      1. loupgarous says:

        Which is no more to the point than the people on the far right who called Obama “Obitler”.
        (I thought for all his stonewalling and secrecy so pervasive even New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson commented on it, “Obixon” was much closer to the mark).

        1. Design Monkey says:

          If you did not catch the meaning, then it was pointing out that changes can be in quite various directions, including rather bad ones. Praising change alone is not enough, without specifying change to what.

      2. TrumpIsLiterallyHitler! says:

        I predict that after 4-years of calling “Trump is literally Hitler”, people are going to look a lot more fondly on Hitler. “1930s weren’t so bad; actually, they were pretty good. It’s a shame they went down the path they did in the 1940s, however.”

  18. luysii says:

    More unbiased reporting from the newspaper of record

    “Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy.”

    In related news, Steve Coll, Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism announced that the school will be closing. He was quoted as saying the press no longer has a role in our society, noting that this was the only time in history that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The National Review and The Nation had ever agreed on anything, but to no avail.

    National Public Radio has been playing Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber all morning (mourning?)

    OK gang, time to get back to work

  19. anonymous says:

    Wait until we get to see Wikileaks of # 45. It is a matter of time, but it is coming! Putin and Trumputin or Trumpence will have to do something constructive and we will see!

  20. idiotraptor says:

    Thank you, Derek, for another thoughtful commentary. I’m remaining off (drug industry) topic for the moment. Economists, historians, elected officials and the like often resort to comparing current U.S. economic growth conditions to those that obtained in the post-WWII period i.e. approximately 1946-1955. So often this period in U.S. economic history is invoked as a statistical mean we can again attain if only the “correct” fiscal and economic policies were are implemented. This has long struck me as a misguided and a downright wrong comparator. The populations, infrastructures, industrial bases, and financial systems of most the world were decimated and the industrial and financial capacity of the U.S. largely rebuilt it all. It makes no sense at all to use this period in U.S history to derive economic benchmarks.

  21. Anchor says:

    If the so called least (or less) educated White in the mid-West are the reason why Trump is # 45, I wonder how they will be helped by him? I mean the jobs promised to them by Trumpence is not going to come back and it is guaranteed. May be funding the infrastructure is in the cards but that too is not an option as it would more to the deficit and something Trumpence ran against! Those doubling the economic performance (increased trade and both China/Russia could play hardball) and other things are simply castles in the air! As Derek said “I look forward to his more rabid supporters turning on him when they realize that their dreams don’t seem to be coming true!” And, it is going to come sooner than later! I betcha Mr. Putin of Russia loves this arrangement!!!!

  22. 404 file not found says:

    Just now I’m thinking about what happens if he doesn’t get re-elected. That would sure piss him off. I can picture him pushing the button just to say FU. And why not? The President has the greatest, most well-stocked bomb shelter, folks, you have to see it to believe it, believe me.

  23. Grim Reaper says:

    I would give him a bit of a chance to prove half the people right or half the people wrong in their judgement. Divided government is the safest form of government.
    To those of you who think some of this audience does not “read a book” we are a Constitutional Republic not a Democracy. The Electoral College elects the president not 11 million illegal aliens, dead people, nursing home denizens, etc.. Trump was wrong to adopt a slogan of “Drain the Swamp”. Flush the toilet would have been better.
    Now let’s get back to developing drugs for everyone.

    1. anonao says:

      you mean to the rich, right? not sure how everyone will be able to afford the drugs…

    2. Anon2 says:

      ” Divided government is the safest form of government.” Unfortunately we don’t have divided government now. The Republicans are (or, in the case of the Supreme Court, soon will be) in full control of all three branches of government. Let’s hope they don’t smash up the economy like the last time they were running things. I’m a liberal, but see the need for both major parties to be able to do a reasonable job of running the country (not necessarily in a way I would like) and avoid extreme economic events. It’s now up to the new President and Congress to show they can do this.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I’m afraid that I think things will be far worse than Derek hopes, and I say this as (essentially) an Edmund Burke conservative. I see the following happening in relatively short order:

    Packing of the Supreme Court and Federal judgeships (of which there are many open) with compliant judges. This will essentially destroy the legal system in this country.

    A full scale attack on the First Amendment using copyright and slander/libel legislation, condoned by the above.

    An end to science-based policy and its replacement with faith-based — provided you’re of the right faith.

    A return to Jim Crow with a vengeance.

    And if you are skeptical, let me offer this: don’t look at Trump, look at the people around him.

    1. Calvin says:

      Bingo. This is my big fear. I can actually understand (but not condone) the appeal of Trump particularly to those in the working classes who have been smashed by the Great Recession (it was a great trick for him to blame Obama for this rather than GWB). I completely understand their frustration (but bemused that they think a billionaire who has never been poor can understand their plight) and why Trump appealed to their needs. What I can’t stand is that he was happy to bring along the racists, sexists and other “deplorables”, giving them cover and legitimacy. And as you rightly point out he is surrounded by a pretty nasty bunch pf people who will roll back all kinds legislation. I guess I am a fiscal conservative, social liberal. I worry that the social progress of the last few decades will be ripped up.
      And as a resident alien I am very nervous. Collateral damage is all to easy in these situations.

      The Democrats in the Senate and Congress are going to have to work very hard to keep a lid on some of this.

      I had a hard time explaining all this stuff to my 6 year old daughter this morning. My only smile came when she said “OK, I can be President then”. So there may be hope yet.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Omarosa just admitted they are drawing up the enemies list. Kristallnacht, here we come.

        1. MakeListsCompleteAgain says:

          Quit the silly insinuations that “Lists” are somehow sinister.

          It’s important to remember who were your enemies. After Trump gets into power, all his naysayers will become sycophants and try to infiltrate into his good graces. Just look at Bill Kristol and Glenn Beck, who led the NeverTrump movement, They and their ardent supporters need to be ostracized, and lists are necessary to know who is your enemy, who is unfriendly, who is supportive, and who is a loyalist.

          1. Derek Lowe says:

            I can be a little tiny member of that list, then, since I was NeverTrump all the way. Now that he’s president, though, a lot of my opposition has been rendered a moot point. I love my country and don’t want to see it fail, so my best course of action is to hope that Trump doesn’t screw it up too much. I must say, though, that one of Trump’s less attractive features is is apparent thirst for retribution. If you find that too much fun and too satisfying, you can end up pursuing it long past any useful point, and let it take up time and effort that should be spent on something that matters more. Nixon is a perfect example of this.

    2. loupgarous says:

      How was the appointment of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor not “packing the Supreme Court with compliant judges”? You’re just upset Hillary Clinton wasn’t able to finish the job for the Democratic Party. Not to mention a tad bit hypocritical.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Good example of the abuse of logic that helped get us in this mess:

        1. False equivalence/”you’re another.” Don’t speak to the point, bring up a different issue. “What about Obama?” I wasn’t talking about Obama. Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court, and that act is equally irrelevant to the point I was making.

        2. Ad hominum/facts not in evidence: “You’re just disappointed.” You don’t know whether I am or not. Assigning motive without evidence is a ploy that was discredited when Cicero was in diapers.

        For the record, everybody knows that every president appoints Supreme Court justices that are ideologically aligned with that president. Trump’s ideology is contempt for the rights of individuals, as demonstrated by any number of speeches and tweets. So I submit that my predicting that’s the kind of justice he will pick is based on evidence.

        1. loupgarous says:

          Trump, so far, has been largely guilty of clumsy phrasing. His critics, while more artful, demand we allow Presidents (whose role in our Constitutional separation of powers is largely limited to executing laws passed by Congress – a huge remit but still limited) to suspend the rule of law arbitrarily.

          As far as ad hominem (note the correct spelling) remarks, no. I criticized your passing over the fact Obama hoped to shift Supreme Court decisions in his party’s favor by appointing (for a rubber-stamp Democrat Congress’s approval) two reliable endorsers of his policies, but decrying what you assume will be Trump’s choice to do the same. Please note the Senate has only a Republican majority of one. His appointees can be expected to be scrutinized more closely than Kagan or Sotomayor ever were. So your remark was hypocritical.

          If you’d like better assessment of your remarks, make more thoughtful ones in the future.

          1. Anonymous says:

            The issue is not whether or not any appointee by any president will agree with that president on policy; of course they will. Failure to bring up that issue using Obama is no more hypocritical than failure to bring it up using George Bush. The issue is what that policy is. Just “crude phrasing?” Please give examples of same, with an explanation how the semantics of the phrase are in fact consistent with the Constitution, and why we should be impressed by a president who is incapable of saying what he means — if that is indeed the case.

            And of course the appointee will receive scrutiny; again that is not the issue, the issue is whether the appointee is confirmed. A majority of one is sufficient. I will let the readers estimate the probability of a Republican Senator breaking ranks, given their unity in blocking even consideration of the current appointee. Or the probability of a Democratic filibuster.

      2. Kos Wiess says:

        I’ve been reading this entire comment section for the past hour. Your comment’s are easily the least-informed.

  25. Dennis says:

    “It’ll be tempting for some in the party to reach for some more of the dog that bit them, decide that the problem was the Hillary was Reagan in a pantsuit, and that they need to go really hard Left next time, but I think that would be a serious mistake.”

    I think calling this a Left/Right issue is probably too simplistic, but I’d disagree here. The way I see it, the difference in PA and WI (as well as other states that were less of a Democratic lock in the past such as FL, OH, IA) is that there’s a block of white working class voters who are economically and politically marginalized that aren’t big fans of conservative issues such as slashing social security and have a significant amount of resentment towards immigrants and minorities. Their economic concerns and resentments have historically been somewhat conflicting, but with an republican running on economic populism and on racial resentment against a more corporate-friendly democrat, their choice was fairly simple.

    I’m not convinced that Bernie Sanders would have done better overall in this election (I’m guessing he’d have even less appeal to you and a lot of Romney Republicans), but I think its quite clear that his left-wing economic populism would have played better with at least this segment of the population.

  26. Curious Wavefunction says:

    As the Zen master said, “We’ll see.”

    Agree that Trump will likely be unable to deliver on most of his big promises. What happens after that could go one of two ways. His most rabid supporters might lose it and – finding no recourse anywhere – take up arms, or they could hopefully realize that the devil they knew was still better than the unknown angel they have elected. If that happens we could be seeing a Demoratic house and senate in two years and perhaps a Democrat president in four. For this to happen though, the Democrats need to show a lot of backbone and advance candidates who are capable and worthy enough. They also need to stop wallowing in their liberal echo chambers and ignoring what their brethren in ‘flyover’ America are saying. At least some of what happened has resulted from the Democrats believing that the grand liberal consensus that they stand for is some kind of inevitable utopia that everyone believes in.

    1. Luysii says:

      Wavefunction. “They also need to stop wallowing in their liberal echo chambers and ignoring what their brethren in ‘flyover’ America are saying.”


      It’s Pauline Kael all over again. It’s probably too far in the past for most, but she was a film critic for the New Yorker — who said “”I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

      Think of how many pro-Trump letters to the editor you saw in the NYT this year (3? 4?). It was an amen corner rather than a place of discussion.

    2. Hap says:

      I don’t know if we (they) can. I don’t see what we are asking from candidates being rational (otherwise the way we debate would be different) – it’s more like a team sport, with the consequences being somewhat greater. If politics is identity of some sort, it’s hard to deal with loss constructively because it’s an identity being rejected. I don’t know if the people running the Democrats want to give up enough power to choose optimal candidates rather than who management wants. (I’m not sure thinking Clinton was going to be a “woman of the people” was going to ever be effective, though I’d not have thought it of Trump, either.)

      I also still don’t know how to deal with the substantive aspects of the people Trump has attracted. If we want a free labor market (as we seem to conceive it), then even bringing jobs to the US won’t insure they stay in one place because companies will still want to play low tax bingo to get the best deal. If the jobs (or some consistent pool of jobs) don’t stay in one place, then rural culture is unlikely to be able to persist. Training would help, but training for jobs that don’t exist or won’t exist long is a merry-go-round I don’t think people will win. The cultural supremacy part…I don’t really want (if it’s necessary, I’d rather lose). If we believe in personal values, living them and rewarding them is probably best (or acknowledging when we compromise for something else – competence, etc. – and why.)

  27. myma says:

    Relax, the man has a plan, bigly.

  28. Rapepublikkkan says:


    1. Jeff says:

      Unhelpful, unless you are a citizen of some other country. He was not my choice (neither was Clinton), but he is my president-elect.

      1. Hap says:

        You can’t unfriend the President (and have it matter). We’re going to have to deal with what the consequences of what he and Congress do; if we can hold countries responsible for what their dictators do, we have to be responsible (and will be held responsible) for what we chose as a people.

        If the country is going to survive, then we are all together. (Insert Ben Franklin quote).

        1. loupgarous says:

          “We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately,” were Franklin’s deathless words.

      2. Bagger Vance says:

        Is Brooks a citizen? Actually a good question.

        Prof Brooks, I’ve always enjoyed and admired your critical eye on the literature, but frankly that’s a terrible attitude to take away from this.

        1. Paul Brookes says:

          Yes, citizen of both US and UK (although from US P.O.V. the other one doesn’t count). I guess the sentiment in the hashtag is more of a “doesn’t speak for me” attitude, rather than any disrepect for the office of the Presidency itself. It is possible, and some might even say patriotic, to have great respect for the position while abhoring the person occupying it.

          1. Bagger Vance says:

            Thanks for clarifying; that’s definitely a respectable position. To me think the hashtag version is an unfortunate meme, sort of synonymous with the Millennial outrage we’re seeing in the media this week.

            And congrats on naturalization, of course. No disrespect intended but I recalled your UK background.

    2. Bagger Vance says:

      Oh, #dissentispatrioticagain ?

      1. dave w says:

        “Dissent is patriotic again?” It should always be…

        1. Bagger Vance says:

          Sure, if you’re a racist! (2008-2016 only)

  29. P.R. Raghavan says:

    What we need to learn from the election
    “What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the
    rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game
    policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of
    paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-
    Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1)
    what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to
    vote for.”
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    Author “ the black Swan”

  30. Anon says:

    Derek, can I ask why you hate Hillary (in a nutshell)? You are probably the most intelligent person I’ve heard say that. I’ve heard others say it of course, but they didn’t seem to be intelligent, use logic, or have any real reasons for hate besides vague “corruption” that they couldn’t back up with any facts. What are your reasons? I’m genuinely asking, as a disappointed Hillary supporter trying to understand the other side.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      On reflection, I can’t say that I outright hate her (hell, I voted for her yesterday), but I certainly can’t say that I’ve ever liked her. I grew up in Arkansas, so I got to see both her and Bill from way back. My problems with her are (were) both specific and general. I’ve always found her too insular and defensive, too Nixonian in dividing the world into “my friends” and “my enemies”, except she’s willing to abandon people in the first category, when expedient, and will never cease warring against those in the second. Not an uncommon personality type in politicians, but not one that I find appealing. Then there are the various scandals over the years (the cattle-futures deal back in Arkansas, which if it wasn’t bribery I’m a tomato), the White House travel office firings, the current email flap, and so on, that paint her as someone who is someone who is perfectly willing to break whatever rules are around as long as it seems fitting to do so. Again, not an uncommon type.

      I disagree with a good number of her political ideas, but she has that in common with many other members of her party. She has always struck me as a sort of “If you’d just let your betters make the decisions for you. . .” sort of person, but apparently a lot of politicians are coming across that way these days. And, like many other politicians, she’s capable of amazing misrepresentations, delivered with straight-faced conviction – for example, during one of her debates with Trump, she made it seem as if Heller v. DC was a court decision that was completely about toddlers with guns.

      And finally, I’ve always found her personally off-putting. Hearing her painful “down home” accent adopted in the occasional speech was always a real rake-on-a-chalkboard experience, and the idea that she could think that this was a good idea, or that people would find it appealing, was also a window into her personality. But all this is a moot point now, I guess. And I did (and do) dislike Trump even more. What an awful year!

      1. Eric says:

        A reasoned reply. I wish that we had seen more of that over the past year from both sides (not from you Derek – you’ve always been reasoned).

      2. loupgarous says:

        Admirably put, Derek. I’d just add that so far, apart from questionable business practices that don’t rise to the level of felonies, even if proven (I’m not aware of any criminal sanctions against Trump, links would be nice if someone has them), Hillary Clinton’s got more experience breaking and bending Federal law as a public official just as US Secretary of State. Win by default for Donald Trump.

        Then there’s the issue of her foreign policy competence – If she had any as Secretary of State, it’s not clearly evident. We have resurgent Russian expansionism backed by a mounting Russian nuclear arsenal (a partly bipartisan issue, as we bought old plutonium for downblending as fuel for power reactors from the Russians under Nunn-Lugar Threat Reduction while not asking the Russians to stop making more in their breeder reactors – which they’ve been doing all along. Both parties own that part of the picture).

        But until the Obama-Clinton-Kerry foreign policy era, we had one Russian incursion into an ally of ours, near the end of the Bush administration. Bush and Secretary of State Rice were pushing back against that energetically. Hillary Clinton’s first major official act as Secretary of State was to apologize for our punishing Russia for invading an allied country (in the amateurishly executed “reset button” ceremony – which rewarded the Russians for attacking Georgia by normalizing relations with them.

        That policy decision, and Clinton’s fumbling around in Ukrainian politics contributed to Putin’s Sudetenland crisis replay in the Crimea and in the Donetsk basin of the Ukraine, more outrages against a favorably-disposed Eastern European ally of ours. Our response was too little, too late of what we ought to have been doing since 2008. Meanwhile, New START has allowed the Russians to build their strategic nuclear arsenal while we drew ours down, and the Russians and Chinese to forge an anti-American military alliance.

        Apart from the purely pragmatic observation that the press in this country would at least report on Trump’s policy failures, there is the fact of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous performance as Secretary of State, her apparent attempts to conceal evidence of improprieties, and the improprieties themselves. How many previous Secretaries of State have accepted millions of dollars paid into family-controlled foundations while actively running the nation’s foreign policy? I can’t think of one.

        Ethically, Hillary Clinton’s a mess. That’s why I voted for her opponent.

        1. Design Monkey says:

          >we had one Russian incursion into an ally of ours, near the end of the Bush administration. Bush and Secretary of State Rice were pushing back against that energetically.

          That’s rather “artful” interpretation of reality and quite in spirit of Ministry of Truth from 1984. Looking from this continent (you know, closer to that site of action) baby bushie in fact sold Georgia out to putin completely. Thus encouraging him to pull such stuff again and again.

    2. No Trump and No Hilary says:

      Two main reasons why I can’t stand Hilary:

      1. I’m an immigrant who got my grad education here and work very hard to where I’m now. Her message that I despise the most is: rich has to pay their fair share. If paying 35-40% of your income in tax plus providing to a dozen people with good-paying STEM jobs is not “paying my fair” share, I don’t know what it is. How much is enough?!

      2. Hilary (and Bill) becomes multi- multi-millionaires through phony foundation and pay-for-play. Trump, at least, knows what is like to create private jobs.

      Mind you that I did not vote for Trump or Clinton. I voted for Johnson.

      1. Eric says:

        Do you really pay 35-40% of your income to the federal government after you account for deductions, credits, and exemptions? I’d be shocked. If you do, I’d imagine that it must bother you that Romney and Trump pay far less than you. It certainly doesn’t seem equitable. I’m not arguing that what they are doing is illegal, but I think most reasonable people can agree the system isn’t functioning well.

        1. No Trump and No Hilary says:

          That is federal + state. Lots of deductions and exemptions get phased out after one hits a certain income level. No carried interest or huge real estate loss.

          Yes, it really bothers me a lot that Romney and Trump pay much lower rate. But that is for people in the 0.01% territory. Bottom half of the much-maligned 1% is not as rosy as it is being portrayed.

          1. WhoAmI says:

            Not as rosy as portrayed but still pretty fucking rosy by any decent standard.
            You’re litterally complaining that you’re earning too much money in an equitous tax system. Get a grip and move on.

  31. P.R. Raghavan says:

    Another lesson to learn
    When one stage of history begins to run down, Hegel says, a “World-historical individual” often arises, a willful, single-minded strong man who disrupts the status quo and embodies everyone’s profoundest hopes and fears. He needn’t be bright or virtuous, just in perfect tune with the moment. Sometimes he is creative, sometimes destructive, but he is inevitable.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Of all the other stuff I have to face today, I have to deal with Hegel, too?

      1. Luysii says:

        Are you sure this wasn’t Nietzsche?

        1. loupgarous says:

          It’s from Hegel’s Philosophy of History.

          1. cthulhu says:

            Let’s all sing the Monty Python Philosopher’s Song!

          2. sudaka says:

            No, we should sing “Don’t cry for me, America”
            Melania as Evita.
            DJT as Peron.
            God… so similar it’s scary…

          3. loupgarous says:

            Except that the true parallel to the Perons were the couple who were (according to Mrs. Clinton’s testimony) “flat broke” in 2001, yet became multi-millionaires on the strength of their political contacts. Tell me how that works without graft.

          4. Sudaka says:

            Getting paid crazy lots of money for giving a talk is not a crime, and not unusual at all.

            By the way, Evita accomplished important things in Argentina… despite her dark origins.
            I just thought the similarity was interesting…

          5. Bagger Vance says:

            The problem (for me) was getting paid crazy amounts of money when you’re still in office, or your spouse is. I understand wanting to cash in on influence/access, but when you or your spouse currently has an elected/appointed position, seems pretty sketchy. The amounts are also beyond simple avarice.

            I don’t think I need to further describe non-profits that don’t seem to do much other than line the pockets of their over-priced executives. We’re all familiar with the ACS around here.

          6. sudaka says:

            First, I don’t believe Hillary was paid for her speeches while holding public office.
            Second, her husband is not braking the law when he gave a speech while she was in office.
            Third, according to your logic, what should happen now to the Trump business? How is Trump’s kids running the company while he is president different than Bill Clinton charging for a speech while Hillary was in office?

  32. Anoned says:

    On Friday, ‘Johan Franklin’ posted the message above on Twitter that was shared and re-tweeted hundreds of thousands of times over the weekend. It read:

    “Go ahead, vote for the guy with the loud voice who hates minorities, threatens to imprison his opponent, doesn’t give a fuck about democracy, and claims he alone can fix everything. What could possibly go wrong?”

    “Good luck.”

    “The people of Germany”

    1. Scientist who doesn't want to not get tenure says:

      That’s fucking retarded.

  33. Cato says:

    The observation I found most striking in the results was the disparity between the votes of college-educated vs. non-college educated adults. If there ever was an argument for increased education funding, if not free higher education, that really confirmed it for me.

    1. more striking comparision says:

      looking for more striking comparison? how about criminal vs non-criminal, It is also the argument to release criminals from jail illegally

  34. Peter S. Shenkin says:

    “The dog has caught the mail truck, now we get to watch him try to eat it.” That one goes in my growing list of reusable quotations. Thank you for it.

    I’m not a member of any political party (shudder the thought), but I supported Hillary in 2008 and again in 2016, even when Bernie was the competition. I thought she would make the best president and I thought she would win. I was wrong about the latter and we’ll never know about the former.

    But I feel oddly contented at the moment, though I’m disappointed. I was outspoken in person, on twitter, and on facebook about why I preferred Hillary and why I thought all corruption charges were a bunch of malarkey. I voted. The evangelicals say, “Do your best and commit the rest.” I did my best and committed the rest to the voting public. I never hurled a foul word or a specious charge at the opposing candidate. Breaking form, I lived up to my highest expectations. I feel virtuous. And Hillary should feel virtuous herself, for running a great campaign and never giving up.

    Trump’s victory is an enormous F-bomb delivered up from the bowels of America to people like me. The way so many feel and the travails many undergo counted, in the end, for far more than all my fine reasoning.

    Trump said all the right things in his victory speech. I wish us all well.

  35. DPF says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Trump’s, and I didn’t vote for him. But the sheer dishonesty, context-dropping, and unhinged behavior of many of his critics still made me root for him at a certain level.

    I hoped that his victory might inspire some introspection among those who opposed him on how some of their thinking might be in error. But based on this thread, it seems that Trump Derangement Syndrome is only just kicking into gear. (Peter Shenkin’s comment is a notable exception.)

    It’s should be a fun four years.

    1. loupgarous says:

      This isn’t news. Richard Nixon inspired reflexive hate among some Democrats before Watergate. Reagan was fair game for every two-bit hater who considered him, or herself a comic, an activist, or a movie director. Bush pere et fils inspired whole new Derangement Syndromes.

      The predictable response among Democrat activists to the election of a Republican president is derangement. I wonder why Obama expected something different – he was swept into the White House on a tide of Bush Derangement Syndrome, and his critics were aware of the orchestration between the media and the DNC of that phenomenon.

      Current Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, when he was chairman of the DNC, swore in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election “I’ll have everyone hating George W, Bush in four years.” It took him, Howard Dean, and others – among them Dan Rather and (then) ABC News political director Mark Halperin eight years.

      If you doubt the reality of Bush Derangement Syndrome among influential Democrats, read Jonathan Chait’s essay in The New Republic “Mad About You” – helpfully subtitled “Why I Hate George W. Bush”. That essay alone makes Ted Nugent come across mild and meek. Or “Why We Hate George W. Bush” in the Daily Kos.

      And let’s not forget the campaign among psychologists and psychiatrists, most Democrats, who gathered to declare Senator Barry Goldwater insane during the 1964 election, which helped procure the re-election of Lyndon Baines Johnson (who bought no fewer nuclear weapons and delivery systems than the man Madison Avenue portrayed as willing to barbecue little girls with H-bombs in an infamous television spot). Its more long-lasting effect was “the Goldwater Rule” against clinical psychiatric evaluations of political candidates in an attempt to recover the profession’s public standing.

      The Goldwater Rule didn’t survive this election. We can look forward to four years of utterly shameless character assassination of Donald Trump among those who delude themselves that he’s the “hater”, no matter what he does in office. This comment space is already burgeoning with it.

  36. Anon says:

    “That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture that they regard, not without reason, as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.”

    1. Hap says:

      Except you then put the same people into power and give them full rein to abuse you. That sounds…counterproductive. Charitably, it might be Samsonian.

  37. march21 says:

    I partly blame the smug mainstream media for giving too much publicity to Donald Trump by constantly ridiculing him. They made an underdog of him which appealed to those who perceived themselves as an underdog.

    1. fajensen says:

      Part of that media exposure we can, thanks to the good work of WikiLeaks, blame firmly on the Hillary campaign, the “Pied Piper Candidates” strategy: -> Attachments, “150407 Strategy on GOP”

      “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously.”

      Bwahahahaha – THAT surely worked out well, eh?

      The sad thing is, however, that no one will get fired over this, all of these Brainiacs will be retained ready to do their rather unique work on many more situations in the future. Like how modern banking operates.

  38. KtheKnight says:

    Derek, have you ever thought of running for president? Now, it is time to make up your mind.
    I admire your way of observing things, critizing , explaining , judging, contemplating … but all the times it is done in an intelligent, but also modest and sincere way and is very different from these discussions lately in the US and also from some comments in this block, which usually reveal more of and the emailist him(her)self and his (her) mindset.
    There are good examples that chemists achieved high positions in politics or non-scientific institutions: Adolf von Brüning, the founder of the Höchst company, was a member of the German Parlament in the 20th century. Margret Thatcher, British prime minister, had a Bachelor in chemistry, Angela Merkel, German chancellor, graduated in physical chemistry and Jorge Mario Bergoglio studied chemical engineering,
    Sorry, I will only support you, but can not vote then for you, I’m German, but I should not interfere with US politics too much, I might be biased and some people seemed to be sensitive too that.
    PS: this guy with the Italian-sounding name ist the current pope Francis.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Thanks, but I’m definitely not running for any office. The very thought makes me shiver; I’m not cut out for politics. Got to learn a lot about the business growing up, and that convinced me that it was absolutely not for me. As people have said in the past, you could improve things quite a bit by making sure that no one who always wanted to be president ever got to be president.

      1. Kent G. Budge says:

        Derek, I became very peripherally involved in local politics for a few years. I second everything you say. The profession is both corrupt and corrupting — I quit my involvement feeling very much like I needed a shower and a purge.

        I’m astonished that any persons with any sense of shame still become involved in it. But then, Romney lost, Ryan is clearly on his way out, and Moynihan is dead.

  39. chiralsynthon says:

    Thanks for posting this Derek, its the most reassuring thing I’ve read today, as scary as that sounds. Good to know there are still some rational people left.

    It still blows my mind that the struggling blue collar working-class types have chosen as their savior a billionaire developer born into real estate royalty. How and why they trust him to fix their troubles, economic and otherwise, is beyond me. The fact that they perceive Trump’s unique brand of thin-skinned, paranoid narcissism as a sign of strength is also pretty telling. If you can’t see through that facade, you’ve got the emotional intelligence of a toddler.

    For the time being at least, schadenfreude sounds good to me.

  40. Bagger Vance says:

    This is certainly more even-handed than your Tues. post so thanks for that. I don’t feel myself “star-struck” any more than 2008, when I could clearly see a candidate running on cult of personality. I just think Trump’s downsides have been ridiculously overblown in the press and his upsides minimized similarly. Trump was also running on managerial competence, which was essentially HRC’s angle too, but both of them needed more . If his ability to influence people and pick competent managers contributed to the success he has had, and if that comes with a certain showmanship, that can only help sell it to the public.

    The biggest qualm I have is with expecting him to ‘hate work’–he genuinely seems like a up at 4am, never drinks, always looking for an opportunity-type hard worker. Thinking he’s looking forwards to days off on the golf course seems like a mis-characterization.

  41. Anonymage says:

    The snobby, insufferable, moralistic Democrats have only themselves to blame for this loss. They thought their echo chamber of mass media, celebrity opinions, skewed poll projections represented all reality there is, so they chose to focus on ghosts of issues – racism, sexism and other -isms, while Trump was addressing the electorate’s real concerns.

    There’s a theory in psychology called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that organises the primary drives of human motivation. At the bottom you have the needs for shelter, safety, food, then for love and belonging and only at the top the desire to self-actualize. The Democrats have failed to realize just how many people in the US have become anxious about the basics. The women who voted for Trump? They didn’t care about charges of misogyny, – that all time favorite silver bullet for character assassination, because they had their unemployed 20-something sons’ and daughters’ futures in mind. The men didn’t care about Trump’s alleged racism (and since when is “illegal immigrant” a race?), when it was their labor supply being diluted by H1B’ers and illegals, and their jobs disappearing overseas and to automation.

    Since Bush, labor non-participation grew from 70 to 90 million. It’s approaching third world levels. With this in mind, is the profound national dissatisfaction with politicians really a surprise?

    1. Anon2 says:

      “Trump’s alleged racism (and since when is “illegal immigrant” a race?)”

      To quote Paul Ryan: “Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,”

      1. anon says:

        Ah, but Ryan’s a cuck. QED.

    2. Lane Simonian says:

      Trump did not simply criticize illegal immigration. He characterized most Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, rapist, and criminals. Here is his exact quote.

      “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you [pointing to the audience]. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

      That is a racist statement.

      1. Bagger Vance says:

        Racism is saying “all X have these qualities” not “a proportion of the people who do Y (illegal thing) also have these problems”.

        If you can back up a statement with statistics and data, is it “racist”?

        1. Lane Simonian says:

          If you say that some immigrants commit crimes that is not a racist statement. If you suggest that the majority of crimes are committed by immigrants that is both an anti-immigrant and false statement (as a percentage, more native born Americans commit crimes than immigrants). If you single out one group of immigrants–Mexicans–and suggest that many Mexican immigrants are criminals then that is a racist statement.

          1. Bagger Vance says:

            I’m going to say in my reading he is referring to illegals coming from Mexico (technically should include Central/South America), who are an uncontrolled group which include known and potential law-breakers eg gang members (beyond the legality of their entry). He does not say all immigrants are rapists, all Mexicans are rapists, or all immigrants are illegal. When you have a border control you exclude people who are potentially violent and/or criminal. When you don’t, you can’t.

            But I’ll admit he talks more like a normal person than a legal document, so specifics are necessarily left out and a general impression is left. Unfortunately this also means it is open to reading in the manner you take it.

          2. Hap says:

            You don’t have to talk like a droid or an apparatchik to mean what you say. Trump presumably didn’t speak off the cuff – he (or one of his people) wrote his speeches and practiced them. When you talk to lots of people, you have to have an idea of how your audiences will interpret what you say; particularly if you mistrust the people reporting what you say, you need to make it difficult to misinterpret. Barring that, or assuming a comment made without preparation, he could clarify whatever comments he made later (though that may not work as well, since attention spans are short). If he did neither of these things, then he and his campaign must have figured that the implications being transmitted were what he had intended, or close enough not to care, or he didn’t care at all what other people took from his words. In any of those cases, the meaning and text of his words can’t be simply ascribed to common speech that can’t contain what he really meant – he either said what he wanted or didn’t care whether it was or not, and either of those cases, it’s on him.

          3. Bagger Vance says:

            It was my impression that he typically spoke off the cuff, and would just ramble around through a lot of it without having a prepared concise statement. The crowd loved it because it was fresh (perhaps you’ve seen a KB Sharpless talk?) and engaging, the press loved it because they could pick through and find something to make him look “crazy”. And he found that there was no such thing as bad publicity at first, and he could come around and clarify later–excepting for when you had to get your message past the same media, or they go 100% all in on his opponent. Maybe he just had twitter and momentum, but after a while it was enough.

            The best quote I’ve heard is “The press took him literally but not seriously; the public took him seriously but not literally.” I think that’s a good way to do it. The presidency boils down to a lot of salesmanship.

    3. What happens after? says:

      “The Democrats have failed to realize just how many people in the US have become anxious about the basics.”

      Let’s say somehow Trump delivers: he builds a wall, deports all illegal immigrants, allows in no Syrian refugees, cancels Obamacare, and changes the terms of NAFTA. Automation (and globalization too, in spite of Trump’s efforts most likely) is progressing rapidly, and manufacturing is always going to decline. Factory output is actually up, despite all the rhetoric.

      I come from a town in PA that is not doing so hot (“blighted” according to a quote in a recent Atlantic article). I understand the discontent, but none of the Trump scapegoat issues are going to fix the problems there. There needs to be a geographic redistribution of wealth, and moving of service sector jobs towards areas hit by manufacturing losses. The problem is that no investor is likely to give money to a company (either in tech or biotech) that’s not in a major urban center. Trump’s proposed policies do nothing to fix that.

      So what happens after Trump fails to deliver any legitimate fixes to my town in PA? They got what they wanted, Republicans controlling all branches of government, and shouldn’t be angry anymore, right? Or do they just angrier? Blame a “RINO” or Elizabeth Warren and just move farther to the right?

  42. Jerry says:

    Hi, Derek, for the first time I have to disagree with you. As much as I am disgusted by Trump, I am ten times frustrated by Clinton and the Democratic Party behind her. As much as Trump has been portrayed as a racist and anti-immigration, democrats are far more racist and anti-immigration toward Chinese American immigrants. Surprised? Yes, because you don’t hear about it……

    1. Anon says:

      You’re wasting your time Jerry trying to say this here. Having found long ago that many people with so-called “liberal” minds on this blog, including Derek himself, are more racist against Asian Americans than probably ten Trump combined against Hispanics.

      When they talk about science it is rather informative to read. Disregard everything else…

      1. Derek Lowe says:

        Not a bit of it, Anon. Couldn’t count the number of Asian-American scientists I’ve had very productive and friendly working relationships with, going back to grad school and continuing to the present day. Anyone who’s going to be racist about Chinese, Japanese, and Korean scientists won’t do too well in this day and age, as they shouldn’t.

        I’d be interested to hear more on Jerry’s take on the Clinton wing of the party and Chinese Americans (he’s correct that I hadn’t heard anything about this). But come out from the anonymous shadows yourself if you want to accuse me of racism.

  43. Mat says:

    As someone from Minnesota that was around for Gov. Ventura… He actually did get a lot of what he promised done, and frankly, if he ran again, I’d vote for him. Heck, If he’d ru n for president I’d likely be doing a dance down the street. but that’s me 😛

  44. loupgarous says:

    As far as the implications for the drug industry, Trump and the Republican-led Senate won’t get away with appointing an FDA Commissioner who was married to the manager of a hedge fund (Renaissance Technologies) with a position of several million dollars in Johnson & Johnson, as Obama did.

    This time the press won’t be cheerleading every appointment (Time entirely missed that little piece of information in their canonization piece on Commissioner Hamburg after her resignation from the agency.

    1. Design Monkey says:

      Honeeey. Executive powers, He will get away with that and more. Oh, first of all, he has to fix up a bit Supreme Court and judicial system. But after that, various minor clerks like FDA Commissioners absolutely are not a problem. Especially when ” Americans are dying, because eviiil bureaucratic FDA has blocked approval of 4000!!! life saving drugs!!!!”

      Under trump there will be grand (but short) era of new drugs. Every possible trash will be approved. To save dying Americans, of course.

      1. loupgarous says:

        Way to deflect attention from the massive conflict of interest Margaret Hamburg testified under oath she didn’t have, and the Obama administration kept her on for six years, during which a Johnson & Johnson product, Levaquin, seemed to have a terribly slow time getting black-boxed for the increased incidence of aortic dissections and aneurysms, tendon ruptures and other collagen disorder-related adverse events.

        Connected? Who knows? But the conflict of interest was there, consequential or not.

        All that stuff you said was conjecture, nothing that’s happened yet. What I said DID happen. It’s not the only bit of shady Federal business conducted under the Obama administration by a long shot.

        1. Design Monkey says:

          Loupie, your are declaring totally antitrumpist and antiamerican ideas. 😀 What black boxes? Those bureaucratic practices of FDA should be stopped immediately. Americans are dying because FDA forbid them access to 4000 life-saving medicines. Your black boxes are just yet another example how FDA tries to mess up proper free market of life-saving drugs. That won’t be tolerated anymore.

  45. dstar says:

    After long and sober thought, I have to render the following judgement: every person in the country got what they deserved.

    The Republican party got what they deserved for nominating Trump
    Trump supporters got what they deserved by voting for Trump (because he’s not going to follow through on the promises he made, since he _can’t_ in most cases).
    The Democratic party got what it deserved for nominating Hillary.
    Democratic voters got what they deserved for staying home and not voting.

    I find it amusing, in a bleak sort of way, that this was the only election _either_ party could have won… both parties nominated the only candidate the opposing candidate actually had a chance to beat.

  46. Paleo says:

    I have always respected Derek until the other day when he got extremely partisan and unrelated to science. Now I’m gloating and truly savoring the misery of shitlibs and clueless white Obama voters. You deserved to lose. Hillary was a corrupt traitor and should never have been a Presidential candidate. Suck it.

    1. Bernie says:

      Yes. According to Allan Lichtman “Key to WH”, D party should have a more charismatic candidate.

  47. C says:

    Lest we try to wave away just how toxic a vein of hate has been mined in this election in our post mortem analysis

    I was on the street in my rust belt home city when this epithet was hurled from a car to a group of young men. “America is Great Again – I can call you all Niggers to your face and not worry about it!”

    1. loupgarous says:

      Tell it to the wives and kids of police officers shot after Hillary Clinton’s supporters in #blacklivesmatter chanted “pigs in blankets!” all over America. Consequential hatred, the sort that burns down city blocks and kills police officers (not to mention people in the communities they police) still is largely a leftist game.

      1. Lane Simonian says:

        A few police officers have killed unarmed black men. A few police officers are racists. A few Mexican immigrants have committed crimes. A recent Muslim immigrant has committed an act of terror. Do you then focus prejudice and suspicion on a whole group of people because of the actions of a few?

        1. Despairing says:

          When the majority of Police stay silent in the face of indisputable evidence of wrongdoing, yes, they should be considered complicitous. This applies to Trump’s election as well. People ostensibly voting for change were also rubber stamping the David Duke-pleasing, unwanted pussy grabbing parts of the Trump platform.

          1. Lane Simonian says:

            Certainly, the people who are complicit in covering up or excusing the inexcusable statements and actions of others are at fault as well. To say that things were taken out of context or that they were unartfully expressed, or the person is not a politician, or is blunt speaking, or is not politically correct, is ignoring that some of the statements made by Trump are racist and misogynist. And while nothing has been proven of yet, we may have just elected as president someone who is a serial sexual assaulter.

          2. loupgarous says:

            While the alternative was electing someone with decades of experience covering up for a known serial sexual predator who is credibly accused of at least one outright rape, and who travels to the island home of a millionaire friend known chiefly for his harem of underage girls, on several occasions without his Secret Service detail.

          3. Lane Simonian says:

            But the choice was not between Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. The choice was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, a number of high profile women have defended their husband’s behavior (including both Hillary Clinton and Melania Trump).

            The frustration for those who detest Hillary is that they have never been able to nail down the allegations against her. If she had actually ordered the erasure of emails after the subpoena that would have been obstruction of justice. But she asked for those documents to be eliminated before the subpoena. Whether the destroyed emails contained any incriminating evidence rather than simply embarrassing information is now impossible to determine. In regards to the Clinton foundation, there are hints of pay to play but apparently as yet no smoking gun.

            One can certainly understand why some people distrusted Hillary, but it should be equally apparent as to why many people loathe Donald Trump. He pandered to the worst elements of American society, while making false populists promises to the working class. And his statements (and possible actions) regarding women were abhorrent.

    2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ says:

      If they don’t want to be called that then maybe they should have voted for clinton.

      1. anon says:


  48. Ir(wtf)bpy says:

    Look at the bright side, Trump gutting the federal science budget will put the lights out on photoredox! Everyone knows its just a hoax put on by the chinese to make american PhD students uncompetitive!

  49. eagain says:


    I love your metaphor, but the dog has no desire to eat the mail truck. He’ll just sit down and watch while his mongrel pack tries to take it apart, and consider how he might profit from it.

  50. PharmaJohn says:

    Well, we’ve been here before. George-43, 2000 and 2004. Look what it got us.

  51. tangent says:

    The big long-term question for Republicans and for all of us: is the Republican Party going to take an identity like the European xenophobic-nationalist parties?

    Not every Trump voter is particularly xenophobic, and as far as what you’d really call bigoted, I think that’s a minority. But this win has exhilarated some nasty types, and it shifts the window of what is socially accepted. I can easily see xenophobia becomes mainstream in the Republican party, and bigotry becomes winked at because it’s a significant piece of the coalition. At some point this draws in new partisans who like this, it drives out those who can’t tolerate it, and the feedback loop changes the party’s identity.

    Notoriously the Democratic Party was the party of Jim Crow, until that wing lost. The Republican Party was once the party of Lincoln. May not be just four years to grind through.

  52. Anon says:

    To put in context, this scary prediction of what’s still to come with Trump’s election was published in July:

  53. Leo says:

    Trump is an A-hole, but he has saved a large proportion of chemist’s and biologist’s jobs due to his focus on wall-building. Selfish, but thank god Trump won, otherwise big cuts at pretty much every pharmaceutical company. I’ve been on the pharma merry-go-round and I’m tired of being dizzy!

    1. Oliver H says:

      The pharma merry-go-round has precious little to do with that. It happens across the planet, anywhere pharma is active. You win some, you lose some. One company tanks their phase III candidate, another is preparing a major rollout.

      With it weren’t so, it would help me massively getting in again after a hiatus. But competing against the constant flow of people with several continuous years of experience makes that nigh impossible

  54. texmex says:

    This is a result of failed neoliberalism and globalism(which is happening around the world- brexit, Marine Le Pen in France). Surely most chemists have been affected by or know someone that has been hurt by outsourcing. These facistic charcters like trump rise up when the needs of the population are not being met. When you see people like obama pushing things like the tpp that give power to corporations outside the US to usurp our own national sovereigtny . And with Clinton being nothing but a corporate shill taking millions from the banks and corporations, it is no wonder that trump won. When sanders almost beat the clinton machine it should have been a clue to the democrats that this was a change(populist uprising) election. But they were tone deaf and now the current dnc will be cleaned out and remade.

  55. qvxb says:


    Under Trump, the GOP become the RWP (Republican Workers Party).

    Trump will defend America against its enemies to the last drop of our blood.

    Economically, Trump will do for (to) the US what he did for (to) Atlantic City.

  56. MoMo says:

    The streets of Boston are now filled with crying adults, holding up the lines at Starbucks, but on the bright side our industry will see a surge in sales of anxiolytics and antidepressants -and support animals on the Red Line- soothing the very, very nervous.

    Tuesday was a good day, in contrast to the views of some of these posts.
    You just wont admit it.

  57. AndThenThereWereNone says:

    A vote for Trump was a vote for misogyny, racism, sexism, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and fear – pure and simple. The Trump voter did grievous harm to the state of the Union, and encouraged all manner of harm to women, minorities, people who happen to have darker skin, a different orientation, a different religion, or no religion, education, and intellectuals. This was not about right vs left, or conservative vs liberal: it was about right vs wrong. I don’t care that Trump voters wanted to shake things up – electing a demagogue is NEVER, EVER the answer. I get that there is so much pain out there, and unfairness. And Obama didn’t do enough of the right things, and maybe some wrong-headed things. But we cannot turn the clock back, and we shouldn’t try. We really needed to find a way forward. Democracy is messy, but its the best we’ve got, to paraphrase Churchill. But no, the Trump voter voted to scorch the earth to be sure all suffer the pain. The ending of “Escape from LA” was fun to watch, but yea gods, this is real life, people. Most unfortunate, if “draining the swamp” means releasing the most predatory orange lizard, then clearly, the Trump voter is the easiest and most credulous prey. Deplorable, and pitiful. We look like tongue-chewing morons to the rest of the world. Maybe we are.

    1. fajensen says:

      Tell that to the Libyan people or the Yemenites – I am sure that they would understand that Hillary was not bombing the shit out of them in Libya and supporting the Saudi genocide in Yemen because of: “misogyny, racism, sexism, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and fear”.

      She did all that (and More) only for Money!

      Come back when you have a proper progressive candidate and well vote for that. It’s really that simple and yet so impossible for the DNC to manage.

  58. Lab rat--used to be smart, now stupid says:

    At least there is a chance to escape trashing of grad students and postdocs that embodied the obama administration. Ever think of that Dereck?

  59. Dumb european says:

    Everyone who trashed trump is eurotrash. Enjoy your banana republics in europe and your garbage research that pales in comparison to the US.

  60. robz says:

    Trump was elected! What a cabinet he will have!

    Thanks Russia! James Comey and the NY FBI, you deserve many thanks too!

  61. WhoAmI says:

    Hey Derek, any thoughts on how you got such a huge white supremacist fanbase ? I mean, we all know how men with a lot of factual knowledge but not so much smarts fare, politics-wise. Never thought they would be so numerous here however. That’s kinda sickening.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      I think that they just show up for any mention of Donald Trump, no matter where you are. At the same time, no, not everyone who voted for Trump is a white supremacist – he seems, for example, to have gotten about 13% of the black male vote, which is higher than usual for a Republican ( There are most certainly, absolutely, definitely racist people who voted for Trump, of course, but to assume that “They’re all racists” is a doomed strategy.

  62. Shea says:

    I am late to the party (to comment), but all I wanted to say is that I much rather pay more taxes (and hope some other citizens can benefit from this) than keeping more of my pay (per Trump policy) and facing racial slurs and misogyny in my daily life (because I fear this will soon escalate to real physical dangers), as this seems to be encouraged by the president-elect. This is coming from someone who graduated only a few years ago, likely do not make the same level of income as some of you guys who have way more Pharma experiences than me, and have a huge mortgage to pay off because I am in CA. Then again, this is just me.

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