• A Brief History of Hope (and How Trump Won)

    February 16, 2017

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Economy, Trump

    Nobody has a lot of hope left, so we got Trump.

    I’ve taken to doing this thing Kurt Vonnegut used to do, semi-randomly calling people I haven’t spoken to for awhile. No emails, a phone call, the numbers I can track down online. The phone rings on their end and announces I am demanding to talk with them. It’s selfish. I want to know what’s going on in America. I ask them that.

    The way things work, these people have dispersed themselves all over America. Most of the people I speak with are in their 50s, nobody younger than about 35. They are representative only of “people I still sort of know.” The whole thing is about as scientific as the smell off a pile of dog crap.

    I’ve found nobody with a lot of hope left. They seemed to have used it up.

    I haven’t run across anyone who voted for Trump who said “Well, that’s that, time to sit back and watch things get fixed.” A lot of these people voted for Obama, at least in 2008, and not because he was going to be America’s First Black President but because they really believed in his promise of Hope. The Bush years had worn out. We stayed scared enough, but then no post-9/11 attack came, the wars dragged on, and most of the stuff that was supposed to make us feel safe just ended up somewhere between inconvenient and bullying.

    People have no sense of being in control of their lives. They know they have a lot less money than they used to, they don’t see their kids doing better, but they see on TV that some few seem to have most of everything. They can figure if they have less and someone else has more where that more came from.

    “Hope” means different things but it one way or another meant change for the better and that didn’t happen. Depending on who you were and where you lived, things stayed about the same or they got worse. The news said another 20,000 jobs were created but they still worked at Target. The news said solar and coding and Internet of Things and self-driving cars and they still made $7.25 an hour when their grandfathers made $23.50 with benefits. In 2017 they could not afford health insurance, stuck between not having enough money to buy it and not having too little enough to get subsidized. And they know health insurance and healthcare are not the same thing, as in high deductibles and Bronze plans that never seemed to cover things, or cover them fully. They know that, and deeply resent anyone who tells them it’s not really that way and they are better off.

    You can’t tell a person soaked in water they aren’t wet.

    Having been fooled, prepped for years, they looked at the 2016 election and saw a choice between a guy who was so cynical about providing hope he didn’t even bother to offer anything beyond a vague exhortation to be great on a cap, and a women who didn’t even bother with that, just a selfish demand for affirmation, “I’m With Her!” going through the motions enroute to what she thought was hers already.

    They knew Trump was a bully, a cheat, someone mean, and did not need to be told. They resented being seen by Clinton as too dumb to get that on their own and needing a lecture. Same now for the endless late night mockery and Washington gossip by “sources” that passes for news. Nobody cares about Nordstrom’s or who the spokesperson is when they’re hungry, and they resent the people who do not get that.

    Economist Thomas Piketty found the share of U.S. national wealth claimed by the bottom 50% of the country dropped to 12% from 20% in 1978, along with a drop in income for the poorest half of America. That level of change will not go unreacted to.

    It wasn’t that most of them hated Blacks and gays and the people of so-called identity politics, it was just that they did not care all that much about them either way. People in smaller places all know about Mr. Saunders the “confirmed bachelor” and while he couldn’t hold hands with his “roommate” around town, really, otherwise, who cares, I’m down to canned tuna and cereal the last week of the month when my food aid money runs out waiting for the first of the next month. Sorry equal rights for everyone isn’t in place, but let’s fix some other things first. We’ve all taken a beating.

    You don’t have to like it, but that’s what a lot of people think. And unlike a fair number of other voting blocs who need to be made to show up on election day, these people turn out. They don’t need buses, they drive themselves.

    So to hell with it they said, I’ll vote for the guy, being fooled knowing I’m being fooled. It doesn’t matter if Trump pisses off the Prime Minister of wherever. My kid will fight that war, like he fought the last war, because he can’t find another job and joins the Army, and Cory Booker’s nephew or niece won’t and if they does somehow join the service they’ll be a pilot or work intel or some other clean hands job and won’t be up on the line. Can my other kid go to college? Maybe, but she’ll eat debt for 20 years for a throwaway degree that isn’t worth much. We want our daughters empowered because we know that offers them a good life, but we first want them fed and employed.

    We were promised that. Didn’t happen.

    None of those people are going to have their minds changed by pussy hat marches or Lady Gaga at the Superbowl which just brings an eye roll from the men and women at the bar, and they don’t appreciate being called racists, nazis and fascists by millennials who have never really met one and fling those words around to enrage each other into shaking their heads at each other. They are unaffected by protests not against some policy, but against the idea that the candidate they voted for won.

    Meanwhile, if someone who is a real nazi or fascist offers the people at the bar even a touch of hope they’ll put up with some of the rest even though they don’t care for it personally. Most people really don’t want to live like it’s the 1950s Deep South again, but they’ll take a cleaned up version of 1969’s economy.

    See, “resistance” is part of the long-failed stay negative Democratic policy, the same one that lost the 2016 election. Find something to be for, Dems, or you’ll lose in 2018 again.

    So if you want to really throw up a wall between America as we want it to be and the America you’re afraid it will become, shut the hell up and create some jobs. Just do that, dump some money out of the pot and build some bridges and highways. Start. People who wear black shoes and white socks don’t really care whether you fund the National Endowment for the Arts as long as you also fund a new water plant for every Flint, and there is or will be one in every state. That’s a big gulp of what stopped real fascism from catching hold in 1930s America.

    But right now people out there are heading toward accepting an awful lot of hateful things because they want to believe someone will help them.

    Every year we wait makes it harder and less likely we’ll get out from under this blue dusk. The party or candidate that can really do this — create some jobs, give people back their pride, allow them to take care of their families, throw out a little hope — will win every election they want to run in.

    We’re not headed into authoritarianism per se. We’re headed into giving up. That’s the demon that’ll destroy us. There’s the weight of emptiness out there and something’s gonna fill it up.

    I know I can’t keep “we,” “you “and “they” separate in the essay above and after spending a lot of time trying to fix that I realized it was meant to be that way.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • RICH BAUER said...


      “You say you want a revolution, well…”

      Get off your white ass and strike for a new world.

      02/16/17 7:07 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Start with purging the DNC….the do nothing cronies.

      02/16/17 7:42 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      ‘We, you, and they”, We are the People. Get out of Our way.

      02/16/17 7:49 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Next weeks vote by the DNC will be interesting. Will it bring hope? I don’t think so, until the FEC investigates it’s past leaders for fixing the primary process.

      02/16/17 8:03 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Nice Rockwell in photo ! Thanks again PVB.

      02/16/17 8:20 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Or we could follow do -nothing Chaffetz lead and let it take care of itself.

      Nothing to see here, pay no attention to rasPutin behind the iron curtain.

      02/16/17 8:23 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Obama cut off access to internet at Embassy in London. Will Trump allow Wiki access again? Tweet me J.A..

      02/16/17 8:31 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      The hope and change guy is doing exceptionally well frolicking with the plutocracy in their private enclaves. Hopefully we won’t see his likes ever again. See, I DO have hope. I also have hope because I don’t have to pay off a huge student loan. We’re all going to have to somehow help a generation of dispirited college graduates find their way.

      02/16/17 8:57 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Hope and change guy and Richard Branson Kite fly in ocean resort. His party complained of Trump and the Pu**y grabber. I remember seeing Branson photo of he and two 20 year old nude girls doing the kite thing, with no complaints.

      02/16/17 9:11 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      John, Does helping “dispirited” college grads help have a cut off age (60+?)?!!

      02/16/17 9:14 AM | Comment Link

    • starknakedtruth said...


      Over 50. Check!

      Scared shitless. Check!

      Losing hope. Check!

      No joy. Check!

      Not sure what to do or think next. Pretty much…

      02/16/17 9:48 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Nice essay….

      I think your putting to much thinking into this.

      This “election “….. It was not so much a Trump win…. As a Hillary “un-win ”

      To quote my son… ” Hillary lost because people don’t like her “.

      My thought is… Hillary collects more scandals that a pile of dog crap has flies, in July.

      Couple more thoughts…

      The people saw Hillary as more Obama…. And more Obamacare….

      Next…. People have seen what the far left did…. They are now waiting for the far right….

      Maybe it will be different….. Maybe…. Maybe not….

      Better than Hillary though……LOL.


      02/16/17 9:54 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Is that a Rockwell???

      I thought it was Schultz.


      02/16/17 10:33 AM | Comment Link

    • b. traven said...


      Peter.. Keep your spirits up. It is always darkest before the dawn.

      02/16/17 11:14 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Good to see you.

      If anyone knows how to find ‘Andrei ‘…. Please do.

      I think many would Love to hear his take. I know I would.


      02/16/17 11:42 AM | Comment Link

    • b. traven said...


      Mitch.. I am puzzled by this statement you made. Could yu clarify who the “far left” s that yu are referring to. Certainly not Obama. the far left haqs been dead in this country for over fifty years.

      “Next…. People have seen what the far left did…. They are now waiting for the far right….” fr. M

      02/16/17 12:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Hey Traven.

      Happy to.

      My reference is what I saw in Europe two weeks ago.

      Far left… As in the protests against a different agenda president.

      What I have learned… Compasses swing back and forth… Til they swing to true North.


      Swing left….. Swing right…. Sooner or later… They hit true north… Unless…. Your on a bridge.


      02/16/17 12:15 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      The Chuck Nolan character in CAST AWAY. “You never know what the tide may bring in.” (clinging to hope). Unfortunately if you notice the tide suddenly being sucked out and fish flopping in the mud two hundred yards from shore you can expect something big and horrific will be coming at you. You’d better scramble for the highest ground you can find. We all have our unique definition of higher ground.

      02/16/17 12:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      How the children in Vonnegut’s NORMAN Rockwell painting repay US :
      Shoulda stuck with Lincoln !

      02/16/17 12:43 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      …”Change, Believe”…We…etc.! Have a nice day! Keep on…

      02/16/17 1:05 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Off topic? Oroville problem, did the Army Corp. approve of anything there? How about NAPL ? BDS!

      02/16/17 1:14 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      “I’m actually having a good time”. DJT . Press on…

      02/16/17 1:44 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...



      02/16/17 1:55 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Surprise, Surprise,Surprise… Get out of the the way of change. Be safe!

      02/16/17 1:56 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      How does the right and anti abortion people feel?… How do the Pro Choice people feel… Pregnant women shot by Navy Seals, son dies after birth and bullet wound. Have a nice day! Vote D or R

      02/16/17 2:08 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      What a news conf. !.

      02/16/17 2:13 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Trump won because… this the dumbest country on the planet. Here is what your fearless leader said today….really:

      Trump says that while the leaks coming out of his administration are real, the news stories being written about them are still fake news.When asked to explain the seeming contradiction in his desire to both crack down on leaks in his administration and to attack news stories based on those leaks, the president simply said the leaks from the administration were real, but the news they generated was fake.”The leaks are real,” Trump said. “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”

      Trump falsely claims that his electoral college victory this past November was the biggest since Ronald Reagan’s.With 306 electoral college votes, Trump’s margin of victory last year was smaller than not only Ronald Reagan’s, but also George H.W. Bush’s victory in 1988, Bill Clinton’s two victories in 1992 and 1996, and Barack Obama’s two wins in 2008 and 2012.When confronted by this, Trump simply replied that he “was given that information,” without acknowledging that the information was false.

      Trump said he was fine with WikiLeaks because it never leaked classified information. When asked to resolve the contradiction between his current crusade against leaks purportedly coming from the intelligence community and his past praise of WikiLeaks for its leaking of damaging information on Hillary Clinton, Trump falsely claimed that WikiLeaks doesn’t leak classified information.

      Trump dismisses GOP town hall protesters because most of them are Democrats.When asked about the rowdy protesters from constituents that many Republican lawmakers have faced at their town halls, Trump dismissed them and said most of those people weren’t the people who voted for Republicans in the first place, and thus shouldn’t be taken into consideration.”They are not the Republican people that our representatives represent,” the president said of the protesters.

      Trump insists that the alternative to getting along with Russia could be “nuclear holocaust.”When asked about his repeated praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump once again said that he hoped to get along with the Kremlin, while not guaranteeing that he would be able to do so.Trump then veered off course and said that relations between the two countries were important because otherwise the result could be “nuclear holocaust.””Nuclear holocaust would be like no other,” he said. “They’re a very powerful nuclear country, so are we.”

      Trump shouts down a Jewish reporter who asked him about rising anti-Semitism.When a reporter from a Jewish publication asked Trump to address the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes around the country, Trump shot back at him for supposedly asking an unfair question.”It’s not a fair question,” Trump said to the reporter, and then told him to “sit down.”

      Trump then went on to say that he was the least anti-Semitic person in the world.

      02/16/17 2:28 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Chuck- yes there is a cutoff. At USC in the 60s a unit costs $60. So for 128 units I got my BM degree from the School of Music.
      I pity those who started college say circa 2000. Many are deeply in debt and perhaps will never be able to pay off their predatory loans.

      02/16/17 2:39 PM | Comment Link

    • b. traven said...


      John.. How times changed. In 1946 when I restarted at Ohio State it only cost $25 for all of my courses a semester. A year later I started in the graduate program of Chicago University and the full program cost $100 a quarter. The GI bill gave me $200 . The second quarter the university raised the tuition to $200 a quarter.It continued up virtually every quarter after that.I worked inthe steel mils on weekends to pay the difference.there were union jobs then in this country.
      My grandson just graduated from Chicago and I believe the tuition was north of $20,000 for the year.He’s a “gamer” and very good at it so he got a job at a company that designs digital games and as a 23 year old withjust a BA earns north of $100K. Times have changed. At age 30 with a graduate degree I earned $5000 a year and had four kids to feed.No sweat.One could live OK on that amount. the banksters weren’t in ocntrol of our government at that time.

      02/16/17 3:18 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Where are we headed?

      JFK said “courage” and we know how THAT ended.

      Trump said “carnage”, p and we are getting a clearer picture everyday.

      02/16/17 5:19 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Bannon: Okay, go out there and do your deflectionDon crazy talk for an hour so they get so flustered they will forget all about Flynn and your special deals with Putin. Flynn says he will keep you out of it as long as he doesn’t have to lie under oath or plead the fifth. He says- get this- it would make him look unpatriotic. Can you believe this clown?

      Trump: You think it will work?

      Bannon: Don, when have I ever steered you wrong?

      02/16/17 5:48 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...


      Well I’m moving to a country were the elections are free back room deals, maybe France;)


      02/16/17 6:07 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Bannon: Don’t worry about Flynn. Harwood will come in and get the office up and running.

      Miller: Harwood just called. He watched the fake news conference.

      Bannon: And?

      Miller: He said he don’t do freak shows.

      02/16/17 7:29 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Bannon: Get Flynn on the phone. We got to get our stories straight.


      Bannon: The FBI said he already he had his one phone call.

      02/16/17 7:32 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      John and Traven.

      Damn…. I WISH that is All it cost when I went to school. Just…..Damn…


      02/16/17 9:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Seems pretty … Clear as mud anyway…

      The leaks… Yes they are there…. And…. The media is spin doctoring them to Create even bigger problems.

      Remember…. First job of the President…

      Reassure the people that everything is going to be OK.

      As a general rule… People don’t like anxiety….


      02/16/17 9:34 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Becareful…. I have some friends in Paris…. Riots there are starting to look like…. Lebanon.


      02/16/17 9:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Well…. This is a waste of time…. The clown was given immunity from prosecution by the FBI and DOJ…

      Just another fine example of the waste of the line between democraps and rupucks…



      02/16/17 9:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      02/17/17 9:16 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Let US not forget that Trump is US. His individual psychosis mirrors ours. Everyday you meet people who are more divorced from reality than this clown. It only shocks US when the supposed greats reveal themselves to be as out of touch as the homeless people who you ignore on your way to work.

      America is sooooooooooo fuckkkkkkkkkkked.

      02/17/17 9:43 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Bannon: Trump’s fake news conference hasn’t taken the heat off the Russian FlynnFlam scam. What else we got?

      Miller: What about the Hillary email server?

      Bannon: I thought that took care of itself with Hillary losing?

      Miller: What have we got to lose?

      NEWSFLAH: The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who has refused Democratic requests to investigate possible conflicts of interest involving President Donald Trump, is seeking criminal charges against a former State Department employee who helped set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

      Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday asking him to convene a grand jury or charge Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state.

      02/17/17 12:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Chuck said...


      Is the FEC investigating Brazile and Wasserman Shultz? Fixed Primaries?! Blame the Russians. Increase Podesta’s livable wage. Pigs are Pigs. Off to eat bacon!

      02/17/17 1:04 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Speaking of getting rid of the pigs, Tillerson is adopting the BAATHIST strategy to purge State of the idle rich. He is putting them in jobs where ” they will actually do something.” Radical.

      02/17/17 6:25 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Chuck said.

      ” Pigs are Pigs. Off to eat bacon! ”

      Great way to keep extremists away too.


      02/18/17 2:21 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      If the media is the enemy of the people, why would it report that “fact” to the American public?

      02/18/17 4:10 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Trump’s paranoia is apparently contagious. Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving believes there is a global conspiracy to convince us that the world is not flat. Assuming for a second that it really is, he should be paranoid that the conspirators who have spent a lot of money fooling NASA, DIRECTV, and all the FAKE satellitte companies that it would not hesitate putting a dangerous substance on the round basketballs he touches everyday. NB. Kyrie went to the same school DUKE that Steve Miller, another paranoid lunatic who is advising Donald Trump, did. Expect Trump to tweet about this conspiracy that the fake media won’t cover.

      02/18/17 4:22 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Can’t blame Kyrie for holding onto old – really old beliefs. Not so long ago some conspiracy people really believed black people were from mud, called them mud people. Some still do. Some of these assholes also believe the world is flat. Kyrie should have a convention with them and then they will show him their science. It is cool that everyone can believe what they want…until reality comes crashing down on their head. Alt-science is a fact, if you really believe it.

      02/18/17 5:58 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Kyrie is not the only Pro b ball player who believes the earth is flat. Thank god for the N B A. These oversized idiots would starve to death without it. And the sun is just a light they turn on to fool us. The moon is our nightlight. Check the science.

      02/18/17 6:05 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Trump may indeed be the most dangerous president ever:
      “So you think we’re so innocent?” Oops. Amerikans need to believe they are only good people incapable of evil since they have given carte blanche to their government to wreck havoc over the globe in the name of goodness. To imply otherwise is perhaps a……………………..Russian conspiracy to destroy America.

      02/18/17 8:40 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer- according to the Bible a creator created two lights in the heavens-one to light the day the other to light the night. Ooops. That second thingee for the nighttime isn’t a light at all but only a reflector.

      02/18/17 8:41 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      The creator is thinking about turning off the lights for good on this shit show.

      02/18/17 9:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Here’s dangerous….. And…. Genius.

      The second link…. Giving the media a taste of their own medicine.

      The first….. Trump is setting the media…. Even names the targets…for a HUGE fall.



      And the media is walking in…. Like lambs to slaughter.


      02/19/17 8:22 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      John and Rich.

      Since you brought the ‘Big Guy ‘ into the room….

      Church sign for you.

      “the donkey and the elephant are fighting. Look to the lamb. ”


      02/19/17 8:24 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Now that Peter has joined the “enemy” of the American people (see his article When It’s Time to Blow the Whistle today in the NYT) will he become a target of the Trumpster?

      02/19/17 9:49 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Maybe he should write a book about all the money The Trumpster is waiting on his trips: Travel expenses for Trump and his sons total $11.3 million in one month, almost as much as Obama spent in a year.

      Trump: Unbelievable, all those media lie.

      02/19/17 9:54 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Trump: Now you look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden, “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden.”

      Yeah, who WOULD BELIEVE ANYTHING this idiot says.

      02/19/17 10:31 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Rich said…

      ” RICH BAUER on February 19, 2017 at 09:49 said:
      Now that Peter has joined the “enemy” of the American people (see his article When It’s Time to Blow the Whistle today in the NYT) will he become a target of the Trumpster? ”

      Rich….. Why care now????


      02/19/17 1:04 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Trump political strategy: Bowling for soup to nuts

      02/19/17 1:55 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Here’s one of those 10,000 (5,500) word essays I despise.

      What a wonderful way to say we are in charge…. We are the new united nations…and we will determine what the news really is.


      02/19/17 4:20 PM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      the modern day PT Barnum

      Mark Zuckerberg called his first few thousand users “dumb fucks” for trusting him with their data, published IM transcripts show. Facebook hasn’t disputed the authenticity of the transcript.

      Zuckerberg was chatting with an unnamed friend, apparently in early 2004. Business Insider, which has a series of quite juicy anecdotes about Facebook’s early days, takes the credit for this one.

      The exchange apparently ran like this:

      Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

      Zuck: Just ask.

      Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

      [Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

      Zuck: People just submitted it.

      Zuck: I don’t know why.

      Zuck: They “trust me”

      Zuck: Dumb fucks

      02/19/17 6:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      That would be exactly why I don’t do facebook, etc.

      02/19/17 8:22 PM | Comment Link

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