Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Here's a thought...

...for you: Imagine if Hillary Clinton beats back the primary challenge from Bernie Sanders (more than likely) and defeats Donald Trump (likely) in the fall. That would be reassuring, wouldn't it? The Center would hold. Phew!

But then, just as George H. W. Bush, who ran for, and won, his predecessor's third term, Hillary is the victim of a recession sometime in the next four years. (We're about due -- the economy has been recovering since 2009.) Then, in 2020, someone even more progressive than Sanders defeats Clinton for the Democratic nomination, or someone even more "populist-nationalist" (that's fascist, right?) than Trump emerges to win the general election.

I know, I know; it's crazy.

But a story in the Times this morning, "Where Jobs Are Squeezed by Chinese Trade, Voters Seek Extremes," said (my emphasis):

Disenchantment with the political mainstream is no surprise. But research to be unveiled this week by four leading academic economists suggests that the damage to manufacturing jobs from a sharp acceleration in globalization since the turn of the century has contributed heavily to the nation’s bitter political divide.

Cross-referencing congressional voting records and district-by-district patterns of job losses and other economic trends between 2002 and 2010, the researchers found that areas hardest hit by trade shocks were much more likely to move to the far right or the far left politically.

We saw this in the 1930s -- there were a number of far right and far left groups. What if -- what if? -- we look back on these as the good ol' days?

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