The Devil and Tom Donohue

Conservatives made an evil bargain, and evil is collecting its debts

Comments: 215

  1. Whenever Republicans are faced with choosing between actions humane and cruel, they always pick the latter. Healthcare reform, tax reform, social welfare policies, environmental policies, you name it. The Republicans invariable pick the policies that hurt the most people. And now their president, Donald Trump, has taken that defining trait in the Republicans’ political genome and unleashed it upon children, justifying his actions by citing nonexistent statistics about immigrant inspired crime and nonexistent laws passed or not passed by Democrats. And that's all fine with Republicans, because those children, their victims, are helpless, brown and poor, such easy targets for the Republicans to persecute. So let no one forget that this policy of persecution is exactly where Republican politics have been driving us for at least the last 40 years. It is McConnell's, Ryan's, McCain's and the rest of the Republican Party’s fault as much as it is Trump's.

  2. @mather Excellent comment. It's tribalism, nationalism, sexism, racism and any other ism you want to fit into a small minded pursuit of the almighty dollar. It even has ''In God we trust'' stamped on it.

  3. Preach !

  4. Whenever Republicans are faced with choosing between actions humane and cruel, they always pick the latter.... [ Over and over, remarkably correct for psychological reasons that are beyond my understanding. ]

  5. Paul has hit the nail on the head. Call out this behavior and you will be considered someone who needs help and someone who is uncivil and rude. The truth exposed causes these hypocrites to attack. Let’s hope that the current sorry situation is so extreme that our once great Nation collectively turns a corner to return to its former greatness.

  6. The present situation is already forgotten, the Kardashians said something funny. If you want some separation story staying power get someone in there with a camera and get pictures of these kids. America thinks in pictures like all children do.

  7. "This is not who we are," has become a meaningless catchall phrase much like "thoughts and prayers." It is, of course, exactly who a whole lot of people are in this country, certainly the worst and the dimmest in the white house lead by our very stable genius. Thanks for the history, professor. The hand wringing by your conservative colleagues perplexed by where all of this racism in their movement came from never fails to frustrate me.

  8. @Runaway Ding,Ding,Ding. You have won for the clearest and most precise comment as to why more and more people are losing faith in institutions/government. (especially a republican one) There are way too many that give lip service to the issues (in times of absolute crisis) and yet when they have a chance to vote on legislation, they vote in lock step against. Hypocrisy, and time for a change.

  9. The US democracy was voting right only for property owning white men. It is going backwards in that founding position.

  10. America made a deal with the devil at inception. We had many chances to make things right. Instead, we whitewashed a lot of truths and indoctrinated generations in false beliefs. https://www.rimaregas.com/2018/06/18/white-liberals-selfsoothing-sprinkl... These false beliefs transcend political ideology. In fact, they are used, whether consciously or subconsciously, to maintain a status quo that cannot ever be maintained successfully. We've been going in concentric circles for centuries, trying to find a way to be a nation without having to face a reckoning. This is America and Trump is the manifestation of centuries of festering. On this Juneteenth, it must be said that Abe Lincoln didn't free the slaves, nor was he anti-racist. There is absolutely no doubt that the Republican party is the party of racism, classism and that it exhibits no redeemable value. But, let us not fool ourselves, for even a moment, that Republicans being as evil as they are, means that Liberals are guilt-free. “In order for this to happen, your entire frame of reference will have to change, and you will be forced to surrender many things that you now scarcely know you have.” James Baldwin --- Trump and the GOP: More Jim Crow Than Nazi Germany https://www.rimaregas.com/2018/06/19/trump-and-the-gop-more-jim-crow-tha...

  11. Rima--if I understand you correctly does that mean that Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation was a total waste of time?? Sadly a handful of battleground states in the Mid-West decide presidential elections. You and I reside in solid blue states. Ideology has nothing to do with it. Whoever makes the most convincing sales pitch usually wins the White House.

  12. No, Sharon Read the post and Lincoln's quotes.

  13. Rima, Even for you this is a new low! Long before your relatives immigrated here Americans fought a Great War! Families were divided. States even were divided. One in six of us were killed or wounded as a result! Empty legs and sleeves were a common sight at 4th of July parades fifty years after this war. This war was fought over the power of our federal system which was at the time almost unique in the world. Change brought from without was the issue. The end of human slavery was that change. Many who fought and died for the Union believed in the rights and dignity of all men. Many more believed, as did Lincoln, that our Union was worth saving. If that result was imperfect as are we all and over 150 years later we are still working to prefect the vision of those who died or were maimed is to our Credit not our detriment! How dare you cast aspersions on those who fought in this noble undertaking and the President who died leading them! To point out that there are few societies on earth where prejudice of some form does not exist is unnecessary. Your relatives saw that and came here. They understood that as bad as some Americans were and still are, that there were no Cossacks here then and are still none here today! This is something that you have lost sight of in your hatred for some of your fellow Americans!

  14. This is akin to Democratic mega-donors who promote feel-good policies on identity politics and LGBT rights but pay their servants Schumer and Pelosi (and Clinton, had she been elected) to slow-walk any truly progressive agenda which might cost them a dime in extra taxes and wages. Similarly, when a CEO, as many now have, or Mr. Donohue, come out against forced separation, it is just free publicity for their "brand"; it costs them nothing and they get to feel all warm about their innate goodness.

  15. It's people like you who helped put Trump in office.

  16. The mask has indeed been ripped from the GOP - those who still inhabit the party can no longer pretend they don't know whom they are consorting with. Inside-the-Beltway-itis has taken over the U.S. C of C, which fits with the fact we know the national organization does not actually support policies a large majority of its own CEO-level members support, and instead actively lobbies with A.L.E.C. against its own members regarding sick pay, and minimum wage: https://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/04/13075/top-gop-pollster-chamber-comm... Sadly, this places the U.S. C of C leadership on a level with the leadership of the NRA, which likewise does not represent vast majorities of its membership, instead kow-towing to its biggest donors. The secret of America's success has always been that Plutocrats restrained themselves - until the 'Greed is God' (um, er, 'Good') crowd took over and allied with Libertarians, to make our seat of government the highest concentration of psychopaths in the country: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/16/opinion/sunday/psychos-on-the-potomac... What will be equally interesting will be when data is compiled showing if these same metrics apply to each of the 50 state capitals - and which capitals rank higher than others (?) Resist the outrage fatigue !

  17. Something else bears mention here, Dr. K., which is that we now have a plethora of examples where the country winds up with extreme policies out-of-touch with reality due to policy-makers who only care about what appeals to a majority of its own group, utterly discounting anything which would attract votes from across the aisle. In such an environment, bullies actively promulgate policies which result in babies being taken from their parents crossing the southern border and held in cages with other such babies, all loomed over by a Watchtower - being done in the name of the American people by the U.S. Government.

  18. And they should get to share it FOREVER. Nothing less than voting for, and actively demanding, impeachment should be sufficient to clean these spineless creatures reputations. We didn't know officially ENDED yesterday.

  19. Paul Krugman is holding back here. His description of the amoral behavior of Republican power brokers and the racist mindset of Trump voters could easily be reframed as a very frightening parallel with events in Germany in the 1930s. The Republican party of meanness is revealing itself to be the Republican party of crimes against humanity. And like rank and file Germans in the 1930s, Trump voters are doubling down by blaming the victims for the crimes committed against them. The America we thought we knew increasingly is looking like the Germany we defeated in1945.

  20. Immoral, not amoral. Amoral means morality doesn't enter into it, isn't an issue.

  21. Exactly. Read Arendt on the polemics of facsism. Hello, the Fox News-Trump symbiosis. I am currently on vacation in Berlin. I find it ironic that I have temporarily escaped budding fascism by flying to Germany- the beacon of civilization. A sad state of affairs for the USA.

  22. I agree with your sentiment yet disagree with your description of Prof. Krugman’s essay depicting “the amoral behavior of Republican power brokers,” as you put it. In my reading he made clear that the fundamental substrate is immoral behavior, subjugating children as well as the working class, be they white, black or brown.

  23. Thank you Mr. Krugman. Your previous column reminds Americans what their country has stood for and what we are now at risk of losing. This column places the blame on how we got here squarely where it belongs; on the racists and plutocrats in the Republican party. Your words matter.

  24. yes, lets not give a pass to the enablers, when they say "this is not who we are". This is indeed who they are.

  25. I ask this question in all sincerity: '' What is the greater racism. to say a derogatory word to a minority with malice in your heart, or to implement a policy (financial or otherwise) directed towards minorities that will diminish greatly their quality of life? (with or without malice) I know, tough question. Very much what this administration/President does/tweets is processed through a prism of making us look over there ---->, while said policies are implemented over here <----. The republican party (whatever you want to call them, but the group that is controlling Congress) are continuing their march to privatize everything they can get their hands on, while locking in Socialism for the profits at the top for the 1%. Pay attention now ...

  26. Corporate socialism Is also called Fascism

  27. Excellent comment except the two categories, voicing & supporting racism and implementing policy are not separate. One cannot exist without the other.

  28. Mr. Krugman you are not being cynical. You are calling it as it is.

  29. Pitting Black against White is the path to profit for the Ferengi party. The Black leadership shares part of the blame for this situation by aggressively promoting White collective guilt for Slavery reparations etc.) Isn't there enough real guilt to correct? Collective guilt is one of the greatest evils, especially in a modern world attempting a moral conscience.

  30. Yes, Tom Walsh, "both sides do it". Yes, the (few) black leaders who promote reparations share guilt with the (larger number of) billionaires and (huge number of) lackeys who promote race hatred, bigoted religiosity, greed, and poverty (for the masses) by outright lying 24/7. Quite so.

  31. Yes, it is who they are. For now. They have weighed the advantages of accessible health care for all against tax reform for the wealthy, climate change mitigation, justice for immigrants, the poor and sick and found them all wanting. They have signed onto xenophobia, racism, trauma capitalism and more guns than people. They are prostituting Christianity in the name of short term, narrow gains with Trump and church leader assurances of heavenly waivers to the gated community in the sky. Ironically, they will reject the worst of this only, on balance, when there own interests are adversely affected. And given the chance they will revert because we are dealing with archetypes. Greed trumps goodness...tribe trumps humanity. GoP is a microcosm at this moment of the political evil that can be mustered by those who pray at the alter of 'Me First'. Separating children from parents is evil. It is evil always and everywhere. Those who do it are performing an evil act. They are doing evil.

  32. I agree with a lot of this, but I think the evangelicals are among those who have been exploited. If you believe that everything is part of God's plan, you can be convinced to do a lot of things that seem contrary to what Jesus taught. When I was child growing up in a fundamentalist household, politics and our religion were separate. Our minister did not talk about voting; it would have been puzzling if he had. Someone realized that this group could be politicized and we started down the slippery slope to where we are today. Faith is perverted and the traditional responsibilities of charity and loving your neighbor morph into the biblical rightness of enforcing the law. If you believe the Rapture is at hand, you can ignore or deny anything. Trump is not a believer but he is willing to exploit. It's a core value for him.

  33. I'd take it one step further and say that this is who Americans are in the eyes of the world. We're cruel, greedy, uncaring, etc. How else could enough people have voted for a man who is blatantly unsuited to the office he now occupies? The European caricature of the ugly American is now true. Our leaders statements about the sanctity of all life, the equality of all people, and the importance of free speech, etc., can be ignored. We don't mean it. How can we? We have a party and a man in power who see nothing wrong with treating human beings like infestations. The GOP has the power. If they weren't corrupt before (and I doubt that they weren't), they certainly are now. They are acting in their own interests which are not ours. They are not conservatives. They are common criminals who should be voted out of office and placed in prison. They are the boogeymen who haunt our dreams and destroy our lives.

  34. The GOP guys (and they are mostly guys) are afraid of Trump, his tweets, and his media cronies. He knows how to belittle and those who would like to belittle don't have his nerve. Whatever he has, however, the man looks old and tired. His negativity is not healthy to have, especially at his age.

  35. Dandy: One hopes.

  36. And, one way out of this morass is to vote. Vote like you have never voted before. Take every family member.

  37. "Conservatism – the actually existing conservative movement, as opposed to the philosophical stance whose constituency is maybe five pundits on major op-ed pages — is all about a coalition between racists and plutocrats." What an emphatic subtweet.

  38. As one who actually shares some of the philosophical stance, I have to agree with Dr. K.

  39. Pulling the race card will only help getting Trump re-elected. Please understand.

  40. @Jonas I am not so sure friend. I will readily admit that the republican ''base'' is about 35% of the voting electorate, we have to keep in mind that his administration ''won'' (with help from foreign entities) only a plurality of 77k more votes across 3 states in an electoral college. Furthermore, there were more than 3,000,000 votes against. Having said that, the signs are there that Liberals are signing up to vote in droves. (much more than conservatives) Those numbers are showing up in special elections in ''deep red'' enclaves, as Democrats are being elected. Women are being elected. Minorities are being elected. I am more than hopeful that ''true'' Americans are going to have their say about and this and so much more. Keep the faith.

  41. Yes, Funky, and there is something about that hard kernal of 35-37% Trump voters that rings a bell.....I know!... it's about the same as the share of the vote that the National Socialist German Workers Party got in the last free election in Germany, in 1932. Coincidence? I think not. Seems that about that much of any population is wide open for authoritarian dictatorship at any time. If the Party of the Republic (curious similarity with 'The Republican Fascist Party' -- Mussolini's party name, isn't it?) retains its majority in Congress this Fall, things are going to get even uglier. Am I being extreme here? Ridiculous? Absurd? I hope so. I hope I am wrong. But I expected and blogged about Trump's forthcoming win right here in 2016 based on what I was hearing from my blue collar Pennsylvania family -- all of whom changed their party affiliation to vote for Trump in the primaries. This was when the Times and 538 was giving Hillary 85 and 90% chances of winning. At that time all my friends said I was ridiculous, extreme, and absurd....right up until they were cancelling the Hillary victory parties on election night 2016. Good luck in November, America. You're going to need it.

  42. FunkyIrishman, you give me hope again. Clinging to every shard I can get. Thank you. Many of us who have watched the great unraveling are working as hard as we can for those who cannot believe what is really happening. Perhaps we can yet save the country. It will take every voter who believes in the America they think they live in to vote Democratic. Good luck to us all.

  43. Saying that today "surpasses the days of Jim Crow; it harks back to the slave trade" seems like a platitude that only helps Trump supporters sink further into their current views. Mr Krugman is a leading voice for the left, which makes his words important. I'd wish he'd be more careful - particularly in linking the Chamber of Commerce's interest in lower tax rates to border policies they've disavowed. The border policy is terrible as-is and everyone knows it. No reason to exaggerate.

  44. The border policy is indeed terrible, but not everyone sees that. Many members of congress and much of Trump's base actually support the policy, defending the practice as "just enforcing the law." Krugman's point (which is not an exaggeration) is that Donohue should have known they were making a deal with the devil.

  45. You fail to mention that the Obama Administration started the practice of putting children in cages. Are you just being dishonest in ignoring this, or just do you just think it is acceptable to put children in cages if Democrats are doing it?

  46. @Charles Regardless of whether the practice has been done previously, or who even who started the practice, it is being ratcheted up to extreme levels now. (in heartlessness and numbers) Also, this administration is trying to conflate the idea of a migrant as opposed to a refugee. A refugee cannot have their child ripped away from them according to international law (which the U.S. signed a treaty in regards to) and a migrant shouldn't either purely from a moral stand point. Furthermore this administration is effectively (by lack of resources) turning away ALL refugees, in a effort to put pressure on Congress (supposedly Democrats) to go along with any and all dictates from an authoritarian President. I am sure we can all agree this is wrong on so many levels, and that regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, that this is not what America stands for. Regards,

  47. It is what Trump stands for.

  48. Charles: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2018/jun/19/matt-schlapp...

  49. While I agree that plutocrats and racists have been happy bedfellows in the GOP for decades, this analysis is a bit too simplistic. I don't think we should be dismissing white working class voters as one-dimensional xenophobes, voting against their class interests "because it spoke to their racial animosity." Working class whites are those most likely to engage with immigrants (especially undocumented immigrants). This immediate and everyday contact will -- unfortunately and inevitably -- lead to friction. For the working class of the GOP base, topics like undocumented immigration are not abstract political debates: the immigrants are their neighbors and co-workers, their kids go to the same schools, and yes, citizens do sometimes lose jobs to immigrants willing to work for less. Does this proximity to the topic excuse xenophobic rhetoric? Of course not. But let's be honest: working class communities have been taking an economic beating for decades, and having their opportunities curtailed by a big supply of immigrant labor doesn't help. Many middle/upper class folks would quickly dismount their moral high horses if immigrant families were moving in across the hall from their apartments, if their kids were learning less because the teacher is overwhelmed by too many ESL students, or if their jobs were threatened by lower-cost immigrant co-workers.

  50. Powerful and necessary essay, completely justified however sad or frightening. Yes, I am saddened and frightened by this administration and supporters.

  51. People have debated whether Trump is a racist, an argument he shuts down by repeating "I'm the least racist person" his interlocutor (and the world) will ever see. But let's just grant him that. Because it's irrelevant: he has used, exploited, and incited racism to get what he wants, whether attention, money, or votes--interchangeable commodities, it turns out, for him. The GOP saw their golden goose in his 'madness' starting with the birther lies. None of it is new, and it isn't "chaos."

  52. To me the key problem is the use of propaganda by conservatives to poison American's minds and intimidate the mainstream news media. Once the Fairness doctrine was killed by Reagan, Republicans came to depend on propaganda more and more and were able to hide their corrupt alliances with big donors. As Charlie Sykes revealed, in many parts of the country, right wing hate is all they hear, and studies, like the one by the Columbia Journalism review, show conservatives stick mainly to their preferred sources: Fox, Breitbart, Limbaugh, etc.

  53. @Paul Rogers, thank you for joining the tiny chorus trying to remind people of the time before 24/7 right-wing propaganda was allowed on the public airwaves. I would not say "Republicans came to depend on propaganda", but that they seized the opportunity to do more and more, while not abandoning their other activities such as founding "think tanks" to issue "position papers" with predetermined conclusions. That's also propaganda, but it didn't depend on the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine.

  54. Control the narrative, control the minds. This is not lost upon republicans

  55. Thank you for making clear a relationship that has always been muddied in my mind.

  56. “This is not who we are,” he says. So the question for Mr. Donohue is what are you going to do about it, other than wring your hands. For example a minimal acceptable response, "If this does not stop immediately, we are ending all support for Donald Trump."

  57. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil_and_Daniel_Webster The Devil and Daniel Webster [ I do not think the title fits the story, however. I need to think further. Is Paul Krugman being Daniel Webster? ]

  58. No. Tom Donahue is. Bigly.

  59. As a long-term libertarian, it's not often that I agree with Dr. K but he has nailed it here. What he has not mentioned, however, is the root of much of the harmful policies of the current Republican Party is fear. Dr. K is correct in pointing out that conservative policies are rarely popular - who wouldn't like "free" benefits? Paid for by the "rich" (always conveniently someone else.."I'm not rich!"). And there aren't that many "plutocrats" to vote. So conservatives resort to other means to defend their position and their power. Gerrymandering. Media bias. Money (re: Citizens United). And Increasingly, alliances of convenience with other groups who don't necessarily share any of the core philosophy but are also fearful. Of change..be it the loss of their religion's primacy in society, the loss of jobs to globalization and automation, the loss of their status over those whose skin is darker or who speak a different language. Now, unfortunately, those alliances have turned on the "philosophical" conservatives and their allies (the religious right, poorly-educated whites, the alt-right) are their masters. I don't see how this can be rectified in less than a generation.

  60. random: Interesting thoughts. I hope that you see the Republicans are not a whit more libertarian than the Democrats, and are a far sight worse for the country.

  61. America is being run by tyrants. America is being run by an egomaniac with low self esteem. America is being run by morally and ethically bankrupt people.

  62. If that is so, where is the resistance?

  63. While painful, children and parents suffer no lasting consequences from temporary separation. It's a walk in the park compared with the poverty and oppression that refugees are fleeing from. The child separation policy's real purpose is to attract outrage, and you're falling right for it. As long as Trump can keep people focused on identity politics he wins. Based on his record so far, he looks like a safe bet for 2020.

  64. I am sorry but that is just wrong. I suspect you are not a parent. Talk to any child psychiatrist about the lasting damage such terror at an early age induces. To be taken away from your parents by menacing armed men who speak a foreign language, with no idea when or if you will ever see them again.

  65. Talk to the "HIdden Children" during the Holocaust. They survived, but are people in their 70's, 80's and 90's, still traumatized. I can still remember being a child at a party where I temporary was separated from my Mom. I was little, smaller than the food tables, and must have started to cry. A lady stopped to ask me who my Mom was and took me to her. I'm 65. I still remember.

  66. Many lower class American kids are growing up without their parents due to economic hardship. How do you imagine your comment sounds to them?

  67. Another clearheaded, straightforward, big-picture analysis by PK. The hypocrisy of "It's no who we are'' is starting to apply to our entire country.

  68. Donohue knows talk is cheap so he hedges his bets to placate those who find the policy of separating children from their parents barbaric. It doesn't cost him a penny to spin that yarn and he is already assured that corporations will be raking in millions and millions of extra profits with the gift of the tax cuts, compliments of the U.S. taxpayers. Now, if Mr. Donohue wants to contact Republican senators to strongly suggest they should refuse to support Trump's legislation or judicial appointments, that might be an honorable gesture. Actions speak louder than empty words.

  69. Prof. Krugman, The most salient point in your article is that Republicans favor conservative economic polities above human rights. Their view of capitalism is unfettered, dog eat dog, so why would they not look down upon human rights?

  70. I will believe Republican protestations that the child separations are simply because the parents broke the law when this happens to other lawbreakers. Let's start with the owners and executives of any business that employs even one undocumented alien. When the Republicans start arguing that those people's children should be shipped to tents in the desert, then I will start thinking they have consistent principles (although no morals).

  71. Mr. Krugman is correct on all counts. The Chamber of Commerce has been subtly changed over the last few decades and now, in its pro-business stance, has become overtly bigoted and its attitude. In the US now pro-business equates to lower taxes. But no one gives thought to how the lost revenue from taxes is going to be replaced. The Republicans were supposed to be deficit hawks, but that has now disappeared just as Cinderella's carriage did! It appears every decade has its devil. The 1990s had Lee Atwater, Karl Rove came next (in the W administration, backed by Cheney then). His organization Americans for Prosperity, is now backed by the Koch brothers. Now, we have Bannon, followed by Steve Miller, Wilbur Ross (people forget he made a fortune in coal companies, never giving a thought to the workers' safety (look up Sago mines and ICO). The Conservative congressmen all appear to play the moral card, with $$ in the pilot seat and God, as their busboy.

  72. MRW, have you not realized by now that the Republicans never were deficit hawks? They only cared about power and rewarding the billionaire class.

  73. Yes

  74. In France, there is a nice term for designating people likeKristjen Nielsen: collabos. It means people who actively worked, helped and enabled nazi Germany during WWII in France: helping deportation of Jews, denouncing resistance fighters, collaborating in other ways... It doesn't matter whether they did it out of personnal conviction or career opportunism.

  75. Speaking of euphemisms, yesterday President Trump claimed Canadians travelling to the United States to purchase goods -- and presumably services too -- in the United States were defrauding Canada Revenue Agency of import duties owing on those purchases by smuggling their American goods across the border into Canada. So nice of him to assist Canadian officials with collecting Canadian duties from returning Canadians. Huh? Could someone in America please tell Mr. Trump he is not president of Canada. Shut up.

  76. Private, I live on the border. Please don't obfuscate. The American malls are empty and the American vehicles at our supermarket increase every day. Our dollar is worth 75 cents and only milk and a few dairy products are cheaper. I am 70 and it is hard for me to believe cigarettes are cheaper in Canada even as we try Canadians to stop smoking. It is over 20 years since Three Dead Trolls and a Baggie recorded The War of 1812 where we burned the White House down and the old shoes at the Mall is also 20 years old. I have been writing that we are the greatest threat to the GOP from before Trump ran for office as we are proof democracy and good government can work to the benefit of most. We will see Trump and the GOP escalate their attacks on Canada and for me it shows we are doing many things correctly. We will be continually attacked by the Trump GOP administration and I would be more concerned if they stopped.

  77. Thanks to Krugman for saying so clearly what has been obvious to some of us for so long - the Republican Party is a coalition of the rich and the bigoted, or plutocrats and racists as he puts it. There is no “populism” there; if there were, they would be trying to expand medical care, social security, public transportation, and educational opportunities.

  78. You might want to read up on populism. Focus on the parts about the strong leader going after the police, judges, news media and some population on which to blame problems.

  79. There's a lesson here from the cynical Republican use of "wedge issues" (c.f. Karl Rove) in the past. Take "issues" like gay marriage or abortion, or immigration and ask 100 randomly selected people on the nearest Main Street this question: - "Does this issue touch you PERSONALLY (i.e. in your day to day life)? 99 out of 100 will say "No". But, as Karl Rove found out, it's VERY likely that 55 out of a hundred will have a STRONG BIAS about the "issue"....and will vote the way Faux News suggests! What the Democrats need is a way of finding wedge issues which work for the Democrats. Perhaps separating children and locking up children might be a start!

  80. Thank you Mr. Krugman. Thank you.

  81. The conservative economic agenda is not in the interests of anybody - rich or poor. The wealthy who inherit or earn their wealth through hard work/luck often believe they did it all on their own bootstrapping their way to the mega bank account. Trump sounds like a poor orphan when he talks about his early days. Taxes and government programs are characterized as stealing their hard earned dollars. Wealth makes some people dumb, cheap and shortsighted. All well funded government brings many benefits that creat a stable society that allow the wealthy class to keep growing, such as (for the most part) fair laws, educated workforce, middle class with buying power, dependable power sources, up until now gov't financing of innovation and underlying health system - a short list of multiple benefits. The irony is that Trump likes Putin's approach of condemning and appropriating the wealth of those who don't pay fealty to him. The Conservatives should be careful of the monster they created because paying taxes may turn out to be the better way to hang onto their money and freedom. one other thing, GW Bush may have spoken out against blaming the muslim community as a whole for the actions of a few, but he also created the dept. of Homeland Security and borders fraught with suspicion and fear that has conditioned Americans to believe that the country is being threatened from outside. It has lead to more white power and belief that the US is for whites only.

  82. The irony of the situation is unbearable. To be cynical the immigration crisis we see, people risking lives routinely to leave the drug capital of the world in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala) for a better albeit difficult life in the U.S. We are supposed to be able to bring Democracy to Iraq but we can't even stop a hard drug infestation near our own borders with our supposedly superior military. Of course the extremely cheap labor, profiteering from the drug trade, and a lot of unnecessary suffering would be alleviated. It seems that no amount of cynicism is too much. We may fix the family separation at the border but the easily fixed causes of the massive exodus remain. Its hard to believe that this long term solution is never discussed

  83. there should be no mercy for child-abusing Trump and his cabal of shameless sycophants. Call them what they are, evil child abusers, and hector them everywhere, in restaurants, on the streets, on planes, halls of Congress, everywhere.

  84. The GOP is more than just a coalition between plutocrats and racists. It's a coalition between plutocrats and three groups of voters the plutocrats have courted for decades: - racists - white religious fundamentalists - white gun nuts. But perhaps it is all about racism. All three groups went berserk in response to Obama's election. Either way, Prof. Krugman is right: Tom Donohue, this is who you are.

  85. It has always been a bitter wonder to me that of the perpetrators of the biggest and most injurious calamities to envelop the US, the 2008 financial meltdown and the Iraq War, the overwhelming majority were white and Republican.

  86. And most welfare recipients. Life is weird.

  87. Recipients of Corporate welfare, yes.

  88. And male.

  89. That's exactly who they are. Every single person that's votes for any GOP candidate, is supporting and endorsing extreme racism, sexism and the abolishment of even a basic, life saving, safety net. Even those that claim to be moderates or " business " republicans are lying or delusional. They are merely enabling the fringe, the extremes, and the downright crazies. If you can't bring yourself to vote for a Democrat, fine. I understand. Just satay Home. Don't VOTE. Don't perpetuate this insane disaster. It's the least you can do. Seriously.

  90. Mr Kruger appears to me to be arguing, not just that conservatism is evil, but so are conservatives. My best college friend was a down-the- line conservative. He grew up in a dirt poor neighborhood. His father supported a family of 6 - including a much-loved disabled son - by drriving a pie delivery truck. No one in his family went to college. After graduating, he sold insurance and then worked a car rental counter hoping to move up to management, which never happened. Eventually, he did fine in a real job. Tom’s conservatism was all about moving up on your own and picking yourself up by your bootstraps. I would argue with him about social responsibility, but he would have none of it. Obviously, he was shaped by his experiences, and he’s hardly alone. Labeling all conservatives as evil paints with too broad a brush. If Mr. Kruger knew Tom, he would have to revise his thinking and use a narrower brush.

  91. Mr. Krugman does not paint all conservatives with this brush. He carefully points out how conservatives in government have the opportunity to curb our president, to establish moral and ethical boundaries for him that entirely meet conservative standards, that meet Tom's standards. They, along with the many Trump apologists, have refused to do so and now they own the Trump ugliness and deserve the brush.

  92. The one-off example you cite appeals to the same argument used by the defeated 'Good Germans' after WWII and, ultimately, the prison guards at the concentration camps...'I was just being loyal to my country' or 'I was just following orders'. Conservative Tom may think he was shaped by his circumstances, but in reality he was shaped by his interpretation of his circumstances -- just like everyone else. Tom may decide to let an outside influencer (Fox Entertainment News, the US Chamber of Commerce, Jerry Falwell Jr., for instance) tell him what he thinks about his circumstances, but that thinking eventually becomes calcified into 'belief' and Tom will use that belief as a referent to guide his actions. Dr. Krugman's point is we are getting bad results as a society from the actions of people who are either the influencers of 'conservative' beliefs, or people who are influenced into holding those beliefs. Whether or not the people causing the bad results - tripling the national debt, kids in cages, no restraint on gun violence, flagrant ethical lapses and corruption by elected or appointed officials, etc., etc.- whether or not the people causing these results either directly by doing or indirectly by voting for, think they are doing the right thing is irrelevant. The bad results have to stop. So, Tom is not off the hook. "Ye shall know them by their fruits"

  93. "Kruger"?

  94. It is exactly who you are.

  95. From now on, whenever my European friends ask me about the fanaticism that infects the Republican Party, I will refer them to this excellent article. But whenever my American friends lament what Trump is doing to the Republican Party, my response will be the same as it always has been: he is exploiting racial and cultural divisions in order to enrich himself and his cronies. But there is another aspect to this story which goes unremarked in the article. After the last Bush presidency, the Democrats had the chance to make meaningful reforms both in government and banking that would have crushed the head of the serpent. Now the serpent is thriving once again, and democracy in America is fighting for survival.

  96. It's obvious. Trump has been getting Child Care advice from KIM. It's the most logical solution. Right, GOP ?????

  97. Bill Clinton imposes murderous economic sanction on Iraq that killed 500,000 children*, but I guess that's okay - just don't put children in cages. Both parties have despicable human rights records - waste your time arguing which party is worse, if you have nothing better to do. * our UN ambassador at the time announced that the deaths were "worth it".

  98. I call this post an attempt to avoid facts through cognitive dissonance. It is the classic false equivalence argument designed to avoid having to state where Krugman's logic or conclusions went wrong. In attacking Bill Clinton 25 years ago, Ed W can feel better about supporting Mr. Trump.

  99. Iraqis did suffer a lot under the sanctions regime, but the child mortality rate was not highly elevated throughout the 1990s and just before the invasion of Iraq. Nor did the child mortality rate plummet after this invasion. Nevertheless, many people continue to be taken in by the sanctions myth.

  100. The failure to provide credible links to support your controversial claims understandable - there is nothing out there to support your claims. If Trump had ordered the sanctions, you'd be (rightfully) criticizing them instead of denying what Madeline Albright didn't even deny when she was asked that fateful question, "was the deaths of 500,000 children worth it?"

  101. Indeed, the Chamber of Commerce is a wing o the Republican party. The CoC has supported Trump, our national bigot, from the beginning. How does one support naked racism. Trump was a birther from way back--everyone knows this. Yet, the CoC loves Trump and his terrible policies.

  102. "Now, many in the plutocrat wing of the GOP seem to be genuinely dismayed by where this is going. They aren’t themselves racists, or at least they aren’t crude racists." Just don't try to move in down the street in their gated community. And don't hope to have your kids go to a school as well funded, staffed, and supported as their kids attend. And make sure that you buy something if you go to the coffee shop to wait for a friend. And be sure to shower before using the pool. They're "not racists" - they just sure don't want to have anything to do with people not a lot like them...

  103. This is exactly right. But there is more to say, and it is damning and depressing. According to Gallup, Trump's approval rating is now 45% -- as high as it ever was. Despite all the awfulness and evil, he has not lost one bit in overall support since when he was elected. His support among Republicans is 90%; among Independents it is 42%. All these Republican or Republican-leaning people share the blame for the vileness and evil of the Trump administration. 45% approval is a deeply depressing fact about America. America has become a very sick place.

  104. It tells you who your people are and reveals their heart. You're absolutely right: America is a very sick place. I'm not sure it ever wasn't. You just used to have better leaders than this, but those people have ALWAYS been there... just look at your history.

  105. Dominic, I'd like to say this is not the America I grew up in, but in actuality it is....racism and oppression just went underground for awhile. The light has now been directed at who we collectively are and it's not a pretty sight. However, when this evil is brought out of darkness and into the light......well, there has to be enough goodness left in this country to collectively turn us around. I pray our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren get a glimpse of what this country has stood for (on paper), but not in practice.

  106. I think it was plenty sick when the hit squads killed the Kennedy's in the 1960's. It might even have gotten a little better since then. But not good enough to save it from itself.

  107. Trump Kinder Kamps. Now for the whole family. You can check in, but you can't check out. Thanks, GOP.

  108. From the Department of Hope: Despite the polls indicating that Trump has about 35-40% support from the US population, a lot of adults in this country who support him did not vote in 2016. Only 54% voted, and Trump got around half of that. Assuming that a significant percentage of the non-voters have now learned that voting actually does matter, there's a really good chance of Democrats taking the House this fall, and possibly the Senate as well. But of course, nothing can be assumed. But I have hope.

  109. This all saddens me so...the border situation, the attacks on the ACA, the whatever... The refrain of the theme song from "The Falcon and the Snowman" (although it meant something very different in the context of that movie) keeps repeating itself in my brain : "This is not America" I weep

  110. I have long thought that the Republican Party won elections by appealing to a Southern strategy of racism and religious right ideas. These were slogans that were presented along with anti-liberal, anti-coastal, and anti-intellectual propaganda. They combined this angry brew with their simplistic agenda of limited government meaning decimating the safety net, healthcare, non discretionary spending such as infrastructure and research and education, and also deregulating everything including vital environmental and climate laws. They were able to partially succeed by dishonestly camouflaging their aims and pretending that their economic model of trickle down works. They are helped by using obstruction and by our Constitution that favors in the Senate low population states and in the House rural areas- both which lean heavily Republican.

  111. What price tax cuts and deregulation indeed. Our current moment was actively shaped over time and foreseeable. I’m glad to see so many people up in arms about separating families; hope people remember it happened and ponder what it says about us, and what it may well portend, if we let it pass. Will the Ds and their donors and base persistently and effectively make an issue of proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid? It’s easy enough to draw a line to the tax cut, subsequent spending increases, and the president’s campaign promises on the safety net. I’m sufficiently cynical about the Ds that I’ll believe it when I see it. Name calling won’t count. People need to hear specifics about which government spending and which regulations are necessary or wise and the open democratic processes by which that’s determined. They need to hear that the Rs passed that tax bill in a hurry with insufficient open detailed hearings. That’s wrong. They need to hear that the Ds issued that Title IX Dear Colleague letter without going through open and detailed notice and comment rulemaking. That’s wrong and the Ds need to promise to do better. Don’t tell me it’s been proven people don’t care about proper open democratic processes where the government determines oh so carefully out in the open whether to pass a law and how to spend public money. Assume they’re not stupid and make the effort.

  112. Seems like the conflict is between the ethics of our religious/ ethical / humanitarian roots and our unregulated capitalistic greed. Do we welcome the stranger, help the children, the widows, and the poor? Or is life all about making deals for ourselves? Are we all in this together? Or is it survival of the fittest? Do we try to make the world a little better or do we go shopping?

  113. Shop! Use your $1.50/week tax cut to buy luxury goods.

  114. Thank you. I know some Republicans and now starting to say this isn't good or maybe even saying this isn't right. If they had a problem with the treatment of children they would have said so a long time ago. I think you are right tax cuts that can damage social programs is too important. They don't care much about human rights. What are they saying about the reported plan for the US to withdraw from the Human Rights Commission? Instead of worrying about human rights or children, they want their patrons to get rich, social programs to disappear, and what is coming into play now they want to keep their jobs (along with the nice benefits like better health care than they want for the rest of us.)

  115. But they don't have to look to far in the past to see what happens when a POTUS screws with Social Security or Medicaid, since the largest number of people that collect money from the social safety net, are white, poor people predominately in red states. George W Bush can tell you what happens, you wind up being a one term president, and a shortened congressional career.

  116. I think this is a bit too skeptical. There is a big difference between the various strands of the Republican Party. So far it has been papered over. It won't be forever.

  117. I hope you are right that some Republicans will come to the rescue and assist in changing the direction that our country is heading. However, I am not confident that this will become a reality. For the past forty years, Republicans have been against anything and everything unless it was "Tax Cuts" which mainly benefitted the wealthiest. During President Obama's eight years in office, the Republican Party were totally obstructionist, refusing to cooperate with him on anything. Their political gain was more important than the health of this country. Now that we have Mr. Trump in the White House, Republicans are missing in action and not providing the necessary checks on him. In the mean time, every day that goes by there is an assault on democracy coming from the White House. Where are the honorable Republicans? We are waiting for you to extend a helping hand. Our democracy depends on it!!!

  118. You're right on all counts, of course, but it's clear that you haven't read enough yet about Jim Crow, and that's a glaring weakness in an economist of your caliber. If in the next month or so you read "Slavery By Another Name," by Douglas Blackmon; "At the Hands of Persons Unknown," by Phillip Dray; and "The Half Has Never Been Told," by Edward Baptist; you be an even better economist, journalist, and commentator than you already are. Thank you for remaining a reality-grounded editorialist.

  119. I have read "Slavery By a Different Name" its OUTSTANDING.

  120. Tom Donohue is pure evil and has been for decades. He interfered in the NC Senate race when Elizabeth Dole was running for re-election with a campaign calling her opponent Kay Hagan a "witch." A real witch. Donohue provided robocalls backing this up.

  121. Donohue and his ilk own this, they were perfectly willing to look away at the lyng racism and incompetence as long as they got their tax cuts and the deregulation policies Donohue and his bunch own this. deal with it word

  122. "Sorry, Mr. Donohue, ---but you must share the blame." How true, well said Dr. Krugman!

  123. Yes, we must challenge all the politicians, business leaders, pastors, and media outlets that enable Trump with wink, wink, blink, blink - whether the winking and blinking is about economic stupidity and greed, racism, sexism, or xenophobia. PK is right to call out their deceitful rhetoric. Without them, we wouldn’t have a Trump.

  124. Thanks for the straight shooting Paul. To use an apt phase, you have truly called a spade a spade. It's time we focused on the real issue with Trump and his supporters - the not-so-veiled support of white supremacy and maintenance of the wealth/privilege that goes along with that supremacy. It underlies everything they do. If we just focus on stupid things being said, whether they consort with Russians, and whether something is a lie, we are just be feeding the beast. We need to focus on the policy implications of the actions taken, and actively support meaningful alternatives.

  125. The horror of this situation, as others have noted, is that a large number of Americans support this buffoon...in fact they think he is doing a bang up job. People like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer continued to prey on women until their support evaporated. As long as Trump has the support of his cult he will continue to be Trump. Even if we as a nation are able to vote the bums out...how do we reconcile the 60 million or so Americans who think the way Trump thinks? Because if we cannot reconcile, then civil war is inevitable.

  126. It's really going to get interesting when Trump finally follows his bliss, suspends civil rights and elections, declares martial law, and orders a whole bunch of *white* people rounded up and put in cages-- dissidents, protestors, members of what's loosely referred to as the "resistance"-- maybe even a Democratic pol or three. To borrow a phrase from Tolkien: "And then Night will come". Think this is just fearmongering? As a wise person once said, back in the Nixon era: "'It can't happen here' has got to be number one on the list of famous last words'".

  127. The House Un-American activities was run by the GOP, and the "communists" they claimed had "infiltrated" Hollywood, were in fact, democrats. That's when the TGP (Trumps Grand Party) called anyone that believed in worker rights, healthcare, etc, they were labeled communists. AND, the GOP did then what the Trumplican party does now, which is destroy lives, ruin carreers even the careers of republican politicians if they don't walk in lockstep. The GOP is now willing to elect, child molesters, felons, and now PIMPS, all so they can have people in congress who will do Trumps bidding. If not, he'll tweet something like, that persons a "bad person". You would think that any sitting member of the GOP house or senate, would be absolutely against this kind of political hacking. These are in fact the very same tactics Hitler used, Hitler also liked his inner circle, (we call them cabinet members) in fighting. By the way, Trump has admitted his first wife verified it, that he had read books about Hitler, including Mein Kampf. And why not he's the son of a first generation German immigrant.

  128. Thank you, PK! Trump is a few hours away from rousing his base with the predicable themes of Immigration, lower taxes, Hillary Clinton, coal, Robert Mueller and military might. His base has made a deal with our ugly past and the only thing to recuse us is the voting booth- and the Wheel'n and deal'n GOP know this.

  129. I heard a few minutes of Trump's news conference today, which was mostly incomprehensible; but he said one thing that I think illustrates a major misconception that affects him and his supporters. He said something to the effect of "you can be weak and get overrun, but if you're strong you don't have a heart." I interpret that to mean he believes that kindness shows weakness while cruelty demonstrates strength.

  130. Glassyeyed, It sounds as if Trump was given to read a few quotes from 'The Prince' by Machiavelli.

  131. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, like the National Rifle Association, has transmogrified into a symbol of American ugliness by politicizing and polarizing the nation with needlessly harmful rhetoric. At 73, I remember when I inherited, at the age of 10, my uncle's .22 single shot rifle. I began reading the NRA's magazine, The National Rifleman where there were articles — mostly on gun safety and marksmanship — as well as a few on hunting. I learned a lot from those articles along with the trips to a rifle range in the mountains of Topanga Canyon north of Santa Monica. I admit i was not too concerned about matter of economics at that age, though I was quickly paying attention to the plight of African-Americans in the Deep South — and New England. And so, for so many decades, I saw the Chamber of Commerce in our city as a group working to improve the lives of small business owners. But as the phrase "shareholder value" became a measuring stick for the state of the economy at local, state and national levels, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce became a PR weapon to threaten candidates for office, legislators and governors with career ruination if they didn't give the now-infamous 1 percenters their desired tax cuts. Corporate American demanded deregulation and Alan Greenspan gave it to them in spades. The plutocrats have won every battle using massive donations to willing politicians willing to carry water for their masters.

  132. I would agree with your statement about the NRA. I too read their magazine, and it was about gun safety, hunting safety, it wasn't about keeping semi-automatic guns, that are designed for one thing killing people, that's a fact that has been demonstrated all to many times. Now the NRA, uses the same lies, the Trumplican party does, which is to assert that the the democrats will take your guns, and you r right to own a gun away. The NRA and the Trumplican party, feed that narrative because they know, most of their supporters are in fact uneducated. (Those are census numbers, sorry, I didn't make them up). And therefore, don't pay attention to their civics class in high school. Wait, they don't teach civics anymore. So Trumplicans don't realize it takes an act of congress to take gun rights away. As with any constitutionally guaranteed right. Take the Volstead act, most Trumplicans have no idea what that is, or tell them the 18th amendment and you get a glassy eyed look. Of course most of us know, that the Volstead Act, or the 19th amendment prohibition of alcohol. My point is, it took an act of congress, to both pass, and repeal the Volstead Act. Our elected officials all 545 of them are to blame for the state of this union. Both sides of the isle have become money grubbing politicians, that really only care about themselves. Now the democrats aren't as bad as Trumplicans, nonetheless, any politician, that takes corporate money, is beholden to that company.

  133. Dr Krugman, Thank you for making my need to comment more of an exercise and less of a need. The latest John Ralston Saul lecture I have seen is Saul at his alma mater King's College, London titled the end of globalism citizenship vs populism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouoHlQdEA6Y Back in the 1990s Paul Krugman was one of my and John Ralston Saul's favourite economists. The arrival of Bill Clinton in the White House and the triumph of neoliberalism deprived too many Canadians of our sense of citizenship. Saul's lecture which might be better titled Belonging is more about Saul's wife The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and her belonging than those of us who accidentally born in Canada. There are some things far more important than economics and the exploration of why 85% of new Canadians become citizens within 5 years and only 40% of new Americans become citizens in 5 years may tell us more than anything we can learn from the head of the Chamber of Commerce. I hope that today's op-ed is just the beginning, your country needs a lot of fixing.

  134. I'm a child of first generation Canadian Immigrant, my mother. I have dual citizenship, so that's a plus. I asked my mother once why her mother brought her to the US, as a child. My family, the Stoltze's owned a large logging firm in the 1920s, in Port Moody. After the crash of 1929, most of my families fortune was lost, as a result, they came here hoping to start a new. It turned out to be a huge mistake, and not because my mother married a black man in the early to middle 1960s. This country treated him, as less than a man, right up until the day he died. He was a decorated WWII vet, he got NOTHING from them, he never received a pension, never used the GI Bill. I labored under the illusion that while we had come a long way from the racism that I grew up witnessing in the 1960s (I've been spit on by whites, when I was 10) racism is the governments way of separating us into classes, so that they can turn the poor against the poorer, whites against blacks, Mexicans against blacks, and middle class whites against everyone that threatens their assumed entitlement. That too, was a mistake. My step dad gave me something that I've never forgotten, and that is the gift of being color blind, viewing life through the prism of growing up in an interracial family, at a time when racism, was a blatant as it is now, is something that no white man could have ever given me. My DAD walked with his head up, he was proud to be a citizen of the US, he hated the racism that came with it.

  135. I agree with the comment and in general with Prof. Krugman. I just want to add that my wife and I are just finishing the immigration process. I am American she German and over year and a half has passed since starting at the fiancee via step. Now we wait for a decision on a green card now that she is here we are married and have had a child together. We had our interview which really offended my wife in the sense the the assumption is immigrants come here because they want to be here because the U.S. is better. Both of us would have stayed in Germany where I am a permanent resident if I could have found a suitable job. She came with me to the U.S. to keep our relationship and family together, not because the U.S. is better. We will return to Germany when I retire. I think most immigrants would stay home if home was safe and provided opportunities. Perhaps we should help other countries become safer instead of promoting wars that tear apart societies like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, throwing away an attempt at bringing Iran into the normal world where countries become economically interdependent not isolated.

  136. The Atwater passage is chilling to me even though I read it years ago. The reason it was and is chilling is that it continues to depict our reality so well. Atwater is unknown to me, but to have thought in such a manner was monstrous.

  137. Lee Atwater spawned Stephen Miller and Corey Lewandowski. All seeds from the same poison apple.

  138. Atwater repented after he found out he had a brain tumor.

  139. It was monstrous and Atwater made a public apology on his literal death bed.

  140. Trump still has to DO what he says he is going to do. There is a good possibility that his announcement is just to tamp down bad national and international press without having to actually follow through. I can hear the excuses now: - We are having difficulty matching the children (especially the youngest ones) with the right parents; - We can’t FIND the children; - We don’t have enough personnel to reunite parents with their children at any pace other than a slow crawl. MAYBE this is a battle won, but there is still a war to be won.

  141. Trump has announced no plans to reunite the children with their parents. He doesn't care about them. There is also a good chance he won't actually stop separating children from their parents as his executive order had several loop holes you could drive a truck through. I know it's hard to believe Trump is as evil as he appears to be but he is.

  142. You forgot “Hillary stole the children, and is keeping them locked up in the Pizzagate basement”.

  143. Those two hypothetical senators aren't stepping up not because they could lose conservative economic policies but because they would be ostracised from the party, lose their committee assignments, their campaign funding, and their cushy retirement jobs on K Street. That's how republicans work, and it's a very effective strategy to keep the minions in line. It's what is behind their loyalty to trump. Get with the program or get on the iceberg and float away.

  144. Huge funding cuts for Medicare and Medicaid? Why isn't this front and center in the Democrats' campaigning for the midterms and on MSNBC, instead of the Mueller investigations or Stormy Daniels? Since Social Security and Medicare is a life and death issue for most retirees, this would break through the Fox News bubble. Come on Rachel Maddow! Who are you really working for?

  145. The media, including The New York Times, would do well to report front and center -- as news -- more of the kind of information that is in Krugman's column. The Democrats, party of the many hopeless, indeed should step forward with a program addressing ISSUES; but I think they like deriding Trump more than working diligently to guide our country out of the dark. My thought: Use Trump derogation as your platform and lose or COMMIT to a restorative policy of justice for all and, perhaps, win. No "I will get health care for all passed; I will do this or do that." More like, "I personally will work to ensure separation of church and state, fairness in immigration practices, keeping Social Security intact for all, etc." Also, "I will work to pass campaign funding reform and I will keep my promises to you even when my elected job is threatened." You know, like a statesman or stateswoman. I WANT HOPE!

  146. Of course I am grateful for all the writing by Paul Krugman, but I have been thinking about what drives Mexican and Central Americans through all the difficulties to the United States. I would appreciate such thinking by Mr. Krugman.

  147. Because we used to be the beacon of freedom, you know, Bring me your tired, huddled masses yearning to be free. That's why.

  148. you dont know why people are trying to escape el salvador? seriously?

  149. Lee Atwater always was a partisan, but as I remember Paul quoted him out of context. Yet it’s true that he believed that all was fair in political war, just as Paul Krugman does. Donohue’s Chamber of Commerce didn’t make a deal with the devil, “empowering racism and cruelty” – heck, he just CONDEMNED a border enforcement policy that he regards as unacceptable, as I have. It made a deal with the only players who credibly promised economic policies that had a hope of reviving America from the economic doldrums – and Republicans are making good on that promise every day. But elements of the Republican Party are excessives, and Donohue has every right to criticize the excess, just as I do in this forum, while still supporting what is so clearly good. Heaven help any liberal who has the guts to criticize Democrats who are excessives. But the gooiness of the tar with which Paul seeks to smear with barbarity EVERYONE who calls himself a Republican is proportional to the general success Republicans enjoy in implementing their policies. I’m wondering just HOW reactionary and hateful Paul’s characterization of Republicans will inevitably become when “official” unemployment drops below 4%, as now the Fed projects it will. One can only shiver at the spleen Paul will offer when a credible framework for verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula emerges, and when Trump casts his eye toward the Middle East and tells the Persian Imams “YOUR turn, now”.

  150. I’d start calling Paul “gemli”, except that unlike gemli, Paul occasionally writes of something BESIDES his hatred of Republicans (VERY occasionally, these days). But I might start calling him “Charles”.

  151. I might start calling RL "Richard", but that would be almost as silly as his proposals. By the way, Richard, aside from the fact you gleaned from (among other places) Paul's column, that Donohue doesn't like the child-sequestration policy, is there any actual fact in your 2-part post? I also recommend (since you're one of the people who cares about words) that when you write "reactionary" you not use it to mean the opposite of what the dictionary says. But you already know that, so you won't pay attention. I await the nasty reply! ...

  152. Very well said, Mr. Zaslavsky. Thank you for continuing to speak out.

  153. The few conservatives who decry our current state refuse to acknowledge that Trump and his ilk are what their process produces. They say they want a free market guru with conscience. Never gonna happen - the conservative process rules it out. Guess what. Conscience comes from the notion of should and no one who uses the word should cares about money. Why? When we seek to compare the relative merit of two unrelated entities, we need a metric that connects them so they can be compared. That metric is invariably money. Money thus becomes the arbiter of merit. They key is not in should, it is in should-not. Two people doing what they should do are differentiated by their abilities. However, when in a monetary transaction one does what one should not, and the other does not do it, the one who does it gets more money, and thus more merit. So, when Paul Ryan places the destruction of the common good as a core value of his office, he supports a process in which the winner will be someone willing to do anything to get ahead. When pundits say they believe government is always the problem, but they really want in office someone with a conscience, they're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  154. When it comes to the question of morality I'm in complete agreement with the article but I think that there is a potential split with the plutocracy on one side and Trump and his base on the other. The plutocracy have benefited hugely from open trade policies and here is Trump every day looking more and more likely to end them. If he does will the coalition fracture? I seem to recall that Noam Chomsky once said that the Vietnam War ended when the ruling class realized it was no longer in their financial interest.

  155. Atwater's death by brain tumor at age 40 was preceded by deathbed regrets. The film has heartbreaking footage of this boyishly handsome man turned by chemo and radiation into a feeble, bloated caricature of himself. On his deathbed, he called for a Bible, and sent telegrams of apology to those he had offended, even Willie Horton. "He said what he had done was bad and wrong," Rollins remembers. "He was scared to death of the afterlife." "Boogie Man's" reincarnated? Being quoted during one of his brain tumor rants? What about the $125 trillion, real and notional US debt to 2035, federal employee obligations? How's that going to be funded by the elites who don't know their fiduciary dutes of care and reponsibility to funding third party beneficiary contracts from a female hygiene product? I was a mining operator of 14 mines during the trials of Tony Boyle for the murders of the Jock Yablonski family. One of achievements of Tom Donohue and Richard Trumka -- pres of AFL-CIO -- in 2013 was the Guest Worker Program in Immigration. When this columnist met with myself and sons in his office in 1986 the key topic was Susan Strange, the Mother of Political Economy, adherents in the US for our family's philanthropy. Our next stop was a wonderful meeting with Katie Rudie Harrigan at Columbia. And now Donohue is 80 and we're 32 years older ourselves since 1986 and reduced to this.

  156. Forcefully and beautifully written, as ever, Paul. I've never seen a political party implode until now, but the GOP is doing its damnedest to be the definitive racist-orientated implosion. I applaud their suicide, all the way. Michael Bloomberg's hefty donation to Democratic party causes in the upcoming elections is another Wall Street marker worth attending to.

  157. Someone has to talk about the magnitude of the immigration problem. Homeland is talking about 50,000 families in April and May alone. For all those bashing Trump, xenophobia and America First, it would seem we have a big numbers problem. Let's put some of our exceptionalism to work and solve this predicament in the most humane way possible. Forget about politics for a nano second

  158. Art, I haven't heard these numbers, nor do I know what they mean. Are you saying that 25,000 families a month are applying for legal asylum, as these families are? Are you saying that 25,000 families a month are crossing the border illegally? Who in Homeland Security is saying this, and how were these numbers arrived at? How many individuals are we talking about? 25,000 individuals a month doesn't sound like a big number. The problem we're talking about here--separating children from asylum-seeking parents--was solved during the Obama administration. Parents were released with their children, under heavy case monitoring. 99 percent of these parents, including those who were eventually deported, showed up for their court hearings. Why not simply return to a much less expensive system that was working and was more humane? What is the logic behind refusing to allow asylum seekers to cross at ports of entry to pursue their cases legally? What is the logic behind building and staffing all these prisons to hold asylum seekers and their children?

  159. Art, The "problem" is not of such magnitude. Net illegal immigration is at zero, and has been for quite some time. The number of undocumented aliens has stood at about 11 million. And we have been talking about it. The conclusion in light of the facts is obvious: Trump and the GOP are deliberately conflating the issue and stoking xenophobia in order to win points with their base. Just look at the enormous contradiction in the GOP's positions. On the one hand, unemployment is way down and the economy is doing just fine, and on the other hand, undocumented workers are stealing jobs from Americans. It's illogical, classic Doublethink. And the GOP base buys into it. Don't join them.

  160. Paul, thank you for writing this sentence that should be engraved on every American voting booth: "Conservatism – the actually existing conservative movement, as opposed to the philosophical stance whose constituency is maybe five pundits on major op-ed pages — is all about a coalition between racists and plutocrats."

  161. The mindset that undergirded slavery still exists. Amidst all the chaos, the supreme executive held that it was legitimate to forcibly separate families, parents from children, in the name of enforcing a "law", misdemeanor illegal entry into the United States. A significant minority of the population was / is OK with this. Therefore a significant minority hold that the most sacred of human bonds, parents to children, is in and of itself insignificant for "those people", the alien of brown skin that "infest" our country. What then has really changed since 1865? How does this differ from treating people as property sans human rights? That significant minority must still be kept in check lest all our shared freedoms be threatened by their inhumanity. With the election of Trump, why am I still shocked by this?

  162. Racism is just the wedge the GOP uses to divide the overwhelming majority of Americans who suffer because of 'conservative' social and economic 'policy.' This is the same strategy the Southern 'aristocracy' utilized from the the Reconstruction era right up to the time the GOP acquired the Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party during the Kennedy and LBJ years, when the Voting rights and Civil Rights Acts were passed and the Great Society safety net programs were implemented. So long as the GOP can see to it that working Americans are pitted against one another, and that the poorly educated, ill-informed, underpaid and underemployed are preoccupied with scapegoats instead of their own pressing problems and unmet needs, the GOP can thieve and thrive. LBJ was a Texan and he knew the score: 'so long as you can convince the lowest white man that he's better than the very best black man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket, and he won't even mind it if he does notice.' The scapegoater's net is now cast more widely - for 'black' you can fill in the blank with Muslim, Mexican, Haitian... it all works just fine. Just say 'X is ripping you off, and I alone can fix it.' You're golden. You can harken back to 'the good old days' of non-union factory workers and coal miners toiling for low pay, with no benefits and under brutal conditions. And it all just sounds swell, doesn't it? Apparently to tens of millions of benighted American voters yes, it does.

  163. The plantation owners kept slavery alive by convincing poor white people that they were superior to black people. After the civil war the wealthy continued race baiting to keep wages in check. As long as white men were being paid slightly more than black people who was going to push back against the economic inequality that was growing and would eventually lead to recessions and a depression. LBJ called it after the civil rights act was passed. He knew that the GOP would exploit racism to subdue the labor movement. The only difference between Trump and his predecessors is that he dropped the pretence. Rather than being subtle about the racism that the GOP has long exploited and nurtured he went full board and his supporters loved it. The GOP does nothing to rein him in because they can't afford to. If they try to censor him they run the risk of others like him winning GOP elections and they might not be so amendable to the economic priorities that keep the wealthy in power. The thing that the wealthy fear the most is for the 99% to join forces. As long as we're divided we're easier to control. If enough people figure out that they have more to gain by joining forces and forcing the wealthy from power their days are numbered and they know it. It's not minorities who are keeping us from universal healthcare, daycare, quality education, affordable housing, and a living wage. Wake up America, you've been duped.

  164. "Sorry, Mr. Donohue, but it is who you are: you made a deal with the devil, empowering racism and cruelty so you could get deregulation and tax cuts. Now the devil is having his due, and you must share the blame." Amen, Mr. Krugman. Amen. Hopefully GOP will pay for this cruelty at the polls. The party as it is constituted now (aka Trumpism in coalition with sycophants like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell) needs to die a horrible death - at the polls.

  165. "whites without a college degree are the biggest beneficiaries of the social safety net." But they vote for candidates who habitually shrink the very such programs. This is I think because of Democrats' identity politics, which working class whites hate. And they habitually vote Republican, against their own interests - "What's the Matter With Kansas" In fact Bill Clinton had understood this and managed to (re)capture working & middle class white votes. About identity politics, "soft" racism is practiced by most including well-off blacks & Hispanics. Covert gentrification and ignoring poor people's safety, like lead in Flint water and lead in the paint of many poor area houses are I thought a reflection of soft racism. This soft racism should be fought but not militancy of black youths who terrorize many cities like Chicago-74% of the murders there remained unsolved without an arrest in 2016! This gives these perpetrators a free reign. Although President Trump is unfit, as many think, he even lamented about high murder rate in cities Chicago. I would say create jobs in inner-cities & pay US-born workers $15/hr. with federal subsidy. Extend that to rural white areas also. I would also say cut payroll tax to 1% on the first $10K & to 2% on the second $10K. Preferably, lift the cap on it but cut it again to 1% beyond about $150K to be less unpalatable to the rich. Another federal income tax rate of 50% on over $15-20 million will be extremely beneficial but painless.

  166. Truely amazing how the "conservatives" act pious and caring. However their real goal is feudalism. Sort of begs the question what do they do when they destroy their market because the mass in the market will no longer exist? You know what Lenin said, the last capitalist will sell the rope to the mob that hangs him. I believe he was right.

  167. America is in a very bad place. Even as people protested outside the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., "conservative" donors inside paid $100,000 to $250,000 for a fundraiser. The plutocrats don't really care about brown children in cages, only about the appearance. They don't care about a president who is a stooge of a hostile foreign power. They don't care if the cabinet is as corrupt as the president and his self-dealing family. They prefer it, because they then control these officials. They already bought and own the GOP in the House and Senate. They don't care that the president trashes America's allies and punishes them with punitive tariffs or may bring the international trading system crashing down. Meanwhile, Trump's racist and xenophobic base is mobilized by Ann Coulter and Corey Levandowsky among others on Fox News. All those who used to shout the "n" word now simply hate "illegal immigrants", it's the current acceptable fashion. They're all potential gangsters and rapists and criminals in Trump-speak. This base will never desert Trump or his hateful brand, even when Mueller proves with every detail that Trump and his family and associates were corrupt and treasonous. So where does this end? In economic collapse and civil conflict? Poor America, and poor world.

  168. What is so sad is that this blatant act of ugliness -- of a man using the separation of infants from their parents to bargain for money for his promised wall -- will shortly be forgotten. Soon there will be another outcry for another act of stupidity, which 40% of the country will mindlessly support, and the rest of the country will increasingly get numb to the current state of affairs. That 40% of this country cannot see that this man in the WH would do nothing that does not benefit him personally, cares a fig for the good of the country, and shamelessly lies again and again and again to justify his blatant narcissism and thoughtless acts, is a national tragedy. It is as if we are sitting in a car driven by a mad and drunk driver and half the co-riders are encouraging the driver to be even more reckless. And we can do nothing but wait for the foreseeable crash. It really is a national tragedy.

  169. Actually, since it is probably safe to assume that John McCain will not be voting in the near term, it only takes just one Republican to step up and form a 50-49 Senate majority with all 49 Democrats. This could serve to defeat a few of the many awful Trump nominations to the federal bench and send a message. Step right up Senators Flake, Corker, Sasse and put your votes where your furrowed brows are. Unfortunately, they haven't yet and almost certainly won't. (Of course, this assumes that all 49 Democrats hang together, including Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly, McCaskill, Jones, etc. Not always a sure thing.)

  170. No, not even close to a sure thing. Whatever good may be proposed, we can almost be certain that the DINOs will mess it all up.

  171. Colonialism was often inherently racist. So is neo-colonialism. And we have a form of neocolonialism here at home, colonial exploitation turned inward. I guess one could call it feudalism. All hail the new barons, and a tip of the hat to their vassals in elected positions! And RIP, American Experiment.

  172. How about we arrest, fine and jail those employers in Tom's organization who hire, employ and exploit such exploited workers? We can then give such law abiding workers limited amnesty, compassion and the full panoply of U.S. labor law protection: i.e. minimum wage, overtime, safe working conditions, etc.. Heck, the employers got a substantial Trump tax-break right? They can afford to comply with the law.

  173. Donohue isn't alone in his hypocrisy. There are plenty more candidates amongst the Republican leadership...in fact, the ENTIRE Republican leadership.

  174. you should mention that atwater's epiphany occurred when he was facing death from pancreatic cancer. sorry lee, too late.

  175. You forgot the important link between the two, cruelty to the poor. I live in "liberal" Seattle. The cruelty and humiliation we heap on homeless people here shows this impulse to dehumanize the poor is more a universal American trait than the prerogative of just one party. Visitors from outside America are shocked at the kind of poverty we allow in such a rich country. It is easy to view the detentions as an extension of the white supremacy of Steven Miller and the Trump Administration, but also instructive to view it as on a continuum with our country's general disdain for our own poor people of all colors.

  176. The category-4 hurricane that Donald Trump created has passed, but this Katrina moment will be a defining moment of his presidency. Will he survive? Possibly. But his reputation won't. Those opposed to this child separation policy can rejoice seeing it rescinded, but his staunchest supporters who defended the separation of refugee families are likely to find themselves in a very awkward position now that Pres. Trump has done an about-face. Figuratively speaking, he has spit in their faces.

  177. The United States of Hypocrisy as mapped by Wikipedia: Hypocrisy is the false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence hypocrisy may involve dissimulation, pretense, or a sham. Hypocrisy is engaging in the same behavior for which one criticizes another. It is the failure to follow one's own stated moral rules and principles. Philosopher David Runciman: "Other kinds of hypocritical deception include claims to knowledge that one lacks, claims to a consistency that one cannot sustain, claims to a loyalty that one does not possess, claims to an identity that one does not hold". Political journalist Michael Gerson says that political hypocrisy is "the conscious use of a mask to fool the public and gain political benefit". Hypocrisy is from the Greek hypokrisis, which means "jealous", "play-acting", "acting out", "dissembling", "coward". It is an amalgam of the Greek prefix hypo-, meaning "under", and the verb krinein, meaning "to sift or decide". The original meaning implied a deficiency in the ability to sift or decide. The definition of hypocrisy is a fair description of this administration and a generous characterization of Trump but precise about his fellow-travelers. The distance between truth and lies, between cruelty and compassion, between the profession of faith and its betrayal, is the true measure of our decay.

  178. Those paying attention have long noticed that a primary feature of being a Republican is being a hypocrite. They have pandered to Christian evangelicals but do things that are the exact opposite of what Christianity is about. I don't think the Jesus I'm aware of would be very happy with their actions. Too many people who vote for Republicans misunderstand the Golden Rule. They think it's something we aspire to. But we don't have a choice about following it. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us, for good or ill. Today Trump and all those Republicans who have sold their souls to billionaires have wreaked nothing but ill on this country. I can only hope that karma is still the law of the universe and that they will soon lose the power they've foolishly been given, and this country will somehow right itself. Then, if we are the country we claim to be, we will make health care a right, not a privilege. We will acknowledge the importance of education and make it readily available. We will be good stewards of the environment. We will not exploit people to enrich ourselves. We will remember the message of John F. Kennedy's book, A Nation of Immigrants. We will come to our senses and recognize that America First means making sure other nations are treated as if they were first as well. Finally we will never again fall victim to demagoguery. Since I'm now 75, I hope I live long enough to see all this come to pass. Our nation will be far better off when that happens.

  179. It's not too difficult to figure out who the 2 GOP senators are and who have the power to stop this transgression into moral decline. Stopping it they won't. Their lack of patriotism and decency has brought much sadness and degradation upon our country. History will not be kind to them and rightfully so.

  180. I used to be involved with local Chamber of Commerce organizations in cities where I lived. But then it hit me that the COC, at least nationally, was just a branch of the GOP. I wish more people would recognize the disconnect between the local "promote business in our town" folks and the national rightwing organization and quit.

  181. Brilliant column. It is past time to call out these people for what they are, a cancer in the body politic, and Paul Krugman is leading the way when it comes to the mainstream media. There are others that I hue to more, but they look beyond our capitalist system for solutions.

  182. I hope this single example will serve to expose this particularly pernicious fallacy every time it comes up. Krugman writes, "...it is objectively against the interests of working class voters, whatever their race..." Krugman cannot know that because he cannot know that because he doesn't seem interested, and apparently will not leave the extraordinarily narrow confines of his expertise, to find out what "the interests of working class voters" actually are. I'm going to conjecture here, and if I'm wrong I'll admit it and apologize, that Krugman assumes that "the interests" of working class Americans comes down to more dough, or the equivalent of more dough. As a denizen of working class America, I can confidently state that if that's what Krugman believe, he's wrong as often as he's right. He knows what economics defines as "the interests", but he's ignorant as to the actual interest of working class Americans. Rather than perpetual confusion (which is generally acknowledge to lead to high levels of stress, anxiety, and peevishness), he ought to for a moment forget how he's been programmed to think as an economist and go listen to some actual Americans in the middle. This is a bit hyperbolic, but I'd frame it like this: "How much of your self-respect and the high regard of your neighbors would you sacrifice for X% more income?" I wonder what Dr. Krugman thinks that elasticity is for ordinary working Americans.

  183. While I agree with most of what Krugman is saying here, he misses the point with regard to the US Chamber of Commerce. It is essentially a big business and foreign multinational organization that represents only a small segment of the US. The fact these "fake" advocacy groups are major players in our politics is one of the main problems. Ignorant voters think such a high sounding name represents their local businesses when it is 40% funded by foreign entities. They, like business in general, are fundamentally transactional, while what is best for our country is long term and not transactional. It requires principled, long term thinking that leads to positive outcomes for a large majority of the people (a/k/a voters) and not justice Kennedy's corporate individuals.

  184. I am very confused by our politics. I assume that most people are good-hearted. People jump into lakes, climb buildings, jump in front of things to save people they don't know. Now we have grandparents who say they don't care about children pulled from parents. I think it it more than racism that is moving people. We, all of us, are confused and fearful, I suppose. Nobody knows what is actually happening because everything is subject to an abstract polemic filter. Blue collars in Texas are Republicans and conservatives, same guys in Massachusetts may be Democrats. We are living in traditions that are are diverging and are doing so not clearly out of racism but I think more likely marketing, identity and habit. The term "liberal" is so hated by some that they consider it devil worship. (see related article about evangelicals). Conservatism is also robustly disparaged by liberals. Why would one choose one brand over the other? And why have we lost the ability to compromise? The current administration is likely taking advantage of our confusion to further its reckless actions. We, all of us, seem to be wandering around trying to figure out what common principles we really have left. We must find a road to common ground and soon.

  185. The common ground to which you refer already exists. But it's not between working people and the oligarchy. It's the common ground the working class has. Good jobs with decent pay and comfortable retirement. Easily accessible education and healthcare. Every working person wants those. Unfortunately, too many are blinded by bigotry and demagoguery, which impel them to support the opposite of what they profess to want. The solution is not compromise, which is akin to bargaining with a thief over how much he will be permitted to steal. There is no desirable halfway between good and evil. The enlightened working class must be empowered to win a victory over the plutocracy and those it has misled or exploited by stoking their bigotry.

  186. Mr. Trainor, I think you're right. In his short post, Dr. Krugman over simplifies. Yes, racism is part of the picture, particularly institutional racism (the kind that you don't have to be a bigot to get caught up in). But not all Trump supporters are racist--and a significant proportion of them did not support the decision to separate children from parents at the border. They do identify with or at least support Trump and/or the Republican Party as the lesser evil in a confused and confusing public square. They do want to believe in themselves, as individuals who stand on their own two feet, and are very suspicious of collectivist solutions to society's problems. They identify with the successful, and believe Trump is successful, because they have hope that they'll be successful themselves. In short, they believe in the American myth that you can make it on your own. It is a myth, but a darned powerful one!

  187. Mr. Donahue is not alone. Republicans in the House most notably the Speaker. Evangelicals. The Trump Cable News Channel. By any reasonable standard of judgment Trump is a massive embarrassment. The House now busy figuring out cuts in Medicaid and Social Security to finance the tax cut for the wealthy and corporations. Meanwhile, taking aim on inflicting financial pain on those with pre-existing medical conditions. This provision of Obamacare cannot stand. Why? I am not exactly sure. If China does not blink on tariffs and decides to boycott Treasury Notes and Bonds the trade war might not be so easily won.

  188. We are all going to end up sharing the blame for an 'America in Limbo', Mr. Krugman, if unwilling, incapable and unfit to deny that this presidency, and its administration, has served its term. If we are fortunate, the Down-and-Out who voted for this anomalous president will never realize how close we came to losing our country, stuck in a cobweb of deceit, lies and despair, without a safety-net. There are days when I feel a sense of pity for Trump who appears bent on self-destruction, but it is the portrait of Donohue, as described here, who leaves a malevolent chill in the air.

  189. Do not ever pity a trump. Just vote for Democrats and help US take back our country.

  190. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, described the same phenomenon 160 years ago. She wrote that rich Southern whites bamboozled poorer whites into supporting slavery by making them think that they could look down in blacks.

  191. We have achieved the same level of hate as back in the Great Old Days of Slave Trading. Making America a Great Untrustworthy Monster, somehow I think V. Putin is pleased that his puppet Donnie. Just observe how our Presidential Wrecking Ball of Values is undernining our economey, our planet, your health, our children's future.

  192. Another day, another slur at the party I have supported since I became a US citizen. How does Krugman get away with endlessly recycling these manufactured charges? At least he didn't kick Richard Nixon around this time. Let me set the record straight. Proportionately more Republicans then Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nixon (yes, the same) integrated schools in the South and invented affirmative action as we know it. Inflation-adjusted entitlement expenditures grew 20 percent faster under Nixon than they had under President Johnson. Pres. Reagan and Bushes 41 and 43 had the power to rescind affirmative action but didn't take it. No, the terrible racialization of American politics that we see today is due to the neo-McCarthyism of Democrats like Krugman. They call anyone who disagrees with them over social policy a racist. If they can't prove GOP policies are wrong, they take the low road and defame them. Don't forget the electoral pot at the end of the rainbow for Democrats. As Mark Lilla pointed out in these columns, Democrats convinced themselves "that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps." Seeing this, Democrats chose to divide and conquer. They turned race against race for their own electoral profit. The Big Lie that white America is racist and is the implacable enemy of the emerging majority is part of that strategy.

  193. Comparing either party relative civil rights in the 1960s to coalitions they represent today is disingenuous at best. The GOP southern strategy brought to fruition in the 1980s was no accident, as Mr Atwater freely admitted.

  194. If social policies harm any group disproportionally (really disproportionately), they need to be looked at - especially when those groups have a long history of suppression.

  195. In the 40s, 50s and 60s, southern Democrats were extremely powerful in the senate, and they were racist right-wingers who were Republican in all but name. That skews your cherry-picked statistics. There existed some progressive Republicans at one point, but there have been very, very few since Reagan...and that's a long time. You can tell yourself all the stories you want so that you can sleep at night, but the Republicans put Trump in office and every one of them who is running for office continues to enable him.

  196. Dear Dr. Krugman! Please start writing articles about the economy and where it goes. Everyone is fed up with politics. You are brilliant economist, not politicion, you influenced nobody. Trump is the president. Please go back to economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you.

  197. Unfortunately, as Trump demonstrates every day, politics and economics are linked.

  198. You may not have noticed, but the politics of racism and power our being used in the service of those who want to keep reshaping your economy, to continue widening the gap between haves and have nots, because money has captured the political system. The two are now inextricably linked, for the most evil of purposes. It is entirely appropriate for Professor Krugman to point this out.

  199. Vlade, Economics is politics, and vice versa. Every political movement is driven by the desire for a better life, which is determined by economics. Every economic policy requires political action to implement it. When PK writes about the need for positive political action, he is advocating for the economic well-being of working people.

  200. Trump shattered the illusion that there was even a shred of difference between a Republican and a Democrat. As we have always known for decades, political party association only matters during elections. Once back in WashDC, the incumbent, be he/she nominally democrat or nominally republican, has but one objective.....protect the status quo. Create the illusion that the reason the incumbent accomplishes nothing except lining his/her own pockets is "the other guys" .... wink, wink. Appearantly, Dr. Krugman failed to pay attention. Trump accidently broke all the rules....and now "the Establishment" must take him out....by any means possible.

  201. Wherever: your attitude enables the Republican racists and would-be destroyers of Medicare and Social Security to give tax cuts to the wealthiest donors. Look at any vote in Congress, such as the Disclose Act to overturn Citizens United, or bills such as allowing younger people to join Medicare or others to expand access to quality health insurance. The Republicans overwhelmingly vote one way, ie against the interest of the majority of people Democrats overwhelmingly vote in support of what will help the majority. There is a big difference between the parties. Democrats created Medicare and Social Security over strong Republican objection: Democrats support raising the minimum wage (only minimum wage difference among Democrats is whether there should be geographic variations ); Democrats fought to protect overtime pay, Republicans oppose that....the list is extremely long. Anyone sincerely interested can follow the votes here: Thomas.gov

  202. The illusion Trump shattered was the absurdity that there was a scintilla of similarity between the Democratic and Republican parties, a foolish notion paraded around by people like Nader who had no better argument on which to base a campaign. If Obama had been the status quo, McConnell would have refused to vote on his last Supreme Court nominee, would not have made preventing a second term his most important goal as soon as Obama became president and the Republicans would not have wasted countless hours voting to overturn ACA. Your comment is simply absurd. It is not Paul Krugman that has failed to pay attention. It is you and your ilk. Trump did not accidentally break all the rules -- he deliberately follows one rule which is to enrich himself, his family and his comrades in crime at the expense of the American people. It is the American people, the majority of whom never wanted him near the White House in the first place, who must take him out.

  203. Not a shred of difference? How about the racism? How about the sexism? How about the gay bashing? Still the same?

  204. If you learn the lessons of history, Trump and the GOP, are turning every entity of government into a tool of a racist totalitarian state that is structured to serve the .01 percent. They are doing nothing new. The only question is, are there are enough American patriots to stop them before we loose the right to vote.

  205. Think about how Republicans get their power in elections: "Guns, Gays (anti-gay), God." Now toss in some racism/anti-immigration, protectionism for the white uneducated base, and then rip apart the environment because it represents the elite's preference for saving the spotted owl over jobs. Then, they run on tax cuts. They were formerly the deficit hawks, but now they are the tax cut virtuosi. This is how they win elections. They don't help the majority of people with standard of living. No, they prefer tax cuts for the wealthy and squeezing the poor through cutting social programs. They have their bully-in-chief, and they are thrilled...their Obama-bashing, Hillary-hating, left-loathing leader and the the tag-alongs of the moderate Republicans found it more loathsome to vote for Hillary than Trump. There you have it

  206. @Srose, Actually, most people don't realize but Republicans going back to Reagan have not been deficit hawks. Reagan cut taxes and got 16 Million jobs and a huge increase in the deficit / debt. It’s the reason they put the debt clock in Manhattan. Clinton raised taxes and got 23 Million jobs, almost 50% more than Reagan and balanced the budget, zero deficit. W Bush gave us two "tax cuts for the job creators" and we got 3 Million jobs. He took Clinton's zero deficit and gave Obama a whopping $1.4 Trillion deficit. And he also gave Obama the worst recession since the Great Depression. Obama got us through the Great Recession and cut the deficit by almost 2/3 to $550 Billion. He gave us the "jobs killing" Obama-care and we got 11.5 Million jobs, almost 400% more than W Bush. And 20 Million people got healthcare. And now with Trump, Republicans have done it again, cut taxes and increased the deficit / debt. And I expect worse job creation than Obama. So Republicans only claimed to be deficit hawks when it a Democrat is in office. And they shouted the loudest when it was Obama fixing the mess that W. Bush created.

  207. You're right, Independent. Reagan started the tax cut mischief, well before the deficit hawks in the 1990s. And W. took a surplus handed to him by Clinton and turned it into a massive deficit. In terms of the 1990s, the Republicans were deficit hawks not so much out of prinicple, but out of a desire to hold down Clinton success.

  208. "There is a special place in Hell..." I know I've heard that somewhere recently. Dr. K is right on-target. To the elite plutocrats, the evangelicals and working stiffs are just so many rubes to be bent out of shape as oxygen for oligarchs. At best, the working and jobless classes (there is no longer a viable middle class) aren't helped by GOP tax overhaul. As for Trump's trade war of choice, the Party's enthusiastic downscale constituents will be hurt the most. Credit where it's due: Reoublicans have honed "bait and switch" to an art form; the GOP is lavishly sponsored for deflecting voter rage from the targets where it belongs.

  209. “... would endanger conservative economic policies, and those are evidently more important than human rights.” Conservative economic policy... is the antithesis OF human rights. In short, it is whatever hare-brained policy or theory in which they wish to cloak the shoveling of ever-vaster mountains of the nation’s wealth into the pockets of the already rich. It is extremely short-sighted, willfully irrational, and deeply immoral. It is also profoundly de-stabilizing. It’s about as “conservative” as a meticulously planned and executed bank robbery. ‘They’ must not only “share” the blame, they must be identified, rebuked, and REMOVED FROM OFFICE. Infants being taken from their mothers. Children held indefinitely. Wounded veterans in debt up to their eyeballs because the “conservatives” are playing every game in the book to claw back at their benefits... The GOP didn’t make any “deal*” with the Devil... to “empower” racism and cruelty in order to achieve their ‘benefit’ of deregulation and tax cuts... they WANT the racism. They WANT the cruelty. (* except by DJ Trump’s definition of “deal” I suppose...) GOP/Trump gotta go. : ) L

  210. So it's racism+plutocrats=GOP. Isn't it really Racism + Evangelicals + Plutoctats + Economic insecure (and econometrically clueless) + Loyal republicans (my party, right or wrong) = GOP. Spell that out and it is the REPELant GOP. While a simple argument is useful, many NY Times readers prefer the kind of depth and nuance that Dr. Krugman he has shown us many times. This article preaches largely to the choir.

  211. Right on, Paul.

  212. The plutocrats will never have enough money. At 68 years old I probably won't live to see the inevitable collapse/revolution but it won't be pretty. What kind of twisted minds would rather have a few more billions at the expense of so much human suffering.

  213. Atta boy, Paul. Name names!

  214. Lincoln mused in his second inaugural address that the civil war might have been God's punishment for the sin of slavery. Perhaps the unravelling of our democracy under Trump is divine retribution for our 160-year failure to remedy slavery's child, racism.

  215. Maybe, but the plutocrats - in the past only successful in failed states - now destroy democracies worldwide.