Another View of Politics - 2020

On Saturday's train trip from St. Louis to Chicago I talked with several fellow travelers from Jefferson City, Missouri's state capitol.   The young man I talked the most with (hereafter "L" - I don't know his first name) is a 29 year old lawyer who was traveling with his wife (a first grade elementary school teacher) and several other young men.  They were going for a three day weekend in Chicago.

Our discussion included a discussion of politics in 2020.   L seemed to feel that Trump would likely win re-election because the economy is doing good.   I asked him if he was aware that all that could be done was being done to prop the economy up in 2020 and he indicated that that probably wouldn't matter.

L indicated that he had not voted for Trump in 2016.   He seemed to indicate that he was "liberal" on various issues, except related to taxation and government in general.    I will later address his professed views on racism.   They follow in a way from his views on government and taxation.

Government is "all bad" per L, similar in a way to the Tea Party/Trump core supporters described in great detail by Arlie Hochschild in Anger and Mourning on the American Right.   L told me that the government is inefficient.   Highways should be privatized.   Government should be kept to a minimum.

I spoke with him about one of the key ideas in Joseph Stiglitz's book: People, Power and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Dissent.   Stiglitz spent a quite a few pages explaining the differences between "monopoly" companies like Amazon and Facebook vs. what I will call "competitive" companies where at least four to five companies compete for their market share in their area.   Stiglitz stated that where a company has a monopoly or near monopoly, they lack any incentive to be highly efficient.   Where a potential competitor appears, they can buy it easily.  Stiglitz stated that because of this type of corporations strength in the U.S., the U.S. was losing its predominance to countries like South Korea.   He indicated that where companies were in competitive markets, they had significant incentives to be efficient.

L basically agreed with Stiglitz, however his "solution" to the problem was diametrically the opposite of the Nobel Laureate who headed the President's Council of Economic Advisors in the 1990's.   Stiglitz spoke of the need for government regulation and monitoring.   L empathically indicated that people should individually boycott Walmart as he says he either does or should do.   His solution relies upon individuals in great numbers individually building for positive change.

It may not be a surprise that L also sees racism as an "individual" problem, rather than being a "systemic problem".   He indicated that he and his friends weren't racist and we needed to have more people working together individually there also.  L saw no necessity, as I see, for white people to confront other white people to work on systemically ending racism.

I have no faith in the power of individual people to bring about major change related to economics or racism.   I see systemic racism and the support of monopoly capitalism as being problems which necessitate major organizing work, such as to reverse the Citizen's United Supreme Court Decision which allows corporations to use unlimited funds to push their causes, often dwarfing the efforts of various organizations to bring about major political change.

People like L are not diehard Trump supporters.   L is cynical about Trump.   At the same time L has no concerns that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned if Trump is re-elected.   

I do not know how we can reach people like L?


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