2016

Donald Trump’s New Economic Agenda: More Food Poisoning, More Government Subsidies of Low-Wage Employers

food

Donald Trump unveiled a new economic agenda today, marking his third attempt at a tax plan in less than a year. But this was more than just taxes—it’s an “agenda” that aspires to serve a bunch of conservative masters while never once aspiring to coherence.

It must be said, though, that Trump’s conservative masters are pretty happy with the plan. The Wall Street Journal has gone gaga over it, running an editorial from Michael Saltsman titled “Don’t Raise the Minimum Wage: Trump Has a Better Plan.” That better plan? It’s to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which basically would pay out based on how much or how little a taxpayer earns. According to Saltsman, this is a pro-business idea. Which is true, but artificially so. By not raising the minimum wage and offering a higher EITC in its place, government is basically subsidizing low-income employers. (Nick Hanauer wrote about this at length back in May.) So much for small government. So much for the free market.

Anyway, as I just told you yesterday, proponents of trickle down economics employ three major tactics to ensure that the top one percent benefits from inequality:

1. Tax cuts for the rich.

2. Deregulation for the powerful.

3. Wage suppression for everyone else.

You’ll see these three tactics throughout Trump’s economic agenda. Especially the deregulation bit. Here’s the part of the plan that’s getting the most attention right now:

Specific regulations to be eliminated include: …The FDA Food Police, which dictate how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food. The rules govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures, and even what animals may roam which fields and when. It also greatly increased inspections of food “facilities,” and levies new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill.

Yeah, you read that right. Donald Trump wants to save government money by cutting the regulations that keep our food safe to eat. If you’ve listened to the interview with food safety super-lawyer Bill Marler in our podcast on paid sick leave, you know that this is a terrible idea. Even with the regulatory framework that we already enjoy, there have been way too many produce-based salmonella and listeria outbreaks in the last few years.

The other regulations Trump wants to cut involve environmental protections and regulations on the energy industry, which would likely mean more fracking, less safety in our oil extraction methods, and more environmental mayhem. Combine that with artificially low wages supported by government and a tax plan that benefits the super-rich Trump family with an end to the estate tax and a dramatic lowering of corporate tax rates and you’ve got a plan to turn America into a theme park: Trickle Down Land, where the one percent thrives in luxury and everyone else has to fend for themselves.

Uh, OK: The Republican Running for Governor of Washington State Wants to Regulate Regulations

Yesterday morning, we woke up to great news: household income in the United States has finally begun to rise, after eight years of stagnation. Reuters reports:

The Census Bureau said on Tuesday that median household income surged 5.2 percent last year to $56,500, the highest since 2007, in large part due to solid employment gains. The jump was the biggest since record keeping began in 1968.

But that’s not all: the poverty rate saw its largest drop since 1968, among other assorted pieces of good news. And today we learned that Seattle’s jobless rate is now lower than it’s been in eight years.

Of course there’s more work to be done—housing costs are out of control, we have decades of inequality to overcome, and the fact that we still have as much poverty as we do in the 21st century is ridiculous—but the numbers indicate that we are finally, eight years after the financial collapse, on the right track. More people, and not just the top one percent, are seeing more income.

This is a man who can appeal to audiences of dozens on Facebook Live. (Bill Bryant's Twitter profile photo.)

This is a man who can appeal to audiences of dozens on Facebook Live. (Bill Bryant’s Twitter profile photo.)

So yesterday was kind of a rough day for Washington state Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant to deliver a jobs speech. But that’s what he did, and it was broadcast on Facebook live to an audience of somewhere between two and three dozen people. I was one of those viewers. Between frequent drops in the streaming service and the crappy sound quality of the stream, I was able to discern that Bryant offered a six-point plan to improve jobs in Washington state. And if you’ve been paying attention to any Republican gubernatorial candidate in Washington state over the last four decades, you know what it contained.

As Nick Cassella recapped this morning in Daily Clips, the three demands of candidates who promote trickle down economics are as follows:

1. Tax cuts for the rich.

2. Deregulation for the powerful.

3. Wage suppression for everyone else.

And that’s exactly what Bryant offered. Aside from some bizarre side-rants, including a call to add lanes to our congested highways and a weird waffle on whether we need public transit or not, he mostly stuck to the trickle down script. Bryant railed against Initiative 1433, the initiative that will increase Washington state’s minimum wage to $13.50 (and which will also provide paid sick leave to workers). He railed against taxes, calling them business killers. And he really, really hates regulations.

Bryant has famously and repeatedly called for a “moratorium on all new regulations,” and he renewed that call in this speech. He argued that “regulations accumulate one on top of the other,” creating a morass. Of course, a moratorium on regulations is short-sighted and dumb. Don’t we want government to be able to adapt to new developments? What happens if there’s an emergency, or if a regulation needs reworking during the moratorium period? Regulations save lives. They protect us from food poisoning. They’ve kept our great statewide experiment in marijuana legalization safe and sane. Unless Bryant is a strict libertarian, he has to agree that some regulations are important.

So how does Bryant separate the supposedly good regulations from the supposedly bad ones? As Fox Q13 explains, during this moratorium, a theoretical Governor Bryant “would require agencies to define objectives and success of current regulations and to determine whether they are still working or necessary.” In other words he would, uh, regulate the regulations, causing the same agencies that create regulations to justify those regulations, in what sounds like a Trickle Down American Idol. Only the strongest regulations get to live!

But the truth is, there’s already a process to review regulations in place. This overdramatic attempt to examine every single regulation in the state would be an immense waste of time and taxpayer money. It’s not a serious proposal. Why not just focus on the regulations that Bryant feels need a serious review? Because that wouldn’t be as flashy as a moratorium and a total review. And Bryant, in case you can’t tell, is a decidedly un-flashy candidate who needs to capture voter attention if he’s going to make any kind of a dent in this race.

Really, as someone who had a lot of trouble watching Bryant’s speech yesterday (the man has all the charisma of a bag full of silt) I can understand that need. Bryant is clearly flailing. He knows that the trickle down agenda pushed by Paul Ryan doesn’t work. He got hammered for months because he wouldn’t say if he supported Trump or not, and then he finally came out against Trump, which undoubtedly cost him some ardent Republican supporters in the eastern part of the state. He’s got to do something.

But this moratorium on regulations just isn’t the answer. Bryant is facing an improving economic climate by pushing the same policies that got us into this mess. Now is the time for leadership: if he really wanted to get the attention for voters, he’d come up with a conservative economic plan that didn’t embrace the failed trickle down agenda of the last forty years. But Bryant apparently lacks that essential something—maybe it’s courage, maybe it’s intellect, maybe it’s creativity—to reposition himself.  This is a shame. I’m a fan of Jay Inslee—I think he understands the economy, and I love the way he leads on environmental issues—but this state would be better off if we had two strong choices on the ballot this fall. Unfortunately, Bryant just isn’t a strong choice.

Donald Trump’s Economic Plan Is Straight-Up Trickle Down Nonsense

This guy is running for president. Don't worry! He probably owns a tie.

This guy is running for president. Don’t worry! He probably owns a tie.

Evan McMullin is running for president as an anti-Trump independent candidate. Who the hell is Evan McMullin? Well, he’s a Republican who gave a TED Talk once. That’s about all we know. McKay Coppins at BuzzFeed writes:

He has never held elective office before and has spent most of his career as a CIA officer, according to his LinkedIn page. Young and unmarried, McMullin received an MBA at Wharton in 2011, and after a stint at Goldman Sachs, went to work as a policy wonk on Capitol Hill.

Unlike National Review writer David French, another conservative courted by anti-Trump Republicans to launch a long-shot third-party bid, McMullin has virtually no public profile. He doesn’t appear regularly on television, and has just 135 followers on Twitter. His most recent high-profile appearance seems to have been a TEDx talk about genocide he gave at London Business School in April. He also delivered a speech in May about the future of the Republican Party.

McMullin won’t be able to make it on the ballot in many states, but operatives hope he’ll move the needle, especially, in Utah. (McMullin is a Brigham Young University graduate, and polling indicates that Mormons are very uncomfortable with Trump.) He can’t win the electoral college because he’s missed so many state filing deadlines, but McMullin at least represents a mainstream Republican for anti-Trump mainstream Republicans to vote for.

Let’s take a look at McMullin’s campaign website to see where he stands on the economy. His economic plan is made up of four sentences. First sentence: “America should be the best place in the world for innovation, entrepreneurship and opportunity.” Okay! We agree. Next sentence: “We must reform a system that too often benefits the politically connected and the corporate elite, while leaving too many Americans behind.” Also true. Economic inequality is out of control. We’re halfway through the statement and we’re in total agreement!

So what’s next? “Our tax code should be lean, simple and encourage investment here at home.” Hmmm. See, on the surface, we agree with being simple and encouraging investment at home, but the proposition of a simple tax code from a Republican-identifying candidate often results in tax breaks for the wealthy (and since McMullin worked at Goldman Sachs, it seems pretty easy to predict where his loyalties would lie.) So I agree with some of the spirit of that sentence, but I disagree with what I believe to be the sentiment behind it. And then, this: “Government regulations should be reduced to foster a dynamic economy.” Ugh. Another Republican who blames regulations for murdering growth.  It’s just not true. It doesn’t happen. Regulations create jobs.

So I was looking at McMullin’s economic plan—what little there is of it—at the same time that the internet was reacting to Donald Trump’s economic speech. And barring some of his signature bombastic rhetoric on trade—somehow, China is going to rain down money on the US because Trump is good at deals, I guess—Trump’s economic plan is the same trickle-down baloney that Mitt Romney served. It’s basically the same as John McCain’s plan, which was the same as George W. Bush’s plan.

What Trump is demanding is the usual conservative boilerplate: tax cuts for the rich and deregulation for the powerful. He’s calling for a moratorium on financial regulations and a repeal of the estate tax, which would of course directly benefit all Trump’s children. And in case you worry about those conservative threats that the so-called “death tax” will mean your children won’t receive their inheritance after you pass away, Bloomberg makes it very clear that currently the estate tax “applies only to estates larger than $5.45 million for individuals and $10.9 million for couples.”  So we’re not talking about modest one-bedroom homes being seized by Uncle Sam, here.

The most remarkable thing about Trump’s economic plan, to me, is how conventional it is: promises of cutting taxes for small business sound like Mitt Romney’s small business plan, which actually benefitted large corporations at the expense of small business. Promises to help the middle and working classes grow are supposedly spurred by tax cuts for the rich and deregulation for big business. For a candidate as aggressively un-mainstream as Trump, this is a boring, mainstream Republican plan—the same philosophy that guided George W. Bush until his bad policies exploded the economy in 2008. I’m willing to bet that when we hear more specifics from McMullin’s economic plan, in fact, we’ll learn that he and Trump are pushing roughly the exact same policy. Some independent candidate he turned out to be.

There’s Something About Gary: Why a Vote for Gary Johnson Is a Vote for Trickle Down Economics

This is Seattle cartoonist Peter Bagge's comic about  the time he and I covered Gary Johnson's 2012 visit to Seattle. You can buy this comic in Bagge's very funny  collection "Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Observations."

This is Seattle cartoonist Peter Bagge’s comic about the time he and I covered Gary Johnson’s 2012 visit to Seattle. You can buy this comic in Bagge’s very funny collection “Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Observations.”

 

I met once-and-current presidential candidate Gary Johnson in 2012 when he was vying for the Washington state Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. Johnson seemed a decent-enough man—not a horrifying Ron Paul-style libertarian, but more of an affable stoner-type. Unlike the Ayn Rand school of libertarianism, which advocates small government because it expects the worst of people, Gary Johnson’s brand of libertarian often assumes the best: it’s a cheery worldview predicated on the belief that we don’t need regulations because most people won’t violate the societal norms.

So maybe it’s an absolutism born of optimism, but it’s still absolutism. It doesn’t account for the extremes of human nature—companies like cigarette manufacturers that put profits over lives, beneficial but unprofitable government programs that help the working poor improve their own standards of living. The fact is, libertarianism just doesn’t work; it winds up benefitting the wealthiest at the expense of the very poor. Gary Johnson might not consciously favor trickle down economics, but his policies would absolutely reward the trickle-down agenda.

If you know any Gary Johnson fans, I encourage you to direct them to this post by Benjamin Studebaker, which explains how Johnson’s stated plans would actually damage America worse than a Donald Trump presidency. You think that’s not possible? It totally is: Studebaker walks through Johnson’s policies like the flat tax, deregulation of the banking industry, opposition to basic programs like Medicare and public school and explains why they would leave America in a hole so deep we would never dig ourselves free.

It’s easy to look at Johnson, with his cool-college-professor vibe and his chipper talk about marijuana, and assume he’s a harmless guy, a happy warrior to contrast with the dismal hatred of Donald Trump. But always remember that Johnson espouses a political worldview that is dangerously naive: his policies would burn the country down to nothing. Even a fundamentally decent man can be dangerous, when he espouses the wrong ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump Is Wrong. Hiring Workers Isn’t a Sacrifice.

"I even pay them more than the minimum wage. I'm basically Jesus."

“I even pay them the minimum wage. I’m basically Jesus.”

In all the Trump-related news that happened over this hellacious weekend, I just wanted to highlight one specific thing that Donald Trump said. When asked by George Stephanopoulos from ABC News to respond to gold star father Khizr Khan’s claim that he has sacrificed nothing, Trump replied: “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”

Now. Of the many things Trump said this weekend, this is nowhere near the most shocking. His continued assault on the Khans—implying that Ghazala Khan didn’t speak at the Democratic National Convention because of Islamic law; suggesting that Khizr Khan didn’t have the “right” to challenge him on the Constitution—was so shameful that Republican leaders have had to run away from him. This weekend, in fact, was quite possibly the lowest point in a campaign that is relentlessly pitted with low points.

But I want to focus on what Trump said about “creating…jobs” as a sacrifice because it’s something that I see a lot. The 2012 Republican convention famously adopted “You Didn’t Build That” as a theme, and the speaker rotation featured business owner after business owner being applauded for hiring workers. Not featured in the speaking slate at the 2012 RNC? Actual workers.

Look: small business is a great thing. We want to create an environment that encourages as many people as possible in America to start businesses, because that’s how you create growth. Saluting employers is a wonderful and meaningful thing for a political party to do.

But. Sometimes you’ll find employers in the spotlight who complain about the expense of employing workers. They’ll argue against raising the minimum wage by calling their employees unworthy of a living wage. They’ll describe hiring workers as a sacrifice. And that’s the point when we should stand up and say something.

Hiring workers isn’t something that business owners do out of the kindness of their hearts. They hire workers because they have work that needs to be done, and because they don’t have the expertise, the time, and/or the desire to do that work themselves. Workers are hired to solve problems. Without the workers, problems don’t get solved and businesses fail.

This argument that paying people to work for you is a sacrifice strikes me as very similar to the argument that if employers are forced to pay employees more, they’ll turn to automation. It casts the employer as a force for good, as someone who employs people out of the kindness of their hearts when they could pursue other, more profitable avenues instead. This is not true. If Jimmy Johns could buy affordable sandwich-making robots instead of paying human workers, they would.

Employers need their workers, but to publicly admit that they need the workers would put them at a disadvantage when it comes time to negotiate salaries. Trump expects us to believe that he’s sacrificing by paying workers for their time when he’s actually fulfilling the bare minimum requirement for a businessperson. (And in fact many times he has failed to fulfill that requirement.) He’s not a hero for hiring people, and I stand with Khizr Khan: Donald Trump has sacrificed exactly nothing.

 

Donald Trump Is Right, for Once—Let’s Raise the Minimum Wage

The Washington Post did the world a favor when it made its Trump Hat generator.

This morning’s press conference was full of what you’d expect from Donald Trump Trump: a few points where he seemed scarily misinformed (he called John Hinkley Jr. “David Hinkley” and he seemed to confuse Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine with former New Jersey governor Tom Kean, a republican) and one point where he seemed to violate the law (when he called for Russia, “if you are listening,” to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email server. That last bit, naturally, got all the press—we have never before seen a presidential candidate publicly beg a foreign power to commit an act of espionage against the United States, so it’s big news. (As Ezra Klein argues convincingly at Vox, Trump has long since blown past any standards of normalcy or decency.)

But Trump also made news in another way this morning; in fact, if he hadn’t made history with his incredibly irresponsible Russia comments, perhaps he’d be leading the headlines with some good news for a change: he endorsed a $10 minimum wage. As CNN reports, Trump originally told Bill O’Reilly last night on Fox News that “You need to help people. I know it’s not very Republican to say.” When O’Reilly asked to what level he’d raise the minimum wage, Trump finally settled on ten: “’I would say 10. I would say 10,’ Trump agreed.” And at this morning’s press conference, he doubled down: “Trump said once again that the federal minimum wage should be raised to ‘at least $10’ but that ‘states should really call the shots.’”

Let’s be clear that the above quote makes no sense. You can’t raise the minimum wage to at least $10 and then vaguely insinuate that states could make the minimum wage lower than $10, because that flies in the face of what a federal minimum wage is. And in the recent past, Trump has also argued against having a federal minimum wage at all. As recently as November, he argued that American wages are too high and we have to leave the minimum wage “where it is” in order to compete with the world. So it must be said that he’s been wrong every step of the way on the minimum wage until now, and he could very easily be wrong on it again tomorrow.But let’s appreciate the fact that somehow, in the same press conference where he made one of the worst mistakes of his entire political career, Donald Trump actually acknowledged something good and useful: that the minimum wage has to go up. The last increase — from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour — happened way back in 2007. (Of course, Trump has the amount wrong. A $10 minimum wage would still be lower than when the minimum wage was at its peak in 1968, when adjusted for inflation.)

This is a significant moment in the fight for the $15 minimum wage: for the first time in at least 9 years, both political parties agree that the minimum wage needs to be substantially increased. The leader of the Republican Party has called for a federal minimum wage increase — and not a piddly quarter or two; he’s demanded “at least” an increase of $2.75. This is the first time this has happened since George W. Bush—Mitt Romney was against raising the wage when he was a presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012, though he now says Republicans are “nuts not to raise the minimum wage.”

Speaker Paul Ryan voted against raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour back in 2007. In fact, he’s voted against raising the wage at least ten times. Every Republican running for president in 2016 except for Rick Santorum opposed raising the minimum wage. Hell, Jeb Bush called to eliminate the federal minimum wage altogether, which is not an unusual position for someone in the Republican Party to hold nowadays.

In the last 24 hours, Trump changed the national conversation on the minimum wage. Raising the wage is no longer in question; the only question now is how high it should go. The prevailing $15 figure — the one approved by Seattle and California and New York and many other locations nationwide — isn’t even as high as the minimum wage would be right now had it been tied to productivity. Back in 2013, John Schmitt argued that if it had kept pace with productivity since 1968, “the minimum wage today would arguably be about $22 per hour,” and “if we use a more conservative measure of productivity growth suggested by my colleague Dean Baker, the minimum wage today would still be about $16 per hour.” In short, Republicans would be getting a bargain if they agreed to a $15 federal minimum wage.

Let’s be clear: Trump finally being right on the minimum wage does not make him a more credible candidate, or even a slightly more favorable candidate. His erratic behavior and hateful rhetoric disqualify him from the presidency. But despite all his disgusting positions and nonexistent policies, Trump is more reasonable than the rest of his party when it comes to the minimum wage. If I were Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush or some other high-profile Republican, I would take that fact and sit with it for a while.

If You’re a Human, You’re Political.

I once saw someone complain about Captain America being "too political." Uh, he was created by Jewish kids before World War II to make a statement against Hitler. He was literally created as a political act.

I once saw someone complain about Captain America being “too political.” Uh, he was created by Jewish kids before World War II to make a statement against Hitler. He was literally created as a political act.

Barry Petchetsky at Deadspin reports that sportscaster Adam Schefter was asked if politics belongs in sports reporting. Here’s part of his response:

No. Politics is not a normal day-to-day topic of discussion and reporting. It does not impact how we go about our jobs. Sports figures who publicize their political viewpoints only serve to divide the audience. People are drawn to sports as an escape from politics.

Petchetsky dismantles Schefter’s argument beautifully, pointing out that most of the major sports stories that Schefter has commented on are in some way or another political in nature, including stories about labor, the high cost of universities, and the Orlando shooting. Petchetsky concludes, “the truly baffling part here is that Schefter (and so many like him) don’t see anything political about this stuff. The only way to cover sports without introducing politics is to cover it dishonestly.”

I highlight this post for two reasons. First, it’s wonderfully written and well-argued. Second, it’s true for everyone. Everything is political. Yes, that “brainless” movie you just watched at the multiplex was political — if you didn’t detect an agenda, it very likely reinforced gender norms, political opinions, and other underlying societal premises. Politics is how we as humans navigate conflicts and other societal debates. Politics are hardwired into our brains and our lives. Avoiding politics would be like avoiding air, or avoiding sunlight.

It has been said many times before, but it always deserves repeating because people like Schefter never seem to learn: being apolitical is a thoroughly political position. If you decide not to see the political nature of things, or if you decide not to live in the world as a political person, you are ceding the conversation to literally anyone else.

One of the most common reasons why people complain about sports and movies getting “too political” is because they disagree with the statement being expressed. If you voice your opinion but you expect others (artists, sports stars, newscasters) to keep silent — well, that’s a political opinion, too, and a bad one. We need more discourse, not less, in the public space. This belief that political conversations are impolite is practically Victorian, and it silences important voices.

I get it. These conversations are uncomfortable. They force you to think about things you may not want to think about. Sometimes they lead to arguments, and those are never easy. But ignoring these conversations, or pretending they don’t exist, is a fool’s errand, like promoting abstinence-only education to teenagers and then being shocked when the teen birth rate soars. The rise of a liar like Donald Trump, someone who promotes an impossible agenda while employing dangerous rhetoric, is a direct result of a politically illiterate culture like the one Schefter encourages.

The Dangers of I-Do-Me-ism

idome

The Donald Trump quote in this tweet really hammered something home for me:

It strikes me that this could and should be the slogan for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign: “I don’t care. I do me.” Trump’s malignant brand of populism is founded and fostered on the idea that the individual comes first, at the expense of society. I’ve already written about Trump’s disastrous business style, which is predicated on an “I do me” platform, but in politics this philosophy is even more destructive.

Trump’s I-do-me-ism is based on the idea that a very particular individual—white, male, Christian—comes first. Everybody else gets scraps, if they get anything at all. In Trump’s ideal America, for example, white women can work and vote but they’d better not get uppity about the pay gap, or sexual harassment. Immigrants get sent home. Muslims are profiled and harassed until they get the message that they’re not welcome.

“I don’t care. I do me” is also the message that the British people sent in last week’s Brexit vote. When leaders like Boris Johnson promise that Britain will have all the benefits of EU membership without any of the expenses, he’s promoting a me-first attitude that foregoes any ideas of community or responsibility.

The strains of populism and nationalism on the march today are rooted in racism. Racism is what happens when you throw empathy in the garbage. Trump’s rallies have emboldened white supremacists to a level that we haven’t seen in America’s public spaces since the 1960s. And racist incidents have skyrocketed in Britain, post-Brexit.

Let’s be clear: Trump and Brexit are not happening in a vacuum. It’s easy to convince people to promote a racist, harmful political ideology when they feel as though they’ve been left behind. Income inequality doesn’t create racism, but it does create an environment that encourages racist actions. People are likely to act more exclusionary when they feel as though they’ve been excluded.

But we’re at a real crossroads here. What Trump is proposing with his I-do-me-ism is a political ideology based solely on selfishness, a feral politicsthat urges citizens to grab whatever they can before it’s all gone. Looting is not a successful form of governance; it eventually ends with the biggest, loudest bully taking over, in the form of authoritarianism.

Progressives need to reject exclusionary politics in all its forms. That means we can’t leave anyone out—even Trump voters. Without policies and talking points that embrace America’s working class and the white male voters who flock to Trump, the election threatens to spin into a toxic game of us vs. them.

This is not to say that progressives should court racism, xenophobia, or nationalism; we should condemn them at any opportunity, but we should do so in a constructive way. We should call out racism by proving that equality is better for everyone. We should argue that hate is bad for nations. (We’re seeing this now in Britain.) We must spotlight and amplify the same people Trump and his I-do-me-ists are trying to silence and vilify.

Most religions and moral codes offer some variation of turning the other cheek, of welcoming those who don’t make us feel welcome. This is because we know as a species, on a DNA-deep level, that inclusion makes us stronger than exclusion. But the only way we can prove to Trump voters that inclusion is stronger is by continually offering meaningful, inclusive solutions for the problems they perceive.

Politics has never been easy, but never in my lifetime has it felt so actively distasteful as it does right now. For many, it would be easier to turn your back on the whole process, to give up on politics and to hide away from the hurtful words. We must not give in to the easy way. We have to keep making the case that we all do better when we all do better. We’ve come too far to fall prey to the vicious philosophy of I-do-me-ism.