Date: September 1, 2016

I got quoted in FT

So, I got quoted in FT on On Chinese alliance formation and militarisation.

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Read the whole thing HERE and let me know what you think?

How Paul LePage’s 2010, 14 campaigns previewed Trump

If you want to know how the Republican Party became conditioned and tolerate and nominate Donald Trump, look at the northeasternmost state in the union, Maine, and its Republican governor, Paul LePage.

An angry racist who makes deranged and violent comments, LePage’s approval rating has been plummeting since a series of racist comments he has made this year. In August he sent went on a profanity-filled tirade to a Democratic lawmaker’s answering machine, and then he held a press conference in which he said, “[T]he enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.” In January LePage said that black drug dealers were coming from “Connecticut and New York” and “impregnat[ing] a young, white girl before they leave.”

Now that he’s been exposed as a terrible politician, on top of a racist, and become an embarrassment to the GOP, it’s hard to think how he was once considered a rising star. But as recently as just two years ago, the Republican Governors Association featured LePage in a video in their “American Comeback” series.

Republicans gushed over him for his “political incorrectness,” the fact that he talked like an “average Joe,” his unapologetic campaign against welfare, and the fact that he “took on” the media. In short, many of the same things they like(d) about Trump.

A 2014 article by Jay Nordlinger in National Review highlights some of those points and foreshadows the racism he would unleash a few years later.

The article “Maine Journal, Part III,” part of a series, opens with some claims about a prescription drug abuse “crisis” reportedly taking place in Maine, the very thing that has been bemoaned by white Trump supporters when it happens in small white-majority towns. You can hear overtures of LePage’s comments about drug dealers in Nordlinger’s nut graph: “Dealers from Brooklyn and other such places find a ready market here.”

Coming from where? Brooklyn? Just like LePage, Nordlinger subtly blamed the crisis on out-of-state dealers. (The article doesn’t point to any numbers on the source of the drugs, or where the dealers are coming from. It doesn’t mention how many dealers are Maine natives or how many Maine natives go to other states to sell drugs. Naming New York or a specific borough of New York that isn’t Manhattan, well, one can only speculate…)

Much of the article is written in bullet points. In one, Nordlinger wrote, “Traveling around Maine, and hearing about it, I think, “This is a textbook example of what Charles Murray is talking about.” Two years ago, the famed political scientist wrote Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010.”

As can be seen from the title of Murray’s book, Murray’s book was focused specifically on white people. Why should race be such a factor? In Murray’s case (and perhaps other conservatives), he had been attacked as racist by liberals for a previous book of his, The Bell Curve, that posited differences in IQs across America were linked in part to genetics. By limiting his critique to white Americans, he could avoid such critiques this time around. Also, it is arguable that white poverty is, in and of itself, an underexplored issue, as such issues as drug abuse are more often associated with “the black community” (both by humanitarians who want to help stop it and by racists). One problem with focusing on drug abuse by white Americans, however, is the potential for double standards to exist where sympathy is heaped on white drug users, that isn’t shown for black drug users, and blame is thrown on “guys with the name D-Money, Smothie, Shifty … who come to Maine from New York and Connecticut … and impregnate a young, white girl before they leave” (in the words of LePage).

Nordlinger wrote

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