Psychotic Break at the NY Times?

Reading the New York Times is kinda fun right now, in a clinical sense. They seem to be having psychotic break over the election results, since the massive “blue wave” didn’t happen, and even more worrisome, Trump improved his share of the non-white vote so significantly. And now that the Times is snug and secure in its warm, Upper West Side bubble blanket with the presumption that Agent Orange has been dispatched, you’re starting to see headlines like this in the Times:

I imagine this headline, to a Nicholas Kristol op-ed column today, is ruining a lot of breakfasts, especially this first sentence: “Some things are true even though President Trump says them.” And what is Kristof saying Trump is right about? School closures. And what did New York do yesterday? Close the schools down again.

Elsewhere in the Times there is lots of angst about how minority voters let them down.

As ballots were counted on Election Day, many people were quick to observe that Latinos went for President Trump in 2020. . . Many people feel abandoned by the Democratic Party [Comment: true!], and this was exploited by Republicans’ outreach in these districts. Their focus on Mr. Trump’s record on the economy resonated in economically depressed areas. Directly questioning what Democrats have done for reliable voters also hit home.

Significant that the author of this piece, a Democratic Latino political organizer, doesn’t use the term “Latinx.” Progress, perhaps.

This is becoming an obsession with the Times. Another article from two days ago:

The proposition seemed tailor-made for one of the nation’s most diverse and liberal states. California officials asked voters to overturn a 24-year-old ban on affirmative action in education, employment and contracting.

The state political and cultural establishment worked as one to pass this ballot measure. The governor, a senator, members of Congress, university presidents and civil rights leaders called it a righting of old wrongs.

Yet on Election Day, the proposition failed by a wide margin, 57 percent to 43 percent, and Latino and Asian-American voters played a key role in defeating it. The outcome captured the gap between the vision laid out by the liberal establishment in California, which has long imagined the creation of a multiracial, multiethnic coalition that would embrace progressive causes, and the sentiments of many Black, Latino, Asian and Arab voters.

In rural Imperial County, in the southeastern corner of the state, 85 percent of the population is Latino. The voters there who gave Joseph R. Biden Jr. a nearly 27-point margin of victory went against the affirmative action measure by 16 percentage points.

The results suggest that Democrats may need to adjust their strategy. . . 

Representative Ruben Gallego, the Democratic congressman from Phoenix who is a former Marine and a Harvard graduate. . . said . .  “It’s just important that white liberals don’t impose their thoughts and policies on us.”

I wouldn’t count on white liberals backing off or rethinking things.


Many Chinese liberals have expressed enthusiasm for Mr. Trump for so demonstrably ignoring the conventional wisdom of diplomatic engagement with China, in particular the claims that more trade would soften China’s authoritarian politics and that it is better to talk quietly behind closed doors than openly confront China over any disagreements. . .

Now these thinkers and activists are worried because President-elect Biden was at the center of the old U.S. foreign policy establishment for decades. . .

Yet these diplomatic issues are secondary to what really interests many Chinese liberal intellectuals: the American culture wars, in which some see a reflection of the debates about the limits of free speech in China. Given how robust public discussion is in the United States, the comparison may seem overdrawn. But it speaks to the intensity with which many Chinese thinkers want Western liberal democracies to remain free.

The issue of political correctness in particular fascinates them, with many seeing in it uncomfortable echoes of their own experiences in a society where speech is severely constrained. They perceive Mr. Trump as embodying the sort of no-filter approach to free speech that they dream of, while viewing American liberalism as having strayed from its core values.

Sun Liping, a leading Chinese sociologist, argued in an essay published last year on WeChat that while political correctness in America began as a way to avoid insulting people and to promote equality, it has helped turn a set of debatable beliefs into an edifice of near dogmas — that immigration, free trade and globalization are unquestionably good; that minorities are almost all victims; that major countries are responsible for setting the world right. Nowadays, Mr. Sun wrote, political correctness is “a burden, a kind of shackle America has placed on itself, a kind of self-inflicted bondage.”

Mr. Biden’s presidency is unlikely to dampen many Chinese liberals’ support for American conservatism.

I’d love to see what’s rolling on the Times internal Slack channel today.

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