After the bizarre, ranting spectacle of the GOP convention, the Democrats’ gathering in Philadelphia was a breath of fresh air. Their celebrities were actual celebrities. Their business and political leaders were actual leadership figures in the real world, not just CEOs of shady Trump businesses. They had actual former Presidents in attendance, like a credible, mainstream political party.
Democrats successfully portrayed themselves as the last remaining adults in American politics, placing a narrative frame around the 2016 that virtually guarantees a win. Viewed in comparison to the Republican Party, Democrats look solid. However, viewed in comparison to the past, the cracks become easier to spot. The Politics of Crazy is threatening the engulf the Democratic Party just a few years behind the GOP.
What really happened in 2016 is that the most prominent, popular, competent figure in the Democratic Party nearly lost the nomination to some random old grump who signed up to run on a whim. Bernie Sanders wasn’t even a Democrat until he launched his campaign and he renounced his membership when the whole charade ended. If Clinton had been challenged from the left by someone under seventy who owned a comb, she probably would have lost and this year’s DNC would have looked just like the RNC, but with more weed and much, much better entertainment.
Kanye West has already threatened/promised to run in 2020. If he isn’t distracted by something trivial out of the corner of his vision he might actually follow through. If not Yeezy, it’s entirely likely that some other half-awake celebrity might take up the mantle (paging Ms. Sarandon…). Should this happen, it’s tough to imagine how Clinton could hold them off again.
Here’s a little sample of the lunacy growing at the margins of the Democratic Party. Buckle up folks.
The left’s answer to Breitbart, Democracy Now, documented the lonely struggle of principled Berniebots against the horrors of the Democratic machine.
From the Washington Post: Paid seat-fillers, credentials stripped from principled protesters, signs ripped away, lights turned off. These are just a few of false convention narratives that have circulated in the growing fever swamps of left-wing conspiracy nuts.
From People Magazine (that’s right, get used to it): Susan Sarandon has taken all the abuse she can stand and she “can’t stands no more.”
From The Chicago Tribune: Clarence Page describes the scene among Bernie supporters at the DNC.
From Crooks and Liars: Think crazy conspiracy theories are a right-wing problem? Sanders supporters chanted “lock her up” at the DNC.
Finally, another warning from The Politics of Crazy:
“Both of these candidates [Trump & Sanders] embody the tension between our duties as citizens and our desires as consumers. They represent our frustration with a political culture premised on collective duties next to an economic culture premised on atomized, instantaneous, individual satisfaction.”
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and the Triumph of Entertainment
Some points of rebuttal here….
1) Others have made this point for me, so I won’t belabor it, but: Bernie Sanders is not crazy. He is probably an idealogue, and I am mistrustful of idealogues, so I don’t much care for him (despite agreeing with him on some things), but he’s not crazy.
2) That said, many of his supporters are at least a little crazy. You saw this in the primary, in the way that many of them have insisted that the voice of “the people” was somehow squashed, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton received far more votes than Sanders.
3) THAT said, Hillary Clinton won. She did not, as Chris argues, “nearly lose.” She won, and while Sanders did better than anyone would have reasonably thought last year, she won decisively. The outcome of the primary was never seriously in doubt, and not just because of superdelegates. She received nearly 60% of the votes cast. That is not “nearly losing.”
4) Of course, the fact that Sanders did better than anyone last year could have reasonably thought is significant. But we don’t know exactly what it means. Could it mean there is a newly-ascendant “crazy” wing in the Democratic Party? Yes, it could – and I do think the far left has gained steam in recent years, which reinforces this claim (not that the far left is automatically crazy, but I think craziness is generally more common on the fringes). But it could also mean that Hillary Clinton is just a bad presidential candidate, which available evidence suggests she is. Remember, the insurgent upstart who beat her eight years ago is now President. And if the Republican Party didn’t self-destruct and nominate a quasi-fascist reality television star, Clinton would probably be losing right now. Chris’ protestations to the contrary, Clinton is not especially popular, even among Democrats, and there is a reasonable case to be made that Sanders’ success is due more to this than the rise of a new element in Democratic politics. Personally, I think it’s a bit of both – but it’s hard to say in what proportion at the moment.
5) Even if Sanders’ success was due mostly to the rise of a new element in Democratic politics, it is by no means clear that that element will take over the party in the coming years. Again, Clinton WON, and it was not especially close. This does not mean this element will not take over the Democratic Party, nor does it means that they will not be relatively ascendant (in fact, I’d argue in favor of the latter). But their ultimate victory over the forces of the establishment is by no means a foregone conclusion. We simply do not know right now if they will prevail, to what extent they will prevail, or if the mainstream will process and integrate them the way that mainstream political parties have processed and integrated new political movements in the past. The outcome of this year’s primary did not shed much light on what may happen here.
In sum: the Democratic Party is not doomed to succumb to the politics of crazy. It may happen, but then again, it may not. It is far too early to predict with any confidence where the Sanders movement and the attendant rise of the Democratic left will lead, or even if it will lead anywhere at all. Chris’ comments about Kanye West or some other such person defeating Clinton in 2020 are grossly premature.
Speaking only for myself, I agree with your points plus would like to add one other. That is, what is going to happen in the Democratic Party is impacted by what “is” happening in the Republican Party. Where we agree is that the future is murky and anyone in their right mind would not venture an educated guess at this point in time. I do believe that the “big tent” philosophy of the Democratic Party is both a blessing and a curse. It definitely is more inclusive; however, it also makes messaging and focus more difficult to manage. Note the use of the word, “manage”, as opposed to “control”. We have seen what “control” accomplishes over on the right and I want no part of that.
It may be that Chris is more prescient than we are based upon his unique situation, or, that he is wrong. His “batting average” on most things political is strong but he does have a strong dislike for unions and crazies, to be clear, on both sides of the political spectrum. His take down of Sanders was too strong and his prediction on the Left becoming as toxic as the right within just a few years seems premature.
But, who knows? Chris Ladd can see a lot further than most people, including me. I respect his opinions even when I disagree with them, and I always, always, give him the benefit of the doubt.
There is a very interesting discussion ongoing between Lawrence O’Donnell and Romney’s former campaign manager (SPence?) right now. He said he thought the RNC should ask Trump to step aside and allow Pence to move into the Presidency slot and allow the base to have a true conservative to get behind.
Wow. Just when you think things couldn’t get any crazier…
Romney’s campaign manager – Stuart Stevens. Seems like a really nice guy. Sorry for the mistake with his name. I needed to wait until they put his name up as I didn’t hear intro clearly.
One thing this campaign has done is introduce me to some very nice Republicans. The kind of people who you’d like to work with to get things done. It’s too bad that those committed to obstruction have blocked these good people from having a seat at the table. Nicole Wallace, Michael Steele, Steve Schmidt…it’s been nice to hear sane, honest analysis from these Republicans as well.
Many of these Republicans have been yanked artifically further right than they really are to appease their base. However what I find irritating about them is that they didn’t stand up to their wingnut contingency until the very end. When they were in power they were more than willing to pander and even give them some power just for self-preservation (with the exception of Michael Steele, who broke rank one too many times with his relative reasonableness and was thus purged).
I have read that Steele was not a great fundraiser for the GOP . Steele is also intelligent and I think a good man. He is also a Black man. He may look at politics through the prism of politics but he may look at life through his Black experience. I’m guessing as I really don’t know, but I find him thoughtful, fair and honest in his remarks and that’s enough for me. And, sure, it would have been better if the traditional Republicans had spoken out long ago. There were many levers of power that made that very difficult – party control was/is absolute. After going through all one has to do to campaign, it isn’t easy to walk away from a position you’ve earned. But, those who didn’t play by establishment rules were/are doomed.
Interestingly, I haven’t heard one peep from members of the Freedom Caucus. It’s like they are sitting back and waiting for what’s left of the power structure to collapse and then they’ll walk right in. That would be death by a thousand cuts.
I read this piece and thought of a prior post of Lifer’s. It is authored by a Black, gay, Republican who is also a minister. Quite a resume. But, he gets it. He concurs with Avik Roy who Lifer profiled earlier, that the party cannot be saved. He states: “I have come to a point that the party is reaching a point of no return, a point when it stops being a conservative party and it becomes something else: a nationalist party based on the grievances of the white working class.”
Here’s a question for all of us, most of whom are progressives in some degree. Are we the only ones reading this literature?
>] “Here’s a question for all of us, most of whom are progressives in some degree. Are we the only ones reading this literature?”
It’s the net, after all. You can never be entirely sure what pockets may have groups of people reading and talking about the same things you are. That’s a part of the reason I’m looking forward to seeing what Sara and Lifer come up with. It may give us the opportunity to reach out to those other Orphans out there.
That aside, and in all frankness, there would’ve been little point in raising one’s voice with the current GOP. As you already said, those that did, like Bruce Bartlett, David Frum and others were either silenced or exiled. The other ‘lifers’ out there held out hope until the end, but the truth is is that there was no other way of purging the racist filth from the Republican Party other than its destruction.
The one and only Gary Trudeau was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show tonight and they had a fun discussion of his 30+ years of predicting Trump’s interest in politics. Trudeau collected the strips he wrote about Trump since 1987!!!! and compiled them into a new paperback: “Yuge! 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump” It’s about $10 bucks and sure to find a spot on lots of coffee tables in coming weeks.
Augh. GOPLifer, you get it right so often that it pains me to see those rarre occasions when you get it wrong, because when you do, you get it very, very wrong. The resemblances between the Bernie phenomenon and the Trumpkopfs or ridiculous, theocratic Ron Paul “Revolution” are certainly there on the surface, but they’re a mile wide and a micron deep. Dismissing Bernie as “crazy”, replete with puerile putdowns about his hair, betrays a complete lack of understanding of his appeal and the serious commitment to the issues and values he stands for, and, seemingly, a simple refusal to actually listen to him, because frankly I can’t understand how the message could be so lost on someone intelligent. I wonder if you, like so many, are hearing the not-quite-accurate “socialist” label and simply turning off as a result, and therefore missing the appeal and the message.
Granted: I’ve been following Bernie for a long time. I don’t know if you realize he’s been a respected figure to disaffected former Democrats for years now. I would not want a presidential campaign to be my first view of anybody respectable—the campaign trail is nothing but a marathon infomercial, about as honest as marketing ever is, which is to say, not at all, ever. I don’t even know how Bernie presented himself on the campaign trail, as soon as he announced I stopped paying attention. I already knew I liked him; I already knew I could enthusiastically support him for president; why cast any doubt on what I already knew to be true by listening to how the inevitable sliminess of a presidential campaign dragged him down into the muck? I can’t understand why I’m the only person I know who seems to realize this, but you have to disregard anything anybody says on the campaign trail. You’d think people would have learned the lessons of Obama, Bush before him, and Clinton before him. Everybody lies on the campaign trail, always. Including Bernie.
My dislike of Trump and Clinton is based on their records before the campaign also. I have friends who insist Trump is “anti-Planned Parenthood”, Hillary is “anti-TPP”, and so forth… it’s absurd. These people have records you can look at to see what their opinions are. Anyone who believes campaign rhetoric is a fool, period.
So I wonder if maybe you’re not in touch with Bernie’s standing and reputation, and the things he did to earn them, among those of us who damn near idolized him for years before his candidacy. Maybe he’s acted like a loon on the campaign trail, I couldn’t even tell you because I don’t know.
But I can tell you that generally, Bernie is one of the most respectable people in government. He has a very keen and pragmatic grasp on what’s going on socioeconomically, and his values are rock-solid, consistent, and unimpeachable. His policy solutions aren’t the greatest, true… his attempted grasp of economics is sometimes unfortunate, and even as I planned to vote for him I crossed my fingers and hoped like hell that, if elected, he’d hire some *very* smart, down-to-earth, and well-informed policy advisers.
But, god damn it, after years of politics-as-usual, we have a genuine statesman running. We have a candidate who clearly stands for something good, who has demonstrated for decades that he is a genuinely good person, has stood by his core beliefs—which happen to be similar to my core beliefs, and hopefully this note is sufficient to illustrate that I’m not a nutjob—for his entire career almost without wavering. The word here is integrity. (Actually, among my acquantances from back in NY, I best like to say: Bernie is a mensch.)
In short, he’s what the Presidency has been missing. The problems with his policies are not what matters here. Restoring integrity, honor, and honesty to the Oval Office is necessary before we can undo the damage that money and power politics have done to our government. I thought that if we could show the major parties that enough people would rather vote for an honest man who gave some wrong answers than a dishonest person who gave all the right ones, it would force them to run candidates with integrity for the future.
For god’s sake man, how can you call that crazy? How can you write that opportunity off with jokes about needing a comb?
And in terms of specifics, despite the gaps in his understanding, he /is/ right about a lot of the problems. If you don’t agree with that, well, let’s just say we have differences of opinion (and that I’m disappointed, because I think a lot of what he’s said should make sense to anyone who isn’t toeing a corporatist party line), the details of which would send this thread off-track. But even if so I don’t think that’s grounds for you disparaging mine. In fact, part of the reason I read you is because you usually don’t indulge in that.
Look at the little things. Look at the way he’s given, er, uninvited other voices an opportunity to speak at his events when they demanded it. Look how often he sits back and /listens/ to what others have to say, and then appears to go home and actually think about what he’s heard, and, if merited, act on it promptly. How many other politicians have you seen do that, instead of arguing, shouting down, or crafting straw-man arguments against what they don’t agree with?
This, to me, is a major qualification for office, and makes his occasionally cringeworthy policy statements trivial. Because he is not a closed-minded ideologue. He listens, learns, and does the right thing when he can. Frankly I’d rather have a president who had fewer answers but did THAT than another goddamn demagogue shill shepherding us towards corporatist neofascism or some sort of postmodern feudalist nightmare. That’s why, to me, far from your disparaging characterization as a loon, Bernie was the only sane choice.
Yeah, a lot of the newer followers Bernie’s picked up are kinda nuts. In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of people are nuts nowadays. To call him or them crazy in a field of Trump, Hillary, and their followers, sounds like simply bias to me. Are you familiar with Sturgeon’s Law? (“90% of everything is crap.”) Sad but true.
And it’s also unfortunate, a lot of these kinds of arguments about Bernie’s character and values have been devalued by similarity to the empty talking points currently being emitted by Trumpkopfs (albeit generally in one-syllable words). Let me just say in response to anyone who might raise that comparison that I am aware, myself, of the difference between “honest” and “off-the-cuff” or “unprepared”.
I dunno, man. Like I said, you’re so right most of the time that it pains me to occasionally see you appear to be intellectually lazy like this. Disagree with Bernie, fine, but you just don’t seem to get it at all. I see this as a rare instance of you making an apparently uninformed and puerile ill-tempered comment, and undercutting your own credibility with it.
I wish this forum let you edit comments after submitting… so many typos…
By the way “rarre” is like “rare”, only classier.
Mike, many commentators spoke up for Bernie. Here’s my problem right now. Bernie lost. Progressives could lose this election to a giant, dangerou, narcissistic, unqualified, ill-prepared airhead. I don’t really care why Lifer said what he said…What’s really, really important now is that those who love him listen to HIM. He’s telling you that he wants you to support and vote FOR HRClinton. If you think so much of him, why aren’t you doing what he says is best? It’s time to move on. He waged a fabulous campaign but it is over and we can either back the woman he is supporting, or take the very real chance of helping Trump win. I couldn’t live with myself if that happened and neither could Bernie Sanders. He is speaking to YOU. Are you listening to HIM?
I don’t think Sanders is as crazy as Ron Paul. The general society he’s aiming for is social democracy, not neo-confederatism. I think the best way to put it is that Sanders’ platform has a few crazy (as opposed to just debateable or disagreeable) positions, but Paul’s platform is almost nothing but. I take the “David Brin” approach to Sanders, I’d prefer Clinton but I still think it’s an easy choice between Sanders vs Trump or Cruz.
However I still think Lifer’s more general point is correct. The fact that somebody with objectively little experience running a massive campaign, didn’t have a “statesman” like appearance, little money to start with, and little-to-no support from the Establishment, could set a precedent that a full blown nutjob with a bit more popularity could easily beat the paper tiger that is the Democratic Party Establishment in the future. Regardless of whether or not you support him it’s clear that Sanders getting as far as he did was only possible because of the breakdown in political institutions, and this could be foreshadowing a much more full-blown breakdown in the future.
That ‘s an interesting deduction, Griffin, and I think you are correct. I will say that his fund raising model is one that will change things for future outlier candidates…..of whatever party, etc. It. Worked. And, it was impressive. But I do agree with Mike that Sanders is no Paul.
Bernie ran his campaign on hatred, xenophobia, lies. That’s really just the reality of it. His entire position on trade is built on lies, he lied constantly about Citizens United, he has lied about numerous international trade agreements, his surrogates lie about how “unfair” it all is…
The dude’s campaign was heavily based on emotion.
Recognize that “we hate free trade” is really “fuck foreign people” and suddenly his support looks a lot less progressive.
Strawman much? Most of his supporters don’t (necessarily) hate foreign people (I’m pretty sure most of that crowd went to Trump) but oppose trade agreements because they’re worried they’d lose their jobs. I don’t agree with them but that doesn’t make them monsters, just concerned about their economic well-being. Calling them all a bunch of xenophobes doesn’t change that, the correct response would be to support policies that both improve free trade and leave working people less economically vulnerable (see: Basic income, job retraining, subsidies, etc.).
However this is all pretty rich coming from a practically self-identified racist who constantly whines about how black people and “black culture” causes crime. It seems you’re only willing to acknowledge racism when it advances your own agenda.
I do agree there were some “lies” (or at least incorrect information) from his campaign which was wrong though.
>] “ I can’t understand why I’m the only person I know who seems to realize this, but you have to disregard anything anybody says on the campaign trail.”
With all respect, Mike, as much noise as there is on the campaign trail, there’s a sliver of truth in everything, no matter the political spin one tries to put on it. You just have to know where to look to find it.
For example, the truth that Trump alludes to when he talks about “making America great again” is the unveiling of the politics of white supremacy that the Republican Party has been courting ever since 1964.
>] “But I can tell you that generally, Bernie is one of the most respectable people in government. He has a very keen and pragmatic grasp on what’s going on socioeconomically, and his values are rock-solid, consistent, and unimpeachable.”
I happen to like Bernie Sanders myself. His heart’s in the right place and he genuinely, earnestly believes his own rhetoric. That said however, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you put him on a pedestal and say things about how “he has a very keen and pragmatic grasp on what’s going on socioeconomically”.
Much as I respect Lifer’s insight and believe him to be spot on in much of what he talks about, I would never blindly presume he’s right. As citizens, it’s in our civic duty to have a healthy skepticism in everything we hear and verify it for ourselves. Or, as President Reagan liked to say: “trust, but verify”.
>] “But, god damn it, after years of politics-as-usual, we have a genuine statesman running.”
>] “In short, he’s what the Presidency has been missing. The problems with his policies are not what matters here. Restoring integrity, honor, and honesty to the Oval Office is necessary before we can undo the damage that money and power politics have done to our government.”
So in short, you’re setting aside your misgivings about Sanders’ policies in exchange for having an otherwise good man restore what you call “integrity, honor and honesty” to the White House.
With all respect, Mike, you’re contradicting yourself in a profound way that, if you’d gotten what you wanted, would’ve come back to bite you in the ass, hard. Sanders, for all his good intentions, was promising the moon to his voters. Once he failed to deliver on those promises, the trust that he’d earned would’ve been shattered and he never would’ve been able to get it back.
It’s what always happens when one puts all their faith in a feel good candidate, no matter how well-intentioned they are.
>] “For god’s sake man, how can you call that crazy? How can you write that opportunity off with jokes about needing a comb?”
Lifer will have to answer that for himself, but as for me, I’m not so inclined to call it crazy so much as misdirected. Sen. Sanders does not understand the steps needed to sustain people in the new economy and he would’ve given an unacceptable opening to Trump, one that may have allowed him to win. That, if nothing else, is insanity. Nothing is worth that, absolutely nothing.
>] “Yeah, a lot of the newer followers Bernie’s picked up are kinda nuts. In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of people are nuts nowadays. To call him or them crazy in a field of Trump, Hillary, and their followers, sounds like simply bias to me. Are you familiar with Sturgeon’s Law? (“90% of everything is crap.”) Sad but true.”
Trump is a painfully narcissistic, misogynist, race-baiting asshole, but he’s not crazy. He’s perfectly aware of what he’s doing and to simply dismiss him as “crazy” is to avert your eyes from the darker truth. And Hillary, whatever you may think of her, is eminently qualified to be the first Madame President of the United States. Even Lifer grants her that much.
Another great post by The Weekly Sift on several key subjects Lifer addresses in various posts. Trump is bringing out the worst and the best in our nation. What is important is what we, the American People do with the choices we have before us. No one can state they “didn’t know” Trump said these things or that the Republicans didn’t do their job on Zika. It’s all over the news and it’s about damn time.
Interesting point in The Weekly Sift on why Bernie endorsed Hillary:
” The Lincoln Whigs had to spend 1852 and 1856 in the wilderness, and watch a Supreme Court dominated by slavery-supporting appointees produce the Dred Scott decision. By contrast, Tea Partiers have been able to maintain and make use of Republican control of Congress, while building their own revolutionary caucus inside that majority.”
As much as I disdain the TP for many of its positions, they have demonstrated how a focused group can co-opt a larger organization effectively and still achieve their goals. Goals which are “similar” to the main group but much more hard-line and narrow. Still, they “used” the existing party apparatus and focused their energy and resources on their platform, not worrying so much about having their own movement so much as being successful with their movement. This way, they attain the identity they need and the goals they seek with less effort. There are some lessons there for all of us seeking change.
A new “low” in voter suppression. Insidious, cruel. This is when the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center do their best work…..The NAACP and the DOJ should be all over this.
I give you the words of one of Trump’s best people. Don’t read if you’re eating breakfast:
The thousands of tweets on this issue by T and his surrogates are hurting him, but the reason he Can’t stop is because he “Isn’t” winning the argument. This dogged insistence on always being right should be sending a big red flag out to Americans. Our enemies must be doing carwheels knowing how easy it will be to goad a “pres.” T.
More Ezra Klein on Donald Trump’s greaetest weakness, which is his need for dominance in every situation. If he were elected it would be horrifyingly easy for terrorists to use this against us.
“Putting Trump in the Oval Office would open a huge vulnerability in our national security. It’s much easier to bait Trump than it is to attack the United States. Our enemies’ aim is often to provoke us into overreacting and overcommitting abroad because they can’t hope to seriously hurt us here. With Trump in control of the armed forces, the path to manipulating us into that kind of overreaction would be clear.”
Yet there are those who think he is wonderful…..Me, I agree with Ezra.
The fool just can’t stop tweeting about it:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago
This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!
2,900 retweets 7,659 likes
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago
Mr. Khan, who does not know me, viciously attacked me from the stage of the DNC and is now all over T.V. doing the same – Nice!
2,501 retweets 7,305 likes
Delete your account
What is sobering, Fly, is that over there are 7K + tweeters who agree with him….
OT but very interesting, especially given how important SCOTUS is going to be for the next president.
To further the discussion of a loony left causing a bit of problems, we have Jill Stein talking about understanding people’s concerns with vaccines and needing a regulatory board people can trust.
Stein is a physician, and she knows better. She readily acknowledges vaccines are valuable, but then opens to door to court the idiotic anti-vaccers.
Someone on the left like me might say, “Well, she talked about the value of vaccines and she didn’t say they cause autism, just that she understood why people didn’t trust vaccines”.
However, objectively, this is not much different than the racist dog whistles used for years on the right.
The difference for Ms./Dr. Stein, is that now she is running for office.
Is it the custom in America to refer to politicians by their professional titles? Should we refer to Woodrow Wilson as Dr Wilson, since he has a PhD?
Saying that you understand why some people don’t trust vaccines might be pandering, heck it is pandering, but pandering to kooks is in no way equivalent to pandering to bigots. One makes you a kook also, the other makes you a bigot also.
The problem with the anti-vaxers is that their decision(s) to ‘not’ vaccinate their children or themselves has a direct impact on other people due to proximity/association. It’s a health issue, and as a physician, Dr. Stein clearly knows that. Should one always ask questions and not “blindly” vaccinate? Sure, but acknowledge that the tests vaccines must clear before approval are extremely strenuous and from trustworthy sources. One can usually ‘choose’ to avoid contact with bigots – just don’t be around them. With the un-vaccinated, there is greater vulnerability for a chance encounter. That Dr. Stein as a physician would not absolutely defend and support vaccination shows a lack of good judgement.
But it literally endagers people because idiots don’t get their kids vaccinated. Perhaps it’s not as morally repugnant as open bigotry but it’s still pretty bad.
And here we are, with folks gently trying to explain away the loony left, not unlike what the GOP has done for years.
I might argue that two crunchy, granola anti-vaxxers on their way to Disneyland is a bigger threat to the country than two racist asshats in Kentucky.
It’s an odd coincidence that you bring that up because I was just reading an older article from the political blogger Jonathan Chait about the time he opposed the more radical elements of the Political correctness movement (as in actual PC movement, not “political correctness” in the modern ultraconservative usage to refer to everyone who’s not a racist) and he noted that none of the liberals who attacked him in response to his essay were really pro-PC, they were just fervently anti-anti-PC. When pressured however they often revealed themselves to be somewhat dismissive of the more radical left as well, they just didn’t like to bring it up themselves.
Likewise I don’t think liberals are pro-radical left at all, but it seems easy for them to slip into being anti-anti-radical left. I’m not sure why this is but it might be a reaction to years of right-wingers hysterically labeling them communists and far-leftists and now whenever people criticize those movements they tend to reflexively dismissive it as mere hysteria as a result (which it often can be). Also despite their small numbers radicals also have a tendency to position anyone who disagrees with them as an inheriently horrible person, so getting in debates with them can be exhausting and potentially risky to ones reputation, so it’s easier to avoid it all together.
Unfortunately I think this allows the far-right to use these movements as a punching bag to increase their own influence over politics and hide their actual bigotry as mere “critiques” of these movements.
Thanks for that article, Griffin. It’s definitely something that I agree with and have found myself doing. Faced with a fight between two groups of extremists, one of which I disagree with 100% and one of which I disagree with 80%, I’m always going to side with the latter.
For example: I’m not a socialist – nobody who remembers the Berlin Wall coming down can ever be a socialist, in my opinion – but when I meet skinheads who claim that anyone who doesn’t want to force the refugees to leave again is a socialist, then I will call myself one just to spite them.
That’s a great article, Griffin. I’d never thought about the PC issue in that way, but it makes perfect sense. I’ve been going through life lately thinking that college students are getting a bit oversensitive lately, but the people loudly objecting to it seem to be the types who see such as an obstacle to their desire to restore a historically oppressive social order.
It was definitely a dog whistle, but there’s a reason the green party is a fringe party. It has fringe adherents.
I’m as liberal as they come and anti vaxxing is in no way common among me or anybody I know. In no way is it considered appropriate to not vax, in anything other then the extreme fringe.
As for the extreme fringe, it is true that less than 10% believe vaccines cause autism, but a whopping 52% say they are “unsure” if vaccines cause autism.
That fringe group has just shaped the thinking of half the country, making it that much easier to keep pushing in the wrong direction.
Ah, the beauty of the internet and television. Everyone is an expert on whatever interests them. No, some things you need to trust science on. I am the first to be skeptical of medical recommendations that “sound/seem” weak. Common sense and intelligent questioning should always be a part of any health discovery. But after asking your questions, and of the right people, at some point you have to trust the scientific process until you have a damn good reason not to.
When I was a kid, I read a book in which one of the main characters was in a wheelchair because he had had polio. I recall getting scared that I could catch polio, too, since it’s pretty much a given that everyone is going to catch something now and then, and sharing that concern with my mother. Of course, she reassured me that I wasn’t going to catch polio because I had been vaccinated against it when I was a baby, and explained to me what vaccines are and how they work.
I walked away from that conversation thinking that, wow, vaccines are really, amazingly, great. The anti-vaccine position is one I simply don’t understand.
Donald Trump, Chauncey Gardner except with ego and no gardening skills.
Too obscure to stick. You’d have to be there.
The new online role-playing game- GOP response to Trump:
“Do nothing and hope it blows over.” Real life.
As if rural White America needed another poverty trap, now HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing there because of all the opioid abuse.
After so much progress with HIV/AIDS, that is so sad. I note that Mitch McConnell’s state and particularly, Wolfe County, KY, lead the nation in the increase in HIV/AIDS. Next thing you know, ZIKA cases will test our country’s infectious disease capability. Maybe it’s time our members of Congress cut their vacations short and get to work. Maybe it’s time they stop playing games with funding for these problems by all the contentious stipulations they are appending to the funding bills.
I am saddened about the reversal in HIV/AIDS. This is a terrible disease and we cannot go backwards on the progress we’ve made.
I’ll give Pence credit for returning to the needle exchange. I understand why it makes some people uneasy, but it works. I’m a pragmatist- you demonstrate that somethings works for the better, and I’ll support it, no matter what the optics look like initially.
I’ll second that and give Pence credit as well.
It is not like Pence readily embraced the idea. The data were absolutely clear, and he still fought it. It took significant pressure for him to alter his position.
I’m not all that eager to give a man credit when he finally stops hitting himself in the head with a hammer.
You’ve got to give them a little positive feedback when they finally do something right.
Adding to the sadness is the high cost of the drugs that keep HIV at bay. In such poor areas I suspect the funds are not available to provide treatment. Plus, the drugs must be taken at strict and regular intervals, and drug abusers are notoriously unreliable at maintaining a treatment regimen.
You are absolutely correct about cost and administration of drugs for HIV/AIDS. There is also the very real fact that in most of these cases, these costs (RX + adminstration) become taxpayer costs. Not to ignore the human face of this disease, it is incredibly expensive. Why not control on the front end to the best of our ability rather than treat on the back end? My gosh but this health conundrum repeats and repeats. When will we learn?
Given the GOP convention compared to the the Dem’s convention, and Trump’s public statements (and simple existence) over the last few days, if the polls are not showing Hillary ahead by at least 5% next weekend, I think some of us are going to have to start building our bunkers and stocking up on canned goods.
I think Tracy once noted that we need to get ready for the Trump “electoral juggernaut”, and if these past couple of weeks don’t shake his trajectory, I’m really not sure what will.
Yeah. The part that’s distressing to me is the perception that this is just same ol’ same ol’ bipartisan fare, and that people’s increased worry and distress over politics is standard “Mrr, both parties are EQUALLY oligarch!” bullshit. That’s the strongest danger. It underestimates Trump’s disease and overestimates Clinton’s disdain to create a false equivalency.
But fascism is a whole new level, and its quick normalization in society on the back of anxiety and fear is distressing in its own unique way.
I guess these anonymous words falsely attributed to Lincoln are prophetic after all:
“More despotic than monarchy
More insolent than autocracy
More selfish than bureaucracy”
Trump in a nutshell.
Especially the “more, more, more” part. The man’s insatiable need for glorification is sick.
Maybe those in the electoral juggernaut need to read more stories like this one. Note: despite a court order, the contractor still awaits his payment. I don’t know how that can happen with a court order so that bears research. This story has happened numerous times in Trump’s vaulted business career. What kind of businessman signs contracts then refuses to pay because “he’s paid enough”?
Did a little googling of this lawsuit and it turns out that the contractor hasn’t been paid, as he stated, and that Trump has appealed the order. Lots more cases just like this one in the link below.
“Trump’s attorneys have since filed a motion to delay the sale, and the contest continues. Enriquez still hasn’t been paid.” [USA Today, 6/9/16]”
The “Trumpnskipping debate” meme picks up steam.
I think the media needs to start now hammering him, seeking assurances that he’ll be there, sobthat if/when hebdecides to skip, the narrative that he’s simply a coward fearing exposure will be well established
Three points to hammer Trump on, every day:
1) show us the Tax returns
2) commit to the debates
3) how dare you disrespect a Gold Star family
Might also throw in a demand for a new medical evaluation.
I’m watching Brian Stelter this morning with a Trump surrogate re: debates.
Their position is “they want as many ppl to see the debates as possible and so the current scheduling is unacceptable”. He then went on to say they’ll be negotiating to change the dates. Which, of course, means they need an excuse to walk away when they get ” treated unfairly”
So, suffice it to say, it looks like there’s some meat on this bone
I’m watching Brian Stelter this morning with a Trump surrogate re: debates.
Their position is “they want as many ppl to see the debates as possible and so the current scheduling is unacceptable”. He then went on to say they’ll be negotiating to change the dates. Which, of course, means they need an excuse to walk away when they get ” treated unfairly”
So, suffice it to say, it looks like there’s some meat on this bone
I hate to say it but I agree with Trump on one point. Why schedule debates concurrently with an NFL football game? It doesn’t make sense if the goal is to attract an audience.
The trouble is, he’s blaming the Dems, who had has nothing to do with the debate schedule:
He just can’t stop lying.
He can’t stop lying but he also continues to appeal to his white male base…..who, coincidentally, would prefer to watch football than presidential debates – at least in his mind. The article points out that ratings were high on in 2012 when the same conflict was announced.
Maybe what T is really saying, is that “he” would rather watch the NFL than debate HRC (-;
Correction, it was a bipartisan group. Dems and GOPers. Set last Sept. Not Hillary’s fault.
It’s the NFL that scheduled its games on top of the debates. The debates were scheduled almost a year ago; the NFL games just last April.
Reince Priebus, that worm, sez: ” Certainly we’re not going to agree with anything that our nominee doesn’t agree with,” Priebus said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Really, Reince! When representatives from your organization and the DNC agreed more than a year ago on this schedule? Lifer, how long will Priebus last. He is wearing on me.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/debates-reince-priebus-donald-trump-226480#ixzz4G0lOLPIQ
Good catch, Fair Economist!
“I hate to say it but I agree with Trump on one point. Why schedule debates concurrently with an NFL football game? It doesn’t make sense if the goal is to attract an audience.”
In addition to what Fair Economist says, when else could you have them? During the season, there NFL football Thurs/Sun/Monday nights. Friday and Saturday are non starters, those would be even worse viewership then Sun night against football.
So that leaves what? Tuesday or Wednesday?
Not to mention the absurdity of the position that you’re going to cancel because of lack of viewers. Isnt SOME viewers better then none?
I realize Trump hasn’t said he wants to back out yet, so the above paragraph won’t apply until if/when he does. But his side keeps bringing this up lately, and I have to imagine it’s for a reason.
He’s going to attach unrealistic demands on the debates, and when the counterparty refuses (be it HRC, or the networks, or the debate committee) he’s going to skip it and say “hey, don’t blame me. All they had to do was agree”.
If you read the explanation about how and when the dates were set, and noted that the NFL dates were set almost 6 months later, and that there was bi-partisan agreement between the parties as to the schedule, why isn’t the RNC showing a little spine, not to mention, principle here? It is very easy to DVR either the debates or the football games. Why upend a schedule that has been in place for almost a year? And, that’s not getting into the whole “what’s more important” thingy. Would it be “better” to not have this conflict? Sure. From the network’s perspective, they probably make more $$ from NFL viewership ratings than from the presidential debates. But all these parties agreed to this schedule and the NFL knew the schedule and they chose to conflict with an event that arguably is much more important than their games.
In a real world. Of course, this is a Trump world so we have to make concessions. B.S.
More evidence that’s exactly what the Trump camp is planning:
First, the debate committee says the debates are set:
“The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) started working more than 18 months ago to identify religious and federal holidays, baseball league playoff games, NFL games, and other events in order to select the best nights for the 2016 debates. It is impossible to avoid all sporting events, and there have been nights on which debates and games occurred in most election cycles. A debate has never been rescheduled as a result,”
Now, against that backdrop, from the political article above, Reince says:
“It would be incumbent upon them to communicate with us and others about what they have in mind,” Priebus added. “But we’re not going to be having debates on Saturday and Sunday nights, I don’t believe.”
So, once the debate commission says the debates won’t be moved, in come the Trump side to say “well, we won’t be debating on Saturdays or Sundays”. When the commission wont budge, Trump will say it’s all their fault.
If Trump pulls this, I hope the Clinton team will say we’ll meet you whenever, wherever, but you WILL debate. Will she do that? More important, “should” she do that? Is the little boy who always gets his way going to stomp his foot and say “my way or the highway?” What I do agree with is that he is worried about competing in the debates. He only wins when he controls the tempo, format, forum. I say make him debate. Force the issue. The people of America have a right but more significantly, they NEED to see this buffoon stripped to his core ignorant core.
The Koch Brothers recently held a private meeting in CO with their elite conservative donors. Here’s a peek under the tent at some of the discussion:
“The Koch network has said it won’t spend money to support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or to attack his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton…..In 2012, the network spent around $400 million, according to tax returns, although much of that money went to ventures not overtly political. This year, the network plans to spend between $250 million and $280 million on politics alone.”
Note: I am certain that a lot of this money will be spent on down-ticket candidates, but they say they are not going to focus on politics so much. Does anyone believe this statement?
““The Koch network has said it won’t spend money to support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump…”
I can see the stabbed-in-the-back narrative taking shape……..
After Trump’s attacks on the family of a fallen soldier Ezra Klein seems more baffled by Donald Trump than ever before:
I’ve never seen this writer so mortified before.
It’s really not that big a leap from disrespecting John McCain’s service to disrespting the family (especially the mother) of a soldier who died to save many other people. He could probably go relieve himself on one of the graves at Arlington, and his fan base would cheer him, all while waving many American flags. I am no longer shocked at anything this pathetic excuse for a human being says or does. But I have an endless supply of disgust for those who endorse him.
I feel sorry for them, but I feel sorrier for our nation.
And, to be perfectly clear, by “them” I mean Trump supporters OR Hillary haters.
Manafort is on MTP deflecting hard. Trump’s temperament IS a serious issue. He has no soul either.
“The left’s answer to Breitbart, Democracy Now, documented the lonely struggle of principled Berniebots against the horrors of the Democratic machine.”
Not quite. Unlike Breitbart, Democracy Now invites critical analysis and dissent. It is one of the most reliable news sources IMHO, in large part because it is free of corporate influence.
Interesting – though TLDR – comment thread.
>] “Not quite. Unlike Breitbart, Democracy Now invites critical analysis and dissent. It is one of the most reliable news sources IMHO, in large part because it is free of corporate influence.”
Interesting POV. Let’s put that to the test, shall we?
On the front page alone, you have at least four articles (and I use that term lightly, mind you) that are little more than walls of text describing how pissed off the Sandernistas are, how they’re not going to vote for Clinton, how she’s should’ve apologized for “the destruction she brought to our nation”, etc, etc, etc.
Now you talk about inviting critical analysis and dissent, but NOW doesn’t even have a comments’ section nor even a forum board. You can share links on Facebook and Twitter of course. I think we can agree though; hardly the gold standard for civil discourse, wouldn’t you say?
Frankly, how is this anything more than a more milquetoast version to keep people angry and raise money? On that note, I also mention that there’s a donate button at the top of every single article. Just sayin’
I had the same thought. Thanks for expressing it.
And, I had the same thought as Ryan. When a “news” source purports to be “fair and balanced”, it invites all POV. The lack of a comments section provides them with a “wall”. I think there are legitimate issues for Bernie supporters, but H has adopted so many of the Sanders planks that I frankly am afraid she’s gone too far left. We shall see. However, it is TIME for Bernie supporters to move on. They can help elect DJT or a HRC. If they help T, how important will their principles about “apology” be? We will all be in deep trouble. I think this is an election where hard choices have to be made. For Bernie supporters, one of those is to do what Sanders is doing – supporting H in order to defeat T. They don’t have to be enthusiastic, in fact, they might choose to say nothing. Frankly, I’m tired of their petulant behavior. Much more is at stake than “their” principles. For once, focus on our country.
I have a hard time with Democracy Now, hard to say exactly why but part is Amy Goodman’s personality ( I hate admitting that, but it’s true). What I do like is fair.org and their Counterspin broadcast/podcast, which spotlights news stories in particular media outlets, and points out their various spins and slants.
Thanks for the reference to fair.org. I was not familiar with this organization. I’ll check it out.
same thought as Walt, that is… Democracy Now leans hard left but continues to inform, not mislead.
Alright, so we’ve covered all this.
But here it is, in one streamlined, professional, clean video, that pounds it in direct, understandable statements:
Too bad it’s from Ezra Klein (so the wingnuts won’t listen) and it calls Hillary normal (so the moonbats won’t listen). Oh well.
goplifer: I’ve noticed that you use the term “white nationalist” in a number of your posts. What is the difference, if any, between “white nationalist” and “white supremacist”? I’m new to your blog, so please forgive my ignorance if you have already explained the difference elsewhere.
He actually explained below in this same comment section. Tl;dr: ‘nationalism’ is weakness and isolation, ‘supremacy’ is strength and aggression.
To me, nationalism implies that ethnic / racial identity is committed to geography, whereas ‘supremacy’ is broad and can be genealogical across borders (cf: Aryan race).
Brexit aside, Britain has achieved something remarkable. Just a little under a year after implementing a small tax on plastic bags, their usage has seen an absolute plunge, down 85 percent, roughly around six billion fewer bags, with any revenue brought in being given to charity.
Next up on the list is going after coffee cups. You can already hear Starbucks’ execs grinding coffee beans between their teeth.
Fine grind, or coarse (-;
(Must be the hour….i’m coming unglued!)
Still early, but chalk up the Democratic National Convention a success. PPP has just come out with a new poll, showing Clinton improving her image by a solid nine points. Though still underwater 45/51, that’s smooth sailing compared to Trump’s abysmal -22, 36/58.
Also, in more lurid news, Rupert Murdoch has officially gone to war with Donald Trump. Check out today’s New York Post cover. (Warning: NSFW)
…Sigh. Seriously, did you have to go that far?
33% in the poll believe Hillary Clinton has ties to Lucifer!!! My, my. There is one thing you can take to the bank: those clips of Trump asking Russia to investigate Hillary’s emails WILL be an ad and it will run and run and run……As will the one with Trump sneering before saying “I, alone, can fix things!” So much material….
I’ll have to pull up the cover to see Rupert’s take down of Trump. I’ll believe it when I see it. One hopes it’s not to simply sell more newspapers…….
“33% in the poll believe Hillary Clinton has ties to Lucifer!!!”
Clarification: that line is in a paragraph is dealing specifically with Trump voters’ impressions of Clinton (investigating whether Clinton has any ground to gain there, PPP’s conclusion being a solid ‘No.’)
You are correct. I should have given explicit credit to Trump supporters. I thought that was obvious but I could have been clearer.
Interesting what Murdoch’s new stance will mean for Fox News coverage.
As for the polling thing, that is good news. As Hillary’s image goes, so go her poll numbers.
If you haven’t seen this, the Trump time capsule:
We’ve all all been following this for the past year, so there are no surprises here, but reading through this was giving me some serious heebie-jeebies. There is indeed the problem of people getting inured to Trump’s outrageous and unacceptable behavior. So many people who could have made a difference have failed to call him out again and again.
The press has also been complicit in their failure to call out his lies and his cruelty forcefully enough. But they still may have a chance to redeem themselves. They need to be relentless. They need to demand the tax returns. They need to call Trump out on every lie, every evasion, every cruel, insensitive, and/or bigoted thing he says. And they need to hound all the spineless GOP sellouts who try to distance themselves from the garbage Trump spews while they maintain that he is fit to be President. Enough of this crap.
I SO AGREE, Fly! Do your jobs, media. And, if the debates go forward, moderators, do yours! I’ve pretty well given up on too many more prominent Republicans speaking out. They are so afraid of the prospect of losing the election (whether that happens or not) that they are desperately afraid of doing anything to rock the boat.
As you said: spineless.
I’ve likened Trump to a magical creature, like the nonsensical Jabberwocky, that only grows every time his name is spoken. The only way to stop him, is to stop speaking of him.
Every article, every re-tweet, blog, and news piece grants him a level of legitimacy that, by all reason and rational thought, he shouldn’t have. All that is required of him is to play the idiopathic, sociopathic buffoon dancing in the moonlight and tweeting from the bathroom like an overdosed Mad Hatter with a billion dollars. No chain of words is caustic enough to break the wall of departed reason.
His victory will not come of winning, but because the real was checked at the rabbit hole as we frolicked madly and gladly to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, to speak of speaking no more of the real, as fiction is truth and belief manifest in our eyes and ears, and Madness only the idle chatter of reason.
…and I have no idea where I just was.
Bartender, I will have what Chris L is having, thank you.
Tex, I love your humor….Chris, we’ve all been there, or, was it here? Don’t know, can’t remember!
Exaustion-addled forays into Alice in Wonderland is a hell of a drug. I’m going to have to stockpile for November. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Now for your end of day humor from yours truly: (sorry for length)
Security Briefing for Presidential Candidate – First for the Republican Nominee
FIRST BRIEFING OFFICER (whispering to second officer): “We have to keep it under 140 characters.
SECOND OFFICER: “What! The world is complex and so many issues…”
FIRST OFFICER (elbowing second officer): “Shh, here he comes.”
FIRST OFFICER (aloud): “Good Morning, Sir. We’ll begin with the Middle East situation and more specifically, Isil capabilities.”
REPUBLICAN NOMINEE: “Not necessary. I know more than the generals.”
FIRST SECURITY OFFICER: “Well, Sir . . .”
(Second officer whispering to first officer): “Maybe we step back a bit.”
FIRST SECURITY OFFICER: “Uh, okay.” (aloud to nominee) “Next, more on the structure of the various U.S. agencies charged with homeland security.”
REPUBLICAN NOMINEE: “No need. I got body guards. They are huge. And my own plane. It’s huge.”
(Second officer whispering to first officer): “Maybe simplify? Remember, 140 characters.”
FIRST OFFICER (aloud to nominee): “There are three branches of government, the legislative, the judicial and the executive.”
REPUBLICAN NOMINEE: “I can fix that.”
SECOND OFFICER: “No, sir. That’s part of the constitution . . . ”
REPUBLICAN NOMINEE: “Maybe two. Law. And Order.”
(Second officer whispering to first officer): “You’ve used up 72 characters.”
FIRST OFFICER: “The president is head of the executive branch.”
REPUBLICAN NOMINEE: “I know. He can fire anyone.”
FIRST OFFICER: “Not really, sir. Continuing.”
(Second officer whispering to first officer): “34 characters left. Don’t say “The United States of America. That uses up 24.”
FIRST OFFICER (turning to the Republican nominee): “US is in North America.”
REPUBLICAN NOMINEE: “North America is huge. Believe me.”
(Second officer whispering to first officer): “Fifteen left. Better be more basic.”
FIRST OFFICER: “The earth is round.”
REPUBLIC NOMINEE: “I can fix that. Three nukes and it’ll be flat again.”
We’re gonna have a flat earth and it’s gonna be YUUUUGE and it’s gonna be GREAT! Top notch, very classy.
Wish I could claim to have dreamed this up, Griffin! It would be fun to start a thread taking off from where this one left off. All the smart folks here would be able to come up with some zingers!
You gotta laugh or you would cry. DJ Trump, receiving national security briefings…………
And, they didn’t touch: Brexit, global warming, or NATO (-;
i love this site and comments. while the views expressed make an effort at reason – the comments echo the 40+ years of manipulated cognitive reasoning at the hands of the multinational boardrooms that have directed and financed it …
Something something Edward Bernays something something oligarchs?
I guess I’m obtuse, but I don’t understand your point, nativeson.
I believe he’s saying out “rationalism” is little more than a social construction created by our corporate overlords to fool us into being subdued by capitalism. It’s essentially using a Marxist analysis of centrists who don’t really directly “benefit” from centrism (meaning they are not multimillionares), aka false consciousness.
Edward Bernays, whom I referenced above, is usually brought up in these discussions and he is a favorite for the conspiracy crowd because
A) He was related to Fraud and openly used propoganda technics for corporations and governments!
B) He got wealthy using these subconscious methods of “mind control” (i.e. marketing).
C) He was Jewish, which is always a plus for the conspiracy crowd.
Great explanation Griffin and I agree but my knee-jerk is… what, the Koch brothers don’t exist then? Why? Because we understand and can explain where they came from. Maybe some of the clap-trap has relevance…
This is actually a good place for me to ask clarification, since I’ve never really had the opportunity before:
What I’m getting from your statement is that the political discourse here in this board are reflective of the information and propaganda of multinational corporations. You have not said as much but since I’ve come across this argument before, I also assume this means that that is because the government and media are owned by the multinationals.
That leads me to a few follow up questions.
1) Where do you get your information, and how do you judge its accuracy? How would you prefer that information be delivered to you?
2) WHICH multinational corporations, and which people in which boardrooms? How do you know? How have they stayed consistent and on message for four decades straight?
3) What sort of organizations or institutions do you trust that you feel provide opportunities to change this system or challenge this narrative?
4) What are you doing personally to try to change the world, or the nation, or even just your local community toward your vision of better governance?
and 5) How do you desire to persuade me (or us) to help you?
Thank you, Formdib. I had the feeling that nativeson was questioning the honesty of the commentators posting on this blog. If I am wrong, I am wrong, but my impression after many months of following GOPlifer is that the people who post here are being very truthful as opposed to being politically correct or trying to entrap anyone. That’s one of the fine points of the blog – the integrity of its family of posters.
Mime he’s not questioning our honesty per se he’s instead calling us useful idiots for the wealthy. He knows we believe what we’re saying but what we’re saying merely makes us mindless puppets for corporations. As I side it’s essentially using critical theory and marxist analysis of our views. Marxism and many other forms of radical leftism are, at the end of the day, very prone to supporting conspiracy theories on par with those of religious fundamenalists in terms of how widespread they are.
Well, gee, Griffin. You mean I have a choice between being viewed as dishonest or a corporate gigolo?
Not much less insulting is it? I find that in the Marxist view you often have three choices:
1) Become a Far-left revolutionary in which case you’re a “good person”.
2) Be a paid agent for corporations.
3) Be a useful idiot for corporations.
In the religious fundamentalist view you have three choices:
1) Become a fundamenalist for the correct religion in which case you’re a “good person”.
2) Be a paid agent on behalf of sin.
3) Be a useful idiot for Satan.
Fanatics tend to follow this rough formula. Either you’re completely with them or else you’re at best very ignorant and at worst knowingly evil.
Neither group sounds appealing to me, Griffin!
Lol looks like this guy decided to troll the wrong comments section.
Aw, we’re a friendly little tribe – unless you get too smart alec ….
I mean you shouldn’t feed them, but I actually am super curious about those things.
I had a coworker was a major UFO-type conspiracy theorist, would recommend me books and DVDs (a couple of which I browsed through), spent much of his off-hours editing those weird (and strangely consistently low quality) ‘proof’ videos you can find on YouTube and asking me for constructive criticism (which I gave), and telling me about the various types of conspiracy theories and which ones he believes and doesn’t and how he distinguishes between them and why he’s right and they’re crazy. He never liked the sort of ‘lizard people’ or ‘dianetics’ versions of ‘the leaders aren’t human’, but he absolutely thought the US federal government was hiding aliens from us.
I just simply can’t claim he’s stupid. Vivid imagination and a sort of understandable logic, provided you accept certain premises. Partially why I get annoyed with myself when I am surprised by or upset with wingnuts and moonbats.
Example: if you literally just full on BELIEVE GMOs are poison, the mere fact that the world refuses to reject that poison means, logically, that nefarious interests are at stake, because otherwise making GMOs illegal is just common sense.
So what I’m more interested in is the premises, where they come from and what need they resolve. There’s an excellent book called Transparency and Conspiracy that takes an anthropological view of conspiracy that essentially finds conspiracy theories are secularized methods of understanding supernatural forces (forces that affect your life outside of your control and understanding of local ‘nature.’)
So essentially, those mean little wood imps and vengeful spirits of tribal mysticism past are replaced by the IMF and multinational conglomerates.
goplifer: You repeatedly use the term “white nationalist” in your posts when referring to the Republican Party base. Is this just a synonym for “white supremacist”? If not, what do you see as the difference? I appreciate the considerable emotional baggage that the latter term carries, but given the southern white demographic that seems to form the core of the base as well as the overtly racist rhetoric of many in the Tea Party faction, I think it is a reasonable question to ask. I am a newby to your blog, so please forgive my ignorance if you have previously addressed this.
Supremacists want to rule and Nationalists want to be left the hell alone.
To parse that out a bit, a supremacist is, as the root word “supremacy” implies, one who believes that whites should rule over all others, so they don’t necessarily go out of their way to exile and/or ban other races.
A nationalist is near the exact opposite in that they believe their country should only be composed of their preferred race. Immigrants and “illegals” can only bring harm, and so they have to be gotten rid of at all costs.
You don’t believe both can be racist? I do. Otherwise, a good working definition.
@1mime: When did I ever say that? To clear things up, a supremacist is to be a racist, bar none. Being a nationalist hews more to discrimination and insecurity; not to say that they can’t be racist, but the former being far more so than the latter on average.
Yeah I’ve always thought of a supremacist as being a bit more agressive but they’re both racist. For instance a supremacist would go further out of their way to dominate a race (such as conquering another country) whereas a nationalist is more protectionist and defensive. They’re both nasty pieces of work though.
This may sound like a strange comment, but White Supremacists to me are more honest than Nationalists. Today, anyway. They don’t cloak their purpose in the red, white and blue rhetoric of individualism etc. that the Nationalists do. I don’t like what either stands for but at least the Supremacists are more overt – as you stated, Griffin.
It’s funny, b/c I was actually thinking about this at some length today.
There’s no textbook difference b/t the two terms. There are no separate parties or platforms associated with each. I’ve veered toward white nationalist rather than white supremacist for two reasons.
1) At least in the context of the current GOP mood, there really isn’t anything “supremacist” about their rhetoric. If anything, they sound like white inferiorists. The Trump base seems overwhelmed by the need for protection from other “subgroups” who they feel are stealing their lunch money and eating their lunch. You get this sense that they feel that they can’t ever hope to be successful if America strips away the special protections and privileges they enjoy. Not much “supremacy” there.
2) Nationalism seems to be central to their thinking. You can also get away with describing someone as white nationalist without being as determinedly inflammatory as saying they are white supremacists.
3) The ideology of white supremacy which was such a big deal in the South when I was young seems to have largely soured. Old timey supremacists seemed to accept a sort of “white man’s burden” in association with their perceived naturally superior state. White supremacy congratulated the character Atticus Finch and made him a model. He stood up for justice, but not in so strenuous (or impolite) a way as to actually change anything. A white supremacist could be kind, genteel, and chivalrous while working quietly to make sure only people from the right families could get a place in the firm, the fraternity, the school, or at the club.
I’m not seeing a lot of that anymore. Old fashioned white supremacy seems to have been replaced by naked white panic. White supremacy may have become unsustainable once the cultural barriers to the advancement of other races and women weakened past a critical point. Now we have white nationalism, which in some ways amounts to a kind of retreat from white supremacy.
Anyway, that’s the best explanation I can think of.
“The ideology of white supremacy which was such a big deal in the South when I was young seems to have largely soured.”
It’s odd that this form of white supremacy that governed the lives of so many people for so long didn’t have much “political theory” behind. For instance the European far-right tended to go on and on in terms of justifying their theory and trying to dress up their ideology in “respectable” academic ways. Nazis always felt a need to justify their ideology with a wide range of pseudosciences and pseudohistory which, while repulsive nonsense, signalled a desire for it to be “proven” real using quasi-academic methods and they spent resources trying to accomplish this. It seemed like to be taken seriously by their far-right you had to write at least a few nonsense papers advocating for fascism/ultranationalism and they had leaders who wanted to define these things. Despite their anti-intellectualism they somehow also wanted to also have the esteem of intellectual institutions.
I don’t see much of that when it comes to Southern white supremacy. Even their more “intellectual” works read more like poetry than anything, and any pseudoscience they used seem to be clumsily borrowed from other cultures rather than creating much of their own. Often it seems like they couldn’t decide whether to use the bible or pseudoscience to justify their views and the mix of the two made for a bizarre and often lazy combination. And they didn’t seem to particularly care what academic institutions thought of them, beyond viewing it as proof of liberal elitism. There is little “original” work between advocates for this system, and they all seem to essentially parrot each other throughout the decades.
Speaking as a 72 year old woman from the deep south, my view is different than my parents or this current generation. I went to school with Black students but not until college. My younger siblings were in integrated public schools in their middle school years. If you reach all the way back to agrarian times when the South was a major agricultural supplier – cotton was king – Black people were brought to America specifically as slaves to perform human toil for White property owners. With the exception of a few slave owners, most really didn’t think of slaves as human beings. That is what makes the achievement of a few early Blacks so incredible, but they were few and far between.
When people don’t exist for you except for the labor they perform, your control is absolute. This is true today in many countries where “slavery” exists in different forms. White people – principally males, dominated commerce and society even at lower social and pay scales (overseers, merchants). Black people (and women) couldn’t vote, couldn’t be educated, and couldn’t own property in their own names. Control by White men was total.
The separation between white nationalists and white supremacists for me is really not significant although I liked the definition Griffin offered best. The Civil Rights Act was pivotal in giving White Supremacists the license to be more openly hostile about Black people. We’ve made a great deal of progress once Black people were given access to education and more job opportunity but this only exacerbated the insecurity and anger of Whites – including those who worked the same jobs as Blacks and those who were their superiors. It’s an ugly, bigoted history and we are still living it but we are making progress and I am grateful for that. Yet, there continues to exist this animus for Mexicans and brown skinned immigrants (Muslims, Hispanics) which clearly indicates more change is needed.
>] “It’s odd that this form of white supremacy that governed the lives of so many people for so long didn’t have much “political theory” behind.”
Why would it be odd? At its core, there was never any kind of coherent political theory behind it. To the extent that there was, it was just people using it as a sort of blinder to obscure the darker truth.
“Why would it be odd? At its core, there was never any kind of coherent political theory behind it. To the extent that there was, it was just people using it as a sort of blinder to obscure the darker truth.”
I’m just saying you would think that the system millions of people lived and died by would have had more of its adherents desire more justification behind it, even if it was total nonsense. For instance funding racist pseduoscience, rather than passively using social darwinism when the opportunity came along. The biggest difference I can think of is that while European racists who took power had a centralized system that could say “fund this institution that supports our views” using the ruling party the decentalized nature of southern white supremacy made this more difficult to organize.
@Griffin: The justification was in the economic superiority that whites held over minorities, particularly African-Americans. White males were given all the status, class, jobs and privileges and others could never even dream of. What need was there to drive it any further? In fact, for many, it might’ve even come across as an insult that they would have to do that.
By the time there was a need for that though, the times had changed and the country wouldn’t allow for it, at least not in the way many would hope for.
Well yes the benefits many whites received from this system was obviously the backbone of its support, just as the backbone of European fascism was the promise to favored groups that they would directly benefit from their system. You may be right though that they would have turned to more “theory” if they had time but the system (thankfully) ended before they had the opportunity to justify their horrible views any further.
“It’s odd that this form of white supremacy that governed the lives of so many people for so long didn’t have much “political theory” behind.”
It was never much more than just power. It never needed a reason beyond “I’m stronger than you so I’m going to take what you have.”
More recently is has been cloaked in religion. Fundamentalism has offered them a way to preserve white cultural supremacy without having to talk about it or even acknowledge what they are doing. Look closely and every piece of the religious right agenda was about forcing Southern white protestant cultural preferences down everyone’s throats in the name of “morality.”
That said, even that thin veneer is crumbling. It’s all just disintegrating into puddles of fear. With the exception of a small fringe around Ted Cruz the whole religious right has lined up behind Trump. Morality and gentility be damned. It’s just naked racism now. Nothing more philosophically interesting than us versus them.
for those who have read “To Kill a Mockingbird” and can relate to Lifer’s comment about how Atticus Finch walked the line between the racists and those who weren’t; Harper Lee’s “new” old book, “Go Set a Watchman” (written in the 50s, submitted for print but publisher demurred in favor of To Kill a Mockingbird) presents a more honest assessment of Atticus Finch through the eyes of his daughter. It is thought to be more biographical of Lee and I can certainly understand why it was not published in the 50s given its treatment of the issue of race. A fine read that is a more honest and humorous look at these times. I recommend it. Much of what is described there you will be able to relate to and still see evidence of today.
White panic! Is actually adept phrasing….Andrew O’Hehir used that phrase in an article in making a case for the racial construct of not discussing race in America. The fear in discussing race at all is so strong that it leads to embarrassing twists to avoid discussing and tackling institutional forms of racism. I guess because one conversation will lead to another and no one wants to feel guilty or responsible.
Not dissimilar from your exchange with our colleague from Texas who logically suggested that minorities observe protocol when being stopped by police…yes officer, no officer etc but I agree with you that while good advice if you get stopped multiple times going the same way to work everyday its the stop itself that becomes harassing. By the way…not a fan of Salon…just like reading Andrew O’Hehir.
Powerful piece of writing. Thanks, Kenneth. I think Salon is doing a better job of being more substantive and not as overtly leftist. O’Hehir really “thinks”. I’d like to follow his writing. What is odd about the McKinney Pool incident is that I have actually been to this neighborhood which certainly makes the story resonate with me. That could have ended tragically. As it was, it was total over-reaction, poorly handled by all who chose to become participants, and badly managed by the police officer on the scene. At least no one died.
It’s a less barbed term to be sure, but let’s start that the Jim Crow and Civil Rights era is still in Living History. These are not only voters, but now seasoned professionals in business, politics, and media on both sides of the issue.
A significant number of white Americans suffered a grotesque failure at the hands of Truman in ’48, followed by MLK, Kennedy, and President Lyndon Johnson in the ’60’s to push the Civil Rights Act (If you think “Obamacare” was controversial, you haven’t been paying attention for long). These people are still very much alive, and still voting. More so are their children, taught these failed values by their parents and lived through that phase of change.
The present dictates the future, the past only provide hints of the rules.
We are still close to 20-40 years before ideological opponents (and proponents) of the Civil Rights era passes from living history, so ‘White Supremacist” values are still very much alive and well, but they’ve spent a long time being muted, dissolved, and diffused within the conservative base. They don’t identify as ‘white’, they identify as the waning, ruling majority of 20th century America as a uniformly white demographic. Hence, “nationalist”.
There are three ‘theories of political movements” I’ve concluded so far:
1. Movements don’t come with brakes. They do not stop at “yes”.
2. Movements can’t flap their own wings. Movements require external offense to gain legitimacy.
3. Movements aren’t dead until it passes from Living Memory. “I was there” and “my parents taught X” persist until death, but typically fizzles in translation with the 3rd generation. Everything past this is role-playing.
Nicely done, Chris. All true. It’s nice to hear someone refer to a future where some of these racial-based issues will have lost their way. I’m ready. But, boy, are they going to go down fighting!
Trump is a curious example (and, paradoxically, a violation) of rule 2: “Movements can’t flap their own wings”.
By all appearances, he is. By act of “Uncontrollably Vomiting 1,001 Things No Sane Human Being On Earth Has Ever Spoken”, he’s creating opposition that’s generating lift for his own movement.
It’s like holding out a magnet in front of his minecart. By definition (of politics and physics), this should be a zero-sum gain.
The curious, and disturbing, thing to potentially discover is that by holding out the vomit-magnet, that he’s exploting some kind of induction to cause the media to generate even greater ‘external offense’. The idea that the media, the exposure, can be exploited to magnify the force and grant immediate and competitive legitimacy to an irrational and absurd cause.
Right! So, Trump calls a press conference and even though it’s last minute, won’t offer anything of substance – like, facts, the media fall all over themselves to get there. In the process he gets “free exposure” while the other candidate(s) have paid venues. There’s a lot of complicity here. An interesting suggestion was made (posted here earlier) to the effect that the media should stop attending Trump’s impromptu meetings until he produces his tax returns. The theory was that Trump’s need for instant gratification and public adulation is so great that he would capitulate. I’m not so sure he can think so rationally, but it was captivating to hear/see it written.
Where’s a good hacker when you need ’em!
The motto when I was in the new home sales market was, “Always be selling”. Looks like an opportunity to me!
The story of America has been our centuries-long struggle to achieve our value that all are created equal.
The story of the GOP is that the party created to fight slavery was infiltrated and finally co-opted by racists, and that cynical operators like Jerry Falwell, Lee Atwater, and Karl Rove sold out the party’s future by collaborating with racists to gain power. That decision has finally reaced its destructive endpoint.
As an old democrat (60-ish) who has watched the slow-moving GOP train wreck with open-mouthed astonishment, I hope to hell our party avoids a similar horrible fate.
I think democrats should take firm steps now to protect the health of our party against the politics of crazy, so I am going to get involved at some local level. I am pledging to vote in all elections. I am rejecting candidates like socialists who won’t join our party but who just want to ride our fundraising structures, name recognition, credibility, and other political resources we have built over decades.
We need to forcefully reject purity spirals that make our party unwelcome to moderates. One area we are in danger there is gun violence. We are becoming the party of gun prohibition, not gun control. This is a losing issue for us and the sooner we realize it, the better.
I speak up against conspiracy theories and idiotic pseudosciences on my Facebook page, but that’s become a hopeless cause because people I used to believe were my friends have dumped me and retreated to cozy, affirming zones where they can gather in a big group hug and talk about the evils of GMOs and the TPP and how Horrible Hillary stole the election from Bernie. My former friends on the right are either overt religious bigots and racists now or are mute in their presence. Everyone has retreated to their own corner and nobody talks to anyone with different opinions.
In the David Brin article that was linked somewhere, earlier, he closed with these thoughts for disillusioned conservatives which I think are worth repeating:
“Accept your mission and the difficulty. Your aim is not to convert them from conservatism or love of market economics! Nor should you sneer at American exceptionalism!
Your task is to remind them that American conservatism once bore at least a glancing correlation with pragmatic appreciation of facts, of science, and of the need to move ahead in a rapidly changing world. It can again (someday) be part of a conversation, a negotiation, that includes enterprise and individualism and deregulation in the mix of ideas we’ll use, to take on 21st Century challenges!
But first they must let go. It is like prying the hands of a drowning man off the soaked and sinking life preserver he’s clinging to and getting him to notice the starship floating nearby with a welcome ramp waiting… if only he would just… turn… his… head.”
“The Politics Of Crazy”, incarnate!
Indoctrination is an addictive drug, and cognitive dissonance is the withdrawl.
It would take one helluva turnaround (one that I don’t believe is coming) to save our two-party system. America has become too diverse for either the Democratic or Republican parties, as they’re currently configured, to hold them. The Politics of Crazy and it’s description of the breakdown in our institutions is a result of both parties’ inability to adapt to this new world.
I’ve been of the opinion that as long as they hold the presidency, Democrats will be able to keep the party together, more or less. It’s an ironic gift from the Republicans, no doubt, but it’s really only a stopgap measure, nothing more.
What a time to be alive.
Its a little of both though… being in power both empowers the middle, but also reassures the crazy folks that they can go off the cliff without consequence.
Holding the Presidency helps empower the middle by giving a single focal point for the non-crazy to rally around… but at the same time, the lack of credible opposition enables the crazy as well. “Slightly less crazy than the guy in the asylum” isn’t a good place to be, but in a 2 party system, may be the preferred alternative.
The good news IMO is that the fracturing of the GOP will be complete within the decade. There may be a last stand by the Cruz wing in 2020 (If Donald fails here as “not conservative enough”), but the excuses are running low. Rational folks like GOPlifer are abandoning ship.
I don’t know what comes next, but party re-alignment is happening. For all the craziness of the Libertarian Party, they also are abandoning many of their extremes to become a credible alternative. Johnson/Weld are still extreme, but compared to the LP of history, they are a move in the right direction. Whether the LP, or a reformed GOP, actually take the reigns and capture the “middle right” is an open question, but the seeds for growth look to exist. They need watering, but if we can weather the next decade, it may not matter if the Dems go over the cliff because other rational alternatives may come into existence.
Maybe I’m an optimist, but I think there are still strong voices and potential majorities of votes in the rational middle. They have been, and are continuing to be, marginalized by the historic parties… but they still exist. The long-term “home” for them is perhaps unclear, but I don’t think they are going away.
I listened to an interesting discussion on NPR today on the third party possibility in the U.S. One of the points dealt with the necessity of structural changes in the political apparatus that functions in concert with the electoral college. That was most interesting because so often, we think of a third party as the LP or Green Party but never as a full-bore, major contender political party. There is a lot of interest in this and many political scientists are giving the idea the consideration it deserves. I think we’ll see much more about this for the 2020 election.
That liberal rag, the Houston Chronicle, has gone rogue.
Are you from Shiro, Texas?
Atlanta. But, my cousin lives in Austin, and I know a lot of people here are Texans.
Ok. There’s a tiny town in Texas called Shiro.
Let us hope this starts the ball rolling….even with journals….We cannot take any chances.
I want to append a few paragraphs from the VOX article on “normal vs abnormal” by Ezra Klein that was posted earlier because – these thoughts are important:
“There are some differences in politics that transcend ideology. This is one of them. Clinton, say what you will about her, is a normal political candidate who will operate within the normal boundaries of American democracy. Donald Trump is an abnormal political candidate; we have no idea which democratic boundaries he would respect, which conspiracy theories he would believe, which political enemies he would punish, which treaties he would honor.
Trump has already been scolded by his own party for racist comments, for attacks on the judiciary, for undermining the NATO alliance, for inviting foreign governments to meddle in American elections. None of this is okay. None of it is normal. This is not a man with the temperament, the steadiness, or the discipline to be president.
This election puts Republicans in a hard position. Even as the choice in this election is between a normal candidate and an abnormal one, it’s also between a liberal candidate and a, well, conservative-ish one. I don’t doubt Trump would nominate pro-life judges, or that he would resist raising taxes. I understand why so many Republicans have decided to suppress their doubts and support him.
But this is a dangerous game. We are a nation protected by norms, not just by laws. Our political parties should be held to certain standards in terms of the candidates they nominate, the behaviors they accept, the ideas they mainstream. Trump violates those standards. By indulging him, the Republican Party is normalizing him and his behavior, and making itself abnormal.”
You didn’t even find some of the best links! Without electoral fraud Bernie would have won! Really this “study” proves it!
Though Bernie never really had a chance anyways because this whole election was rigged in 2008!
But it doesn’t matter anyways because Sanders is still going to be nominee when Wikileaks gets Hillary Clinton arrested!
And as a backup plan Jill Stein is going to stop fascism by getting Donald Trump elected because Clinton’s create fascism just like they did in 1930’s Germany!
You just don’t get the hard-left Lifer. If these plans aren’t solid I don’t know what is 🙂
PS: I LIKE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!
All we need is a grassy knoll…….
First poll since end of DNC has Hill up 15 pts
Nate Silver says the group that conducted this poll is a “newbie” but did a nice job in Missouri. The polls coming out Mon-Wed next week will be more important.
But, hey, I’ll take it, Rob (-;
Definitely Mime. I’m a little suspect of the overall number, 15 pts sounds a bit extreme, I think if anything, the good news comes in the form of the trend, last week the same firm had Clinton +5.
The good news is that even if there’s flaws in this particular companies polling techniques, that would only affect the numbers, it wouldn’t affect the trend.
@RobA: Agreed. I’d expect her to be up anywhere from about six to ten points, at the most.
Trump’s response to Mr. Kahn’s speech about his hero son:
On the poignant appearance of Muslim lawyer Khizr Khan and his wife, whose son, Humayun, an Army captain, posthumously received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery after he was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004. As his wife, Ghazala, stood silently by his side, Khan held up a copy of the Constitution and asked Trump if he had ever read it and said, “You have sacrificed nothing.”
“I’d like to hear his wife say something.”
He can, it’s right here:
That’s pretty thinly veiled Muslim bashing- hinting that she’s being forbidden to speak. I personally am fine with public speaking. I’ve done it enough that I am comfortable with it and I do it reasonably well. However, I have never spoken in front of such a large crowd, about something that would be so gut-wrenchingly painful. You can see in the link that her pain is still fresh. I don’t blame her one bit if it was too much for her to speak.
You get more details about Captain Kahn’s sacrifice. It makes the claim that Trump is making any sacrifices all the more insulting.
Here’s the article with Trump’s response to the Khan’s presentation at the DNC convention and on the Lawrence O’Donnell Show. He is such a small person. Charging that Clinton’s speech writers wrote Mr. Khans DNC remarks or that Mrs. Khan wasn’t allowed to speak. I haven’t noticed Melania being a fountain of verbal participation in Trump’s company. You think maybe he tells her to keep quiet?
It is worth remembering that Trump claimed in an interview with Howard Stern:
“The perfect woman, according to Trump, neither defecates nor breaks wind, and Trump claims his then-girlfriend Melania, who’s now his wife, has never done either.”
(Death or Taxes magazine)
Maybe we shouldn’t trust Donald Trump as an expert on Melania Trump’s life.
EJ, I think you could have stopped your sentence at: “Maybe we shouldn’t trust Trump….”
Just more scumbag comments from a scumbag.
Trump doesn’t deserve to stand in the same room with this fine man and woman. Of course he would be threatened by someone of such fine character who sees life in such pure moral and patriotic terms. GRRRRRR
One thing I keep being reminded of is the 1968-1988 period in history where the Republicans utterly destroyed the Democrats at the Presidential level, yet the Dems had a stranglehold on Congress and all the state governments. It keeps seeming like everything has completely switched around.
What has happened, GOP control of state and congressional seats, was not achieved by luck. To their credit, the Republican Party developed a focused, long range plan to reverse the lock on Blue control. More recently, it has been called “Red State”…Lifer probably could write a book on this specific subject. A lot of hard work, a lot of gerrymandering went in to making this happen. Personally, I think gerrymandering should be challenged at the SC level. It is patently unfair and should not be available to either party. However, it is effective in locking incumbents in for re-election….but there is a dark side that has emerged from the GOP stacking process. They have created incumbents who cannot be controlled except through the primary tool. It has also given the GOPe the Freedom Caucus who have made life pretty miserable for the House Speakers.
Democrats are in a good position in major urban areas, but their candidate recruitment for state and federal positions has suffered. They have hold the presidency but we can clearly see how an opposing party lock on both houses of Congress can block effectiveness of a Dem President.
The system isn’t working and it is working. The question is: how well is it working and “who” benefits? As long as it is the American people “at large”, I am able to live with what we have. It’s not, however, which is compelling reason to support change in the major political institutions and process.
Blue states have more stable economies than Red states, explains the NYT:
Except Democrats weren’t facing down the barrel of political extinction from the likes of Trump and changing demographics, not to mention their own most avid voters literally dying out.
I’m noticing that the old white conservatives are being replaced by younger, white blue collar conservatives. Guess we’ll have to wait til the election to assess the size of this group, but in looking at primary results, these working class (male esp.) whites turned out big time for Trump. There are other White Trump supporters who are educated and financially secure but I really don’t see this group as “pro-Trump” so much as “anti-Hillary”.
@1mime: Primary voters who turned out for Trump weren’t new voters, mime. You know that. Those voters, overwhelmingly, were already Republicans that normally only voted in the GE and came to vote in the primary.
Demographically and geographically, the Republican Party is shrinking and retreating further and further with every election. As things stand, it’s only a matter of time before the dam finally breaks and we see something truly historic. Maybe that happens this November.
If the rate of new voter registration within the Hispanic sector materializes at the polls, that will be exciting – for many reasons. I believe the Clintons can GOTV within the Black community. I’m more concerned about the younger set –
I think Dems were facing extinction during the LBJ years – passage of Civil Rights and the rest of the Great Society Legislative package, Vietnam War division….these were huge challenges to the party and became wedges for the Repubs.
Gawker, stealing’ my thunder
No way, Rob, you were first!
If the debates don’t happen, this might be Johnson’s and Stein’s real chance at participating in them!
If they don’t happen, I can’t see any upside for HRC to participate either.
There’s only risk, no possible reward.
She’s going to hammer Trump non stop if he doesn’t debate though.
Sorry, wasn’t clear. If Trump backs out, I don’t see any upside to HRC debating Stein or Johnson. If anything, maybe a town hall would be a good idea.
But it’s lose/lose for HRC. She’s not running against Stein or Johnson, so he wont get anything even if she does really well. But she could seriously hurt herself if she does poorly.
I’m not suggesting Hillary should debate against Johnson and Stein, but that Johnson and Stein can leverage the event of non-debates to make a third party debate that people would actually watch. Plus it would sell up the whole idea that they’re there to talk while the establishment refuses to engage.
@RobA: My thoughts exactly, there is no chance Clinton would go out of her way to give Johnson or Stein national attention that they couldn’t get on her own.
As you say, she should hold a national town hall and address undecided voters’ concerns. You couldn’t ask for a better political club to beat Trump over the head with.
I appreciate your response. Maybe I was splitting hairs about Sanders/Trump to a pointless degree. Ultimately it’s the movements, not the men, that matter.
I agree, comparing Sanders to Ron Paul definitely rings true. I’m not sure what you mean by the “Sanders era,” but trust me whatever era this is, I’m not enjoying it! I don’t glorify the man or romanticize his movement, but at the very least he’s demonstrated you don’t need Super PAC money and brought some attention to campaign finance reform. Call me naive, but I hope a future politician – one less caustic, ideological and polarizing – could take some positive lessons from that and apply them constructively. Only time will tell, I guess.
I hope the political landscape will be in a somewhat less dysfunctional state by the next election, and that the lessons of this whacky cycle will have been taken into account enough so the fringe candidates aren’t as appealing – but I won’t hold my breath. You’ve written too many sharp posts on the topic for me to do otherwise. Best
I do want to provide some levity to some of the cynicism and pessimism about politics as a whole that I’m engaging in here as well:
If this year had an Obama-like person running on either side, it’d probably be far less stressful.
It’s easy to think all of ‘mainstream candidates’ are equally as unliked as Clinton, and all of ‘antiestablishment candidates’ are equally as disliked as Trump. But the fact is that if it were Sanders versus Martin O’Malley and John Kasich, basically I think most people’d tune out. I think Kasich would win because the exciteable Bernie Bros would still exist, but when they lost they’d count it against the ‘mainstream voter’ rather than ‘the primary was stolen from me!’ They had decades worth of anti-Clinton propaganda to turn their persecution complex against a popularly disliked figurehead rather than some vague ‘system’ of less consequence and appeal to others.
Despite all my rants on this site (this has become my ‘get it out of the system’ arena, with all apologies to the other users that have to deal with it 🙂 ), I am spending much more of my time watching how things play out and thinking about how to learn any lessons from what happens, and from there whether I can apply that to repairing discourse, even in my own small limited way, in the future.
Right now my two major takeaways have been:
1) Nothing hurts Trump except when Republicans speak out. Even that doesn’t hurt him against his ‘base’, who at this point are all in no matter who speaks out, but Trump’s overall general appeal is directly related to how many Republicans state clearly that they do not appreciate his antics. In order for Trump to be ‘defeated’, the Republicans MUST speak. There’s no ‘being quiet and hoping this all goes away.’
2) Quite a few people are ‘coming around to Clinton’ in a manner I feel makes them persuadable. The issue is that they have to be sold on why to vote FOR Clinton, rather than against Trump. And so far the problem is that if you take the opportunity to post reasons for voting for Clinton on social media, you invite commentary from the people who will tear her down. So such conversations have to happen in private messaging and with a degree of interpersonal trust and invitation. You have to wait for someone to literally say, “I feel I’m coming around but if only I had [x y or z] information” or “Does anyone out there have reasons to vote FOR Clinton?”
And even then my abject desire to avoid political debate with people I know causes me to not take the risk.
Rant at will, formdib. We’ve got big shoulders on Goplifer.
The major problem right now as I see it about Trump is that the GOPe has closed ranks behind him. McConnell, Ryan, McCain (!!!), Gingrich, etc etc. and there are not enough Republicans stepping forth (like Lifer) in principled opposition to Trump. If more don’t, and HRC stalls (Bernie bros continue to work against her….people don’t GOAV), he could still win. This is the year for people to make public stands. I was shocked by what I heard last night from Laurence Tribe on the Lawrence McDonnell Show. Shocked. He never gets down in the weeds like that. People like that have to stand up and speak out. So far, not nearly enough have.
Form, it would seem that the only people worth talking to “offline” at this stage are the “undecided” – undecided not in the sense that they have no clue about the candidates – but that they are leaning one way but can’t bring themselves to make the final decision. I think it would be worth the risk of getting into a political argument with such people, because they are already open to hearing differing opinions.
There’s no point getting into a debate, either online or off, with people who have already made up their minds. With them you most certainly run a high risk of getting into a political shouting match, and for what? You’re not going to change their minds.
So, I suggest you make your moves offline, but pick your battles wisely.
I prefer the word “discussion” to “argument”. I think it’s possible.
For a much needed mental distraction, I watched (by accident tho I loved it), the 2014 Disney scifi movie: BigHero 6. It was so well done. Just granny and grandpa tuned in to a movie cartoon….guess I finally bought the farm, guys!
I think it would also be a good idea to talk to people who don’t understand politics but who want to learn, people not even registered to vote but who want to get involved, but they’re afraid to participate because they think it’s over their heads. I’ve had people come to me and ask me humbly and earnestly what I think about the candidates. I don’t like to take advantage of the fact that they’re not knowledgeable by swaying them to my side. Since they are newbies, I think it’s important for them to be aware of the pros and cons of both sides so they can make their own decisions objectively.
Just wondering. How do you find any pros for Trump? Bankrupted 6 times – that shoots his business qualifications; married 3 times – ok, it happens, but it’s How it happened – adultery, that matters; a man who actually enjoys firing and not paying contractors who work for him; a man who is so vain that he combs his hair in a contortionist manner; a man who belittles his “enemies” and insults women? And, that’s just off the top of my head….
I don’t know, Tutta. You’ve got your hands full there.
Mime, sometimes discussions escalate into arguments, and that’s okay, too, so it’s worth the risk of getting into discussions even though they may turn into arguments.
That is true.
The way I usually approach it is to give examples of why his supporters like him and then give the person I’m talking to the opportunity to think about it and decide for themselves whether those reasons would work for them.
For example, “telling it like it is.” I would tell them that some people find it refreshing and others find it offensive, and then I would ask them what they think.
You’re a good person, Tutta. My tongue would be bleeding….I’m not good at offering positives when I don’t find any. And, I don’t find any with Trump. If I had to find one, and it still has a dark side, it’s that he was smart enough to figure out the mood of the country and take advantage of it. Full stop. That’s as far as I could go.
I prefer they decide for themselves.
Most people don’t have or take the time to decide for themselves. They get their information from tv or ads. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Very few people seek out fair and balanced help from people like you. It is always right to support independent choices, especially about an office as important as POTUS. There is simply so much at stake here that I can’t be unbiased.
Oh Its here Chris, and I see it up close and personal but it feels like a catch 22…Dems are losing the white working class below the median wage level but picking up steam with college educated whites. If we can’t get a congress back we can’t tackle infrastructure and other job creating legislation…all we can do is keep winning the white house and losing seats in the House and eventually the Senate (after a brief stint between 2016-2018). The cities have the money and the base but too few seats in congress to enact anything meaningful. I liked this article and apologize if a link has already been posted.
Good article, Kenneth. Pundits from both political parties spoke about the importance of the Clinton/Kaine campaign reaching out meaningfully to the blue collar working class – They noted that not enough was specifically said by Clinton, in particular, to this class. She will have to work harder as will her campaign. I don’t know if that door is still open or not but regardless, she has to try to demonstrate that she not only understands their problems and concerns, but how she plans to lend help. She’s a policy wonk. She can put something meaningful out there….she needs to work on that – NOW.
She has put a lot out there. The Democratic proposal for a big minimum wage hike would be an absolutely huge boost for the working class. Even those above the new minimums would get a boost. She’s also pushing for a new childcare program, plus a number of smaller issues like public options for Obamacare plans.
So far the white working class hasn’t cared.
I hear you. There’s something else going on there that only a Trump can reach. Frankly, she will never appeal to some working white men. She also is proposing free community college and talking about professional skills programs. If all of the key opportunity areas are open and they don’t respond, she should not waste her time. They have a deep seated prejudice and will not be swayed no matter what she offers.
Goplifer, do you think that Republicans would have had a real chance with e.g. Rubio given all the strife among the Democrats?
I think ‘generic Republican’ would have won handily this year: Kasich easily, Rubio semi-easily, Bush in a very tight toss-up (both representing the same thing that nobody wants a dynasty). Ted Cruz v. Hillary I couldn’t predict, and now that that can’s kicked down the road to 2020 (and even then we won’t know if it’s Cruz v. Trump or Cruz v. Clinton) I prefer not to expend mind-space on. Goodness knows there’ll be enough of that to go around later.
Even though it’s currently a toss-up between Clinton and Trump, I do think to some degree she’s lucky that the Republicans managed somehow to find someone more unpopular and disliked than her. That’s pretty exceptional timing and why the whole ‘Trump is a false flag operation’ is an understandable conspiracy theory, even if it’s untrue.
But without the chaos Trump has pushed on the right, the Republicans have been, as long as I can remember, the party of “it doesn’t matter our internal disagreements, fall into line, fall into line, FALL INTO LINE” and it’s always up to the cohesiveness of the Democrats to determine the election:
if the Democrats all say, “Yes, this, this is what we want” they win, whereas
if they say, “Oh I don’t know there’re other options I’ll prevaricate maybe we should consider third ways do we hafta do this couldn’t we try something else why does it feel like it’s just the same thing every year I’ve read a bit of Marx and a bit of Chomsky and have decided that the Republicans and Democrats are indistinguishable” then the Republicans win.
That’s been my short history perspective on the bipartisan dynamics. The fact that there are people on the left who think Donald Trump represents ‘generic Republican’ and this is the same old bipartisan Jack Johnson versus John Jackson debate we’ve always had is one of the scarier things for me, both because it’s factually incorrect and also because it might very well be in the future.
No, Rubio wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome, though there would have been a fairly conventional, apparently competitive fall campaign.
The results from the 2014 Election demonstrated the Democrats’ demographic lock on the White House. No Republican who could actually win a GOP primary could move the party far enough toward racial reconciliation to break that demographic stranglehold. Unless (until) a new force emerges on the right or the Democratic Party disintegrates, we will elect our Presidents in the Democratic primary.
Lifer, there’s always 2018 when the number of seats Dems have to defend are huge. If HRC wins, and if she is as incompetent a POTUS as she is represented by her detractors, Repubs will be sitting in the cat-bird seat for 2020, and 2018 will, as Homer stated, flip the Senate back to REpublicans.
Kind of makes me tired to think of going through this again in two years, much less four years, much less the next 100 days )-;
@1mime: You’re thinking in terms of conventional political terrain, mime. Assuming that Trump loses big this November, you tell me what happens to the Republican Party. I honestly don’t know and what implications it could have for Democrats if they only manage a small majority in the Senate.
I don’t think anyone knows how this election will shake out for the Republicans “if” they lose big. But I do believe this – if the GOP loses big, they will lose big in the Senate as well. I cannot see the two going in opposite directions. The House will remain GOP dominant, who knows how dominant? And, of course, it could all go the other way with down ticket totally reversing POTUS outcomes. If I sound like I don’t know what will happen, you would be reading me loud and clear (-;
We need to un- gerrymander congressional districts. That with the rise of Hispanics in the south may allow a Republican centralist enough to win the White House in the general make it through the GOP primary. Blacks and Hispanics are naturally conservative. And are very winnable. But not when the party is openly hostile to them and making it very apparent that they are not wanted. The Democrats would help with dismantling gerrymandering. Many whites are interested in racial reconciliation including most of the younger generation. It would not take much to tip the balance. It is not hopeless.
Why should minorities worry about being accepted as a premise for inclusion in any party? Instead of dividing along ideological lines and social liberties, why wouldn’t we “hope” for parties who represented specific issues that didn’t touch social liberties? There is too much that needs to be done in our country to continuously fight this undercurrent or race and religion. The business of the nation, our security, our economy, our infrastructure, our health (Zika anyone?) – these affect all people. Let’s strive for a government that focuses on issues that are necessary for the efficient and effective governance of our country as opposed to worrying about which percent gets what. All Americans deserve to be a part of the dialogue, not just some. There’s work to do.
I’ve been watching the same thing from “this side” with similar concerns. I see a lot of echoing of the absolutist rhetoric that we attributed to the Tea Party on the right. They’re talking about who is or isn’t a “real” progressive, resorting to false equivalence about how they think HRC and Trump are “exactly the same”. They see moderates and Republicans come around to HRC or the Democratic platform and, instead of seeing that as bringing people together, they see it as some kind of proof that the Democrats have sold out to the Republicans. Like the Tea Partiers, they don’t seem interested in democratic compromise. They reject democratic consensus in favor of their false-consensus bias. They look for any indirect or inductive support they can find for conspiracy theories, and think anyone who disagrees with them must be a paid shill.
The only silver lining might be that these extremes are pushing rational people back to the middle – the only question will be whether spoiling the election in Trump’s favor will be the thing we avoid or the thing that forces that realization.
“The only silver lining might be that these extremes are pushing rational people back to the middle”
As Wikipedia sez, citation needed.
DNC Convention, 2016. See: Bringing in progressive platform proposals from the left, while bringing in lifelong GOPers and independents who talk about listening to ideas and policies over party loyalty.
Well done, Btrtr. We are a demanding bunch here (-; But a welcoming bunch too. Nice post.
Bernie is returning to the Senate as an Independent (link below). Whether he in fact changed his voting registration is unknown to me. I sometimes attend the Chelsea Democratic club here in NYC and Mr. Ladd is correct…talking to the under 32 crowd is sobering. The D party is changing as fast as our demographics and many of these otherwise seemingly bright young Americans need a CIVICS course desperately.
I’m surprised you could “talk” to the under 32 crowd of Bernie supporters. They usually are not very good listeners. Do they even teach Civics anymore? There is much to like about the Millennials and the Gen Xers, but this wing I do not like. They don’t want to learn from others, they want their way with no exceptions. They completely lack understanding of the necessity of compromise in politics or life. Well, life will teach them even if politics doesn’t. I’d like to see them pull the stunts in the workplace that they demonstrated in public and get away with it.
My daughter is 27 so I am used to listening and not interrupting the under 32 crowd…then I ask my questions…and the President will get that through the House how?….Have you heard the Senate Majority leader?…his only agenda was to negate the election of the President and make him a one termer. Why would that agenda change if Bernie wins without the Senate or the House? They don’t seem to understand that the President has influence but no power to spend or legislate. I’m horrified when they refer to one of our Senators, Chuck Schumer as their congressman when I ask who their Representative is. When did we stop teaching civics or how your government works?
We are still offering Civics but in many states, it is folded into social studies. Civics is important and should be a stand-alone course and kids would eat it up. High school elections offer a perfect opportunity to begin the education and local politics is a great primer as well. I also think families should discuss the concept of civics with their teens….right and wrong…how one gets things done in business, and government….what are the responsibilities of voting….I wonder how many mothers/dads have this “talk” with their 18 year olds. Here’s a little wiki info on civics for you. There’s more if you’re interested. I loved Civics when I was in school and would love to see all our future voters learn what we expect of our immigrants who seek U.S. citizenship.
“When did we stop teaching civics or how your government works?”
We never stopped.
Things I learned in public education that everyone insists is never taught:
Absolutely had classes in it. Memorable student quotes:
“I GET it, a system of checks and balances. Why do I need to remember all the responsibilities of the executive office or how a bill is passed? Can I go to lunch now?”
Absolutely had classes in it. Memorable student quotes:
“But when will I ever use this in real life?”
* Personal finance and budgeting
Absolutely covered it. Memorable student quotes:
“I hate math word problems, I don’t see why Susie is trying to decide between four oranges at $1 a piece and six grapefruit at $.75 a piece. Susie is stupid.”
“Why am I learning formulas and equations? When do you ever need to ‘find x’ in real life? What is ‘x’?”
* Critical thinking
Absolutely had classes in it. Memorable student quotes:
“Why do I have to cite my sources in a five paragraph essay? That’s dumb, can’t I just think for myself and read into it what I want?”
“Why are you teaching us things like symbolism, literary devices, and things like reading into character motivations? Can’t you just take the book at surface value as entertainment?”
* The Purpose of Education in General
Absolutely was told about it. Memorable student quotes:
“I don’t see why we should be FORCED to come here every day. Shouldn’t this be a free country? I don’t see how any of this is useful to my future.”
American public education is fine, it’s Americans that are just shitty.
(-: We should start a list of things we learned that we say we were never taught…..It would be a hoot!
It’s not enough to just teach Civics anymore, IMO. We need to start getting our young people involved in a real and serious way, even if for only a few hours a week. I knew next to nothing about politics before I started getting into it on my own.
Believe me when I tell you (having been there, done that) there is a lot of grunt work in campaigns. I was dead serious earlier when I suggested getting high school kids involved through campus elections – class officers/student council/organizations. You learn a lot about structure and what the nitty gritty aspects of running for office entail. But, I think there is something far more important than simply learning the mechanics of campaigning, I believe we have to teach our students (HS) how to approach making election decisions – about party platform and individual experience and how those interface with individual preferences. Furthermore, more emphasis needs to be placed on the “why” of politics. What its purpose in governance is and how to assess performance. All the things that we as adults who care deeply about politics do instinctively, but ‘taught’.
I have to admit that the Democratic crazies are much worse than I thought earlier when I said they weren’t much of an issue yet. Even after Sanders got a remarkably extensive set of platform concessions (normally there’s basically none even in a tight race) and both he and his organization firmly declared support for Hillary and opposition to most of the disruptive tactics, we still saw chanting and insulting signs *inside the convention*. There was little respect for actual positions of speakers. Opponents of the TPP got heckled about the TPP. Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal got heckled for “no more war”. It was jawdropping.
It bodes ill for the soon-coming world where people get most of their information from social media.
I agree. The ONLY thing that would have impacted the behavior of the Bernie die hards (how apt) is if he were on that stage as the nominee. There were many in that throng who were incredibly disruptive when many of their most important objectives were adopted. Youth, misplaced fervor, lack of behavioral training (mom/dad?) was in full display. This group should accept and move on. They can continue to pursue their agenda, run for office (see how their behavior will benefit them in that process), and/or help defeat the only real alternative to the worst nominee America has ever seen for President. I have lost patience and respect for this element of the Bernie campaign and he will need to do much , much more to counter their totally inappropriate behavior or he will lose my respect as well. Don’t just sit in a chair tight-lipped (I mean, did you see him in the cut away shots at the convention?) and petulant. It was embarrassing.
The Republican hecklers were much better hecklers. They had boos and walkouts at appropriate times (like after the shenanigans to avert a roll call vote on the rules). Most of the time they were cooperating with the convention. They acted like loyal Republicans with serious reservations about particular issues.
The only exception was heckling Cruz for saying “vote your conscience” (seriously?) But that was the Trump campaign, not the insurgents, and we’ve learned to expect bad behavior from them.
Too bad. So sad. (For Clinton)
I didn’t watch the last three nights of the Republican convention and only parts of the DNC coverage, so I’ll have to take your word for it as to the Cleveland convention being pessimistic in tone and the Philly convention being optimistic. However, historically, doesn’t the party not in power typically paint a gloomy picture of the state of the county while the party that currently holds the presidency tries to gloss over any failings?
I seem to remember Obama blaming and lambasting Bush all through the 2008 election campaign.
Basically, it always stays the same. The party wanting to stay in the White House says the President has done an outstanding job. The party not in power says the President has done a horrible job.
Obama: Bush bad. Hope and Change
Trump: Obama bad. Make America Great Again
Same old; same old.
Uh, are you actually suggesting that the Republican Party has not/is not in charge for the last 6 years? Dems may have held the presidency, but Repubs controlled, no, make that, obstructed his efforts from day one, as I am sure you recall Mitch McConnell’s promise.
Conservatives watching these two conventions almost entirely agree that the DNC convention was positive and the GOP Convention was negative….and they, the Republicans, have controlled Congress and until Scalia’s death, SCOTUS, for the last 6 + years. Come on, OB. Even the Beverly Hillbillies could have told you that!
Mime, I don’t think objv is suggesting who has done what. Rather, I think he’s commenting on the nature of campaigning for the Presidency in this world of 140 character messages and equally short attention spans.
When your party does not currently hold the office, then (1) you characterize everything that’s less than perfect as an awful mess, (2) you blame the awful mess on the incumbent President, and (3) you state (EMPHATICALLY, of course) that if the voters just have the good sense to elect you, then you will clean up the awful mess created by the current administration.
By the time you’ve finished step (3) there are very few of your listeners who are still focused on the accuracy of your claims in (1) and (2).
Ken, with another commentator, I would have taken it just as you stated. Obviously the incumbent president will be blamed/exalted but we know full well that in this particular election, the forces who should be “blamed” are those who did not allow this president to do his job. Who obstructed. Who have plotted since day one for his removal. Who have “cost” this country instead of helping America work together for the common good. There hasn’t been any “common good” happening. It’s always been about party – the Republican Party. They abdicated their oaths to office by not doing their jobs.
Presidents are easy targets. Congress, less so. I do not believe for a minute that this commentator was making a historical point that would otherwise be accepted for face value.
mime, Ken was right.
Congress was controlled by Democrats during the last years of the Bush presidency and into Obama’s first years. This did not stop Obama from blaming Bush during the whole time.
Ov, I qualified my time frame to “the last six years”. Did you miss that? Dems did hold a majority from 2007-2011 – four years. To my everlasting regret, Dems didn’t use their time as effectively as they could have and needed to. Here’s a chart for your information.
It is indeed forgone that the party of the President will say he’s been doing a good jab and the opposition will say he’s been doing a bad job.
That doesn’t mean the opposing claims are equally true, or even both reasonable.
If I may add another example of Crazy, consider the following exchange between Dr. Cornel West and Bill Maher on last evenings “Real Time.”
And later in the program West was at it again with Barney Frank.
Loved the Maher statement: that Trump will be able to get intelligence….Ha! And, Barney reminding all – DJT knows more than the generals!!! And, Maher’s distinction between how T & H will get things done….H – it will be hard and slow; T – ‘I’ will get things done quickly!
Barney: T playing pussy with Putin….so many unforgetable comments…..
Thanks Viking…I was up but not watching Maher last night. Would have missed this! Can’t say I was impressed with Dr. West’s arguments……I miss Barney Frank…except I wish he’d take the marbles out of his mouth as I have so much trouble understanding him!
Thanks for the links. Ghadaffi’s gruesome end isn’t the fault of America, unless West has some evidence that the US military had some opening to go in and save him. Even then, why should they?
I once read that when you reach a certain age, 50% of what you remember didn’t really happen.
But I don’t remember Hillary sticking Q/Kaddaffi with that knife.
Don’t I remember the administration’s opponents criticizing Obama for “leading from behind” when other allies took a lead in supporting the rebels?
Not only that but Repubs have criticized O for not being more aggressive in Syria, yet, when he formally asked Congress to approve Syrian aggression as a war initiative, they have been totally silent.
Frankly, I’m not a war person. I’m a diplomacy person first, always, but you deal with the enemy you have. Sometimes the enemy are those who occupy Congress as much as they are without our borders.
“Not only that but Repubs have criticized O for not being more aggressive in Syria, yet, when he formally asked Congress to approve Syrian aggression as a war initiative, they have been totally silent.”
Even Trump’s fondness for Putin and Russia is not unprecedented.
The Republicans showed that they preferred Russian hegemony and influence in the Middle East over letting Obama get his way during the debate over Syria.
Interestingly enough, that all happened before I found GOPLifer and the Politics of Crazy, but I remember driving past an anti-Syrian war protest in my home town. It was smaller than anti-Iraq War protests ever had been, and yet I mused to myself, “It’s funny that the peacenik liberals are gonna get their way this time just because the Republicans hate Obama.”
One thing the DNC and RNC (if there’s anything left of it next year) can do to prevent outsider hijackings is to put some specific rules in place as to who can run for President under the party banner. Something like having held elected State/Federal office or a Cabinet position as a registered member of the party, or at least 10 years as an active, contributing member of the party. With those requirements, neither Trump nor Bernie can run except as Independents. I have no problem with that- I think that if you want something out of any organization you should have been putting something in. I also don’t see this as a political cure-all, as there are plenty of other problems the major parties face. But it at least puts another obstacle in between the unqualified and the Oval Office. Let Kanye and Sarandon prove themselves as good Democrats or go run as Indies.
Sanders wasn’t a problem in the end; his delegates were. Sanders made it worse by waiting so long to come around, but if just his delegates had listened to him everything would have been fine. I think it’s far better that somebody like Sanders run inside a party (changing it) than outside (splitting it). If you want membership restrictions, they should be on the delegates.
I don’t see a process solution to Trump. The problem with Trump is not his lack of experience; the problem is so many support his racism, divisiveness, and disdain for functional policy. There will be lots of politicians with standard credentials running on Trump’s strategy by 2020, if not earlier.
Totally agree with the exception that I think the lack of experience is a real problem for any candidate aspiring to the office of president. But it is the “crowd” mentality of all the negatives you stated that will live beyond T and that is dangerous and disheartening.
But Chris has mentioned someone like Kanye West making a run, and I think that would be a problem if he’s serious. Like Trump, he’s a well known celebrity with a large fan base, and you could have enough people voting for him the same way people voted for Trump to cause a problem. More GOP primary voters did vote against Trump rather than for him, but that wasn’t enough. Granted the Dems are better insulated because they don’t do winner of a state takes all the delegates. Call me cynical, but we have a lot of celebrity worship in this country, and I’m afraid that there are enough people swayed by that to vote for someone who is not qualified.
This is not me saying that celebrities have no right to get into politics- they absolutely do. But I don’t think they ought to be able to use their fame to leapfrog to the leadership of a major party. Let them work through the ranks like Reagan did.
Have given your post more thought, Fair Economist, and I’d like to add to the discussion this point. Sanders has a deep responsibility in the melee that has erupted in the far left flank of his movement. He didn’t set boundaries, fueled unrealistic expectations, and fed the hate of HRC that I believe he feels to this day. I am certain that there were many hurts and anger points for H from the Obama camp…and, O himself….Remember, “Hillary, you’re likable enough”? Yet, she was pragmatic, when he won she immediately moved to support him with a whole heart. Why? Hillary was not posturing herself for a cabinet appointment (O had to approach her several times before she agreed….she liked her Senate job.) rather, Hillary put country before herself and moved on. Sanders has said he would work to defeat Trump but his support for HRC is very reticent. He needs to grow up and then maybe, by example, those Bernistas who are reachable, will do the right thing – FOR country. After all, that is what this election is all about. That HRC happens to be the most electable alternative to DJT is incidental. She is what we have to work with and for and we all need to focus on that lest a DJT become our next POTUS. I personally feel HRC is very capable, a fundamentally good person, and will do a great job as President, but even if she were less so, I would still vote for her as a way of defeating Trump. It ‘s nice to have a good alternative.
I had a conversion last night at Valhalla with 3 fervent Bernie supports. They were quite vehement in their opinions that Hillary is corrupt and she rigged it. I didn’t bother to argue that point. But when they were asking was Trump really that bad, and wonldn’t 4 years of Trump be better than 8 years of Hillary, I had my opening. I asked them whether they were comfortable with Mike Pence running things, as it looks like Trump doesn’t actually want to do the work of being President. Pence is very conservative, and you guys and gals will hate the agenda he pushes. And of course the SCOTUS- so do you want Trump, err Pence filling 3-4 of those seats? Who knows what they may do, but they did concede the validity of those points. They were very young (20s), and sometimes young people have an all or nothing attitude with politics. The half or quarter loaf is always better than nothing.
Regarding corruption, even if Clinton was 100% as corrupt as these 3 believed, I would vote for her in a nanosecond over Trump. A corrupt but smart poltician has reason to get some beneficial things done. An unqualified ignorant narcissist like Trump only cares about being worshipped. This is not an endorsement of corruption, but rather a recognition that corruption is a lesser evil than ignorant incompetence. I also don’t buy the Bernie-backers’ assertions that she’s as corrupt as they think. Skeletons in her political closet? Yes, but show me anyone who’s been in high level politics for that long without them.
Clap, clap. I’m with “HER”
Big difference between Sanders and Trump: at every event, Sanders emphasized that he could do nothing without the support of millions. Trump, at every event, says “only I can save you.” Another big difference, Sanders involved in politics and legislation, Trump clearly not. One could go on.
Tell me more about Sanders’ involvement in politics and legislation. I’m unfamiliar with any examples of this apart from him filling a space in the Senate from on the country’s smallest states.
I’m curious about a statement in your post, Lifer. You said that following his loss, Sanders renounced his membership when the whole charade was over…..I haven’t seen that stated in any of my reading. Can you support with a link? And, let me say this: I think the DNC made a terrible error when they allowed someone who is not a Democrat to seek the nomination under the party structure, BUT, at least Bernie has caucused with Dems on many critical votes.
Here’s a link. And by the way, I’m going to keep posting these links from People Magazine, your new source for everything you need to know about politics.
UGGHHHH….Really, People Magazine????? Never read the rag and don’t plan to start. For both parties or just the DNC, Chris? Thanks for the link. Can’t believe I missed that but it does not surprise me. Bernie “used” the DNC structure because he couldn’t afford to mount his own campaign. He should not have been given the opportunity….of course, neither should Trump, but………
I do indeed agree that the Sanders campaign/phenomenon suggests that the “politics of crazy” may be coming to the Democratic party, but I take some issue with your characterization of the man in that comment you left. I’m no Bernie-bot/bro/buster by any means, but the guy has been more than an empty seat.
I adore your blog, and have tremendous respect for your insights on so many political/sociological issues. Even when I disagree with your opinions (which is not often), your viewpoint never feels unfair or off-base. I’m continually impressed by your aversion to false equivalencies. But IMHO, your portrayal of Sanders as Trump-Left is the one exception.
You have every right to personally dislike Sanders for his political philosophy, policy proposals and tone of rhetoric, but to lump a life-long public servant/advocate – however misguided he may be – in with Trump is unfair. In his home state, he’s done more than merely stand there and shout. You may completely disagree with the wisdom of his policies (for any number of reasons), but he certainly has at least attempted to enact programs that serve the public good. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/metropolis/2016/01/bernie_sanders_made_burlington_s_land_trust_possible_it_s_still_an_innovative.html
Sanders may lack obvious legislative achievements on the national level, but that doesn’t automatically mean he is a nihilistic, destructive force in politics. He has been engaged in drafting legislation with members from both sides of the aisle for years – the “amendment king” no less. He’s worked within the bounds of the system, and won the respect of at least some of his colleagues as being willing to compromise and as someone who keeps his word. Even Jeff Sessions has kind words about him! “Sen. Jeff Sessions, who served on the Budget Committee with Sanders, said that while the two couldn’t be more opposite ideologically, they still share a mutual respect.” This article features several examples of Dem and GOP senators’ experiences with him in the Senate. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/bernie-sanders-is-a-loud-stubborn-socialist-republicans-like-him-anyway/450597/
That may seem like weak sauce, I won’t dispute that – but to characterize his entire career as substantively equivalent to someone like Trump feels disingenuous to me. If I’ve assumed too much in terms of how closely you equate Sanders and Trump, I apologize, but I think the man has a little more regard for the institutions of good governance than you give him credit for. I will readily admit that his public persona, which yes, he is responsible for, doesn’t do him any favors though.
Even though Lifer is being consistent with previous exhortations on Sanders, I agree that to reduce the man’s contributions of many years in the Senate and in politics, generally, to rubbish, is unfair. There are some in Congress who would deserve the pillory for longevity without contribution, but Sanders does not fit this profile. I do not admire and do admire much about how Sanders managed his run for President. I had hoped he would keep his word about joining the Dem Party regardless who won the nomination. It was a promise and promises matter to me. It was painfully obvious at the convention that he was miserable and angry. I’m sure he was also disappointed, for he achieved so much more than anyone expected. He and his campaign chairs and grassroots organizers have much to be proud of in that regard. I liked the simplicity and consistency of Sanders’ platform positions while I always understood that he was unlikely, if elected, to have the skills nor the institutional support he would need to achieve them. His youthful base didn’t grasp that politics is hard. It is slow. And you don’t ever get everything you want even if you are correct in what you ask for. Still, Sanders is not an empty suit and I think Lifer is too dismissive of his years of service and work. His efforts in behalf of the VA are well known and appreciated by those in military circles.
Lifer and I also disagree about unions. I feel there is a valid need and place for them today in our society while agreeing with him that there have been those who over-reached and have been more destructive than constructive. Federal unions are under attack right now from the Republicans in Congress thus I imagine this is a conservative issue that has been part of Lifer’s conservative education. Still we disagree on this point which doesn’t make me right or him wrong, just have different views on their need.
All this said, Lifer is one of the most fair, most wise and pragmatic speakers from within conservative circles. IMO. I trust his judgement and value his opinions. I do not agree about Sanders nor unions and some other conservative positions, but he is right about most things. It’s easy to criticize someone who puts themselves “out there”. (HRC comes to mind.) What’s hard is to take that step, week after week, and live with the assured rejection and criticism that follows from some. Unless you’ve served in public life or in management where you’ve had to make hard choices, it’s impossible to appreciate the struggle and pain one goes through in taking tough stands. Lifer has my respect. Publicly renouncing the party that he worked so hard for and believed so deeply in, was a tough act. Hopefully, his leadership will inspire others within the conservative and progressive movements to look deeply into their parties and work for them to be better.
Sanders, personally, is not equivalent to Donald Trump, personally. Trump is a unique horrorshow.
However, the movement that put Sanders within striking distance of the Democratic nomination is entirely equivalent to the movement that has destroyed sane politics on the right. It’s the same thing. You guys are trailing my old party by about one Presidential election.
Sanders’ nearest mirror-equivalent is Ron Paul, almost point for point, right down to the personality and the legislative futility. And Ron Paul, like Bernie Sanders, is a raving political nutjob.
Enjoy what’s left of the Sanders era. You’ll get your Donald Trump next time…
Lifer: “the movement that put Sanders within striking distance of the Democratic nomination is entirely equivalent to the movement that has destroyed sane politics on the right.”
The issues, though, were far different. The means may have been the same and I’m not excusing them, but when your platform includes: conversion therapy for gays; ending women’s right to choose; global warming denial; racism and xenophobia; walls not bridges; more tax cuts for the top 1% without resolving the vast income disparity that exists….to name a few of the more “discussed”.
The issues are what separate the two parties. Who benefits, and how. Do I support every platform plank in the Dem Party? No, but I do support some iteration of all of them that I have read….(disclaimer – I have not read entire GOP nor DNC platforms) To me, the two parties reflect a completely different focus – one within and narrow, the other without and more inclusive. That’s where I belong and I understand others feeling differently. Where their views impact my life is when I get vocal. Trump is an abomination, but so is the party that birthed him. They are not only complicit, they are the biological parent.
@goplifer: >] “Enjoy what’s left of the Sanders era. You’ll get your Donald Trump next time…”
Please don’t let it be Susan Sarandon. I suffered through one interview she did with Chris Hayes and that was it for me.
I doubt it will be someone as lucid as Susan Sarandon.