Look. I have nothing against Steve Beshear. I have a lot of Louisvillian friends who vouch for him as Not Bad. He's about what one can hope for in the category of Democratic Governor in Red State. Additionally, the Democratic response to Tuesday evening's presidential address won't amount to a pile of dust in the long run. Content-wise it likely left an impression on exactly no one. It was, in that sense, Fine.

It was also a good example of everything wrong with the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Leave aside the terrible message it sends to have a 72 year old ex-elected official in effective retirement in a spot of high, albeit temporary, visibility. Leave aside how awful an impression it creates to include the phrase "I am a Republican" in the first 15 seconds. Consider the setup, conceptually, for what the people responsible for this were trying to do here and you'll see directly to the heart of the problem with Democrats.

With a party at low ebb after losing a presidential election to a joke candidate using a nominee nobody seemed to like all that much and a running mate whose name the country forgot even before the election, you might expect strategists to focus on the most obvious problem: If you can't fire up your base, you're not going to win elections. Republicans are forever hurling red meat at their base – 50 Obamacare repeals that had no chance of passing, 35 Benghazi hearings, etc. – even though they know those measures are futile. They do it because they recognize that if all else fails, they will at least get their core group of voters behind them solidly.

The Beshear thing is evidence of how deeply cynical and unmoored the Democratic Party is right now. The visual of a 72 year old white guy in a creepy diner surrounded by other old white people is exactly, precisely, to the last detail, what some Beltway or New York-San Francisco based consultant would think is going to appeal to the revered White Working Class. This is what someone who has no contact with Normal People thinks Normal People are like. This is cringe-inducing in the same way as the dialogue for black characters in TV shows aimed at (and written by) white people often is.
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It is at its core a caricature. It is a thing people look at and think, This is some asshole from Harvard's impression of what those dirty people he flies over will like. I'm stunned they didn't have Beshear wear a NASCAR hat and pound a Bud Light.

The insistence that they can "win back" the White Working Class is delusional to begin with, but they extra-certainly will never win them back with transparent cornball shit like this. This isn't outreach; this is pandering. And the most offensive part is that it isn't even good pandering. It's as convincing as John Wayne playing Genghis Khan. This was embarrassing to watch in the same way that is true of messages aimed at kids and written by adults according to their incomplete and outdated sense of what The Kids These Days are into.

I'm not saying the Democratic Party's path to success lies with some sort of hard lurch to the far left, embracing communism and waving a hammer and sickle. What seems very obvious to everyone except the holdover New Democrat people from the 90s who are still in charge is that whatever success the party will achieve will come from reaching out to and motivating the voters who find the GOP terrifying. Women. Young people. Gays and Lesbians. African-Americans. Hispanics. The highly educated. People in big cities. Non-Evangelicals. But for some insane reason they insist that the winning strategy is to find some way to peel away the same voters who clearly and strongly prefer Republicans – and worse, to do it by play-acting a six-figure strategist's impression of economically depressed white people, as though speaking with a little drawl and sitting in a folksy diner is going to convince some pissed off ex-coal miner that he loves the Democrats after all.

It is time to come to grips with the fact that the appeal Democrats had to rural whites is something that died many decades ago. It was already running out of steam by the time Reagan came around, and that was nearly 40 goddamn years ago. Let it go. Low-income rural whites are a rapidly shrinking part of the population. Trump may be their last gasp before they start dying in droves because Republicans rely so heavily on the elderly. Move on. Do something, anything, to communicate the message to the actual, real Democratic base, "You are our priority. We care about you. We need you." Not the base as they might like it to be, full of hard-workin' blue collar white caricatures, but as it is.

The DNC keeps telling us that the future of the party will not be served by a lurch to the far left. Perhaps, perhaps not. We could hear arguments on either side of that. What is absolutely and undeniably certain, though, is that the future of the party is not old white men playing at Rustic Everyman and all but conceding defeat to the mighty forces of conservatism. For those who warn that trying to fire up a progressive base will create a McGovern scenario, I have news: that has already happened. Republicans control the White House, the Senate, the House for what may be an eternity, and 38 state legislatures (!!!). It is difficult to conceive of how much worse things could go if they tried something a little different. But instead they will comfort themselves with what they know and then wonder loudly why old white centrists failed to excite their most important voters.


  • "The DNC keeps telling us that the future of the party will not be served by a lurch to the far left."

    A "lurch" back to the middle would be nice. We're pretty much fucked when the people who don't like Hilary think it's more important to demonstrate that they're "mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore" than do the one thing that might help–vote in solidarity against the republicans. It's that fucking simple but until people are made to understand that the rest of it is a waste of time.

    I hate what the DNC has done to the democratic party. I also hated it when the democrats willingly went along with the states of the former CSA for about 100 years, allowing them to continue Jim Crow and other abominations until LBJ was forced to begin doing what should have been done in 1865.

    Having said that, in todays political landscape anything less than a locked-step, walking blue wall will not overcome the increasingly insane group that comprise the modern GOP.

    Yeah, it sucks.

  • One quibble, but other than that, spot on: I still remember Hillary's running mate's name. It was Tom Paine. No wait, Jim McShane. Tom Shane?

    Never mind, I guess you were right. Carry on.

  • avery Koenig says:

    You're right about Beshear being bad. You're right about it being a lame attempt at pandering.

    But wrong to write off old white men and rural areas. You're strategy, focus on the same ethnic groups that Hillary already won, won't work in 2020. Democrats will once again win the west coast and the east coast, and once again, lose just about everywhere else.

    Swing states are disproportionately white. Democrats need the white working class of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere to win the presidency, let alone the house of representatives, which disproportionately favors rural areas at the expense of cities.

    Trump won by out-letting Hillary on trade, infrastructure, and arguably war. (Claimed he was against the Iraq war) Democrats can win by returning to the New Deal policies of FDR: Protect workers, embrace unions, provide healthcare, raise wages, and guarantee access to college education. These policies won the white working class over in record numbers, and it wasn't until the democrats started turning away from them that republicans swept in with right wing social populism.

    Left wing populism is the answer. Not shallow, substance free appeals to identity, which is what Beshear's speech was.

  • Taking a break from identity politics would be a good start. After that, pushing for a return to full time employment, socialized medicine, card check, free higher education, and taxing the filthy rich would be a good idea.

    Getting pissed about mansplaining and manspreading hasn't proven to be an effective strategy.

  • I think what Gov. Beshear did in KY was really great for KY heath care and good for him and his clueless citizens who then voted for the utter a**hole Matt Bevin to replace him. But that's the point: the hard core racists and ignoramuses are never going to realize the stupidity of what they do because HATE. Of course, he blew the response but so do most responders.

    So, yes, focus on millennials, women and rural entrepreneurs (organic farmers, solar/wind entrepreneurs). That's actually the future of the Democratic Party, if it even has a future.

  • focus on building a left-wing, identity-politics based gun culture. It will be illegal for the young and the brown to vote by 2018.

  • Yer gonna hate who wrote this

    The English-language response, delivered by former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear in a diner that looked like a sitcom set, wasn’t for you. Instead, you should have listened to the Spanish-language response, delivered by DREAMer and activist Astrid Silva (sporting sleek purple hair) on Telemundo and Univision.

    Beshear’s speech was for people who would like to see President Trump live up to some of the promises he made on the campaign trail. Silva’s speech was for those who are terrified that he might.

  • Trump won by 80,000 old white people in 3 midwestern states. That's itsky. Fuck those people and their surly resentment about not being respected enough. My hope is that, with their dying bankrupt eyes, they realize that they were suckered. That would be sweet.

    A boy can dream.

  • The Vox article to which Mo linked remarks, “Beshear’s speech was for moderate white working-class and middle-class voters in the Rust Belt, Appalachia, and the Upper Midwest — the voters who voted for Obama in 2008, and maybe even 2012, but voted for Trump in 2016.”

    I have a question—if anyone knows whether polls and research exist to answer it, I’d love to know:

    How many such voters are there? Was the difference between 2008/2012 and 2016 mostly that people who voted Democratic in 2008/2012 voted Republican in 2016? Or was it mostly that some people who voted Democratic in 2008/2012 didn’t vote (or voted third party) in 2016, while other people, who didn’t vote (or voted third party) in 2008/2012, voted Republican in 2016?

    In other words, is it more important to focus on changing minds that could go either way, or is it more important to motivate people who already agree with you (and de-motivate those who don’t)? My guess is that America has become far too partisan for attempts to change minds to make much difference, while motivation is quite volatile and can be manipulated to great—if not always predictable—effect; but a proper answer to this question must come from data.

  • Damn straight, Ed.

    as though speaking with a little drawl and sitting in a folksy diner is going to convince some pissed off ex-coal miner that he loves the Democrats after all

    You want to appeal to an angry ex-coal miner? Maybe start by sounding angry yourself. Sound like you goddamned well stand for something. He might not agree with every detail of what you're saying, but if he respects you, you've got a chance at getting his vote. And there's no need to throw women and minority groups under the bus as you do so.

    Even from the point of view of slick media management, this is a joke. You have a prime-time TV slot, and the best you can find to fill it is a 72 year old semi-retired ex-governor? Laid-back old grandfather is your brand image for dynamic leadership? Fucking hell. Go find some young rising star with a bit more energy. This guy for instance: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/beto-orourke-is-a-mexico-loving-liberal-in-texas-can-he-really-beat-ted-cruz/2017/02/21/868848ee-f482-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html?utm_term=.f2539eea2e8e


    Taking a break from identity politics would be a good start. […] Getting pissed about mansplaining and manspreading hasn't proven to be an effective strategy.

    Oh, yeah. I remember all those many, many speeches Hillary Clinton gave about mansplaining and manspreading. She never mentioned the economy at all, it was all about the latest feminist buzzwords. I'm sure you can easily find me an example.

    Seriously though, what concrete steps do you suggest to discard "identity politics"? Should Democrats tell Black Lives Matter to get lost, maybe? It might win over a few of the fabled white working class, but at the cost of telling a large part of the Democrats' electoral coalition they literally do not care about them being shot down in the street. That doesn't strike me as a good idea either.

  • The goal needs to be optimizing the economy for the majority, I have confidence in the ability of the 1% to cope with that. They might even grow to appreciate widespread prosperity and find self esteem in some other way than not being poor.

  • "I still remember Hillary's running mate's name."

    Michael Caine, right? The general who defeated the Zulus at the Alamo.

  • fuzzbuzz215 says:

    Ed, I agree with most of this except sticking to what currently comprises the Democratic voting block. Hillary won all those and still lost. Those voting blocks are, for the most part, centralized in pockets of the country which make an electoral college win daunting to say the least. That being said, I have no idea what the answer is. Between appealing to identity politics and appealing to working class people, we need to thread the needle between keeping our social justice principles AND reinforcing the working class. Maybe you offered a solution in your desire to appeal to younger people: young people, more so than older folks, have shed their resistance to social justice and civil rights, therefore, the Democrats need to demonstrate to them a commitment to working class people and programs. Convince the future that Good Government is possible and can defend the civil rights of all people. Maybe thats the way forward.

  • They should have given the spot to South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg who was recently a dark-horse candidate for the DNC chair. Sure, he's also a white male from a red state, but he's young, whip smart, not at all at the end of his career, and will appeal across the board. You might say no one has ever heard of him – well, no shit. And no one who doesn't live in Kentucky has ever heard of Steve Beshear. But he would be saying, look, Democrats aren't all old left-over new dealers (which is what I am) – there are people with real agendas and ideas and we want you to help us get them into office and turn this thing around.

  • Cory Booker would have been a good choice, and a good choice to run for President in 2020. But I think the idea was to face the fact that structurally the Democratic base has much less voting power than the Republican base because of where it lives–big states, big cities. Clinton won the goddam election, but her 3 million voters are close to disenfranchised relative to Republican voters in small states. That's not to say that Clinton wasn't a horrible candidate representing Democratic party insiders who still don't get it–on the dias at the Perez/Ellison election, there was Donna Brasile again! Those insiders need to understand that it's about maintaining a Democratic government, not just being big wigs in a failing party with no political power.

  • Other than letting Al Franken do a rant, the Beshear-in-a-diner thing was probably the best option the Dems had. They needed someone to project that the party couldn't be characterized as a bunch of radical dreamers who had no grounding in middle- and working-class values. If the setting was hokey, I think the Dems could use a bit more "Beverly Hillbillies" than "The Daily Show" at this moment. There's time before the next election to start turning up the heat.

  • People are posting Stormfront flyers downtown and feeling emboldened enough to sell their Nazi memorabilia on the local Facebook sales groups. The DNC just keeps sending out emails asking for money.

  • Fiddlin Bill: Come on, Cory Booker is a self-promoting wannabe plutocrat. He would be the worst possible 2020 candidate unless Joe Manchin somehow got nominated. I live in NJ, and I would vote for almost anyone who opposed him in a primary. Did you fail to notice that he and our other lame "Democratic" senator, Bob Menendez, just voted against a bill that would have allowed re-importation of drugs? Why do you think that happened?

  • Here's why American politics is so fucked.

    On one hand, Americans want things like stable jobs that pay well; they want sick days and paid vacations; they want good health insurance that doesn't cost a lot or leave them vulnerable to unexpected expenses; they want paid parental leave; they want affordable college educations for their kids; and they want secure retirements. That part's not fucked – it's quite reasonable.

    And indeed, lots of other countries, countries that aren't as rich as the US, have those those things, or a reasonable facsimile. So those things can be had. But in order to have them, the experience of other rich countries clearly shows, you need three other things: broad-based collective bargaining so that a large fraction of the nation's workers is covered by collective bargaining agreements; extensive market regulation in the public interest; and universal government programs to address basic human needs. And these are the very things that the United States, essentially uniquely among the rich countries of the world, lacks.
    Unfortunately, over the course of a half-century of neoliberal politics — initiated by the right but embraced also by the corporate centrists who control the Democratic Party — most Americans have been conned into accepting three propositions: unions are bad for business and for workers; regulation is bad for business and workers; and government programs — especially universal government programs — are bad, corrupt, don't work, and give Your Money to Those People. So instead of clamoring for those necessary things, most Americans, bathed in a half-century of market-fundamentalist and race-baiting propaganda, regard them as anathema.

    The Democratic Party will not try to change their minds, because it is embarrassed by the idea of collective bargaining, ambivalent about market regulation, and basically opposed to universal government programs that address basic human needs. Ordinary Americans are thus confronted with the necessity of choosing between the Party of Maybe We'll Figure Out A Complicated Market-Based Partial Solution Someday and the Party of Fuck You, neither of which (obviously) advocates real solutions to their most pressing problems.

    And that, in a nutshell, is why we are so fucked.

  • The DNC is morally bankrupt. Having said that, there not financially bankrupt–they got the dollaz. So, figuring out how to peel off their donors and get money into the hands of honest, non-cynical movements* is key.

    You want ads that will get people's attention? You want to get that old coal miner to vote against his emotions and for his interest. Show him a satellite photo of Robert Murray's address of record:


    and a picture of the cemeteries where the men killed in the Crandall Canyon disaster are "living".

    You want to generate the sort of negative stuff that Trump and GOP do against people like Hilary, you have to do something different. Onthe plus side, you don't have to make the shit up, you just have to assemble it into infobites that people watching Jerry Springer–yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Bert and Wanda May, over there to Darwin's Cul-de-sac–can hang onto.

    * Yeah, I don't how to do so, either.

  • Sorry about the link running off of the page. I wonder if Murray actually spends any time there, it looks a bit shabby for a man as important as he thinks he is.

  • "Let it go. Low-income rural whites are a rapidly shrinking part of the population."

    This argument is unfortunately flawed because: electoral college. The proportion of the population doesn't matter, and we can look forward to more and more divergent popular/electoral vote counts in the future.

    In the limit, there will be exactly one person (white) living in each of the flyover states and those 30 individuals will have a lock on electoral politics.

  • For jeebus' sake Hillary did not win the election, by any stretch. The fact that she got approximately 3 million more votes nationwide is a bar trivia question. We have to keep foucused on the problems in front of us.

    To back up Ed's point, my uncle was an electrical lineman. In the 90's he took his kids out of school to watch the Clinton's speak at an airport. In 2016 he voted for Bernie Sanders (in the primary, sad that I have to specify here) because Bernie actually pretended to give a shit.

  • "I'm not saying the Democratic Party's path to success lies with some sort of hard lurch to the far left, embracing communism and waving a hammer and sickle."

    *punches through hat* Damnit, why not! We need a hard lurch to the far left more than China did before the Great Leap Forward.

  • Gerald McGrew says:

    It's fairly simple…..the DNC, like any other party, will focus on those who can be counted on to show up and vote. The groups you list as being part of the Democratic base….young people, blacks, Latinos….are historically low-turnout groups.

    So the DNC faces a choice. Do they pander/appeal to groups that rarely bother to vote, or do they pander/appeal to groups that do?

    So much of what's gone on in this country can be tied to that one simple fact…..huge chunks of the population, mostly from the Democratic base, just flat out don't vote. Until that changes, older white people will continue to run this country, and just waiting for them to die off is a fool's strategy.

  • Libcucks are utterly lost of course they pandered to whites, they've been playing identity politics for so long that's all they know how to do. That's why they rigged the primary to ram crooked Hillary down our throats.

    The mental disorder shown here by the DNC is exactly why you should be thanking god on a daily basis that you have a successful businessman like President Donald Trump running the country because if these out of touch race pimps were in charge…

  • There is all manner of pandering to the white-working-class voter, from both the left and the right. The difference, as I see it, is that the left has been much more honest to these people about their future than has the right. For example, the left has stated that these coal jobs ain't coming back versus the right's tax cut to wealthy + deregulation + cocktail napkin economics –> magical ponies for all.

    Face it, the rightwingers are just much better at pandering because people would rather hear their pie-in-the-sky bullshit than they would hearing the truth. A good number of Trump voters in the white working class didn't take him seriously when he said he would get rid of Obamacare. They did take him seriously when he said he would give them fabulous healthcare and new jobs, even though there was no actual logical plan in place to make it so. The rightwingers know that the details just confuse people; better to stick to simple messages, find a few anecdotes for emotional appeal, and repeat the same simplistic message ad nauseum.

  • Darren Madigan says:

    After the DNC bypassed Keith Ellison for Tom Perez, and every news source carried the obviously pre-packaged narrative "hey, it's not too bad, Tom Perez is progressive, too", my wife asked me "Won't they ever learn?"

    Perez may be a progressive on some issues, but not where it matters. The Washington Post, one of the leading pushers of the "it's not too bad, chill out, you lefties" narrative, admitted "Yes, Perez supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is friendlier to financial interests than Ellison"… and that's the key. Follow the link in the WaPo article, and you'll find The Intercept, noting "Tom Perez, a leading candidate for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship, has an established record of not taking on the banks; both at the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor."

    It's not that the Democratic Party won't learn. They know what embracing the progressive left that idolizes Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren means. They understand it completely. To get us on board, to rev us up, to keep us as energized as the Republicans have managed to keep their own base cranked with endless futile attempts to repeal Obamacare and investigate Benghazi, the Democratic Party will have to take on Wall Street. They'll have to rein in the big banks. They'll have to send some motherfuckers to jail.

    And they don't want to. They're not gonna. We're not the boss of them now and we're not so big.

    And that's why the Democratic Party is getting the shit kicked out of it by populist rage. They don't want any part of populist rage, because that would mean they'd have to do things that their rich corporate donors don't want them to do, and they're just not gonna.

    Nuh uh.

    We can't make them.

    I suspect they're going to find out that they're right and they're wrong. We can't make them — but we're the future, and if they don't want to work with us, then we'll just work with some other party.

    Even if we have to make it ourselves.


  • greatlaurel says:

    What exactly did Steve Beshear say that was so wrong, other than his malaprop about being a Republican? Here is a link to the transcript of his speech for anyone who wants to actually read what he said rather than attack him for being old. He was an outstanding governor for Kentucky, who did a lot for young people.

    Whoever the Democratic Party chose to give the rebuttal was going to be crucified by the comics and press ad nauseam, so they can continue on in their bubble of both-siderism, as if this is still ok when a hostile foreign power has installed a puppet in the White House.

    Steve Beshear stood up and took on this thankless task. This allowed the Democratic Party to save their rising stars from the expected vilification. How many people under 50 even watched any of those speeches anyway?

    Ed, you missed the mark on this one.

  • Talisker – The Democrats focused on racial and gender divisions in the last election while ignoring the class divide that is their traditional message. They put "old white men" into a group that is somehow responsible for all of the nation's problems instead of specifying that it is a very small segment of very rich, very connected people that have conspired to fuck the rest of the population in general.

    My liberal elite coastal city has become so absolutely rabid in its adherence to this white male bashing philosophy that it's forgetting that a large percentage of its base is made up of white men that are rapidly becoming sick of bing blamed for things they have never done to people thy have never met.

    If the Democrats hope to have a chance in the next election, they'll have to focus on the class issues that most of the nation are affected by and realize that the number of racists, sexists and xenophobes are vanishingly small. Most people just want to live their lives, get along with their neighbors, and not be blamed for the alleged sins of their distant ancestors.

    Ignore that at your peril.

  • @ Brian M.:

    Matt is real. Matt is fucking stupid. Matt is real fucking stupid.

    @ Safety Man:

    If the idiots in the three states that were close had not voted the way they did–by less than 150K of the votes, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    Facts are facts. Trumpligula is in the Whites Only House because of hatred and stupidity.

  • Steve: That drug-importation "bill" wasn't a bill–it was a resolution. Meant nothing. I can agree, though, with the rest of what you said about Booker.

  • democommie: sometimes I think what this meme really says (and sadly, I sometimes use it too, because leftist piety wars ARE annoying) is "gays and blacks and immigrants should just be quiet until the revolution brings about pure economic justice".

    where I agree with it is the refusal to reach out to economic allies who are impure on these social issues. And, that has been a political problem

  • @Brian M.:

    I think I understand what you're saying–we'll both know in a after I type this and you look at it. {;>)

    I see the "perfect being the enemy of the good", a lot.

    There are a lot of people I disagree with on all kinds of different issues. I can live with that and them. What I have a really hard time with is people that say they agree with me about what needs to be done but are willing to forego change UNLESS it's the change they want.

    Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both made mistakes. Both could have have been better presidents. Both of them, imo, should have told the republicans in congress to go fuck themselves when it was obvious that the only compromise that the GOP envisioned was abject surrender by the dems. Both of them were nowhere near as bad, deliberately or unconciously, as their rivals would have been.

    What we see playing out now, is the same old, same old. Complete douchewaffle wins the election (or has it handed to him by the courts) brings in a coterie of reactionary fuckwads who do their best to dismantle government and leave a mess for the next democrat to try to clean up while they throw every conceivable impediment in his path.

    I know I sound like a broken record but I will harp on it from now until I'm dead. "Change" ain't gonna happen if you start a year before the electtion. It will happen if you start the day AFTER the one you just lost. It will also not happen if we don't quit letting the GOP define the rules of engaagement.

  • @Nunya

    The white American poor run as much on racism and sexism as they do on economic woes. It's not going to work to sell them a message of economic stability. If the white poor are afflicted by welfare chauvinism, they aren't going to accept handouts that go to them and the "urban poor" as well.

    As for the supposedly tiny amounts of racism, sexism and xenophobia… I'd like to point out that it's been two months and already we've had desecrated Jewish graveyards, multiple burned Mosques and at least two racially-motivated shooting rampages. Oh, and in case you didn't notice, the number of white supremacist organizations tracked by the FBI and the SPLC has been growing year over year. Do you think that kind of shit gets fixed with a handout?

    To be more serious, racism, sexism and economic instability are intertwined… but it's pretty difficult to address the issues of the working poor without also dealing with the rest of the problems.

  • @jcdenton: You have to play the odds. A progressive economic message won't reach all low-income white voters, but it doesn't have to. It just needs to reach enough of them. That's what Obama did in 2008 and 2012. (Of course, it helps if you have a more appealing candidate than Hillary Clinton.)

    @Nunya: I agree the Democrats should have had a more compelling economic message. They could have easily done that, without necessarily going Full Bernie, and appealed across racial, gender and other lines.

    But in doing so, they didn't have to give up opposing racism and sexism. It's possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. If the legendary working-class white dude doesn't much care for the anti-racism, the economic message may still resonate.

    As for your insistence that racism and sexism are no longer a major problem in America… I hear the hollow laughter of millions of people, who I suspect have more direct experience of those issues than you do.

    Seriously though, I find it interesting that you talk about racists, not racism. Racists, in the openly Nazi/skinhead/KKK sense, are indeed a minority. Racism is a pervasive set of biases, often unconscious, which affects us all to a greater or lesser degree.

    And then there's the minor issue of a POTUS who boasted about sexually assaulting women. Nope, no sexism to see here, no siree.

  • Folks who are ashamed to own up to racism, sexism and other forms of bias/hatred don't seem to have a big problem with it when they go into the voting booth.

    Oswego County, NY went something like 59/36–Trumpligula/Clinton. I'm fairly vocal about my disdain for Trumpligula & his appointees–never mind our boy mayor, city council and county lege. From 2007 through 1/20/2017 I heard an endless litany of the perfidy of Clinton, the evil of Obama and how the dems were destroying the country. Since 11/9/2016 I have heard nothing but crickets from the same people. NOBODY that I've talked to seems to be willing to admit that they voted for the A-in-C, although some have mumbled about really hating Hilary, sumpin, sumpin…

  • Skepticalist says:

    Sorry Matt. You'll find your friendly home schooled, knuckle dragging throwbacks on other message boards.

  • @ Safety Man:

    Not to oversimplify. It would appear that your comment about cranky, olds (and that includes me) would apply in the three states that were close.

    I agree that writing off ANY segment of the electorate is stupid, unless you're talking about KKKvolk and the like.

    However, instead of making stupid promises that cannot be kep, why not just tell them WHO is being fucked, and WHO is doing the fucking! It seems that there is no downside to going full batshit with those folks–and the non-fascists have the truth, too, also, to work with.

  • Steve:

    Booker opposed the "cheaper drugs from Canada" bill amendment because it failed to provide sufficient (in his view) consumer protections. If his opposition (and Menendez's) was because they're shills for Big Pharma, then why did they vote in support of a similar amendment directly aimed at reducing drug prices?

    Look, I'm all for Democrats moving away from the New Democrat/Republican Lite approach that got Clinton in the White House. But more importantly, I'm all for making sure at least one side of the aisle is working with the facts as they are, rather than the "facts" as they wished they would be.

    Source: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/jan/18/other-98/viral-image-about-democratic-senators-and-big-phar/

  • Not gonna comment on the DNC travesty, but thanks to all who did.

    It's this Matt dude. When he first appeared I thought it was a kind of unsophisticated Johnathan Swift satire attempt, eat the babies and all that.

    Then the realization struck–the guy's a literalist. The fuck? Still naive and foolish after all these years that I can't recognize stupid when it slaps my face.

  • @mago and democommie; I also think this shows the progressive belief that people will do the right thing if only they understand all the subtleties. That belief keeps biting us in the eye. The regressive (opposite of "progressive" is "regressive") belief seems to be the projection that everyone is out to get them, all the time–except their heroes, who can do no wrong. Trump, St. Ronnie Raygun…even The Terminator–remember back in the 1990s when the regressives wanted to change the Constitution to allow non-native-born men to run for president, so that Ahhhhnold (who has made no pretense that he was born abroad) could run?

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    Taking a break from identity politics would be a good start.

    Burn a few crosses on the down-low, in key collar counties in midwestern swing states, and we're right back in this.

  • To summarize

    * Obama takes office 2008
    * Bails out banks, forgives fraud
    * Spurns Occupy movement
    * Offers republicans Social Security cuts, selects Republican Sen. Alan Simpson as pointman
    * Feuds with labor advocates for 8 years about Trans Pacific Partnership
    * Clinton loses in badly in traditional industrial Democratic states.
    * Democrats blame racism, messaging, Russia, and Facebook memes

    It's really shouldn't be that hard to understand the failure here.

    Unfortunately the Dems have squandered their advantage. They are going to need to throw some ideas at the wall and see what sticks. And unfortunately for the progressive wing, the biggest opportunity for them in 2018 at the national level is going to be the House of Representatives. And that is going to mean supporting conservative Democrats.

    This is going to be a bitter pill to swallow. But that's the consequence of fucking things up as badly as they did. The road back is not going to be a pleasant one.

  • All right. Boston. 1976. Arnie at Exeter Street Theater power pumping two buxom blondes by the crotch to the cheers of Back Bay Blue Bloods.

  • @mago–what? I didn't understand any of that–could you elaborate?

    @Demo: not a fan of Arnold S (liked his characters in Conan and Twins and Total Recall), but he's much more of a self-made man than Trump. He didn't inherit billions–he made himself famous as a weightlifter, used that fame to come to the USA and crossed over very successfully into movies, then turned his hand to politics. He learned to speak a language other than his own passably well. What he says (and does) is often reprehensible, but to the R's, that's a selling point.

  • @ Chris:

    Oh, yes, of course you see perfectly well what happened. Of course you ignore a few things:

    1.) Obama's so-called congressional majority of 2009-2011 was larded with "Bluedogturncoatmotherdfuckers who certainly voted for THEIR self-interests–and then got unelected, anyway.

    2,) A hostile congres that spent far more time attacking his policies than implementing them–or any of their own.

    3.) Non-turnouts by the demographics you feel are worth wooing.

    I got more you want.

    AND–those folks you're saying were concerned about the things YOU notice. I talked to lots of those people. They seemed to be very aware of oBLACKMaN in WHITE HOUSE! and those feelthy furriners gettin' their shit! None of them EVER articulated or even alluded to the concerns you have mentioned were most pressing. Oh, sure, if you saw someone on tv who was coached and coiffed, they might touch on those items but even the paid flacks and talkingshitheads of Reichwing Radio and FuckTheNew'sCorpse had no genuine interest in exploring any of it. Way to easy to go for the low hanging fruit of Benghazimailin'uppitybitch HilSkank or Barrysoterobamuslicommiemexlover or his manWife Mischsmell. It was out there, on display, pretty much every time I got into a conversation with those morons.

    Bottom line, you want a voice in politics, USE THE ONE YOU HAVE. Go out and talk to the voters, yourself. Tell THEM what they're voting against when they vote for republiclownz. Tell THEM that they're sharpening the Headman's axe when they send those idiots to city all, the county or state lege and national offices. Tell THEM that you are not paid to do so, that you're from their community and that you're a productive member of society who wants to enjoy some level of retirement security–similar to what they do now.

    Yeah, I know, it's hard and they will react by slamming the door in your face, calling you a commie or some other less than optimal reaction. It's to be expected, you're threatening their sacred truth–that they are the "BEST" or. maybe, "2nd BEST" (Boomers) generation, EVER. Fuck that noise, they're people, just like you. If they won't listen, so be it, you'll have done your best. Expecting any politician, including your current besty prog running against the two corrupt partries, to take the time to do so is naive.

    Jolly 'em if it works, shame 'em if that works–make them use their fucking brains. If they still want to be morons, not your fault.

    Oh, btw, do fuck with the dems at every level–hold them accountable and pester the shit out of them.

    I'm going to go burn my soapbox, now. I got a WAAAAAAAAAAY bigger one on Amazon the other day.

  • @ Katydid:

    I respect Arnold in terms of his abilities and willingess to work hard to get what he wants. I also respect that he appears to have some idea of how politics really works.

    He's not a nice man, I'm fairly certain, but that's a failing in most men, his is just grander and more public.

    Trumpligiula is like most of the sneering, cowardly, scumbags in the movies you mentioned.

  • @Demo, thanks for putting it better than I did. Yup, I respect the fact that he had some idea of what he wanted to do with his life and pursued it successfully, and along the way he's successfully learned different things *and* demonstrated what he'd learned (bodybuilding, acting, politics, English). I don't like the man either, but he's head-and-shoulders above Trump, who's done nothing but failed his entire life.

  • Also @Demo; Obama inherited a country on the verge of depression equal to the Great Depression, an auto industry ready to go belly-up (and with it all those factory jobs). He turned that around. He also brought healthcare to millions and millions of Americans who had been denied by insurance companies because they'd once had a bladder infection or acne. He did this despite the unrelenting racism and hatred aimed at him by the Rill Murkkkuns and other mouth-breathers and the obstructionist R party. Moreoever, he brought back to the USA the respect of the world–the respect that was lost under W and is now lost again under the Giant Evil Baby.

    The party could never have been saved by the charlatan pretending to be a Democrat long enough to suckle from the Democratic Party teat–the man who was infamous for not holding a paying job until his 30s and being a deadbeat dad, who jumped out of the party once the election was over. None of this mattered to his sniveling neck-bearded, women-hating supporters who couldn't be bothered to register for the D party and were then OUTRAGED that they weren't allowed to vote in the primary of the party they didn't belong to either.

  • @democommie

    In the end, fewer than a hundred thousand votes separated Trump and Clinton. After an eight years at the helm, the next election is at least partially a referendum on how the prior president performed. And do you think there were not even an additional hundred thousand available? This seems implausible.

    My impression of the Democratic Party is that the leadership believes that their problem was one of messaging, and not one of substance. I have zero interest in persuading others on their behalf. I've been there and done that, but leadership appears to have an entirely different agenda. Why would I pound the pavement for them on nights and weekends? No thanks.

    The Democratic Party has not been my party for many years, but I do wish well that those that remain. I just don't see any easy solutions. But a good start would be an actual appraisal of Obama's record, and unfortunately not everything is sunshine and puppydogs.

  • @Chris, you're ignoring the wide-scale banning of huge groups of people from even voting thanks to voter ID laws. People most likely to vote for the non-sociopath party–the elderly (many of whom were born at home and do not drive, and therefore lack birth certificates and/or driver licenses), young adults (there's a REASON why the Repubs wanted to stop college-aged kids from voting in the state they were going to college instead of their parents' neighborhood voting place), minorities, etc.

  • "their problem was one of messaging, and not one of substance. I have zero interest in persuading others on their behalf."

    I don't think that you understand what I'm saying.

    You're not doing it FOR them. You're doing it FOR yourself. But, sure, pout, that works better if you believe that there's a pony in it for you, I guess.

    You're not one of those Bernietarians are you?

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  • @Chris

    It's cool… glad you can step away from it all when millions of others, the weakest amongst us, stand to lose their health care, their rights and their lives. Many, many of us hate the Dem leadership for the bullshit they've pulled, but we know our duty. We know we gotta keep fighting for our neighbours, our friends and anyone too weak and oppressed to fight for themselves (we certainly aren't doing it for DWS or some other Dem hack of the week at the DNC).

    Any right-thinking progressive has a problem with Clinton and Obama, they've both shit the bed on more than one occasion. But any right-thinking progressive also knows that this is a real war now. This is the final countdown. The country is poised to slide all the way back to 1932. Get out there and take it back, piece by bloody fucking piece. If you leave it to the rest of us, once we're gone, no one will be around to help you.

  • If Martin Niemoller was still alive he'd be saying:

    "When they came for the slackers, I was all, like, "'sup?", but there was no one to answer, 'cus the x'ers and millenials and, like, everyone else had already left the building."

  • Yes, the Dem response seemed weak and unlikely to be remembered. You may be right that this is a poor counter punch.

    Then again that may be by design. Trump said that the American people would see so many wins that they would get tired of winning. A tepid but competent counterpoint is appropriate for an administration barely over six weeks in office and already mired in scandal, conflict and contradiction. So far there have been few wins and the majority are already tired.

    When your opponent is doing something stupid it is often best to avoid any moves that might draw the spotlight away from them.

    Trump is a performer. The lack of praise and acclaim cuts deeply. The drip, drip, drip of scandal, particularly the whole Russian thing as it wears a narrative rut, throws off his timing and short-circuiting his ability to distract, has eliminated any momentum.

    Trump is getting frustrated. I expect him, true to form, to resort to some high-risk, stunt to try to win back the narrative. This may be a 'Hold my beer and watch this' moment. It might be wise for the Dems to maintain a low profile and allow the spotlight to stay on Trump. Trump can wear the tutu but he cant dance. He can look and sound presidential but he is quite incapable of managing. I want the crash and burn to be well lit and filmed from multiple angles so the replays won't be quite so boring.

  • "Trump is a performer. The lack of praise and acclaim cuts deeply. "

    Agreed, but…

    Trump is a pathological narcissist and paranoid if one goes by his public statements alone; since we will likely never receive any genuine diagnosis of his mental/emotional state–by a competent, unbiased mental health profession(als), we are left with those public statements alone.

    He is also a bully and a coward, both character flaws having been on display for his entire public life.

    Whether his currently enthralled base will remain that way is unknowable. Thus far they seem to be sustained by their blinding ignorance of the facts; their cultural, racial, ethnic, racial, linguistic, racial, political, racial, sexual/sexual identity, racial, xenophobic and if I may say so, RACIAL bias. They also don't like blayelbro folks. It will take an incredible event, like death, to erase that meme that plays on an endless loop in their heads.

    IF there is enough pain laid on the Trumpligulan base by Trumpligula and they actually are able to figure out where their pain is coming from? They'll turn on him faster than famished hyenas on a road-killed baboon's rotted, stinking carcass.

  • @katydid. You're unlikely to see this, but here goes anyway.

    When Arnold first came here he went around giving strongman performances. He did a series at Boston's Exeter St. theater. Part of his act was lifting women up in the air one handed by the crotch. The peeps loved it, including Back Bay dwellers.

    Incidentally I always thought him a jerk but respected his audacity and unapologetic self-promotion. The guy obviously has/had some mojo working.

  • I see you, mago. I had no idea he did that–I was living overseas from the late-1960s through mid-1980s. Arnold was smart enough to change his image as the popular culture changed; in his later movies he always played a good guy. He was smart enough to keep his reprehensible deeds mostly under wraps, I think, until he became a governor.

    OTOH, we have the last 30 years as evidence of Trump being a thin-skinned, abusive bully. We know how his 3 marriages have gone, and that he's a frequent cheater on all of his wives. We know that the superior businessman couldn't even make a casino pull its own weight.

  • @democommie et al

    What I am trying to suggest is that the questions are wrong. What I am saying is the football team takes the field sun and shine, or wind and sleet. Sure, one team may advantaged, but they still have to play in it regardless. If you want to know what went wrong from the Democratic point of view it is at least worth asking about Obama's track record. You can find near endless amounts of ink spilled on Clinton, but little on Obama despite year 8 presidential elections being in large measure a referendum on the president. I'm genuinely surprised at the lack of introspection.

    About Social Security specifically, I think the issue isn't so much that people lack passion about it, it is more that they are resigned to it being demolished. That is all the press has reported for 30+ years, so that is what they believe. Nobody cared about the Simpson Commission, because they knew the day would come and so the signal barely registered. But take a look at the reaction when Trump said he would defend it. That and TPP are fairly painful. Especially TPP, which was nearly unanimously hated, and Trump gets to be the hero be ending it. I have never met even one single person who liked it, so it seems like an unforced error to me.

    When talking about the electoral numbers, fewer than one hundred thousand votes were the difference between Clinton and Trump. The question really isn't broadly winning "Reagan Democrats" so much as winning a few of them. That's not implausible – if it was, Obama would not have had 8 years in the White House.

    My high altitude view is this: Every 4 years brings a rightward shift in both parties. 8 years ago both were to the left of 4, and 12 years ago were left of 8. It's unfortunate that it has taken such a drastic failure to wake Democratic leadership. But, better now than in 2020 or 2024. And I do think that avenues that may have been open as recently as last year may be shut. That's how it is. If people are happy in 2018, the Republicans will remain in power.

    But, at least Trump shows plenty of signs of blowing it. Maybe they'll fuck up. As FDR put it:

    "Let not the defeatists tell us that it is too late. It will never be earlier. Tomorrow will be later than today."

  • "I'm genuinely surprised at the lack of introspection."

    Do you own a fucking mirror?

    "When talking about the electoral numbers, fewer than one hundred thousand votes were the difference between Clinton and Trump. The question really isn't broadly winning "Reagan Democrats" so much as winning a few of them. That's not implausible – if it was, Obama would not have had 8 years in the White House."

    Let's see something other than absolute conjecture on your part.

    You and a number of other people (how many millions I don't know) would rather prove a stupid fucking political point than vote to KEEP TRUMP THE FUCK OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE. Do you really not get the difference between being "principled" and being "stupid"?

    Obama's track record? You mean the one you imagine him being the King of the Hill who just said, "Fuck it, I like being the boss and screw them minorities!", that one? Or do you mean the one who did the job of attempting to lead a recalcitrant "majority" for two years of eight AND then dealing with a Reptiliscum majority for the next six? That one?

    Forty years on from 1976 and people who claim to be interested in what's best for EVERYONE voting for what they feel "shoulda, woulda, coulda been". Pull your head out of your ass and take a good look at the world.

    I have no idea what you do for a living but whatever it is, unless it's an absolutely bullet-proof job, expect to feel some pain.

    You're not in a union–you have no job protection. You're in a union–the corporate lawyers are trying to get it de-certified or, better yet, get some legislation fast-tracked to allow them to abrogate contracts without ANY penalty. Say good-bye to the few good hourly wage jobs are left if these fuckers in the GOP have their way.

    You don't have to worry about that because you're not hourly wage? Newsflash, companies of all sizes above genuine mom'n'pops give benefits and decent wages to their employees in order to keep them from forming unions. If they don't have to worry about being unionized why should they waste THEIR profits on the proles? Wait, I know the answer; fiduciary interest always means "more money for me" to the corporatists. Your position will either be re-defined or eliminated if they can figure out a way to get more work out of you (or your replacement) for less money.

    You're in academia, tenured? You're working in gummint job? Polish up that resume, bub.

    You're not any of those things, you're independently wealthy? You own a thriving company that makes widgets for which you hold a patent?

    You have no fucking idea what those people are capable of–I've been watching them lie, cheat, steal and win re-election for over 55 years (I didn't start paying attention till I was 12)–and you're willing to indulge your and other people's fantasies about politics being a zero sum game if it's not your bestie candidate in the Oval Office?

    The question is not academic.

  • Just as a bystander, I think the vituperation towards Chris is a little over the top. I don't think he is really saying that he voted for Trump or didn't vote or anything like that. I think all he is saying is that voting for the lesser evil (Obama) is still voting for evil. Voting for Republican Light is still voting for a Republican.

    Before the accusations fly, I voted for Obama twice and was a vocal (yet reluctant) Hillary supporter. But excuse me for the lack of enthusiasm about either of them. Obama should be at the Hague right now standing trial for his war crimes in Libya and Yemen. Hillary never met a war she didn't love. I know that these are not the domestic issues that we have been arguing over, but these wars cost hundreds of billions of (borrowed from the Chinese) dollars.

    A Party that cannot generate anyone other than a Hillary as candidate has serious, serious problems. There is too much defensiveness here and a refusal to acknowledge what Chris is pointing out.

  • @Brian M

    I agree with Chris. The Dems need to move left and fast. My disagreement comes from the fact that he sounded like he was abandoning the cause. Now isn't the time to give up, dammit.

  • "Just as a bystander, I think the vituperation towards Chris is a little over the top."

    That wasn't vituperation, that was frustration.

    You, Chris, anyone else who's upset about the current state of the democratic party or democracy in general–get off the sidelines. Start going to local party meetings, start DEMANDING to be heard. Yeah, I know that they don't listen. They don't have to–they have nothing to gain by listening to you. Tell me how many times you've gone out and stood on a corner and held a sign for anyone who wasn't your fave guy/gal. I'm not saying I'm better than you, I'm saying that the people I have telling me that the political system is broken are doing nothing to fix it.

    Progressive/libreral/socialist, call it what you like. If you're in, you're in for the long haul. Sit on the sidelines and watch everything you care about disappear or learn to fight back and FIGHT.

    I keep hearing what's wrong. I am not hearing anything from anybody about how to fix it, other than, "Those fucking dems and olds, they better fucking listen to us!". Yeah, that's gonna work, NOT. You excoriate the only party who had done ANYTHING to help the working man since about 1930 and you use pretty much the same terms that you accuse them of using against you.

    When you can fund a campaign to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, that will get their attention. Threats and insults will work as well against them as it has against you folks.

    In the meantime, as I said elsewhere, run progressives or whatever non-reptilican candidates you want to, starting local–because that's where you have to start.

  • Ach….Demo, you do makes some good points. Mea culpa. My job is in public service, and I have to admit that I am too tired/lazy dealing with "the public" to be very active politically during after work hours. As well as being very anti-social and introverted personality-wise.

    So…again, mea culpa.

    And your prescriptions make sense, of course.

  • @ everyone, including Chris:

    I'm not that smart or that committed.

    I have been paying attention to politics since the Nixon-Kennedy debates and the trend in politics has been one of decreasing civility, misinformation, disinformation, flat out fabrication, demonization, covert ops and every other sort of skullfuckery that can be used to sway the weak, willing, NEW American Clay–the fucking morons.

    I am appalled by what has become of a never ideal two party system. The party of Rage, Dishonesty and Hatred has all but taken over the political process. They ARE NOT the majority any more than Falwell's "Moral Majority" was. They are a band of lockstep fuckheads controlled by a cynical cabal at their core. The outliers, who still vote with them, are the traditional republicans and the anti-black dems (largely southerners) who switched sides in 1964 and 1980, hollowing out the dems southern core.

    Appealing to those people, imo, is a complete waste of time. Fuck them. They prefer an easy explanation–one that holds everyone BUT them responsible for their dissatisfaction–delivered in turd-shaped easily digestible nuggets.

    I will sit and talk with people who are angry but reachable; I will not waste my time with people who simply vote their spleen. For me the "angry but reachable" people are the ones who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. There is also a huge group of potential voters who don't participate in the process–those are the people that MUST be reached and who MUST be convinced that exclusionary, punitive politics are not only mean spirited, they're fucking stupid.

    Have at it, folks. I usually prefer my political indoctrination sessiond with beer and tacos, I'm going to go do that, shortly.

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