This political environment requires us to get pretty creative in the search for silver linings. If anything positive can be extracted from the Roy Moore situation, it could be the beginning of the end of the discourse fetish that afflicts far too many people on the left.

Look, talking things out and being willing to compromise are clearly the best ways for a political system (and society) to resolve differences. No one disputes that. Unfortunately, some people have let raging optimism or self-interested motives blind them to the fact that the modern conservative movement is made up largely of people who have no interest in any kind of good faith conversation. Over and over we've heard that if we are just nicer to the White Working Class Trumper, he and she will eventually come to the light, and the discord in our political system can always be resolved by Reasonable People coming together and talking it out.

It's a fantasy. It just isn't true. Obama fell for it, insisting that he would give the GOP the benefit of doubt that they would negotiate "in good faith" long past the point at which any reasonable person who isn't a total sucker could believe that.

Some voters are won over easily by the short-term promises and tribal dog whistles of right-wing populism, easily enough that perhaps they would change their mind if presented with different viewpoints. But there are vastly more conservative voters who simply aren't going to be persuaded. Roy Moore has given us pretty firm evidence of that, evidence that future Democratic candidates may do well to keep in mind.

It is safe to say – and I'm willing to go out on quite a limb here – that a person who straight-up admits that they would rather vote for a serial pedophile than a Democrat is not a person worth talking to, nor one whose opinions will be affected by discourse. Don't reach out to them. Don't waste your time talking to them. The only way to deal with them is to out-organize, out-motivate, and out-vote them. That begins with Democratic primaries producing candidates that their base of likely supporters actually gets excited about, not candidates that the party must guilt-trip and brow-beat supporters into supporting.

Stop the Listening Tours. Stop the Cletus Safaris into Trumpland to try to "figure out" a demographic that is rapidly disappearing. Above all, stop insisting that if we all just come together and Have a Beer and talk things out we are going to bridge the divide between the pure nihilism and authoritarian tendencies of the Trump right and the rest of the world. They are not listening. They don't want to be your friend. They most likely hate your guts just for not being one of them. They've demonstrated repeatedly, and to an almost comical extreme with Roy Moore, that they are not interested in evaluating the political world objectively. They will do whatever mental gymnastics are necessary to support their team.

I do not understand what is so compelling about finding a way to save and convert vicious, obstinate white people who vote Republican when 46% of Americans of voting age do not vote and they are disproportionately Asian, black, and Hispanic. There are far more votes to be won, and it will be far easier to win them, among people who do not vote than among these mythical white conservatives who are going to become your friend and start voting Democratic because we're nice to them.

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93 Responses to “DEATH TO DISCOURSE”

  1. mago Says:

    Not gonna change entrenched beliefs with any amount of reasoned persuasion. Those people you're kindly reaching out to with good intentions and a desire to motivate toward inspired change probably think you're an ass and that includes a good many family members, "friends" and colleagues.

  2. Gregory Says:

    I agree that it is a waste of resources chasing the entire Trumpanzee demographic. However, we don’t need to convince all of them in order to change the electoral landscape. I think it would be a mistake to abandon those on the margns that can be persuaded. The tricky part, I imagine, is learning to distinguish them from the True Believers.

  3. democommie Says:

    If they're Trumpliguturds, fuck 'em.

    As is evidenced by trolls like Mark, most recently at the end of the previous thread, there's never a good enough reason for them to abandon kiddydiddlingpussygrabbingshitheads.

  4. Tim H. Says:

    All good points, but as long as Democrats continue the slacker politics of maintaining a position relative to the GOP, rather than having their own moral compass, they'll be seen as the diet coke of conservatism. There's also the problem of financial support, since taking positions optimized for the 99% might alienate current donors.

  5. Mo Says:

    There's also the problem of financial support, since taking positions optimized for the 99% might alienate current donors.

    Then fuck those donors. Or are we imagining that the 1% gives a crap about anyone except their peers?

  6. c u n d gulag Says:

    Here's the cold reality about these people:
    They'll want ALL of us who don't agree with them, to die.
    To die in horrible painful ways – but slowly, so they can enjoy every single second of our agony.

    They cheer TRUMP because they believe he's with them.
    He's their leader, and they revel in every moronic statement or Tweet he spews out there, that reinforces their bigoted views.

    And they pray to their Lord that we Libtards – or, simply people who don't agree with them 100% – suffer the agonies of Hell for all of eternity.

    So, based on all of that, please let me know what brilliant ideas Democrats think will get through to these people.
    That will make them listen and take our side on even ONE issue.
    The only thing that would make them agree with us and take our side, is if we all agreed to commit suicide.

    Starting NOW, leave them behind.
    Don't try appealing to them.
    Hell, don't even acknowledge their (miserable) existence.
    They'll all end up in the dust-bin of history soon enough.
    Though 'soon enough' will probably take generations…

  7. Mo Says:

    Up here in the frozen north, we're the poster child for this problem with our dried up road apple of a Representative, Don Young, who if we're lucky will simply die in office before next November, as otherwise he'll be elected for the 22nd time since 1973.

    2016 election results:
    Don Young 155,000 and change
    Dem opponent 111,000
    Libertarian 32,000
    Independent 9,000
    Write-in 1,000

    Pretty ugly math, isn't it? Even if Jesus Christ Himself arrived in a cloud of glory and declared himself the candidate to oppose Don Young in 2018, the opposition parties would not unify behind him, and Republicans would of course vote for Don.

    Now multiply that 50 times.

  8. Tim H. Says:

    Mo, your numbers illustrate another issue, large minorities stuck with leadership they'd rather not have, if you write off the rust belt, you're also writing off millions of Democrats. On a brighter note, this unbeliever has great comebacks if believers pester me about moral relativism.

  9. Dean Says:

    "Don't reach out to them. Don't waste your time talking to them. The only way to deal with them is to out-organize, out-motivate, and out-vote them."

    Why I don't vote, right there. Never have, never will.

    "They are not listening. They don't want to be your friend."

    Yep, politics is hard. It involves getting people who don't listen to listen or act like they're listening.

    "I do not understand what is so compelling about finding a way to save and convert vicious, obstinate white people who vote Republican when 46% of Americans of voting age do not vote and they are disproportionately Asian, black, and Hispanic."

    You'll recall that the Constitution was debated and ultimately ratified by vicious, obstinate white people.

  10. democommie Says:

    Every time Ed writes a post about not wasting time trying to talk ReiKKKwing fuckheads into joining with us to turn out their designated douchebag, there is immediately a chorus of,
    "Fuck the demorats, they're just as BAD!".

    WTF is wrong with you people? You have, afaia, NO national party to counter the DNC. You have NO cohesive or coherent policies. You have, again afaia, NO candidates for local or state offices when I ask. And yet, you're going to become a natioanally cohesive party in the next 3 or 4 months? Oh, and you're also willing to write off about 30M of so voters who are just as entrenched in democratic politics as the Trumpliguturds are teabaggizm?

    By all means, do what you think is best and when the dust settles and you've successfully fucked yourselves and the rest of us, 'cuz principles you can bitch that the movement didn't fail the people, the people failed the movement.

  11. drew Says:

    The discourse problem isn't just with trying to talk civilly with Republicans. And it's not just that Democrats as a party are led by folks who make Reagan start to look a little left wing, making the parties more or less the same. And it's not even that everyone's too busy playing "my team versus your team" to have a real conversation. Even if we get past all of that, there are a lot of Americans whose response to any given problem is not to seek a solution but instead to determine whose fault the problem is and then seek to publicly punish the wrongdoer(s). That punishment-seeking mental disorder doesn't just drive many Trump voters but also many Clinton voters and many nonvoters, too. I think that's the proverbial (if not political) elephant in the room but I have no idea how to deal with it.

    Or are you suggesting that the solution is to motivate more people to vote to somehow punish the previous bunch of voters? I suppose that could work. Short-term, at least. Until the new dumb punishments become the problem.

  12. Dean Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with drew.

  13. Anonymous Prof Says:

    Re:Mark and his ilk,

    I had resolved to just lurk for a while, but I feel a real responsibility to speak up now.

    I don't want to get too much into personal details here, but I know one of Roy Moore's victims. And I was alive back when it happened, and let me tell you, I know how Roy Moore's attack affected her, because I could see the effects myself. He really, really hurt her, and it affected her, BAD.

    So when I see some piece of shit like Mark tie himself in knots trying to explain away the Washington Post's excellent, proven six-ways-to-Sunday reporting… well, it makes me want to puke.

    Mark, this isn't some sort of game. You've spent so long in your parents' basement whacking off to Breitbart that you've lost sight of the fact that not only is Roy Moore a child molester, but his victims are REAL PEOPLE.

    You should be ashamed of yourself, Mark.

    You know how you spend your time? You go on the Internet and smarmily try to score political points with complete strangers. What does that accomplish? What have you built for yourself? Nothing. It's not real.

    Getting attacked by a child molester like Roy Moore is real. Believe me. I know- I've seen what happens when a girl gets attacked by Roy Moore. That's real.

    Your total inability to see that child molestation is real, and that your political masturbation on the internet is unreal, means that you are utterly pathetic.

    One of these days you and I are both going to be dead. What will your tombstone say? It will say that when the final score was tallied, your life wasn't worth the weight of a dead fly on the scales of history.

  14. Aurora S Says:


    Fuck. Yes.

    Everyone needs to cut the Both Siderist bullshit.

    Even Bernie clearly stated that he was not a Democrat—but he was running for the Democratic nomination anyway because he knew that running a third party ticket was not a reasonable or pragmatic option. It was pretty fucking arrogant, actually, but he was right: he didn’t have the money or organized power to be able to stand up to the Dems and/or GOP on his own. Being an Independent can work in Congress, but you don’t have a chance in hell on the national stage unless you’re of one of the two major parties. Deal with it.

  15. Aurora S Says:

    PS: “But they’re both the saaaaame, so I might as well sit on my ass in righteous indignation” = laziest fucking bullshit justification for being a self-absorbed asshole EVER.

  16. Heim Says:

    If they support Roy Moore in spite of revelations it is about race.
    I feel that if the questions were asked of many Republican voters they would concur on policy in surprising ways. But it is about race.
    Many Republican voters cannot be won over that does not mean they should demeaned by the Democratic party. Howard Dean's Fifty State's policy was close to the correct approach. Run strong candidates and forward looking policies but avoid insult.
    The Republican Party is not capable of shame.

  17. Major Kong Says:

    The Democrats are a lot like the Weimar Republic.

    Weak, ineffective, torn by factions –

    and utterly preferable to what came after them.

  18. Talisker Says:

    Don't waste your time talking to them. The only way to deal with them is to out-organize, out-motivate, and out-vote them.

    As we all know, Trump was out-voted. He lost the popular vote, but won the election. As it happens, ethnic minority voters are over-represented in very safe states (California, Texas). Running up the score among black and Hispanic voters won't flip Georgia or Texas to the Democrats unless they are winning a landslide anyway.

    So they have to compete in swing states, including places like Ohio and Michigan which are full of angry, aging white voters. It would be poor strategy to treat those voters with contempt. Hillary "basket of deplorables" Clinton did just that, and look where it got her.

    Fortunately, it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. It's possible to be an uncompromising opponent of racism, without insulting every low-income white person in Ohio. If you have exciting ideas for change, you can excite the Democrat base and peel off some of the Cletus demographic — not all, not even the majority, but enough.

    On this much I agree with Ed — the bland, cautious, "at least I'm not a raving bigot" strategy has failed. Democrats need candidates who goddamned well stand for something.

  19. geoff Says:

    @AnonProf, thanks for that. I think most of us are just thinking "ew" about the accusations against Moore, and not of the real and lasting damage he did to those young women. And by young women, I mean "girls".

  20. geoff Says:

    "It's a fantasy. It just isn't true. Obama fell for it, insisting that he would give the GOP the benefit of doubt that they would negotiate "in good faith" long past the point at which any reasonable person who isn't a total sucker could believe that."

    Yeah, Obama reminded me of Charlie Brown and the football after a while. I was like, are you REALLY that dense? These people hate you and will do anything to stop you!

    BUT, a significant portion of the FEWER THAN EIGHTY THOUSAND voters in WI, PA, and MI that gave Trump the presidency voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. So I'd argue that the Dems can't afford to give up going for those votes if they ever want to get back in the White House. And, as my comrades over at Naked Capitalism keep pointing out, the best way to compete for those voters is to propose concrete material benefits (e.g. Medicare for all) rather than telling them everything is awesome.

  21. democommie Says:

    @ Talisker:

    As usual, you make me angry for having to agree with you! {;>)

    At Major Kong:

    Stimmt, Genau!

    @ Geoff:

    Good points.

    @Aurora S., 1st comment:


    @Aurora S., 2nd comment:

    We have to refuse to participate in democracy in order to save it!

    @Anonymous Prof.

    Word. From your mouth to the uncommitted ear.

  22. simplicio Says:

    And given that the type of incorrigible republicans that you describe tend to concentrate in regions of low population density across America, areas given outsized influence by the Electoral College, 2 senators for every state no matter how few people live there, and gerrymandered congressional districts, I'd really like to see an organized effort to move democratic voters in to these places (if just long enough to vote). The fact that more people voted for democrats for congress, the senate, and the presidency and yet democrats have 0 political power cannot stand. And the people in power aren't going to change our election system so I don't see any alternative to moving voters into place strategically.

  23. Dave Dell Says:

    What Talisker said.

  24. Katydid Says:

    @Aurora S, you speak for me. Also, where you been at?!

    I think Obama's issue was projection. We all do it. But while people who vote Republican believe the worst and most stupid of others and project their failings on to them, people who lean Democrat fall into the trap of believing that at the core, people are decent. Republicans are not decent. Anyone who twists themselve into a pretzel to defend serial child rapers and Donald Trump (who's that and more) because the Democrats are A Bridge Too Far…someone like that is not going to see reason because they have no reason or goodness in them.

  25. Katydid Says:

    @Geoff; part of my heartburn with Bernie (beyond his utter contempt for women and children) was his pie-in-the-sky promises. Free health care! Free college! If Obama had to fight so hard for simple health care access for all, St-Bernie-the-Socialist wasn't going to be able to push these things through.

  26. Katydid Says:

    @All; Hillary's "basket of deplorables" were exactly that, and no amount of ass-kissing would get their ignorant, sexist selves to vote for a woman, It was time they were named–as Ed points out, there's nothing that would make them into decent human beings, so why keep sucking up to them hopefully?

  27. OtherAndrew Says:

    "You'll recall that the Constitution was debated and ultimately ratified by vicious, obstinate white people."

    Yeah, and it shows in what they came up with.

  28. Tim H. Says:

    "Free health care Free college!" Not free, CoOp, everyone investing in a public good, same as military pensions.

  29. Rosies Dad Says:

    I live in Chester County, PA. In this most recent off year election, angry voters showed up and elected Democrats in record numbers. 4 superior court judgeships were on the ballot. 4 Democrats defeated 4 Republicans in a category where all 8 were listed together and the instruction was "Pick 4." The same happened in school boards, township supervisor races, the county clerk and even in the county coroner's race (why the hell we elect a county coroner is beyond me but the D won and the R lost). The same happened in adjacent Delaware County.

    So Ed's right–the key is getting Democratic voters off their collective ass and out to the polls.

    If this level of collective anger continues, there is no reason to believe that the Dems can't take back the House. The Senate, with many more incumbent D's on the ballot than incumbent R's will be a tougher nut to crack but maybe not impossible but taking back one chamber will ensure that the Trump agenda, whatever it is, is effectively shut down.

  30. quixote Says:

    Agreed, there's no point attempting a meeting of the minds with people fighting to preserve a caste system. Keeping blacks "in their place" is their priority, and likewise women. That's why they're both for forced pregnancy and sexual assault. Both keep women chained to their biology and trying to be invisible. So, yeah, no point trying to compromise on a "little bit" of less-than-human status in a system we're calling equal and free.

    But what to do about it? This is where you go off the rails, Ed. The intelligent statesman actually won the election. By a lot. We don't need some flash primary candidate who's going to lose the General. Our problems are

    –Crosscheck. Get RID of that. Throw every legal resource and protest we have at it.

    –Make sure the entire country is using paper ballots to prevent the diddling that's clearly happening in tiny precincts and that throws whole states in some cases. (

    –Help register people to vote and get them to the polls. ( and similar organizations). Especially in states with poll taxes voter ID laws.

    If we can turn enough state legislatures Dem before 2020, we can do something about gerrymandering.

    And after all that, we might finally be able to start having a real government again and dealing with the existential crises facing us.

  31. Talisker Says:

    @Katydid: Taxpayer-funded healthcare and higher education are not flying pink unicorns. They exist. France has free healthcare and tuition fees capped at EUR1100 pa. Canada, Germany, the UK, even frickin' Portugal have free healthcare.

    There's a big difference between "I want this thing which is definitely impossible" versus "I want this thing which is totally possible but those lousy bastards in Congress refuse to vote for."

    (I agree though — to put it charitably, Sanders has a massive blind spot on issues which don't directly affect straight white men.)

  32. Talisker Says:

    @Katydid As for the "basket of deplorables", I have two major problems with what Hillary Clinton said:

    First, nobody is entirely free from racism. Lots of Democrat voters harbour racist attitudes, and that includes comfortable suburbanites as well as unemployed coal miners. Even if the latter group is statistically more likely to be racist, so what? It doesn't mean they should be written off as potential voters.

    Second, some white working-class Pennsylvanians voted for Obama in 2012; others voted for Trump in 2016. The overlap between these groups is non-zero; and the groups have a significant amount in common with each other. Insulting the families, friends, and neighbours of people whose votes you need is unfathomably stupid.

    Saying racism is deplorable should be done loudly and often; saying large groups of voters are deplorable is counterproductive.

  33. Safety Man! Says:

    Admittedly I am an asshole, but if Republicans are billing * and drawing people to the polls* saying that Democrats want to remove the tax exemption for churches, why don’t we do it? We’ve already lost those votes, what are they going to fundraise on, no for realsies this time? Insert gun control or whatever issue you’d like.

    I was listening to Old News, a British podcast, and they were talking about the Human Genome Project and the fear that inspired the movie Gatica. The point that struck me was, they pointed out that that fear only applies to America, and that in societies with socialized medicine it doesn’t matter if insurance companies know your kids will have sickle cell or whatever. Tl; Dr it’s going to be messy as hell but we’ve got to fix this shit and get single payer.

  34. democommie Says:

    Some very good comments here that highlight the problem of trying to get people who are currently NOT voting to vote "d" to regain control of some part of the federal gummint.

    @ Rosie's Dad:

    Exactament. LOCAL races are the place any political movement has to start–there is no "grassroots" movement that starts at the level of the rosebuds.

    @ Tim H. and Talisker:

    Re: Universal healthcare and eduacation.

    There is no such thing as "free". Everything has a cost associated with it. The "co-op" idea is already employed in areas like FEMA response, block grants and other fed programs. We ALREADY do that shit. It is pretty well understood by people who actually know how to read and think that massive investments in infrastructure–medical, educational and massive building programs among those items–are not just a crazy gummint plot to give money to bums who don't work.

    The state of NY is trying to provide some sort of "free tuition" for state unis and the private schools are screaming like stuck pigs because of the unfairness of it all. That most of those schools prolly have economists who loves 'em some free market is not lost on me.

    Taxes are the form of "co-op" participation that most of us engage/engaged in. The people who don't pay taxes–especially those who accumulate massive fortunes by fucking the help, the customers and their vendors–are the ones that should be left to starve and die in the cold.

  35. Mo Says:

    Talisker, have to side with Katydid on this one.

    When you say,

    Saying racism is deplorable should be done loudly and often; saying large groups of voters are deplorable is counterproductive.

    you ignore the Ingroup/Outgroup way we humans think. Sometimes an entire group has to be castigated, the Nazi party being of course the example that often leaps first to mind.

    The Republican party embraced racism a long time ago, and members who stubbornly choose to remain in that group, no matter how obviously depraved and deplorable it has become, deserve whatever roasting the group as a whole gets. People should be ashamed to be Republican, come to Jesus, see the light, and abandon the party.

  36. Talisker Says:

    @Mo: I have no problem with castigating actual Nazis, like those fuckheads who marched in Charlottesville. Mercifully, they make up a tiny fraction of the American population. I also have no problem with calling out GOP officials as a group — with a handful of exceptions, they are well and truly deplorable.

    Castigating "half of all Trump voters" (as Clinton did) is not the same thing.

  37. Dave Dell Says:

    Once again. Talisker says it better than I can.

    President Obama got their votes by appealing to their hopes for a better America for them and their children and grandchildren. He let 'em down. He let me down as well.

    While I voted for Hillary it was only because it was easy to see Drumpf was by far and away the "scummbagiest" presidential candidate in my lifetime.
    And that's saying something since it puts Reagan in second place and Bush the II in third. Bush the first in 4th and Bill Clinton in 5th although that's a close call. You could say I'm old and cynical and you'd be correct.

  38. MS Says:

    But you're confusing the cause and effect, Ed.

    Democrats don't start from the premise that they want to appeal to Cletus. They start from the premise that they want to appeal to their major donors, and then back in the campaign "ideas".

    Why does every Clintonite Democrat have the "idea" that we need to pay for more job training and retraining? Because this is an "idea" that their donors like first and foremost, and they hope has some resonance with the public second (it doesn't). Step A is "we are Democrats who want more corporate subsidies" and step B is "how can we dress it up so the rubes will swallow it?".

    A majority of elected Democrats are pretty damned conservative. There are more Democrats with Republican beliefs than ones with Bernie Sanders beliefs. They want a campaign which appeals to conservatives. They'll get it as long as they are running things. If the Word of God came down and said "Zero Republicans will ever switch to vote for you", they'd still run the same "appeal to moderate conservatives" campaign, because that's the campaign they and their donors want to run.

    TELLING you that they're trying hard to appeal to "moderates" is just backing in what has already been decided.

  39. Dave Dell Says:

    The Bernies (and I caucused for him in a deep red state – NE) at least have a vision of what America should and can become. I'll vote for it and send a few bucks toward it every time. Waste of time and money here in NE but it's (almost) all I can do.

  40. E* Says:

    I fear that @MS is right. In the sense that I actually fear it.

  41. Ten Bears Says:

    If you don't vote, you are the problem, and no part of the solution. Until you do vote, go sit down somewhere and shut up, be seen and not heard. You're not contributing anything, you're riding the rest of us's coattails.

    I like Australia's approach: vote, or go to jail.

  42. Katydid Says:

    @Talisker; of course healthcare and education are do-able, but they are *not* free. And the Republicans who absolutely are doing everything to prevent an education populace were never, ever going to let that happen. Remember how the right swore on Inauguration Day in 2009 that they'd do everything in their power to stonewall Obama…and they did their best to do exactly that?!? Does that ring a bell with you? What do you think they would have done to a self-proclaimed non-Christian Socialist?! * what Obama managed to get done is nothing short of a miracle considering how much foot-dragging and obstruction he faced at every turn.

    As for your disclaimer that half of Trump supporters are *not* deplorable–have you been paying any attention at all? They ARE effing deplorable, there's no pussy- (see what I did there?) footing about the issue. As we've all been saying, for too long the left has been mollycoddling the right, never, ever letting their snowflake fee-fees be hurt lest they start screetching and caterwauling. See where that's gotten us?

  43. Katydid Says:

    @SafetyMan! It's Gattaca (GATTACA) after the genetics. But your point still stands; here in the USA, if your genetics get out, you can be denied health insurance because of some quirk that may or may not ever happen (for example, susceptability to diabetes or breast cancer or multiple sclerosis). Anecdote time; a friend of mine ha been applying for holiday retail jobs for some extra spending money this season, and she lost a job because she had cataract surgery. I'm talking about that 10-minute procedure where you end up with an eye patch for a day, then you're good to go. She was told by one place that she was "too much of a risk" (for a part-time, seasonal job selling stuff off a cart in the mall) for the company to take on her.

  44. Dave Dell Says:

    I have to object Katydid. We (the "royal we") have to concentrate on the 1/2 of the non-deplorables. Approach them where they live economically. Maybe not socially. Get some of them. Don't need all of the 1/2 that are not deplorable. Just enough. The rest will follow, or enough of them will.

    That being said, I agree, once again here but in other places as well such as Wonkette, I agree with Ten Bears.

  45. Camembert Says:

    You mean a bunch of white, male establishment Democratic strategists are obsessed with getting their emotionally distant fathers to love and vote for them? And maybe we shouldn't base our survival on their needs in this area?


  46. Katydid Says:

    @Dave, not sure I understand what you're saying.

    My point, like Ed's, was that there's a segment of the population that's so brainwashed by decades of rightwing propaganda that they live to piss off liberals and reject anything that smacks of human decency, because decency is a librul thing, apparently? As several posters have said: there's no reasoning with these people, and the constant anxious pandering to them isn't going to open their minds. The hysterical cries of, "You HURT MY FEELINGS by " (quoting them verbatim, filming them in action, holding them accountable for their own actions/words, etc.) is proof that they're entrenched in their "victimhood" and they've got the metaphorical knife out to gut anyone who's not like them.

  47. mojrim Says:

    The problem with "basket of deplorables" is as I believe Talisker put it: They are the friends and family of people that either do or may vote Dem. Clinton lost these people by focusing on Trump's myriad personal defects and those of his followers rather than things they actually worried about. Even if someone mostly agrees with you, insulting their father isn't going to get their vote. In our electoral system a small swing in a state's voting has large effects. That's how the "blue wall" got breached.

    Like the Dems, the GOP is an alliance of varied but overlapping interests. We don't need them all, just to shave off a couple points in a few states. That can be done by addressing their concern in their own language. Medicare for all is a good start. Reindustrialization or at least public infrastructure employment is better. These people have been through several waves of displaced worker retraining schemes and know they don't work. They aren't interested in college for reasons good and bad, so don't waste your breath alienating them.

    I live in a deep red state and know both people that caucused for Trump and those that caucused for Sanders but voted Trump in the general. The former are disillusioned with the traditional GOP leadership class which keeps making promises and not delivering – they have come to understand they were being scammed. I'm generally glad the GOP hasn't delivered those promises either as they were larded with some seriously racist, sexist shit, but there it is – that alliance is starting to crack.

    The latter voted their economic anxieties. Though they can't articulate it perfectly, they can see it around them: wage suppression, deindustrialization, asset stripping, etc… They understood, quite rightly, that Clinton represented more of the status quo which they feared would eventually destroy them. They voted for Trump on a hail mary pass, knowing he was probably lying but at least hoping he'd break the system before it's too late. Those people are old-school traditional Dem base and can easily be brought back if we approach them on the economy.

  48. democommie Says:

    We don't need ANY people who voted for Trumpligulamygdala.

    We need the 40+M who DID NOT VOTE. And we need them to vote for electable candidates.

    I know and have known a fair number of democratic office holders up to the level of congressman–almost all of them democrats. None of them are scumbags. None of them have gotten rich off of the political process. Some HAVE secured pretty lucrative careers after leaving office or gotten state/fed jobs that paid a living wage. NONE of them have sold me out for a pay-off. They have fought and fought hard for the unions in a horrible environment where fucking union employees vote republican. They have fought to maintain and improve the standard of living for many U.S. citizens who don't do well in terms of earning a living or aren't able to work. They have fought to maintain SS and Medicare and to keep both NPR and PBS alive and functional. They have done their best, as a group under constant, unrelenting attack by an implacable enemy–an enemy driven by fear, greed, hatred, stupidity and hypoctrisy. They've been doing this sinc4 at least 1932.

    The DNC is fucked, no question about it.

    A number of commenters here seem to think that it's a mistake to lump the Trumpletariat together, despite the fact that they LIKE to be lumped together–they're fucking proud to be the assholes that they are. Yet, several of those same commenters, are blythe about gutting the democratic party and putting together a new one, on the fly, in the next, what 6 months–to change the U.S. political landscape and thwart the forces of evil? Have I got that about right?

  49. Major Kong Says:

    I'd like to see Hillary Clinton come out strongly against drinking anti-freeze.

    Some of these people would probably do it just to piss off us libtards.

  50. Flying Squirrel Says:

    No need to discuss Moore with them. An effective, and simple measure of whether someone is worth engaging is whether they view or read Fox News for information (not to confuse with monitoring to know the enemy). I don't deal with such people much, but in my experience it's as close to definitive as required. Cause vs. effect is another matter but not important; if they haven't figured things out by now they never will.

  51. jcastarz Says:

    "So Ed's right–the key is getting Democratic voters off their collective ass and out to the polls."

    Well, if the Dems can't make voting hay out of the "tax reform" package the Repubs are handing them, then they might as well disband. Just look at what won't be deductible anymore – medical write-offs key among them. Health care is already a major factor in individual bankruptcy declarations in our country, so let's just make things worse?! Arrrgghhh…

  52. Tim Says:

    "Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired" -Jonathan Swift

  53. Aurora S Says:

    A bone to pick:

    Universal healthcare is not “free”. Everyone pays their fair share through taxes. “Free” is a Republican talking point used to trigger the ire of white people who believe that poverty is a “colored-people problem” and that only POC are on public assistance of any kind. (While it is true that POC are paid less than white people and are more likely to suffer from poverty, the majority of people on welfare/social programs are white and white people disproportionately benefit from social programs, even when corrected for percentage of the population.) And because they are racist xenophobic fuckheads, they would rather put themselves out than be equal to POC on any level. The oligarchs exploit the shit out of American racism, to great effect.

  54. democommie Says:

    @ Katydid:

    Is there any webpage out there that has figures for the average amount of assistance received per capita, by race?

    Also, too, when we're talking about "welfare" we often overlook FEMA and other programs that spend $B's to remediate and restore the damage caused to infrastructure in the wake of natural disasters so that the homeowners who are getting insurance payments that would do them no good if the roads, bridges and water/sewer plants weren't repaired.

  55. jcdenton Says:


    You'll be happy to know that the fastest-rising socialist alternative to corporate sellout Dems are… also Dems. Support your local DSA chapter because they actually give a shit about fighting the class war being waged on all of us by capitalists and their political lackeys.

  56. NickT Says:

    My take is this: you can go after the maybe, possibly 1 million Trumpzis who could be persuaded. Of course, you'll probably have to sacrifice some of your own newly disgusted core voters, so you might not even end up in profit.

    Or you can go after the maybe, possibly 2 million non-voters who might be persuaded to vote if you make a good case and give then enough reasons to believe that Trump is a dangerous, repulsive national embarrassment.

    Now, I'll grant you that the numbers I offer are purely illustrative and probably too pessimistic in terms of the available non-voters, but I think they get the possible rewards roughly right. For me, the second option is clearly more practicable and offers much more chance of an actual payoff.

  57. Talisker Says:


    There is no such thing as "free". Everything has a cost associated with it.

    Yes, I know. I'm using "free" as shorthand for "free at the point of use". I think it's understood somebody has to pay the doctors, university professors et al.

    what Obama managed to get done is nothing short of a miracle considering how much foot-dragging and obstruction he faced at every turn.

    I know that also. It doesn't mean Sanders was wrong to campaign for something better. Everyone (including Sanders) knew it would take a miracle for him to get the nomination, and most people (with the possible exception of Sanders) knew he'd be eaten alive if that miracle occurred. In fact, his presidential run certainly got a lot more exposure and airtime for his ideas, so good on him.

    As we've all been saying, for too long the left has been mollycoddling the right, never, ever letting their snowflake fee-fees be hurt lest they start screetching and caterwauling.

    I have no idea what you mean by "the left" here. Clinton, Obama and other prominent democrats said loudly and often that Trump was a bad person with terrible ideas. That is fine, in fact it's essential.

    What's counterproductive is saying that Trump voters are bad people. No doubt some of them are. But where the hell does that get us? The unpersuadable, irreconcilable haters mostly do not wear swastika armbands or otherwise bear the mark of Cain. You don't know which ones are persuadable, which leaves no alternative but to behave as if they are all persuadable, even though in the abstract we know that to be incorrect.

    Also, there are principles at stake here. Every vote counts equally. The most stupid, backward, and hateful voters in America are still Americans. If presidential candidates cease even pretending to appeal to all Americans, then the USA is no longer a republic based on shared ideals; it's a tribal contest over who has the bigger mob.

    Trump, of course, makes no pretence of trying to persuade or appeal to anyone except his bigoted and hateful base. That makes it all the more important for the Democrats not to descend to his level.

  58. HoosierPoli Says:

    I think a lot of these conservatives are not acting in bad faith. They simple care more about abortion than any other issue, up to and including the massive moral shortfalls of their own candidates. If they'll vote the right way on anti-abortion judges, that makes up for anything else. And to be honest, if you're convinced that abortion represents a genocide of tiny cute babies, that's a perfectly logical position.

    Cracking the abortion issue once and for all is the Democratic moonshot. No, that's an understatement. If the Dems could find a way to neuter the abortion issue, that would be like the discovery of fire.

  59. Katydid Says:

    @Aurora S: right on, as usual.

    @Talisker; do you think we don't know that the "basket of deplorables" are family members of more-sane people? There's even a documentary about this very thing out now about a woman's attempt to bring her father back from Fox mind control. Several of us (me included) have posted here on this very blog that we have deplorable family members.

    Typical conversation starter around my holiday table, "Bagdad Barry HUSSEIN is a Muslim Kenyan from Chicago and he ruined everything in the USA!" Know what? You really, truly can't get through to these people, because any attempt at logic or common sense can't penetrate their minds, *because they don't want it to*. I've had my share of Idiocracy-flavored conversations where the deplorables stick with the equivalent of , "It's got what plants crave!"

  60. Katydid Says:

    @HoosierPoli, the abortion issue is certainly first-and-foremost in a lot of religious people's minds, but their hypocrisy on food stamps, medical care for children, and other forms of support all show that it's just a lie. I've actually had some success pointing out that they care more about the one-day-old blastocyst implanted in a 10-year-old child victim of rape than the one-day-old newborn child born to the 10-year-old child victim of rape.

  61. democommie Says:

    @jc denton Says:

    I DO support my local committee. I cannot knock on doors to talk to morons but I will be happy to do pro bono photography for candidates and other work that I am able to do.

    I told one of the committee last week that I might even run against the scumbag who just ran for common council, unopposed, in my ward. We both agreed that idea would be a last choice, as a sacrificial lamb–except I will be one EVIL fucking lamb.

    "The unpersuadable, irreconcilable haters mostly do not wear swastika armbands or otherwise bear the mark of Cain."

    MAGA hats, anything with the Trumpligulogo? Complete fucking waste of time. Gunzloonz? Complete fucking waste of time. Anyone who says "nigger" or any other racial slur as easily as most of say, "Thank you!"? Complete fucking waste of time. Anubody who is in a union and supprts CheeZUZ or other ReiKKKwingerz? Complete fucking waste of time. My dear sister? Complete fucking waste of time.

    That list can be made much longer.

    If someone hates taxes, hates people who aren't ACTIVELY trying to hurt them, hates non-white-christians? Fuck'em'.

  62. Katydid Says:

    Demo, you asked, "Is there any webpage out there that has figures for the average amount of assistance received per capita, by race?" Not that I've been able to find, but I've got a house full of guests and my kids, a 23-pound turkey (a gift from my company) sitting in cold water in the sink on the hope it will be defrosted in time and *not* kill us all with salmonella, a parent in a nearby hospital, a car that's acting up, and a case of walking pneumonia, now with Extra Coughing. I found some info here: but it was only partially satisfying to me. Maybe you'll be able to glean more?

  63. Katydid Says:

    "The unpersuadable, irreconcilable haters mostly do not wear swastika armbands or otherwise bear the mark of Cain."

    Seriously? Demo just pointed out several "tells", but he left out many other verbal giveaways (any Fox Talking Point ™ of the day, "libtards", "free", etc.), brags about donating or otherwise supporting reprehensible things, parrots "support our Troops", etc.

  64. greatlaurel Says:

    @Katydid I hope you are feeling much better very soon. It sucks to be sick anytime, but it is an especially miserable experience being sick while trying to put on a holiday spread and entertain guests, no matter how pleasant the guests are.

    I hate thawing frozen turkeys for a planned event. It is not such a pain if you have time to let it sit in a fridge for 3 or 4 days to thaw and roast it whenever it gets around to thawing.

    Good luck and get well soon. (the Extra Coughing is a nasty bonus of misery)

  65. Ten Bears Says:

    Someday I would love to capture one of them's attention long enough to outline the Cain and Abel theory as it pertains to a couple of varieties of three and a half million year old not quite humans, one omnivorous, the other not. Do the math.

  66. seniorscrub Says:

    "If presidential candidates cease even pretending to appeal to all Americans, then the USA is no longer a republic based on shared ideals; it's a tribal contest over who has the bigger mob."

    Donnie has already done this.

  67. democommie Says:

    @ Katydid:

    Make the guests help. Sorry, that's not a suggestion, it's a command. If you are already ill, the additional stress, both physical and emotional will not help. I hope that you're on antibiotics.

    As for the turkey.

    If it's frozen solid and you have access to a saw with a stainless steel blade, cut it in half. If you can get through just the back, butterfly it. Brine it in cold water with plenty of salt (there's a bazillion recipes out there, Alton Brown, America's Test Kitchen to name just two). The salt in the brine will help (not much) to defrost it.

    I'm sure that you can actually cook it from the frozen state. If there's a houseful of young people tell them to HOP IT on the intertwitz or whatever the whippersnappers do these days and get some tested ideas.

    Thanks for the information, feel better, if I was available, I'd help with dinner.

  68. democommie Says:

    @ Ten Bears:

    I'm sorry but I'm going to have to ask for a little more…I just don't get the reference.

  69. Dice Says:

    Believing the lies you want to be true frees you from the tyranny of reason and the terror of uncertainty. The Cult of the Barking Yam believes in Donald Trump the same way radical christianity believes in Jesus Christ: both require brain donation.

    Toxic and incredibly addictive.

  70. Ten Bears Says:

    Omnivores eat everything, herbivores do not. The omnivores, Cain, became us, modern humans; the herbivores, Abel, did not. I've tried to explain this to my biological brother the methodist preacher, but he just can't get past the smashing your brother's head in with a rock thing. Yeah, his world is still flat.

  71. Ten Bears Says:

    Omnivores eat everything, herbivores do not. The omnivores, Cain, became us, modern humans; the herbivores, Abel, did not. I've tried to explain this to my biological brother the methodist preacher, but he just can't get past the smashing your brother's head in with a rock thing. Yeah, his world is still flat.

  72. democommie Says:

    @ Ten Bears:

    Yes. Thanks. So, I gather he hasn't gotten too far into, say, anthropology, yet.

  73. geoff Says:

    @katydid, sincere condolences, both for your illness, AND your family. Hope you're feeling better soon : )

  74. jcdenton Says:


    Glad to hear it! I think it would pretty great to have someone as crusty as you on a council seat, spitting fire and anger at the assholes. :)

  75. Katydid Says:

    @Everyone; thanks for your good wishes! I've been making my kids the house-elves; they've been running around keeping their younger cousins occupied and doing general housework, but it's MY car that's acting up and the rescue dog *I* wanted that's itchy, and so forth and so on that requires me to make a decision.

    This is likely my father's last Thanksgiving, so the clan has descended to say their final goodbye…and 11 people in a 3-bedroom starter hovel is a bit much. :-) My spouse gets back from a business trip late tonight (provided there's no travel issues) and I plan to chuck the rest of this in his lap.

    Back to the topic of discourse; my nuclear family are the only non-Trumpanzees, and I'm not looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. I've already spent far too much time deflecting, redirecting, and flat-out refusing to discuss politics. It's tough–the Trump-lovers definitely are out to start something and they won't let facts get in their way.

  76. Katydid Says:

    @Greatlaurel; tell us the news from China, please! You guys just had Trump inflicted on you; what's the general thinking on this? Also, welcome back!

  77. Katydid Says:

    @Demo; you are a fine cook, indeed! Thanks for the tips!

  78. Katydid Says:

    @Ten Bears; I've also thought about the Cain-and-Abel story as a metaphor for hunter-gatherers vs. farmers–that is, nomad tribes vs. civilization. Only that's the opposite of what really happened (that is, nomads are the minority and civilizations grew up all over the world). The Bible is also full of really stupid farming advice–for example, planting monocrops, which wears out the soil quickly. There's also some truly wrong "knowledge" such a bats being birds and rabbit chewing their cud. Then there's all the stuff people aren't supposed to eat–how many people starved surrounded by plenty?

    @Dice; at least one Trump believer stated he'd believe Trump over Jesus Christ (and calls himself a Christian). Story here:

  79. Ten Bears Says:

    Actually dem, he's pretty good with anthropology, as long as it suits his purpose. It's the paleo stuff, older than 11 Oct 4004 bce, that he has trouble wrapping his grubby little fingers around.

    Predates "civilization" and agarian societies by a couple million years, Katy, proto-humans of which there were two varieties: gracile and robust. The robust were large, more numerous with a greater cranial capacity indicting a larger brain Klingon looking pastoral herbavores grazing the grasslands in large herds not unlike TaTanka' – the American buffalo. They didn't evolve to become us because their counter-parts, vicious little solitary and semi-solitary (pack) hunters who would eat anything… ate them.

  80. Katydid Says:

    @Ten Bears, we interbred with them in addition to killing them off. Red hair and HPV are said to be two of their gifts to us.

  81. Ten Bears Says:

    Neanderthal. Much more recent, 100 to 250,000 years. Much of what we know from that long ago is inference based on other species behavior. The Neanderthal assimilation is a rather new and with the advances made in the last twenty years now generally accepted theory, but I'm not sure we can apply that to 3,000,000 year old proto-humans. Of course, I'm just an amateur.

  82. democommie Says:

    @ Ten Bears:

    Your brother's "use" of anthropology is much like a "conservative" (so called) take on most areas of learning. What supports their "truths" is conveniently settled, all else is heresy or simply opaque to them.

    @ Katydid:

    Do feel better. Do not let guests, even family, dictate table manners or parlor conversations, ever. Enjoy!

  83. bobbyp Says:

    The unpersuadable, irreconcilable haters mostly do not wear swastika armbands or otherwise bear the mark of Cain.

    This is true, but of no real consequence. The important takeaway is that those types support the GOP. The GOP, the lickspittle to the wealthy, is the enemy.

    You don't know which ones are persuadable, which leaves no alternative but to behave as if they are all persuadable, even though in the abstract we know that to be incorrect.

    We live in a world of limited resources. You are asking us to waste valuable time and energy on an essentially hopeless task. The mere fact that a sentient human adult could bring themselves to vote for trump is a message to us. These people essentially told us to "go fuck yourself."

    The task at hand is to find more voters from those who declined to vote.

  84. Katydid Says:


    The 23-pound turkey cooked in 5 hours, and nobody's died from food poisoning yet, so yay for that! Anytime any of the Trumpistas got going, I unleashed a loud bout of coughing. Worked great! I recommend this method highly because of its added bonus of "Why don't you go lie down for awhile while we clean up".

    Seriously, I hope you all have a great day and much peace.

  85. democommie Says:

    @ Katydid:

    Glad to hear that things worked out with the turkey–whatever it was that you wound up doing.

    "I unleashed a loud bout of coughing. Worked great!"

    I've always relied on a family tradition of toxic flatulence.

  86. Katydid Says:

    Toxic flatulence?!?! Wow, that's the work of a master!

    I just put the turkey in a bucket with a lid and soaked the (wrapped!) turkey in cool water for 2 days. The company I work for gives out turkeys for Thanksgiving, and yay for that, but I wish they'd thought ahead as to the timing–I got one of the smallest turkeys and it was touch-and-go as to whether it would get defrosted.

    I caught the business news on PBS last night–the topic was why people aren't saving enough for retirement. They covered the "Well, DUH" aspect of why people barely scraping by in the "gig economy" aren't saving the recommended 6x their salary needed for retirement, but they breezed on by that for some moralizing. Right now it look like Social Security is going to collapse just as the forefront of GenX is ready to retire. Great times!

  87. Procopius Says:

    "Obama fell for it, insisting that he would give the GOP the benefit of doubt that they would negotiate "in good faith" long past the point at which any reasonable person who isn't a total sucker could believe that." You know, after a while that did not seem plausible. Of course, we can never know what was actually in his mind, but I came to believe that the reason he was doing that was because it allowed him to get the results he wanted, while blaming the Republicans to explain why the results were not what the voters wanted. I think a hundred years from now, unless he manages to find and destroy all evidence, historians are going to find he was the most devious manipulator since Franklin Roosevelt. Probably greatly surpassing even that master. Meanwhile, he established the precedent that a President has the authority to order the death of any person on the face of the earth, without review or appeal or other due process. I have a feeling Trump will not be able to follow up on that, but some future president surely will.

  88. democommie Says:

    @ Katydid:

    Well, we work with the tools we have.

    Glad to hear that the turkey thing worked.

    As for retirement, it will not be possible for a huge %age of people that are NOT saving enough to do so–which is a pretty huge %age of, well, everyone alive.

    Also, too, with AGW happ'nin, there won't be enough ice floes to put the useless olds on when their time has come–more's the pity!

    Glad to hear that things worked out.

  89. Ten Bears Says:

    Retirement is awesome, except for the working part.

  90. Katydid Says:

    Lucky me, I'm part of the generation that gets to work until they fall over dead. :-)

    I was off all week because of The Final Thanksgiving and being sick. Work called me every day–"Can you come in today? How about just a half-day? No? Well, can you tell us what to do when THIS or THAT happens?" The problem in my field–and I'm wondering if this is everywhere–is that everything is staffed one-deep. Another problem, at least in my field, is clueless management. For example, one of the things I said, "NO WAY" to was that the leadership wants their pictures in a larger size on the About Us page. This is not an emergency. It will wait until Monday. But not to hear them talk about it. The reason for this rant? The 1% are becoming ever more demanding.

  91. jcastarz Says:

    "The problem in my field–and I'm wondering if this is everywhere–is that everything is staffed one-deep."

    "Another problem, at least in my field, is clueless management."

    No, it's not just where you work… unfortunately. I saw a lot of this thing towards the end of my own career.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy it before Congress repeals Thanksgiving in favor of a longer Christmas shopping season.

  92. Heim Says:

    Almost too many brilliant perceptions in one comment.
    jcastarz my compilents!

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