STONE TABLETS

These are the salad days of political writing on the left. If nothing else, Trumpism has been a boon for criticism. As most of you are well aware, there's more good, relevant material out there than any person with a job and a life can possibly consume.

As this American Experiment progresses, though, the better an article is the sadder I end up feeling by the end. And this is not simply because good writing today observes a sad state of political and social affairs. It stems from the gnawing feeling that none of this really matters and we're doing it mostly for the historical record at this point. In post-factual politics the most any of us can hope for is that 200 years from now, if anyone is still around to appreciate it, someone will recognize that we were right.

Mike Konczal, as some long-time readers know, is one of my best friends in the world and offers some of the best takes on economic policy that you can find at any price. His latest piece up on Vox, "Republicans are Weaponizing the Tax Code," is of typical high quality. I recommend it unconditionally. But when I first read it, by the end I felt a deep sense of futility. We are past rational politics to the extent that I don't even know who might be persuaded by a piece like this. It serves mostly to reinforce to people on the left that we are indeed screwed. Deeply, most likely irrevocably, screwed.

The older I get the more it becomes clear that technocracy is the Achilles Heel of the left and the entirety of modern conservatism is set up to exploit it. Liberals and centrists see The Economy as data – facts and figures, evidence and causality. On the right, the economy isa feeling. And that's why no amount of data parsing and research makes a lick of difference when they are in control. Strengthening the economy is as simple as screaming "The economy is roaring!" and that is precisely why The President* does it so often. Jobs are "coming back" because they keep saying "The jobs are coming back." That's all there is to it.

I don't believe that everything is hopeless, but I do believe that this is not an argument the left is losing because it lacks sufficient data and supporting evidence. There is a strong emotional component to this and we have to figure out how to appeal to it more effectively. We keep giving the correct answer to the wrong question; even if what farther left candidates propose is not all practical or feasible, there are real benefits to running candidates who have passion and appear to stand for something. Focus less on what is being said – as hard as that is for us to do – and more on how it is being said and what the speaker can make an audience feel. We can sort out the details with time. One thing is for certain: wonkery, despite being important and having a crucial role, is not enough.

To expect anyone with a pen or a keyboard to "change things" is unfair and unrealistic, but I can't shake the feeling lately that all these "Look how bad this thing is" takes are not serving a purpose (Even as, yes, I add to that pile myself). When we realize how little reality, facts, and logic matter to the current implementation of policy, maybe we should all stop cranking out material highlighting the flaws and consider what we might do that is more productive.

If I had the answer, I'd be out there peddling it. If I knew what would help, I would do it. But if there were a chart or graph or white paper that could win this fight, it would be won by now.

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122 Responses to “STONE TABLETS”

  1. postcaroline Says:

    Guess we are having a late capitalist moment? As all that is tangible is increasingly commodified, the intangible (e.g. "data") is up for grabs.

    In the field of information science, some scholars like to use model of the data, information, knowledge, wisdom pyramid. Data is at the bottom of the pyramid because its utility is unrealized. It's just raw signs and symbols. Data only becomes information when it's interpreted in a format that can be understood, and information only becomes knowledge when it has been processed. And so on.

    Data is of limited utility without a shared understanding of what it signifies. The Left definitely fetishizes explaining everything to death. That if arguments are backed up by clear, structured examples then everyone will get it. And we can see how successful that strategy has been.

    People aren't machines. We can't dump ideas into them with the expectation that they will process the data in a certain way. It's the hearts and minds thing. Being an armchair philosopher, it seems like these are the vestiges of Enlightenment – that if people just have access to the necessary information presented in the right way, they will make whatever is considered the right choice.

    I don't have answer either, other than to say that people need a sense of purpose. Not in a corny or phony Rick Warren sort of way. Most of us want to feel like they matter to someone or that their community matters in the scheme of things.

  2. Katydid Says:

    Thanksgiving with the extended family reinforced my observation that a shocking percentage of the population doesn't care about facts. They've been carefully trained by decades of conscious right-wing outrage to believe that anything they feel is true, is true. They have no respect for facts and data–they have "alternate facts".

  3. Benny Lava Says:

    I don't understand why Americans sit around idly and accept the tyrrany of the minority. This is certainly not how the system was designed. Why can't anyone rally around the idea of Congress voting to expand the House by 50-75 seats? It would just take an act of Congress to make the electoral college more representative. More democratic. I mean there is a census coming up and some states are bound to lose seats again. Seems like a win win. Otherwise there will be more of this. After all isn't Trump simply more Bush than Bush?

  4. Ungrateful Negro Says:

    I think Pres. Obama realized this. I read an article during the campaign that posited that HRC was brave to be running on reality instead of feel-good bullshit. Pres. Obama did his homework and was a capable leader, but he did not win just because he had better facts. He won because he got people to like him, and thus inspired turnout. Consider how you might feel about The Asshole on your preferred sports team. If people like you, they will excuse anything. This is why Grandpa Bernie ran well in the primary and Martin O'Malley was a footnote even though he was largely selling the same thing.
    The left needs to figure out a way to excite its base. There are more of us than there are of them, horrifying as they may be.

  5. Mike Says:

    This piece reminds me of Woody Guthrie. Not much to do but stay alive and out of jail.

    Many of us can still vote, keep your head low and get to the polls.

  6. geoff Says:

    Hate to piss in the pool, but this shit has been going on for a LONG TIME. Like since at least 1980. Remember "voodoo economics"? GHWB was an SOB, but he was right.

    And much as I hate both-siderism, imo President Obama played the "who you gonna believe, me and the steadily declining official unemployment rate, or your lying everybody I know can't find a goddamn job eyes?" thing too. Y'all know I didn't care much for Mrs. Clinton, but imo her fatal flaw as a candidate was her "everything is awesome" campaign theme. Things out here outside Martha's Vineyard are fairly shitty, and the GEB, a charlatan huckster, at least acknowledged that. Fuck, even Bubba felt our pain.

  7. geoff Says:

    Well hell, while i'm on a rant, you know what, you're right, Ed. Facts and shit don't win elections. Look at poor Al Gore. He was (mostly) right, but he was boring.

    We Muricans (sic) are not really intellectual type folk as a rule. We don't have time for that shit, and our education system ain't that great. (MAGA!! sarc/) Unless the Dems get off their (our) asses and get ANGRY (why aren't Chuck and Liz and Al Franken (oh, wait) raising hell in the Senate about this massive corporate giveaway tax bill?)nothing positive's gonna happen. I am fairly certain that the corporate coup d'etat is complete here in the good ol' USA, BUT I'd sure like to see somebody (like maybe the Dems– what have they got to lose at this point?) make a stink about it.

  8. ZeroInMyOnes Says:

    Getting one’s point across by triggering emotions is a science. Why is the Party that says it is for science not using science?

  9. paintedjaguar Says:

    geoff –

    No geoff, "poor" Al Gore was NOT mostly right. Along with the Clintons, Gore was one of the founders of the "centrist" DLC . Am I the only one who remembers the Gore vs Perot debate on NAFTA? Gore & Clinton were all in FOR that corporate license to loot. Their third-way, neolib "Reinventing Government" campaign was all about turning the Dems and the government into a candy store for the 1%. They ran AGAINST single payer health care, preferring to keep an employer/private insurer system. They were also big on "tough" anti crime programs like Three Strikes laws, hiring more cops, and keeping the Drug War going. Gore's wife Tipper, with Al's blessing, spent her time trying to censor music and movies. As for the environment, DLC types like Gore and Obama have favored "market based" (Republican) programs like tradeable pollution credits.

  10. Camila Says:

    Well it seems there always should be two groups: one that focused on data to find the best policies. And other focusing on how to package the data in simple words. Based on that you can then give a cookbook of persuasion to fellow politicians, so even not the most eloquent ones will be able to survive.

  11. Katydid Says:

    Martin O'Malley suffered from nobody knowing who he was. He was nothing like St. Bernie; O'Malley has a great record on the environment and women's and children's issues, three things Bernie didn't give a shit about. He worked closely with the Virginia governor to try to protect the DelMarVa peninsula area from all the issues it faces (overfishing, environmental dumping, etc. etc.) and to his credit, made some headway with Profits Uber Alles Virginia. He was part of a band that was quite popular and did a surpringly number of events with them. He was a good family man.

    I think if more people knew him, they would have liked him.

  12. geoff Says:

    @Paintedjaguar, point(s) taken. Guess what I meant in this case is that at least Gore's economic positions were "responsible" in the GOP's definition of that: keeping the budget balanced (more or less), instead of blowing up the deficit with big tax giveaways to the rich like W. did. But he was dull, and his opponent's brother was the governor of Florida

  13. Dave Dell Says:

    I still wear my Bernie 2016 button on my everyday hat. I get a positive response to it from almost every 20 something person I interact with. I hardly ever get a reaction from anyone older than 35. I never get negative comments about it. Ed is correct that enthusiasm is key. Candidates that have passion and appear to stand for something…

    I live in Lincoln, NE, a relatively liberal/progressive bastion in a deep red state. Possibly that's why the 20 somethings like Bernie. Putting that aside I think the enthusiasm Bernie Sanders was able to generate and is still able to generate is a lesson the Dems need to learn. And learn quickly. I don't hold out a lot of hope that they will, however.

    Katydid re: St. Bernie. There are certain words and phrases that make me (and possibly a lot of others) disregard everything said after the words or phrases are uttered or read. St. Bernie is one of those (and there are others). You might be 100% correct in your assessment of Sen. Sanders and Gov. O'Malley but I view your comment skeptically due to "St. Bernie".

  14. Major Kong Says:

    I realize the 20-somethings like Bernie, but I think the GOP would have absolutely crushed a 76-year-old Jewish self-proclaimed Socialist.

    Yes, I realize he's a "Democratic Socialist" but I can just see the attack ads with Bernie's face morphing into Mao and Stalin while red banners wave in the background.

    Cut to scenes of Soviet troops goose-stepping through Red Square…..

  15. Heisenberg Says:

    @Dave Dell – I agree with your criticism of the “St Bernie”moniker. Those of you condescending Bernie Sanders for offering a true left option should join another party. Aside from being Trumpy, your petty nicknames also undermine Bernie’s legitimacy – which mostly serves to feed the right wing narrative of pie-in-the-sky liberals who want unrealistic things (“I think America should have a pony” – a Bernie slam often repeated by HRC).

    The whole point of this blog post is that Republican Lite isn’t a winning strategy. We need to offer a true left option to counteract the right’s vision of America.

    Single payer health care isn’t a pony, it’s a policy choice. Tuition-free public college isn’t a pony, it’s HALF of the Senate’s recent increase in military spending. These things would be possible if we could get the majority of Americans to demand it. Undermining the left’s most established leader *from within his own party* is exacctly the wrong strategy.

  16. Heisenberg Says:

    @Major Kong – You’re killing me. So the left shouldn’t have nominated Bernie because… fear of right-wing attack ads? Wow. Good thing we chose HRC instead, amirite?!

    It’s that kind of “surrender to the right” mentality that has made Democrats perennial losers.

  17. quixote Says:

    This doesn't seem that opaque to me. The Repubs offer two things: promises of MoreMoneyForMeeee™ (code words "low taxes" without specifying who pays) and permission to kick any powerless group you want.

    Democrats can't compete on bigotry, because that's officially not part of their shtick, post Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson. But they could really compete on the money angle. Universal health care funded by whatever tax increase is needed on the 1% could be a real barn burner. When it comes to more-money-for-me, everybody understands the merits perfectly well.

    And then, of course, Dems need to turn out their own voters instead of chasing the Extinct White Male Swing Voter. That seems to be a quantum mechanics-level difficult concept for white males to understand.

  18. Major Kong Says:

    @Heisenberg

    I'm sure nothing would play better with middle-class suburbanites than "I want to raise your taxes".

    And yes, unfortunately in this country socialism=communism=stalin=gulags. You don't erase 70 years of cold-war propaganda overnight.

  19. Katydid Says:

    @Dave Dell, your problem for discounting the truth because you're precious about the language used. My kids are young-20-somethings and we were all very politically active last election cycle. Sure, 20-somethings were over-the-moon about "free college!", but a great number of them didn't even bother to vote, which struck me very much as short-sighted and immature. The crazed fervor over Bernie from certain 20-somethings reminded me very much of their very same crazed, crazy-eyed, vicious fervor over boy bands, particularly when they went on the warpath against anyone else. It was like One Republic/One Direction/whoever.

  20. Jestbill Says:

    Everyone who still thinks that Jew Commie could have won any more states than HRC can just go to hell. You are too stupid to bother with.

    Claiming that Dems like clear, structured arguments has been turned against them by saying "They don't have a message! Nobody knows what they're for!" Stop that.

    The only message necessary in the near future is "Vote or you get more of racist, misogynist Trumpism." If that doesn't work, then NOTHING will.

  21. c u n d gulag Says:

    Mike,
    I hate to disagree with the great Woody Guthrie.

    But for a lot of us folks getting on in years, if the conservatives have their way and trash SS, Medicare, and Medicaid, TO STAY ALIVE, WE MAY HAVE TO GET INTO JAIL!!!

    "Three hot's and a cot" sounds a lot more appealing than rummaging around in garbage cans for food, and "bum-fighting" some other poor unfortunate soul for a dry and/or warm place to sleep.

  22. mago Says:

    Stone Tablets. The ten commandments. Something something.

  23. smdh Says:

    "here is a strong emotional component to this and we have to figure out how to appeal to it more effectively."

    someone already did that:

    A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pence and Trump, Clinton and Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron and the AfD.

    Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

    Two things result from this fact:

    I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power.

    II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself.

    To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.

    In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.

    In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

    Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.

    The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

    Working Men of All Countries, Unite!

    —–

    "durrrr how do we spineless liberals expect to get Cletus on our side?"

    Thank you for asking, comrade!

    "To be able forcefully and threateningly to oppose this party, whose betrayal of the workers will begin with the very first hour of victory, the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Where the formation of this militia cannot be prevented, the workers must try to organize themselves independently as a proletarian guard, with elected leaders and with their own elected general staff; they must try to place themselves not under the orders of the state authority but of the revolutionary local councils set up by the workers. Where the workers are employed by the state, they must arm and organize themselves into special corps with elected leaders, or as a part of the proletarian guard. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary. The destruction of the bourgeois democrats’ influence over the workers, and the enforcement of conditions which will compromise the rule of bourgeois democracy, which is for the moment inevitable, and make it as difficult as possible – these are the main points which the proletariat and therefore the League must keep in mind during and after the approaching uprising." – General Secretary Warren of the Massachusetts Revolutionary Committee

  24. Mo Says:

    Yeah. I keep wondering when we're going to have to take to the streets, go on general strike, and get mowed down Ludlow Massacre style.

    As in times past, many of our neighbors will step right up to do the mowing down, crowding into boxcars, setting up the camps… Our immigration goons, police, and FBI have contingents that don't distinguish much between Libruls and criminals.

    Jay Gould's deathless observation: "I could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

  25. Periscope Says:

    Money Mo. It's money they crave. A strike takes their power (and striker income) away temporarily – no winners. A leveraged buyout by democratic crowd-funded corporations could be a win-win depending on how it is constituted and managed. Fat CEOs might give up power for cash, their companies could get democratized or dismantled by the crowd. Use the classic monkey trap – they can't let go of the shiny coin in the tethered basket.

    Right now we all want government to step in with more regulation to stop the greedy bastards from selling what we worked for to the highest foreign corporate investors – at the same time "the administrative state is being dismantled" and regulations are being overturned by Donny shitstorm and the confederates. More and more it seems the government is not the modulating control system we need (definitely not providing any moral authority). So we are kind of on our own, and whining about injustice in the street protests isn't getting much traction or effect. I've done 3. The group hugs warm and fuzzy fades fast.

    It's a wild-ass (but non-violent) idea…but, who is this "we" that I'm referring to? WE can't much agree on anything. So it's not likely to happen. Hell, even PBS is supported mostly by rich philanthropists. But, imagine if a crowed-funded democratic organization/corporation were to buy controlling shares in a publically-traded health insurance corporation, or one of the media giants. It could be like a national co-op. As long as the "we" were more concerned about social ROI than about monetary ROI, and the "we" had socially-oriented constitution instead of profit motive, maybe things might get better.

    What the Sanders campaign demonstrated is that wealthy donors are not required. There was (is?) power is in the multitudes who are willing to buy into the vision with meager donations. The issue is how to wrestle power away from corrupt corporate /wealthy/political interests. Shout, strike, or buyout?

    Yep, wild-ass idea. Save your money. Its in the tethered basket.

  26. defineandredefine Says:

    "There is a strong emotional component to this and we have to figure out how to appeal to it more effectively."

    To me, as one who grew up in metro Atlanta, there's a somewhat hilarious irony to this statement. When I was high school, I listened to Neal Boortz (ugh….) who would go on ad nauseum about liberals were mostly about appeals to emotion and would tend to go light on facts, data and logic. Every liberal argument was caricatured as a cry of bigotry/racism/xenophobia/etc or something along the lines of "think of the children!" As I grew older, those sentiments seemed more and more to be the pot calling the kettle a whiny bitch.

  27. democommie Says:

    "You might be 100% correct in your assessment of Sen. Sanders and Gov. O'Malley but I view your comment skeptically due to "St. Bernie"."

    Pro-tip: You're being as dismissive of a whole group as you claim they are being of you.

    Go.Fucking.VOTE. And don't vote for unicorns.

  28. jcdenton Says:

    @Jestbill

    'The only message necessary in the near future is "Vote or you get more of racist, misogynist Trumpism." If that doesn't work, then NOTHING will.'

    Yep, the "we're not Nazis (but we'll still let the capitalist system rape you livelihoods)" argument has worked so fucking well so far. I mean, we know how well the "health care is a pony (you fucking unwashed rubes)" candidate has done. Maybe we should try again!

    Seriously though, you can expect to win a few initial elections on the basis of this kind of fear… but eventually people will vote for the honest Nazi rather than the do-nothing corporatist Dem (which is kind of why people flipped from Obama to Trump).

  29. Ten Bears Says:

    They have no respect Katy, that's all that need be said.

    If you don't vote, go sit down and shut up, be seen and not heard.

  30. ronzie Says:

    If you want to make USians feel good about electing your candidates, promise them jobs. Not "welfare", not "assistance", not "relief", not "entitlements", not "retraining", but JOBS! Jobs that pay enough that a single-wage earner family can live a decent "middle class" existence, even if that wage earner dropped out of high school. That's what we had from shortly after 7 December 1941 up until around the mid to late 70's. That's the U.S. that Trump promised to bring back when he said he'd "make America great again". It wasn't utopia; women and minorities didn't have it great, but things got better as time went by and people had a reasonable hope that it would continue getting better. Now they just pray it doesn't get too much worse.

    Of course, Trump is either lying about bringing back those kind of jobs or he's a complete fucking moron, but it could be done. We just need to incentivize U.S. companies to act like patriots instead of greedy assholes and quit moving jobs to slave-labor countries like China. What kind of incentives? You lazy bastards want me to give you ALL the answers? Figure it out for yourselves! ;)

  31. Safety Man! Says:

    @ Katydid

    I’m sorry, but O’Malley let his successor be beaten by a Republican in Maryland, of all places, I highly doubt he is the one to lead the party forward.

  32. Scott Stiefel Says:

    Good point, but I think your long track record of seething misanthropy and loud condescension towards so much of the US makes it obvious that you're not going to be anywhere close to the answer. Your conclusion makes me think that you know that yourself, so the only thing left to do is try to redirect anyone who wants out of the swamp of self-serving snark towards someone who's better at doing it than most of us.
    I'll still keep coming here because I love reading your burns and I don't think I'm much better in that regard.

  33. Tim H. Says:

    I don't know that the jobs can come back, even automated ones. The investor clique can't work out a Venn diagram of employees and customers has a lot of overlap and they can't count on some other dumb bastard paying the wages that finance sales. Welcome to climax stage capitalism, where the hard lessons about failure cascades happen.
    Do vote, even if it's a lesser evil, vote, lefties are the only slim chance of surviving this Charlie Foxtrot.

  34. Mo Says:

    Re-reading some of the comments…

    Those of you condescending Bernie Sanders for offering a true left option should join another party.

    I've already joined a non-Bernie party, have in fact been a member for a long time now.
    I'm a Democrat.

  35. Mo Says:

    Periscope: I like the cut of your jib.

    Am currently reading The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science, and How Mathematicians Took Over the Markets by Paul Wilmott, David Orrell.

    Hmmmm…..

  36. Mo Says:

    Periscope:

    Mike Konczal comment today on the tax bill:
    Piketty and Saez, along with Berkeley’s Gabriel Zucman, recently concluded. “The upsurge of top incomes was first a labor income phenomenon but has mostly been a capital income phenomenon since 2000,” they noted in a paper updating the data through 2014. Since then, income growth within the top 1 percent has accrued to people who make their money from owning money, stock, and other financial instruments, rather than to people who make their money via skills and labor.

    Reading The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science, and How Mathematicians Took Over the Markets by Paul Wilmott, David Orrell.

    Someone who's more of a smarty pants than I am ought to be able to connect those two dots in a manner that loots the 1% and make them rue the day.

  37. anotherbozo Says:

    You remind me of the difference in personality, telegenics and affect between Judge Roy Moore and the Democrat Doug Jones. Moore makes me "feel" as though he's a man of conviction, dedication and common sense. Jones seems weak, indecisive—the kind of person who might be "soft" on crime.

    Facts? Who needs facts? I have feelings.

  38. Aurora S Says:

    The pathos will always “win” over the logos, even if the logos is correct. Basic rhetoric 101 shit. ‘Truthiness’ is why HRC can win 3 debates and Dolt45 still “wins” (even though he didn’t actually say anything at all). The Left just needs to learn how to manipulate better. Just once I’d like to hear a politician refute some Republican bullshit with, “I know that ‘feels’ true, but [insert ample factual evidence as to why they’re wrong here]. This is not about your feelings. Stop making this about your delicate fucking feelings.”

    My boss operates his whole life based on his “gut”. He refuses to crunch numbers and bases all of his business decisions on what feels true, rather than actually doing any real work. Needless to say, he’s failing miserably an hemorrhaging money, but relying on his white mediocrity (and other shoo-in factors) is all he really cares to do. He considers himself “hardworking” (just ask him!) while being too fucking lazy to just obtain and consider simple facts. It very probably has been compounded by being afraid that facts will tell him he’s been wrong all along and he’d rather double-down than admit a mistake. He blames the entire country’s ills on POC (and feminists, liberals, Jews, etc), that they’re the reason he’s not a millionaire. Of fucking course he’s found Trump as his personal lord and savior. This is what we’re up against.

  39. Aurora S Says:

    My mom is a real estate agent; you wouldn’t believe some of the stories she tells me about neurotic people and what they do with their money. There’s something very primal about it—money is emotional for people.

  40. Camembert Says:

    I joined my local UU church. They seem very nice, and I keep getting opportunities to work with folks who've had success.

  41. Camembert Says:

    @Mo, but why the hell would anyone still appear lousy on camera? Being good on camera — or at least mediocre — is just a straight-up learned skill. We can do better. Why don't we?

  42. MS Says:

    The reason why Democrats don't say anything inspirational to the public is not because they don't understand politicking. It's because to do so will alienate their corporate sponsors.

    To wit: the average Democrat politician understands perfectly well that railing against big banks is a very popular position. And the second they do so, the Democratic leadership will be calling them onto the carpet and telling them that they're endangering X million in funding for the next election. Repeat with most issues.

    Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America because he ignores that. The Democrats have a popularity similar to Charles Manson but at least the money is still coming in.

  43. Katydid Says:

    @MS "Democrat politician" gave you away.

    And Bernie Sanders is certainly not the most popular politician in America. He wasn't even the most popular politician in the Democratic Party. Because he's not a Democrat; just someone who leeched of the party's money. What does that say about your idol that your hated Democratic party still have more money coming in than Bernie?

  44. Nunya Says:

    The strongest of all emotions is fear. The ultra-wealthy have lost all sense that a population that sees nothing but continual decline will, at some point, rise up against them and strip them of everything up to, and including, their lives and their progeny.

    I remain convinced that a re-establishment of a fair deal that rewards all stake-holders in enterprise is still possible. I believe that a return to focus on class differences and that exposing a clearly unlevel playing field is the best chance of uniting the working class into demanding a fair piece of the pie.

    The current "divide and conquer" mentality of the Democratic Party which is so hyper-focused on racial and gender divides instead of focusing on what unites us as human beings is a giant step in the wrong direction.

    We can become tribal and circle the wagons behind our own unique problems or we can assemble an army of those that share common grievances and demand, as a unified voting block, that those common grievances be addressed.

    Dividing into smaller and smaller factions and demanding absolute fealty to ideological purity is the surest possible way to see a consolidation of power and wealth into the hands of a very few.

  45. Jestbill Says:

    @jcdenton Says: Yeah, honesty works. Republicans always win over dumbass Democrats pretending to be Republican light.

    @ronzie: yer an idjit. Jobs are not coming back. Jobs are not coming back. Jobs are not coming back. Jobs are not coming back.
    Production will come back, but jobs are not coming back.
    Promises of more jobs are LIES and will be punished.

  46. Camembert Says:

    Katydid: primary's over, you got Trump elected. Let it go.

  47. Nunya Says:

    Periscope,

    I like your idea of a "put your money where your mouth is" takeover of health insurance companies.

    The more I see the Federal government's inability to deal with anything, the more I see a path forward in local government or perhaps forming mutual-aid societies that existed before we had a comprehensive welfare state.

    What I don't see being effective over the short to medium term is waiting for the government to come to our rescue. Our polarization as a nation shows no sign of letting up. Perhaps it will be up to the states and even cities to become laboratories to prove what can work in smaller localities.

    Perhaps a return to walled city-states is in the cards.

  48. jcdenton Says:

    @Jestbill

    The issue isn't Democrats, the issue is Independents. Trump was perfectly honest when he expressed his hatred for minorities, "bipartisanship", facts, mainstream Republicans and other now-discarded political niceties. If you'd like to win some independents (now a larger voting block than either party), you may want to honestly propose some major changes that aren't about simply "not being the Nazis". Again, Democrats who are just capitalists dressed up in slightly more progressive clothing are only slightly better than capitalists openly working for their lords and masters.

  49. smdh Says:

    Did you know that nobody cares that senator sanders was not in the democratic party?

  50. Katydid Says:

    Well, I see the children are back from Thanksgiving vacation. Interesting how St. Bernie mostly appeals to trolls and young white men…or do I repeat myself?

  51. Katydid Says:

    @Ronzie; those great-paying jobs for high-school dropouts you were praising were mostly in manufacturing, and that's been off-shored for decades. Trump's not bringing them back; the 1% he panders to made their fortunes off the back of foreign labor paid sub-slave wages to make stuff for USAians to consume.

  52. Katydid Says:

    @Anotherbozo; Moore has always given off a creepy vibe, even back when he was a judge breaking Constitutional law. When I see him, I see a kiddie-diddler.

  53. Nunya Says:

    @Katydid – Do you think you're converting young, white men to your way of thinking by using that term like an epithet?

  54. smdh Says:

    she can't handle that st hillary failed, so she looks people to blame who aren't st hillary

  55. Katydid Says:

    @Nunya, just speaking the truth–after all, a common complaint about the Democrats is that they're not speaking clearly. I see I stung the trolls. And let's face it, who's so desperately and deludedly insisting the Bernie Sanders hung the moon? Young white men.

  56. Katydid Says:

    @smdh, obviously people cared that Sanders wasn't in the Democratic Party, because the majority of the registered Democratic voters didn't vote for him.

  57. democommie Says:

    @ Nunya, smdh and other folks upthread.

    I doubt very much that Katydid is attempting to convert anyone. She, I and some other people are going to continue to do what we've been doing for about (for me) the last 45 years, supporting people who have a chance of getting elected that will fuck us slower and with less efficiency than the current ruling party–and make no mistake, they are not administering or guiding, they are fucking well ruling by divine fiat. They give not the slightest fuck what anyone but their corporate sponsors think.

    Quick, find out who the last influential Senaturd or Congrifterman from the GOP.O.S. was who initiated or openly supported a bill that actually aimed at helping people outside of his constituents (and those are only the people who voted for him) in HIS state or district.

    Ted Kennedy, LBJ,Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Bob Kerrey, Howard Metzenbaum, Stewart Udall, Mo Udall, Howard Dean, Shirley Chisholm, Andrew Young, Mario Cuomo, Pat Moynihan, Michael Dukakis–those are pretty much off the top of my head. All of those guys and several hundred other democrats at the national level and several thousands at the state and local level are the reason we still have fucking unions, some half-assed form of a national health insurance program (which is being destroyed as we speak by the death of a thousand funding cuts) access to birth control, nevermind abortion, hot meals in schools for those who don't get them at home, integration of schools, government and the workplace. There's a shitload more that those fucking traitors have done for you that you seem to think just fucking happened.

    Here's the thing, you want to blame them for having a tin ear and taking the dime of the oligarch? They do it because the electorate doesn't do a FUCKING thing except complain between election cycles. NOBODY ran from any party except the various iterations of Teabaggists'R'Us in the most recent elections here. Nobody. The democratic committee meetings are barely attended and there's no chance that a change will occur from the top down.

    I have asked, dozens of times on this blog and several others as well as in meatworld, "WHO are your candidates?". I have heard NOTHING from anyone. The local college republican contingent are Lexus driving Hitleryouth lite and they ARE the face of young politics.

    If you're going to piss and moan about how bad things are and not offer ONE concrete proposal for effecting change, send us your home address so we can mail your "Carrstone Award–for sanctimonious, divisive bloviating in support of your own ego.". I've got a truck full of ready to go.*

    @ small minded dick head:

    Go fuck yourself, asshole.

    * except the truck hasn't been on the road in about 4 years, so they won't be hand delivered.

  58. Nunya Says:

    Katydid,

    I'm really glad that you have the pulse of an entire gender and race. That's truly a magical power and in no way the definition of bigotry. Thank God you're on our side.

  59. smdh Says:

    St Hillary wasn't electable. She failed. Your golden unicorn failed. You failed.

    So much for electable.

    Why can't you figure this out?

    Shaking my damn head.

  60. MS Says:

    Hillary-bots like Katydid are hilarious. Just to be clear: Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America, *by far*. It's not even close. If you compare him to Hillary, literally every demographic group in America prefers Sanders to Clinton. Young people prefer Sanders; old people prefer Sanders. Men prefer Sanders, women prefer Sanders. Whites prefer Sanders to Clinton, and so do Blacks and Hispanics. Every ethnicity prefers Sanders to Clinton.

    College grads prefer Sanders; no college prefers Sanders.

    Rich people prefer Sanders; poor people prefer Sanders.

    Rich old white Democratic women prefer Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton. Shit, I even think Clinton herself prefers Sanders.

    So yeah, Katydid, you got Trump elected and now you have to live with the shame. But you could try to learn something from it. How about supporting an actual popular candidate next time around? Or do we have to do this all over again, with the Democratic establishment supporting some neoliberal corporate tool and telling everyone to fall in line OR ELSE?

  61. Mo Says:

    Virtual high five, Katydid.

    Now we know why Bernie supporters are nicknamed Bernie-bros.

    Meanwhile, who's running – and winning – in local elections? Such as Virginia, for example.

  62. defineandredefine Says:

    At the folks who are going on about "Hillary couldn't win – we know cause she didn't" –

    Alright look, I'm not a fan of Hillary. At all. But, well, in November we were where we were and the choice, to me, was very clear – corruption, or corruption married to unspeakable incompetence, narcissism and (I would argue) low to mid level sociopathy. You can work with the corrupted, but I know from personal experience that personality disordered folks don't change, ESPECIALLY at that age.

    As such, I would ask the lot of you – a) did you vote? b) did you vote for president? c) who did you vote for?

    That last question is especially important in as much as at least one of you made a statement to the effect that folks like Katydid put trump in office. However, if you didn't vote or you voted 3rd party or wrote in Bernie, you're at least as responsible, because you couldn't be bothered to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good (or less bad, as the case may be). If that is indeed the case, I guess you're welcome to your moral convictions, but I'm glad that I can say I cast a vote solidly against the man who painted crosshairs on my back. Again, the choice in November was quite clear.

    Further, with respect to MS's last post re: the popularity of Bernie across all sectors of society (apparently), first – [citation needed]. And second, yeah, maybe. Hell, I'll grant you that I certainly preferred him to HRC (voted for him in the primaries, in fact). And yeah, maybe some of that is because HRC is pretty fucking centrist at best, and pretty fucking corporate/establishment/etc as well. But do you think that maybe some of why that is (and indeed why she lost to trump as well) is because there has been a concerted effort (mainly on the right, but increasingly on the far left as well) to paint her as fucking evil incarnate? An effort that has been ongoing for almost 30 years? That shit started in the 90's shortly after bill was sworn in. I heard it on talk radio in the late 90's literally every day. I'm gonna wager that probably had at least a little bit to do with it.

    And lastly, I don't even know why this is still a topic of conversation. It's fucking November 2017. We are as fucked as we are. I don't think we should make it worse by arguing this long after the fact about who could win against trump.

  63. Tim H. Says:

    FWIW, voted Bernie in the primary, Hillary in the general election. I feel the country needs a change of direction* and while Hillary was attentive to the needs of The Money, she's got a spine, might have won without voter suppression. Might be useful to discard "Conservative" and "Liberal" in political terminology, instead use a sliding scale with "Service to constituents" at one end and "Service to campaign donors" at the other and judge candidates by where they draw the line.
    *Forty years of conservatism is enough (Yes, I'm including Carter, there's a reason he had so little cooperation with Congress.) time for a change.

  64. greatlaurel Says:

    @MajorKong, @Katydid and @democommie

    Very well done. Misogyny, religious intolerance and racism are all toxic to democracy. However, the most effective poisons of all are cynicism and despair. White men, especially younger white men, are extremely susceptible to these poisons which are so beguiling.

    White men of all socioeconomic classes are bathed in privilege from the day they are born. It is quite a shock to many white male egos to find they really are not special and are considered to be no better than and just as disposable as the girls and people of color by the powerful. This shock is what makes the poisons of racism, misogyny and religious intolerance so very palatable. Fortunately, many white males, to their great credit, catch on to the manipulation and embrace their equality with their brothers and sisters and join, in solidarity, the fight for freedom and equality for all.

    Tragically, too many white males and white women, fall prey to the siren songs of propaganda and privilege spewing from the religious fanatics, fascists, GOP, Putin and Bernie bros even though their ideas have all been shown to be just ashes that have been scraped out of the dustbins of history. These ashes are being tossed into the gears of progress to the detriment of all.

    The mewlings of these trolls and fools is taxing, but has to combated. The NYTimes has demonstrated that combating this garbage will depend on the intelligence and resolve of individuals like MajorKong, Katydid and democommie.

    It is good to see that Ed is getting such a good following that he is even getting visits from the Russian propaganda bots now. Good job, Ed. Just don't let those neurotoxins of cynicism and despair paralyze your thinking. Freedom and equality take constant vigilance and hard work to create and keep for the next generation.

  65. greatlaurel Says:

    By the way, all this baloney about Hillary Clinton is just misogynistic rewriting of history. Hillary Clinton was one of the most progressive senators when she served in the Senate and she ran on the most progressive platform ever put forth by the Democratic Party for the general election. Perhaps that is why she lost? Too liberal?

    As First Lady and as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was an outspoken defender of women's rights as well as many other issues too numerous to state here.

    She won the popular vote by 3 million votes. She was only defeated thanks to relentless and unscrupulous attacks from the Russians and the GOP, The exit polling did not match the results in several states which allowed the notorious red shift in voting machines along with unprecedented voter suppression to steal the election for a Russian stooge. The Trump cabinet is dismantling the US federal government in very short order. Tillerson is destroying the State Department. Mnuchin and Pruitt are a nightmare. Coal miners are dying a much higher rates since Trump took office, too. So much for looking out for those miners. Sure there are going to be new coal mining jobs, to replace all the ones that get killed on the job.

  66. greatlaurel Says:

    Bernie might not be as popular if he released his full tax returns and he was actually fully vetted as a candidate.

    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/04/clinton_releases_tax_return_al.html

  67. Heim Says:

    Hope is not required to persevere.
    Facts do not matter.
    More than 40 years ago at UICC I took a course in which one of the references was "Figures can lie and Liars can figure".

  68. Dave Dell Says:

    @greatlaurel

    "Bernie bros". Your use of this makes me skeptical of the rest of what you write similarly to the use of "St. Bernie".

    Here's a good read. Quite a bit rosier than my thoughts but…

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/11/socialists-are-winning-the-battle-of-ideas

  69. geoff Says:

    "I don't believe that everything is hopeless, but I do believe that this is not an argument the left is losing because it lacks sufficient data and supporting evidence." (Ed)

    Welp, since I spent the night tossin' and turnin' thinking about neoliberalism, it occurs to me that since the DLC/ Clinton/ Gore/ Rubin takeover of the Democratic Party in the late '80s, in terms of economic policy on a national (and more importantly maybe, international) level, there has effectively not BEEN a left party in US politics. Sure, Clinton talked a good game about environmental protection and job retraining and "more jobs for everybody" in the wake of NAFTA, but we all saw how that worked out. The elimination of Depression-era banking regulations was going to unleash innovation and spark investment, but instead crashed the economy. After which Obama gave us austerity and foreclosures.

    So I can understand why the Dems keep losing: people just don't believe what they say anymore in terms of what should be their main issue, broadly based economic prosperity. It no longer has anything to do with complexity or wonkiness. And I say that as someone who's been a registered Democratic voter for over thirty years.

  70. geoff Says:

    @DC, that was a fine rant upthread : )

  71. HoosierPoli Says:

    Great to see that the left is still tearing itself to shreds over marginalia.

    Hillary Clinton is not and has never been particularly good at politics. She's reviled by the right in a way that is not easily explicable, and alienated a lot of the Obama wing of the party in 08.

    She also won the fucking election. More people liked her. SUBSTANTIALLY more. Our system is stupid as fuck so she didn't actually become president, but still, any Grand Unified Theory of Trump has to account for the fact that the dude lost by three million votes and squeaked into office by a margin of 70,000 spread over three states.

    My point is, these "massive shortcomings" we're all freaking out about are mostly in our own heads. Why are Democrats leading generic ballot races by 20 points and turning Trump districts blue across the board if everyone hates us? If we have no bench and no message why did Ralph Northam stomp the living shit out of Trump wannabe in "purple" Virginia? The Republican House has passed two of the most unpopular bills in modern political history in the past six months in a total reversal of essentially every promise they ever made…do you think voters won't respond to that?

    You're never as good as you seem when you're winning, and you're never as bad as you seem when you're losing. Focus your energy on registering some voters and worry about 2020 in 2019.

  72. Dave Dell Says:

    Personally, while I did vote for Sec. Clinton – I think her highly paid speeches at Goldman Sachs, etc. were quite telling of why she received lukewarm support in those swing states that went from Obama to the current President.

  73. Safety Man! Says:

    Agreed, between Roy Moore and Charlottesville it should be stupid easy for Dems to win, but I think the greater point that Ed was making is that despite all that and more, for decades now, the GOP has still quite handily won races across the board.

    With all the gerrymandering and disenfranchisement going on, it’s basically all hands on deck for the next few elections. I need you all to focus and stay with me here, I don’t care if Robert E Lee’s zombified corpse is the candidate, vote Democrat. In the past I have swung and voted R if I felt the D candidate was overly corrupt, but this is a luxury I no longer have.

  74. Mo Says:

    As to the Republican party still being in control, let us recollect that they've been working at taking over since the 1960s. Half a century.

    Hoping the worm has turned and that it won't take liberal progressives a half century to get back into the driver's seat.

  75. jcastarz Says:

    Extreme trends eventually tend to correct themselves.

    The GOP is screwing the sheep, and then heavily arming those exact same sheep via the 2nd amendment. Excuse me while I step outside to stock up on popcorn… this game could go into extra innings.

  76. Major Kong Says:

    "Extreme trends eventually tend to correct themselves."

    Technically true, but not always in a good way.

    Extreme driving, for example, is usually corrected by a head-on collision.

  77. jcastarz Says:

    @Major Kong: You are quite correct – as always!

  78. Dave Dell Says:

    Safety – As I drove past my local Planned Parenthood Clinic this morning I was reminded how single issue political I've become. I will vote for a Democratic candidate but unless they are openly pro-choice they will get neither my money or my volunteer time.

  79. Katydid Says:

    @GreatLaurel; fabulous, on all points. I think it's particularly significant that the entitled white male-children are absolutely losing their shit and carrying on like a bunch of howler monkeys…because their preferred candidate didn't win. That's the bottom line; he joined the Democratic Party only to get access to their funds, and the majority of Democrats didn't choose him for the primary. That's all it takes to send them over the edge, as we saw around election time when they were proud of voting for Trump, because cutting off their noses to spite their face would really SHOW US, now wouldn't it?!?

    The misogyny on display is very telling. Hillary Clinton gave speeches! FOR MONEY! ZOMG, she's a witch, burn her!!! Eleventy!!11!! No other candidate in the history of the US has ever given speeches for money!

  80. Matt_L Says:

    Ed,

    Your comments section is even more depressing than the original post. Every other comment is about re-litigating the 2016 Democratic Primary. I don't care. Its entirely likely that neither HRC or Sanders is going to be running for President in 2020. It might not even matter because of the power of the incumbent.

    You are right, wonkery is not enough. But there are no good solutions. The Democratic Party has done well to win the Presidency, and occasionally congress, because the GOP has blown it up. Then the country comes to its senses and allows the Dems 18 months to pick up the pieces before they hand it back to the GOP to burn the whole shit house down again. Whats the fucking use?

  81. Dave Dell Says:

    Katydid – In my opinion the speeches were a factor. You might disagree. I don't think it was the only thing but it certainly didn't help her.

    Sen. Sanders is not the one who lost the last Presidential election. Sen. Sanders is not the reason thousands of local offices have turned rethuglican. Sen. Sanders is not the person that's currently writing that horrendous tax bill. Sen. Sanders is not the one who's filling the judicial vacancies with pro-life wackadoodles.

    I'd like to urge you to get over it. It's high time we had a woman President. It's high time half the State and Local Offices were held by women. It's high time half the House and Senate were pro-choice women. But casting aspersions on your allies turns you into a troll.

  82. Nunya Says:

    GreatLaurel and Katydid,

    Congratulations on the sisterhood fist bump and mutual admiration society Isn't it just wonderful that you've managed to break down all of society's ills and place the blame firmly on those oppressive white male shitlords who, through inherited original sin, can be righteously hung from the gallows to avenge the sins of their forefathers.

    Of course, if they're willing to perform self-flagellation and atone for sins that they did not commit themselves and take their rightful places as your obedient, but silent, servants you may allow them to continue to live in the world that you now dominate.

    Just how far do you think that is going to go? What end do you think will be realized when a substantial portion of the population realizes that there are completely different expectations and obligations for white men based on nothing but their race and gender?

    I can assure you that it's not going to end with them backing candidates that hate them.

    I considered myself a lifelong feminist until about three years ago. I had a lifetime of experience that demonstrated that women and minorities are strong and capable. What you champion, however, is a culture that champions victimhood above all else. While I have sympathy for victims, I don't believe that has anything to do with wisdom or ability to lead

    I'm calling both of you out as bigots. Your hatred of white men based on nothing but your assumptions should be met with the same resistance and condemnation reserved for Neo-Nazis.

    You are just as bad. Your thinking is just as indefensible. You are just as tainted. The backlash isn't going to be pretty and you are both responsible for it.

  83. old white person Says:

    @Greatlaurel

    Thank-you, I couldn't have said it better myself.

    I can't believe we're still arguing about this.

  84. democommie Says:

    @ Great Laurel:

    Awesome!

    @ Katydid and the rest of you who have realistic expectations of your politicians:

    I'm not getting into the "Coulda, shoulda, woulda's" about Hillary. She fought for a lot of shit that some people obviously feel is unimportant–that's their privilege. Bernie Sanders, also obviously, is telling them exactly what they want to hear. It's especially easy for them to say what he WOULD have done.

    @ Major Kong:

    I remember when I was in the USAF I used to look at those monthly reports on aircraft accidents and see a number of them every year where a guy took a fighter into the ground, tail first, at one of the gunnery ranges (Zaragoza, Spain–IIRC correctly) trying to climb out of a too steep, high speed dive.

    @ Nunya:

    You sound like a guy who backed a slow horse because the jockey told him it was a sure thing.

    Feel free to joing small minded dick head in going and fucking yourselves.

  85. Dave Dell Says:

    After a bit of leaf raking I thought I should clarify my comment to Katydid about "Allies".

    Whether Katydid likes it or not Sen. Sanders is her ally. The "Bernie Bros" who liked "St. Bernie" in the Democratic Primary are her allies. Sen. Sanders, in my opinion, has done more lately to energize the Democratic Party than anyone else and I include President Obama in that statement.

    Currently, I'm tired, and discouraged with all the fund raising letters I get that say "Give me money and vote for me because you should be afraid of the Republicans". I'd rather they'd tell me, or better yet show me where they stand on the issues that are important to me – pro-choice, living wage, health care for everyone, de-militarize the police, stop the endless unwinnable wars, etc.

    I say this as a third generation Union guy (Steward and then Chief Steward of my local Chapter). A geezer who's Democratic allegiances are to the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party ever since I followed – as an eight year old – Adlai Stevenson's second run for the Presidency. A guy who volunteered and went to Vietnam 'cause that's what a patriot is supposed to do – what did I know, I was 17 – and now I show off my Vietnam Veterans Against the War patch. A Planned Parenthood patient escort who was asked not to show up again because I was too confrontational and the patients didn't need the chaos (PP was probably right). Someone who's held my nose and voted for Democrats even though I thought they did not represent my interests because the alternative was, essentially, unthinkable.

    All I'm really saying is that this will be a struggle for the rest of my life and, most likely, through the life of my grand-daughters children's life.

    Are we capable of rationally governing ourselves? Sadly, echo answers mournfully..I do know that name calling will not help.

  86. Katydid Says:

    @DaveDell; do you know who the candidate was who lost the last election? Donald Trump, by about 3 million votes. Even with the petulant BernieBros and the Russian interference and the GOP tossing Democratic voters off the roles right and left, that wasn't enough for Donald Trump to get the most votes.

    @Dave, Nunya, and the rest of the trolls; it's astounding the projection you're putting out–like a thousand IMAXes. It's really hilarious reading your self-righteous wails that St. Bernie would have saved us all, only…only…only… (insert lame excuse here).

    Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee. I voted for her. Too bad so many of you couldn't have manned up and done the same, because now we're stuck with the lunatic who's currently busy insulting Native American war heroes and tweeting out insults right and left. Great job, you guys!

  87. Katydid Says:

    @DaveDell; please try to read for comprehension; I never said anything about allies. And please don't try to explain to me what you believe I believe; that's simply insulting as well as being wrong.

    Had Bernie Sanders won the nomination, I would have voted for him because he's better than Trump. But he *didn't* win the nomination, and I'm not the one gnashing their teeth and wailing about it; he wasn't my preferred candidate for his financial questionability and his outright disregard for issues dealing with women and children. Obviously the more childish Bernie fans on this site weren't mature enough to vote in their best interests and persist in fantasizing that a man who couldn't even win his party's nomination would have won a national election. The poutrage on this topic is just stunning, and only proves GreatLaurel's point about white male privilege; if they don't get exactly what they want, they throw tantrums.

  88. Katydid Says:

    @Old white person; I agree with you; it's astounding we're still talking about it. I think the problem lies in the fact that nobody's rolling over for the trolls and saying, "you're right, you're right, you're the bestest and smartest and coolest and just soooo special and we're sooo sorry we didn't kiss your asses sufficiently to mollify you earlier!"

  89. Ten Bears Says:

    There should be a variant on Godwin's Law to account for Bernie Bashers.

  90. Nunya Says:

    @Katydid,

    I find it hilarious that you describe anyone who doesn't agree with you as a troll. You're entire existence is predicated on being nothing but a cult member and religious devotee to your own dogma.

    You are incapable of responding to an argument and unable to defend your own position because you operate on blind faith. It takes very little to shred your arguments and place you solidly in the unreachable zealot camp.

    @Democommie,

    You have become the Cousin Eddie of Gin and Tacos. You're not very bright, you're not very funny, and you insist on blaming everyone for your lot in life. I think I'll take my advice from someone a little less pathetic.

  91. fladem Says:

    A good article.

    What I think Democrats are poor at understanding is the visceral nature of politics. A classic example is the Clinton Education Plan, which was so complicated no one could explain it. It was fundamentally useless politically. It was, I am sure, the product of very well educated wonks. And it was well intended.

    I worked in Iowa for the Caucuses. I had a drink one night with some friends before the Caucus who were on both sides. Bernie was for free public education. The phrase explains the policy, but also encompasses the moral argument for it. The Sanders canvassers I knew talked about it on the doorstop. That night we – Sanders and Clinton people – laughed at the idea of trying to explain the Clinton proposal on the doorstep.

    It's like the public option – which is a wonk word. What we mean is a Medicare buy-in, which again explains the policy in the definition.

  92. Some guy on the Internet Says:

    OK! Enough with the Hillary/Bernie stuff, I'm sick of it!

    Getting back to the original post… I think the big game changer would be for the Dems to have an alternative to Fox News… we need to trash the GOP brand as relentlessly as they trash ours…

  93. Katydid Says:

    LOL, Nunya; more projection? "You're entire existence is predicated on being nothing but a cult member and religious devotee to your own dogma."

    …Pssst–it's "your", not "you're"… I'm not the one getting hysterical over their love of a candidate; I listened to both candidates, and preferred one over the other. As for "free public education"…Bernie had NO IDEA how he would enact this. It was just empty words to get the emotional-but-not-thinking people to like him.

    Hillary Clinton's plan, from her own website (Google is your friend!). Please tell us which of the two-syllable words are too hard for you and we'll help you. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/college/:

    *Every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt. By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities. And from the beginning, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition.
    * All community colleges will offer free tuition.
    Everyone will do their part. States will have to step up and invest in higher education, and colleges and universities will be held accountable for the success of their students and for controlling tuition costs.
    A $25 billion fund will support historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions in building new ladders of opportunity for students.
    I The one-quarter of all college students who are also parents will get the support they need and the resources they deserve.

  94. Katydid Says:

    As opposed to Bernie, who had no idea how to fund an education plan, Hillary Clinton's plan included:

    Fully paid for: This plan will be fully paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.

    (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/college/ )

  95. Nunya Says:

    Katydid,

    Please point out any place where I ever mentioned Bernie? I voted for Hillary not as my first choice but because I'm not phychotic.

    I mentioned your hatred for and blame of white men for everything.

    That is the only thing you have. Men are shit but you demand that they fix everything for you.

    Not this guy. Try somewhere else.

  96. Major Kong Says:

    I like Bernie. I still don't think that he would have won. I think it would have been Nixon/McGovern or Reagan/Dukakis all over again.

    Obviously Hillary didn't win either. So we'll never know.

    I may not be the best indicator since I was a moderate Republican who crossed over to the Democrats when the GOP went batshit insane.

  97. fladem Says:

    Katydid – This:
    "Every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt. By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities. And from the beginning, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition."

    Is the agreement reached at the convention. It is taken from Bernie's plan – it's not her original plan. Her modification was to limit it to those making under 125K.

    Bernie funded it through a tax on Wall Street. It was largely paid for – though I would note the total cost is less than the increase in defense spending in the first Trump budget.

    Clinton says in her book her proposals were often too complicate.

    You are picking a fight that really isn't about Bernie vrs. Hillary.

  98. Nunya Says:

    Bernie understood the resistance to democratic socialism in America. He knows that the middle class sees very few tangible benefits to their Federal tax dollar.

    Why would a child born to parents earning over $125,000/year not be included in state sponsored college tuition? Their parents are not obligated to pay for their adult child's education. No such means test exists for K-12.

    If a middle earner signs up for Obamacare and realizes they're not receiving any tax dollars to support their enrollment while others who earn less are almost entirely covered, where's the motivation to support it?

    If you send your kids to daycare and spend $1500/month but another parent only spends $50, it's difficult not to wonder just what the hell you're getting for your tax dollars.

    The reason why Western Europe is largely pleased with their social welfare systems is that everyone gets something tangible in return. You can choose to pay for a private version but the programs are still available if you choose to use them.

    We may all want to think that we're altruistic but when you are cut off from any benefit to a system that requires you to pay a substantial part of your income, it's a natural human emotion to wonder why.

    If we promised to take on health care for all citizens and relieve business of the burden of providing it, we have to include every citizen in that program. The same applies for Social Security.

    Who paid more for the dish at a pot luck matters a lot less if you were invited in the first place.

  99. Aurora S Says:

    @greatlaurel:

    THANK YOU. I was fucking waiting for someone to mention the fact that if HRC was so unpopular, and so much less so than Sanders, why the hell did she win the popular vote? By 3 million votes, no less? *More Americans voted for her than any other candidate*. Trump “won” on a fucking technicality—via the Electoral College. FULL. FUCKING. STOP.

    @democommie:

    Everything you said x1000.

    @Katydid:

    The white boys think that just because Sanders was the most popular candidate among all of their friends, it’s true for the whole goddamn universe. “Liking” someone doesn’t mean a damn. So fucking what if I “like” them? “Are they fucking qualified for the job?” “Will they get that job done?” These are the operable questions. Popularity means fuck all after you graduate from high school, adults should know this.

    Though they also have the privilege of shit not really affecting them too badly if Trump and the GOP get their way. If the GOP’s policies will not feasibly fuck your life, you can afford masturbatory protest votes or refusing to vote in the name of Purity and righteous indignation. All that’s at stake for them, really, is emotional satisfaction.

  100. democommie Says:

    @ Katydid:

    "Obviously the more childish Bernie fans on this site weren't mature enough to vote in their best interests and persist in fantasizing that a man who couldn't even win the nomination of the party that he voted with, worked with and joined with when it was good for HIM to do so. The party that he was NEVER a member of while in elected office until the numbers people told him that there was no fucking way in hell that he could win a national election WITHOUT them.

    Sorry, that needed a teensy edit.

  101. democommie Says:

    @ Nunya:

    Do you seriously think that I give a fuck what you think of me? If so, I have news for you and other idiot out there who thinks that they are somehow going to rip the reins of power from Trumpligulamygdala's palsied hands NEXT November by whining about what Bernie would have done.

    What state do you live (when you're not in the state of denial)? Who are your Congressional and Senatorial candidates for next year? Who? I know who mine are. They're not republicans and they're not people I never fucking heard of who think that they can beat entrenched political power on the right by further diluting/diffusing the voting power of the non-republicancs.

    I think somebody asked upthread who all of you Bernie supporters voted for–did any of you answer his question?

  102. democommie Says:

    @fladem:

    There is no such thing as "free" anything.

    Bernies proposal was not a proposal, it was demagoguic populism, less hateful but exactly as empty in terms of substance as the rightwing's.

    Hillary Clinton is not my favorite person or even my favorite former Clinton elected official. She was head and shoulder's above anyone on the other side and if not for the skullduggery of the GOP and other parties she might have gotten those 70,000 votes that would have put her about, lemmesee, 3,000,070 votes over the Orange A-hole.

  103. Nunya Says:

    Demicommie,

    It's not that you don't care what I think about you, it's that no one respects you or what you think. You have become a professional asshole who would slit his best friend's throat for some attention.

    I live in the bluest of blue places. My vote doesn't matter other than in local elections. You, on the other hand, can stop relishing being a pedantic prick and maybe change things for the better where you live.

  104. greatlaurel Says:

    @Katydid, @democommie and @aurora, they just keep proving all our points over and over by the drivel they post. Some of it has to be the problem of English as a second language using auto-interpreter software that really fails to pick up some subtleties. Of course, if they work for Putin or the GOP, they have to hit the required propaganda points. Some are just wedded to their misogyny. Their fragility is truly sad for them. The vast majority of the men I grew up around and know now are just not that insecure to desperately need to look down on women or people of color. It was not til I started working did I run into these fragile men. A few will grow up, but many are of the same mindset that LBJ spoke of.

    I think about how how daunting ending slavery and getting women’s suffrage had to be. It has not been that long ago when every pregnancy was just as likely to end in death. They persisted, so we must.

  105. Nunya Says:

    greatlaurel,

    Please enlighten us. What points were proven? That you're a bigot? That you believe in a fictitious boogeyman? That you think you are oppressed?

    It's not a Russian bot, people genuinely believe that you are deranged. The evidence is ample.

  106. democommie Says:

    @ Nunya:

    You stupid fuck. I live in Upstate NY. I live in a purple city in a deeply red county in a blue state.

    I vote for democrats because nobody else that runs who ISN'T a teabaggist has any chance of winning unless they're an incumbent or in one few "safe" wards or districts–and the democrats in those places are still having to fight like hell to keep their seats.

    So, your states all good and you get to vote for Bernie. Good for you. Keep on telling people it's a good idea for a vocal, entitled minority hijack a party who hasn't given YOU what YOU want. That strategy has worked wonders for the GOP and the U.S.

    Your comment tells me that you have NO fucking candidates for office in your area who are not democrats or republicans (or at least any who have a chance of winning a seat).

    Why do you feel it's important to me that YOU respect me? You consistently say incredibly stupid shit about how others should follow your NONEXISTENT prorgram to return the power of governance to the hands of sane people. You have never, afaia, had ONE suggestion for how to actually effect such a change. Why would I crave or even acknowledge the respect of anyone who is such a jerk-off?

    You accuse me, Great Laurel and Katydid of being all sorts of things–based entirely on your dislike, it's very obvious, of Hillary Clinton and the DNC–and yet, when pressed for some details of YOUR plan you have nothing to offer.

    Paper asshole is what people would have called you back in the 80's. It still fits.

  107. templar Says:

    Let's just turn this off now.

  108. seniorscrub Says:

    democommie,
    Just for the records, I respect you and care what you think.
    So you got that going for you…….which is nice.

  109. democommie Says:

    @ seniorscrub:

    Thank you, for that.

    Respect is nice, but disrespect is okay with me, too; makes very little difference whether it's one of the other if it's based only on my agreeing with someone's point of view.

    Most people I actually spend time with know that I'm usually honest and that I'm loyal to ideals and not ideologues.

    At present, the democrats in the House and Senate are outnumbered by Republicans and traitors in their own party who will vote with the R's out of fear or, well, out of fear. They're what I like to refer to as "Whipped Dog Democrats". Politicians are, to me, mostly craven opportunistic asswipes who, if they reach the national stage are pretty thoroughly besotted with the desire to RUN THE FUCKING SHOW while enriching their patrons and themselves. Sad fact, but true.

    The GOP has deliberately and with reckless disregard for the lives of their constituents rigged the game in favor of the ultra wealthy and the ultra KKKonservatives. They purposefully craft legislation to HURT people. Democrats are inept, undisciplined, demoralized and disorganized. They do not as a party deliberately craft bills to fuck me or anyone else out of basic human/civil rights.

    And I'm supposed to throw my support to a guy who's never had the need to be a democrat and yet has relied on them to help him polish his resume with the passage of bills that make him look like a self-less and noble INDEPENDENT?

    Fuck.That.Shit.

    I've been "respected" way less than I've been disrespected; I still get up and live my life.

  110. democommie Says:

    @Templar:

    Why?

  111. Aurora S Says:

    @democommie—

    I think I remember you saying somewhere along the line that whenever Ed brings up a thing that requires action from the Dems on any matter, we get a rehashing of the 2016 DNC primary in the comments. I vote that it shall henceforth be known as “Democommie’s Law Of G&T Pie Fights”.

    I am with Templar here: I think this thread has outlived its usefulness. It’s basically time to step around these guys and leave ‘em in the dust.

    And, if it means anything, I respect you, too. Trolls tend to take a page from the Republican Consensus-Reality Playbook and just repeat “truthy” stark claims that serve their agenda until they have everyone chanting the same words like a squadron of demonic parakeets and poof! It’s the truth now.

  112. Katydid Says:

    @Demo, Aurora, GreatLaurel and MKong, agreed, we're just trying to talk to a wall of sockpuppets all spouting the same Facebook bot memes. Let's let this die.

  113. BLOZAR Says:

    @fladem I really like the discussion of how to convert the wonkery and complex spreadsheets supporting a progressive societal agenda into elegant emotional arguments that define/explain themselves in the labels used to refer to them. That sounds like a productive direction to take towards addressing the problem of facts, truth, and logic are not politically compelling enough to assure victory even when they should be self-evident.

    This discussion of Bernie and Hillary, like every re-hash of 2016, reminds me of a Dr. Seuss story (one I re-read to my baby girl often) The Zax.

    I'm amused at first by the fireworks (h/t @democommie – your iterations of 'fuck you' have satisfying texture and style) but then it drags on back and forth and gets ugly, and potentially dangerous, like a spreading puddle of that cynical neurotoxin @greatlaurel mentions upthread. I ask myself 'who does this help?' The forces of nihilism that's who, the vampire oligarch asymmetrical class-warfare assholes love it when the proles tear each other apart.
    So go ahead and fight for personal catharsis or whatever but keep in mind that after making your initial points about privilege and self-defeating sanctimony you start playing into the hands of your real enemies.

    Good luck.

  114. democommie Says:

    @ Blozar:

    You're absolutely right about taking things in a new direction but, it's the nihilism that's creating the problem.

    It's as if we have a leaky boat (the democratic party) that is moving slowly through the water while some of those aboard pull an oar and some bail. A number of "youngs" or previously politically "I got no time for that shit, they're all same, anyway!" types decide that they can swim faster than the boat is going.

    So, over the side they go. They strike out for that shiny, new horizon and, a day or two later, the boat, still moving slowly, still leaking passes their bloated corpses just as the sharks begin feeding on them. It seems in their haste to be rid of the "olds" and "corrupts" they forgot that the boat was floating due to concerted effort and moving forward for the same reason.

    Do all that exciting new stuff. Do it from the ground up an replace the current democrats with decent, reasonable, honest people.

  115. Nunya Says:

    Demicommie,

    Go back to drinking yourself to death you fucking prick. I'm done wasting time on you.

  116. democommie Says:

    Goodness, for a guy who wants to rule the world, you seem to have a very poor grasp of how it's done.

    The chances of me drinking myself to death are slim to none. The chances of you being in charge of anything other than your fantasy world are zero.

    Please, please, please, please, pleeeeeeeeease be done wasting time with me.

    But, hey, before you go, you might want to take your "Stony" with you. It will be awarded to you and others like you at the annual awards dinner, right after you help the Trumpliguturds complete the phasing out of the United States Experiment in Democratic Governance.

    Since you're leaving early you will have to just take the certificate to the engraver of your choice to have it put on lid of your toilet. The Certificate says:

    "I, (your name here) hereby affirm that I am a member in good standing of the Carrstoners United National Team for whankery and political nihilism and thus fullfill the requirements set forth by our founder in his last known transmission, to wit:

    "I need to make a correction. I have never pretended that I intend to do anything but comment on the absurdity of the progressive delusion. Hence, I don’t think I have ever attempted or proffered solutions."

    Saecula, sacroiliac, sucks to be you.

    Buh-bye.

  117. Nunya Says:

    Demicommie,

    Yawn.

    Like I said before… you're not very smart, you're not very funny.

    No one cares what you have to say from your insignificant swamp shack.

  118. democommie Says:

    And yet you keep coming back.

    Something to take up with your therapist, I suppose.

  119. Mo Says:

    Hm. So, Republicans Must Die and we all need to become AntiFa guerrillas. To the tune of discordant growling and snarling and whining.

    Kinda liked this throw-down policy statement from a Dem actually running for something or other in Pennsylvania, courtesy of Down With Tyranny


    I will fight for the following:
    • To make sure that every American who wants a job will have one that pays enough to support a family and live a good life.
    • To provide excellent education to all Americans through tuition-free public college and quality public school.
    • To pass Medicare-for-All and ensure that every American– no matter how rich or poor– has access to the medical care we need.
    • To treat the Earth as our home and reject pipelines and extractive industries that enrich oil and gas executives while leaving our land and water permanently polluted.
    • To raise the minimum wage because no one who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty.
    • To end the corruption of our politics. We’ll tell the corporate lobbyists and billionaire donors that politicians will not be bought and sold anymore.
    • To take care of our neighbors struggling against the epidemic of opioid addiction and create a path to rehabilitation– not criminalization.
    • To protect undocumented Americans and provide a humane path to citizenship for all who call America home
    • To support Puerto Rico in resolving the debt crisis.

  120. democommie Says:

    @Mo:

    Typical dem pandering by a typical demareasbadasduhGOP pol! He's lying, none of that would happen if he's elected! Hillary undoubtedly behind his campaign..Sad!

    /s

  121. Katydid Says:

    LOL, Demo! isn't it something the way Hillary (and Obama!) was/were simultaneously the most crafty masterminds ever seen *and* totally incompetent?

  122. democommie Says:

    Schroedinger's Master of Evil!

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