WE MUST APPEAL TO IDIOTS

There are bad arguments, and then there are arguments that are offensive and insulting in addition to being bad. James Traub offers up the latter in this widely-circulated piece from The Atlantic this weekend. For those interested in a more complete takedown rapidly written up by Jamelle Bouie, the title of which says everything you need to know about how bad the initial argument is: "Democrats Shouldn't Give In to White Racism." Kinda embarrassing that that needs to be said.

This is nothing new. We have been hearing variants of this argument from within the Democratic Party since the 1960s – "In order to appeal to the majority of whites, we need to be willing to throw minorities under the bus." Ergo, the more the Party does to stand up for the rights of and issues of particular relevance to African-Americans and Hispanics, the more it will push away white voters of the kind who (in Traub's words) inherently see the appeal of a "message of collective responsibility and common purpose." But they also, you know, don't like black people very much.

The last time we saw this strategy in practice – trying to build a white majority by pandering to racist tendencies and throwing minorities in the meat grinder – was during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Despite the near-worship with which many Democrats see him today, there is unequivocal evidence that "Welfare Reform" and "Sentencing Reform," two positions the 1990s Democrats adopted explicitly to steal the GOP's thunder in the never-ending battle to appeal to white reactionaries, have inflicted more pain and suffering on black and Hispanic communities than can adequately be conveyed in this space. Sentencing reform will, from the perch afforded us by history in a few more decades, be recognized as one of the most shameful moments in Democratic politics. And they embraced it willingly in a calculated effort to appeal to the kind of white voter who thinks the problem with this country is that not enough people (wink) are being locked up in prison.

The fundamental flaw in this logic has always been apparent and is never explained. It presupposes some additional value gained from building a *white* majority, as if one white voter is worth more than one vote. It makes even less sense here in 2018 than it did in the mid-90s given our changing demographics to throw the moral high ground in the crapper in a (likely failed) attempt to woo the kind of white voter who wants a social welfare system but is also kinda racist when as an alternative the Party could make a better effort to appeal to the 30% and growing of the electorate that is not white. Rather than, as Traub suggests, dialing back on the ol' equality for all thing in order to appeal to some stereotype of a midwestern blue collar white voter why not, say, try to push up black turnout by a couple percent by going hard on problems with racial disparities in policing and the justice system as a whole? Or maybe try holding out on DACA for more than two days so the nation's millions of Hispanic voters don't feel like the old, white Democratic leadership is always going to sell them out at the first opportunity?

Traub may not be a person who holds racist beliefs. I don't know him. But what he's proposing here is racist on a very fundamental level. It is racist because it implies at every stage of his logic that getting more white people to vote for Democrats is what really matters here. I thought winning elections and having a coherent ideology that differs from the increasingly batshit Republican Party was most important. Everything about recent elections – the huge numbers of eligible non-voters, the changing demographics of the electorate, the disparity in issue preferences between younger and older voters – suggests that there are more votes to be won by taking positions that appeal to the 50-60% of eligible Americans who are not voting than to craft shameful appeals to white "moderates" that require backing down on commitment to full equality for LGBTQ people, African-Americans, immigrants, Latinos, and other marginalized groups that should see the Democratic Party as their natural political home for some reason more compelling than "The GOP is even worse."

It is difficult to say which part of this argument is worse: that someone is proposing that the Democrats throw African-Americans under the bus for the umpteenth time to try to appeal to whites who want stuff from the government but don't like black people, or that even the most cursory look at reality suggests very strongly that it wouldn't work anyway.

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57 thoughts on “WE MUST APPEAL TO IDIOTS”

  • hey wow a racist dude who wants a good social safety net wants the dems to be racist dudes who want good social safety nets how did the magazine of Kevin Williamson ever discover this amazing author

  • It makes me completely insane that literally EVERY strategy except "Let's be actual progressives" is in the hopper for the Dems. Republican Lite has failed us non-stop since 1990. How about we try someone who's willing to stand up for the actual values that Dems/Liberals have? I'm fucking tired of the nay-sayers who feel like pandering to some mythical "I'm super conservative but I'll vote for a Democrat if they appeal to my conservative values enough" voting bloc is the only path to elected office.

  • I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that one of the most potent but undiscussed 'single-issue vote-getters' in this country is racism. Yeah, yeah, you've got your 'Single Issue Gun' voter, your 'Single Issue Abortion' voter, but racism overlaps with all of these (and with plenty on the 'liberal' side of things.)

    I say 'undiscussed' not because nobody talks about racist voters (do we ever!), but because every single Cletus Safari examination of Trump voters (and white voters in general) always tap-dances around that issue, like there's GOT–there's just GOT–to be another, less monstrous explanation for why people vote against their self-interest.

    We hear that a lot–"Why do these people vote against their self-interests?" And we never get the real answer: "Because they're white, and the candidates they vote for actively promote policies that hurt minorities. They're single-issue voters, and that single-issue is 'Fuck 'Em.' Period."

    Articles like this one never, then, get to the root of the dynamic, to wit: strategists who want to win think that they can do so by appealing to racists who will cross party lines if their candidate promises to do enough to injure the lives of minorities. Hence, the proud neo-liberal.

  • "It is difficult to say which part of this argument is worse: that someone is proposing that the Democrats throw African-Americans under the bus for the umpteenth time to try to appeal to whites who want stuff from the government but don't like black people, or that even the most cursory look at reality suggests very strongly that it wouldn't work anyway."

    I mean, I think I know the answer to that, but it's sure a toss-up. If the GOP wants to be stuck in another time that didn't even exist, let them. What are Dems doing trying the same thing?

  • Alice Johnson says:

    Traub's piece is certainly an elaborate and delicate defense of white supremacy dressed up to look like concern. This might be the most elaborate instance of concern trolling I've ever encountered. He is quite skillful at portraying his beliefs as fundamentally liberal while at the same time peppering revealing phrases like "liberals and their minority clients" throughout. What those phrases reveal is that, as the Bouie piece adroitly spotlights, Traub doesn't actually consider Black Americans to be political actors at all. They are "clients", part of a transactional relationship between "liberal elites" and "minorities and the marginalized" wherein it is "liberal elites" who have political autonomy and we marginalized peoples are just props for their All-White Political Fight (as Bouie also points out; seriously, read Jamelle Bouie's piece); in return for acting as props, we get rights, in Traub's ahistorical reading of the last century's political battles.

    As an aside, if an author is going to accuse anyone of prolixity they should probably avoid doing so in a 3,000 word ramble through inaccurately-remembered history simply to make the point that white liberals are pretty racist too but that's totally understandable, right, and maybe we could just go back to the Democrats being the party of white liberal racists, again? I don't think I missed anything and I used less than 30 words.

    As far as what any of this means for the Democrats, I don't think Ed goes far enough in his response. It is not enough that Democrats fight consistently for the position of conscience, the only way forward I see for the Democratic party is to rebuild itself around a core of marginalized people. Because the truth is that plenty of white Democrats do see marginalized people as tokens and abstract points of debate, which hobbles their ability both to serve and to mobilize those people. The Republicans, obviously, will never recognize the political autonomy of marginalized groups without being forced to do so, but if the Democratic party wishes to put up a fight, they must. Otherwise, there will be no alliance strong enough to fight the party of White Supremacy.

    Tl;dr if you want to make a party strong enough to beat the party of White Supremacy, you're going to have to be willing to have a Black boss, for your children to have Black friends, and for Black people to make political decisions that impact you. If your response to "bussing" was to double down on removing yourself from any part of civil society with Black people in it, you're just as racist as the Solid South.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    My sense is that racist shitkickers in the Heartland *are* disproportionately powerful in national politics, thanks to gerrymandering and the EC.

  • Pretending there’s this magical population of independent (white) swing voters just waiting for Democrats to say the right words to win them over has probably always been code for “we’re actually racist, too”.

    I can’t remember a presidential election prior to 2016 in which white male cis het voters weren’t just called “voters”, while every other demographic was prefaced (i.e., “the Hispanic vote”, “female voters”, etc.) It was just a given that your Objective Default Person is white male cis het (oh, and born on American soil) who also just happens to know the Objective Real Truth as to what’s best for Everyone, because Everyone Else is Biased.

    Now we have “disaffected white voters”. They’ve never experienced anything close to being “othered” before, and let’s just say they’re reacting…poorly. Cheeto Benito tells them what they want to hear: that they ARE the Objective Default, and that the only reason their supremacy is not being recognized is because Everyone Else is “taking over”. White (male, etc.) supremacy is so important to them that they will suffer any fate to maintain it. However, you have to tick off a *lot* of boxes in order to be considered pure enough to be on top. Many of these guys don’t realize that they’re not going to measure up.

    Out here in Bumblefuck, “Democrats” is a euphemism for “all Those People we don’t like”. The Democrats will never win them over, no matter what. The racist Old Fart Democrats need to step aside anyway. They are outnumbered and need to be left in the dust.

  • terraformer says:

    Oh, how refreshing it would be to have a Democratic party that embraced the changing demographics and the interests of those comprising them (or, more likely, a Democrat that espouses these views clearly and without reservation).

    There is a fear that doing so would immediately result in accusations of being "unserious" and "divisive". And that's the problem (or at least the key problem as I see it): fear of stepping out of the Overton window with an intent to move it.

  • The unaddressed problem with such a strategy is that no one votes for Repub Lite when they can have Full Repub. Morality aside, it's failed as electoral strategy.

  • Despite the near-worship with which many Democrats see him today, there is unequivocal evidence that "Welfare Reform" and "Sentencing Reform," two positions the 1990s Democrats adopted explicitly to steal the GOP's thunder in the never-ending battle to appeal to white reactionaries, have inflicted more pain and suffering on black and Hispanic communities than can adequately be conveyed in this space. Sentencing reform will, from the perch afforded us by history in a few more decades, be recognized as one of the most shameful moments in Democratic politics. And they embraced it willingly in a calculated effort to appeal to the kind of white voter who thinks the problem with this country is that not enough people (wink) are being locked up in prison.

    Yet I am routinely condemned by the Clinton Deranged Retard Lites for refusing to vote for his wife. Oh yeah, right, she's not Trump. Maybe if they hadn't have run her, because "it's her turn"

  • the Republicans told the angry whites they could screw the Blacks if they voted the Republicans in to undo all the "giveaways" for those "people"., little did the White voters realize they would get screwed too. for the Whites live in the same country, state and will suffer, too just supposedly not as much as the Blacks. It just took more time for Whites to get the "message". some still don't get it.

    the Republican just used the same con on the rest of us that Southern White Elites did white Southerners did with Jim Crow.

    Unfortunately, when Blacks suffer Republican cutbacks, eventually so do the Whites. but of course, the Republicans have "packaged" this. So, Republicans went with such con men like Lee Atwater, with the "Southern Strategy that went Nationwide. Frank Luntz and the Death Tax, Grover Norquist and drowing the Government down the Bathtub, con artists.

    Selling poor Whites out quietly while using "code words" to court angry White voters. of course it works, and has since Republicans went Southern

    The Whites have lost so much when the Blacks are targeted as we live in the same country and pass each other every day. the War on Drugs shows how specifically the laws are tailored to whether the victim is Black or White. No money for public schools since Blacks will get a "free" ride, no Public transportation so Blacks wont come into "my Neighborhood". The Police and Jail system is a win win for Businesses. Lots of Blacks to fill jails to "soothe" an
    Problem with this kind of "gotcha" is White people need Public schools or Public transportation, unless you could afford Private Schools and Cars.
    and White could afford this for a long time until the cows came home to show the Whites were getting screwed as well. just more quietly and just as efficiently. the Republicans with Democrat help enforce these Cons.

    When Whites have living wage Jobs, the attack on Blacks didn't affect them so much. but now, with few living wage jobs, competition shows we all have been laid low and how what goes around comes around, and doesn't go away, either.

    if we didn't all live together we wouldn't all be screwed over. of course. so we have White Suburbs and Black cities. lol. that worked for a while. and then it didn't.

    Blacks will and do get screwed over worse, as in "Death while Being Black" and no penalty for the Police's open season on Blacks. that's the part Whites see and quietly "know" how it could be them eventually. as long as there is a War on Blacks/Drugs, Whites are down on that list.

    the slogan of "First they came for the Bolsheviks" is Republican Gold.
    Divide and Conquer, and it has been working for 40 years, now. which is why the Democrats became Republican Lite/Blue Dogs. that's where the Power/Money.

    Racism aint going anywhere until we get rid of the Profit over People mentality that says we are separate and some of us are more worthy than others. wonder how Christian Pence really is. whatever you do unto the poor, you do unto me is a line i rarely hear Republicans say. Christians in name only.

    When the Shit hits the fan, we all get full of it. that seems to be enough reason to stop spreading this "shit", and start seeing "we are all in this together." Either we make it worse or we make it better.

  • Gerald Parks says:

    white supremacist ideology IS the foundation, source and fuel of American racism!
    The party affiliation IS and always HAS been secondary!
    white supremacist ideology IS the foundation, source and fuel of American racism!
    Shall I repeat for clarity sake?
    white supremacist ideology IS the foundation, source and fuel of American racism!

  • The way forward is to grow and register and motivate the Democratic base — which is not white dudes.

    If there are a handful of regretful once-Obama-then-Trump guys out there, great. Welcome back. But chasing them _as a priority_ is idiocy compared to getting new voters involved.

    Also, fuck Bernie Sanders. It's important to talk about economic issues of course, but at this point he's just a troll. And his surprisingly pro-NRA legacy makes him a no-go for 2020, since it's going to be a crucial issues where the Dem candidate needs to separate themselves from Trumpolini.

  • @Ten Bears

    And now we have John "Bomb Everybody" Bolton as National Security Advisor and Scott "God wants me to destroy the environment" Pruitt as EPA chair. And those are just the appetizers to the Trump administration smorgasbord of graft and corruption.

    Hillary could be running an actual drug cartel on the side and I'd still probably take her over this bunch.

  • I'm sitting here, wondering how many of the people who absolutely fucking hate the democrats (and I'm not talking about refucKKKliKKKlanzmen) grew up in families that had a decent life and whose parents consistently voted against the party who made it possible for them to go to college at affordable institutions, work at a good paying job and have a secure retirement.

    Democrats have much to anwer for. But the reason that the GOP is in power (aside from actual criminal maniputlation of all things electoral) is that the democratic majority bled off voters for 40 years after the CRA.

    It's racism. It's always been racism.

  • With all due respect, Kong sir, four generations my family worked here in the woods and in the sawmills. Bill Clinton showed up and promised all the hippy-dippy newcomers he would shut down the timber industry, put the locals out of work. And he did. Subjecting my family to a degree of abject poverty unseen in four generations, abject poverty we have yet to recover from, with a seventh generation in the oven.

    When Clinton went to coal country and told those people should would destroy their jobs, destroy their generational way of life, I believed her.

  • The Democratic party is facing a nearly impossible task, to convince working class people that the GOP hates them, while depending on a donor class that doesn't think much more of labor, and is ready to write off most of them. Unless the Democrats can fund campaigns independently they will be unable to sufficiently differentiate theirselves , and the candidates who try will do so without a lot of support because GOP lite is what the money wants.

  • @ Ten Bears

    It’s an important point that the Democrat Party has a wing-nut faction as well, and we must check its tendencies.

    Honestly guys, I think the border wall is a terrible idea, but as far as I know it’s legal. Ditto deploying the National Guard. The Muslim immigration ban was only illegal because they were stupid enough to use the word Muslim. Not pretty, but that’s the way it is (unless we change some laws…).

  • Ten Bears: technology and cheap natural gas are killing coal industry employment. The coal industry should die, especially as it moves onto removing entire mountain tops and acidifying the remaining streams.

    Clear cutting the remaining old growth forests is not a good strategy for a State or an economy, either.

    Being in an extractive economy sucks. Hillary at least said she would look at alternatives and education, etc. Holding on to the career that has you coughing out your lungs at age 40 may not be the best strategy.

  • @Just Russ, Ten Bears also blames the government in NYC for putting white people in the Pacific Northwest in the mid-1800s. Pro-tip: by the mid-1800s, the government was out of Washington DC…and before that. The first US Congress met in Philadelphia in the 1700s, not New York. It's rather pointless to argue with him; he hates viciously without bothering to learn the facts.

  • @Emerson; the "I'd rather be bankrupted and then nuked in a war because I'm too PURRRREEEE to vote for Clinton so I gave the election to a dumpster-fire" committe is still out there and active.

  • greatlaurel says:

    How ironic that on Equal Pay Day there are numerous posts bashing Hillary Clinton for the political actions taken by her husband.

    Hillary Clinton was a far more liberal politician than her husband. To have used and continue to use Bill Clinton's record to bash Hillary Clinton, when her record as a politician was far more progressive, is a clear demonstration of misogyny. To extinguish Hillary Clinton's work throughout her life and as a politician, and substitute her record with her husband's record just demonstrates the misogyny in American culture. Another founding principle of American culture is, of course, racism, which Ed discusses is his article.

    The third founding principle is arrogant, proud, and willful stupidity. For the miners to rail against the very regulations that are in place to defend their health and the health of their families, when the miners know full well the mine owners willingly poison them, their communities and their families, is clear evidence of this. Employment in coal mining has been dropping for decades, most of the loss of jobs is due to vastly more efficient mining equipment, played out coal deposits and cheaper surface mining. Blasting apart mountain tops and poisoning the land is a far cheaper mining practice.

    Burning coal for power is an extremely expensive and labor intensive operation. Coal boilers have to be repaired repeatedly at great cost as coal is an abrasive and explosive substance, in addition to the acids created form combustion of coal that attack every surface in a boiler. Annual shutdowns are necessary to rebuild the interior of the boiler itself. The disposal of the heavy metal laden ash is expensive, too, unless you are dumping it straight into the river.

    Crying about regulations when all the trees have been chopped down, soil eroded, water supplies poisoned or coal seams mined out is a convenient and easy cover for bad business practices of the extractive industries. Of course, racism and misogyny are still the best divide and conquer tools ever invented by the powerful to stay in power.

  • @ ten bears:

    Clinton didn’t promise to kill the coal industry. She said it would die, and that people would have to make a living doing something else. That’s an objective truth. Despite Trump’s best efforts, it’s dying right now. He just blew sunshine up people’s asses by saying otherwise. That’s what con artists do.

  • HoosierPoli says:

    There is nothing wrong with the Democratic Party that can't be fixed by running candidates that aren't awful and knifing Republicans instead of trying to hold their hands. Low-income white voters respect STRENGTH and they like to vote for winners. You don't need to appeal to them on a policy level almost at all: just be the party that makes them feel like they're on the winning team. You do THAT by putting points on the board, not playing pattycake with your sworn enemies.

  • @greatlaurel – I disagree on the misogyny charge. Yes, Bill and Hillary are two different people, but they come from the same political class – “new” Democrats, corporatist Democrats, Wall Street Democrats, etc. i.e. Dems who abandoned progresivism and working people in order to get in bed with the financial industry and other moneyed interests.

    You criticize others for their “willfull stupidity” but if you can’t acknowledge that Hillary Clinton follows the same watered-down, “GOP Lite” political model as Bill (and many other current Democratic leaders) then you’re doing the same thing yourself. I agree there it misogyny in the world, but the perpetrators are NOT progressives who just want better Democrats.

  • I see corporate Democrats as a "Plan B", preferable to a reborn Confederacy or the nation made into a libertarian theme park, but inferior to a progressive Democratic party, with FDR's economic bill of rights as a goal. I want this because "To Hell with the losers" as a policy erodes society's already thin layer of civilization, and renders fascists attractive, besides, pushing folks to the edge in a nation with as much potential for destruction as we have doesn't seem to have a good long term outcome.

  • Tim H: I bash the Dems all the time, but….you do make some good points.

    Plus, as eager as we are to bash "Big Bizness", and maybe this makes me a "libertarian" or a "corporatist", but the only thing worse than a country run by rich business interest is a country run by self righteous lefty wonks.

    There has to be a balance and conflict. We are too far gone in craven service to capital, and contra carrstone we need other ideas and voices and goals "from the left".

  • The third founding principle is arrogant, proud, and willful stupidity. For the miners to rail against the very regulations that are in place to defend their health and the health of their families, when the miners know full well the mine owners willingly poison them, their communities and their families, is clear evidence of this. Employment in coal mining has been dropping for decades, most of the loss of jobs is due to vastly more efficient mining equipment, played out coal deposits and cheaper surface mining. Blasting apart mountain tops and poisoning the land is a far cheaper mining practice.

    Also, @GreatLaurel; Trump carried on like an ass about mining jobs, when far more retail jobs are going belly-up. Retail jobs are overwhelmingly held by women, so I guess that explains Trump's complete disinterest.

    Also, it occurs to me that the same people who are moaning and crying about their right to be poisoned at work are the same ones who consistently vote against their best interests on everything.

  • Katydid, remember, they're being lied to, and it's more comfortable than dwelling on how they were sold out for maybe an extra couple of points on a quarterly report, or that the board felt like they couldn't bear to be seen at the country club unless they did something to the union. These people have a legitimate complaint, and they've been steered towards racism, to distract them from where the actions happening, if the economy starts working for them, they'll mostly forget racism, hopefully, even forget to mention it to their kids.

  • @Ed great as usual – also Ep 3 of 'Mass for Shut-Ins' was super good – thanks.

    Maybe we don't have to embrace or normalize racism.
    Maybe a calibrated change in tone for communicating progressive values and the self-interest of most people could lead to victory.

    Maybe it is time to get some lefty Lee Atwater and Frank Luntz types on the case to make progressive arguments mean and stupid enough so that overgrown schoolyard bullies would switch sides.

    @Emerson Dameron

    Thank you for the link.
    So our political quandary really is a problem of tone?

    I agree that a big part of the problem for 'liberals' trying to speak to anyone is that the pious lefty 'Wimpodite' mode of expression signals weakness to the playground ethics crowd. So many of the Cletus safari and NYT think pieces accusing the Ds and the left of not being sympathetic enough to the hateful and ignorant beliefs of 'real Americans' are missing the real problem which is tone. Lefties 'talking down' to the kinds of people whose self-interest should register as a D vote but hate liberal-lefty politically correct speech because it sounds like the whiny sensitive crap the weak kid on the playground mewls before and after he gets pummeled by bullies is a critical FAIL. #PresidentShithole is a master of dimwitted schoolyard bully-talk and it is VERY politically effective no matter how much it makes academics and liberals want to dismiss it as disgusting and ridiculous. It isn't just #Dotard45 narcissism that made him keep doing campaign rallies for his adoring 'fuck your feelings' fans, he needs to keep the schoolyard taunts and insults flowing freely in every news cycle to sustain the satisfying 'Oh yeah? well F.U. LIBTARD!' I'm-with-the-tough-guy rejection of reason and sanity which is truly what floats their boat (and gets their vote).

    It seems like a big assumption that the racism/xenophobia/sexism can be sufficiently de-coupled from the I'm-a-tough-tough-tough-guy cis het who identifies as a flaming asshole voter who will get on board with progressive politics only if it gets packaged in schoolyard bully taunts and insults. If that is a way to peel off a few percent of the asshole vote from the GOP is there anyone who can translate the Second Bill of Rights into a collection of dumb insults and taunts aimed at anyone who doesn't support it?

  • We need a Democrat who will channel his inner Malcolm X and tell the folks voting Republican that they’ve been bamboozled – lied to. Fairness to all resonates with everyone, and helps kill devisive Republican talking points.

    Re Ten Bears – if you’ve got 1,000 acres of old-growth timber and cut 1 acre each year, you’ve got sustainable jobs in the timber industry. Cut 20 acres per year, and all the old growth trees are gone in 50 years- no more timber jobs relying on old growth timber. You’ve still got 50 year old trees for pulp…

    Cosl’s even worse- once it’s gone, it’s gone until we have giant peat bogs that are allowed to be subjected to heat and pressure for a few million years. When the mine owners have shoved the last mountaintops into the rivers and valleys below and left for their mansions, there won’t be any more jobs of any kind in coal country- just a poisoned wasteland devoid of life. That’s Trump’s plan for you…

  • Coastal-dwelling middle class man says:

    Wow, maybe it's just me, but having just read Richard Rothstein's "The Color of Law" about redlining, I read Traub's piece and didn't get "the limit is what white people will tolerate," I understood it as "you thought you knew how racist America was? Let me tell you that the answer is always MOAR RACIST!"

  • Of course, racism and misogyny are still the best divide and conquer tools ever invented by the powerful to stay in power

    This. However, it is useful to remember that the Democratic party is being run by entrenched "New Democrats" from whom we will pry their desire to appeal to racists from their cold, dead hands. The major fundraising arms of the Democratic party have stables of political consultants whom they REQUIRE candidates use if they give them money. Those political consultants are the ones doing the "ooooo, you can't be too progressive. Cletus in Beaver Holler won't even listen to you and definitely won't vote for you if you do." Ignoring the fact that Cletus in Beaver Holler ain't gonna vote for a Democrat no way, no how.

  • The problem isn't Cletus in Beaver Holler. They don't always vote in high numbers. The problem is Snidely Whiplash III, who inherited his car dealership from "Daddy" and knows that his buddies down at the bypass megachurch wouldn't talk with him anymore if he voted "D".

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    I was heartened that at least the presidential candidacy of James "The Democrat for White Men" Webb went nowhere.

  • I thought winning elections and having a coherent ideology that differs from the increasingly batshit Republican Party was most important.

    I can see you haven't read Al From's history of the Democratic Leadership Council, The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power. Winning elections is the only thing that counts because it's what brings in the money. Also, the New Deal and supporting the working class is so old-fashioned.

  • greatlaurel says:

    @Katydid You are spot on about the loss of retail jobs which are devastating women across the country. The retail sector is being decimated by the predatory actions of corporate raiders/investment firms. Amazon did not do in Toy-R-Us. The debt load from the corporate raiders did in the company. We keep seeing these actions. The corporate raiders destroyed Anchor Hocking as detailed in the book, Glass House, http://www.glasshousebook.com/. The destruction of this company destroyed hundreds of hard factory jobs that paid well enough because of the union. Many of the people who worked the Anchor factory floor were women who pulled themselves from poverty with those jobs.

    The destruction started with manufacturing, but has now spread to retail, in an ever expanding spiral of vulture capitalism that started when Ronald Reagan was POTUS. These vultures are after every segment of public and private enterprise to enrich themselves at the expense of the entire country.

    Public education is under increasing attack as are all public employment, post office, public employee and union pensions, Social Security and Medicare. These vulture capitalists use every trick in the book, using racism, misogyny, religious bigotry, attacking unions and the Democratic Party, to blind people to their true enemies. The lack of funding for public education is another sector that predominately employs women. The conditions for teachers in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky …. are ignored. In Ohio the wealthy suburban schools get plenty of money, while the inner city and rural schools are starved of funds. Ohio's school financing system was declared unconstitutional decades ago, but the GOP run state government will not change the system.

    Funny how that works, ignoring the destruction of jobs that are held predominately by women and people of color, while crying over the few jobs of miners. Blaming environmental regulation is a great cover for the loss of demand of coal and the increase in automation, while the mine owners continue to rake in the profits and leave devastation behind for the unemployed miners to deal with when the coal seams are played out. Extractive industries are highly profitable for the owners not the employees. The employees do not understand that they are in a similar situation to professional athletes who only have a few years to earn money they have to depend on for the rest of their lives once their bodies have been broken playing sports. Athletes have unions and agents to represent them. The unions are broken for the miners and most other workers thanks to Reagan, so ordinary people are on their own when the GOP runs the government.

    We see the propaganda spewed on every comment section, even here, about how bad any Democratic party politician is. Obama, the Clintons and Nancy Pelosi receive the most rabid attacks because they are some of the most effective politicians in the last 30 years. Bill Clinton broke the stranglehold the GOP had on the White House. Hillary Clinton. not only worked on civil rights issues, but worked on the Watergate investigation. Nixon's criminals especially hate her. How dare a girl help bring down their lord and master?!

    When someone uses nonsensical terms like corporate Democrat, it is a clue the person is ignorant of what happened under Reagan and the Bushes or they are pushing propaganda manufactured in a right wing spin factory or both. Suppressing voter turnout by using sinister, but nonsensical terms has been effective. We can only hope that there will be a blue wave this November to push the fascists back under the rocks where they belong. Unfortunately, we continue to see the propaganda techniques employed, in desperate attempts to keep voter turn out as low as possible, which combined with the attacks on our voting systems, could turn aside the blue wave needed to save our democracy.

  • "but the only thing worse than a country run by rich business interest is a country run by self righteous lefty wonks."

    and that happened, when?

    I don't know, Demo. The pure ideologues that ran Cambodia had all kinds of "ideas". Mao was no businessman, and he killed millions.

    I think the Assistant Professors of Political Science would be more harmless and ineffectual than that, but Stalin was a Seminary student, so one never knows.

  • But I will copy demo on this response to greatlaurel. It's the vampire squids, people. Financialization of the economy is the end for a middle class or even a solvent working class.

    However: Am still not a fan (at all) of Democrats. I think it is fallacious to deny that Hillary and her husband were not friends of the squids. Look at who Obama appointed to his cabinet and economics positions…vampires all the way down.

    Not as blatant or grievous, but still blood suckers.

  • It's a simple fact of electoral math that, though a black vote is worth a white vote, the total black vote is worth about a fifth of the total non-hispanic white vote. It is possible to build a winning political coalition that doesn't appeal much to minorities at all, as the Republicans have proved. The reverse is not true. And since the Democrats already have almost all of the black vote, they don't have much growth potential in that direction.

    People like TenBears above are the least attached members of the Republican coalition, and that makes appealing to them a solid Democratic electoral strategy**. Whether you personally like them isn't the point. Getting 50.0001 percent of the vote* isn't the point either, but it's a key step toward changing policy (which is the point).

    * The Electoral College vote, when applicable.
    ** By contrast, blacks are among the most attached members of the Democratic coalition, which is why both parties more or less ignore them. They aren't in play.

  • You have to reverse the Lee Atwater strategy – "you start out in 1954 by saying 'nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger,' that hurts you, backfires, so you say stuff like ‘forced bussing, states rights’ and all that stuff, and you're getting so abstract. Now you're talking about cutting taxes and all these things. What you’re talking about are totally economic things, and the byproduct often is Blacks get hurt worse than whites."

    Something like this –

    You start out in 2012 saying "racist, racist" by 2018 that hurts you, backfires, so you say things like "living wage" and "healthcare" and you're getting so abstract. Now you're talking about raising benefits and all these things. What you’re talking about are totally economic things, and the byproduct often is Blacks get helped worse than whites."

    So no matter how racist we think these folks are ( and they ARE, they really, really are ) we can never say it, we can NEVER accuse them of racism, NEVER call them out on it. Because they dig in and turn off. We need to focus ONLY on Policy – and trust that a rising tide will lift all votes.

  • I think we should be against "identity politics" not because they are not valid ( they 100% are ) and not because racism is not a cancer ( it is ) but because tactically they are not effective. Trump brought racists out of the woodwork (unlike Romney) because he was *explicit* in his racism. As it turns out, the racists ARE too stupid to hear the dog whistles. It behooves us to get out own anti-racist dog whistles so that folks can signify their their commitment to equality without explicitly saying it and upsetting the racists.

  • The folks who want to slam the Clintons and the DLC etc need to put 1992 in perspective. There was no internet fundraising ( there was no internet! ) Direct mail and TV are expensive. If the DLC didn't get Wall Street $$, they wouldn't have had ANY.

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