Democrats: Now what?
February 24, 2017 4:11 PM   Subscribe


 
Wither, Democrats?
posted by hal9k at 4:21 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


If Politico says it's wrong, it must be right.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:23 PM on February 24 [9 favorites]


I think that although the Democratic Party could do itself some favors by picking Ellison, the real action is going to have to be outside of the official apparatus of the democratic party, through the organizations (Indivisible, DSA, etc.) that can force the party to follow them.

In the ideal case the Democratic Party as an institution would become a puppet of mass movements outside the party, stuck with no option other than simply rubber stamping the decisions made by activists.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:30 PM on February 24 [34 favorites]


Another good take on opportunities the Democrats have missed (not specifically about 2016 in this case) - Obama's Lost Army

(don't know if that's been here yet)
posted by atoxyl at 4:31 PM on February 24 [16 favorites]


Democrats needs to decide if they want to win, or just feel good about losing. If the former, then target moderate voters in order to isolate the tea party, because the tea party is speaking for God, not for moderate voters. If the latter, then ramp up the platitudes and speak for those who don't often vote, as if trying to please God.
posted by Brian B. at 4:36 PM on February 24 [14 favorites]


Well if they can't get some kind of majority in 2018 they should just pack it in and reinstate the Bull Moose party, perhaps with an animatronic or reanimated Teddy.
posted by sammyo at 4:42 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


The centrist and left factions of the Democratic party will both fight to ensure it will be too weak of an opponent for the GOP.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:51 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


Does this need a potus45 tag for people who want to avoid politics on the Blue?
posted by hippybear at 4:52 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


In the ideal case the Democratic Party as an institution would become a puppet of mass movements outside the party...

So your belief is that they've learned enough to not retry the 2016 hubris-plus approach of ignoring these groups and assuming they'll just fall in line, because there's no other option?

Logical. But maybe too optimistic.
posted by rokusan at 4:54 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Time to break open a potus46 tag, maybe.
posted by rokusan at 4:55 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


The essence of the GOP platform seems to be: "We will create a failed State with a big army by any means necessary - btw fuck you."

The Democratic platform seems to be: "We will create a nominally functional State with big army, and we will do so through nicer slightly more inclusive means - btw sorry."
posted by nikoniko at 4:55 PM on February 24 [38 favorites]


The centrist and left factions of the Democratic Party will be too busy getting dragged to the left by the masses to worry about infighting. I mean, okay, I'm overstating for effect because that's what I do, but nevertheless I don't think that "infighting in the Democratic Party" is a particularly important thing to care about.

There will be elected Democrats who get with the program and follow the leadership of the activist movements, and that will be great, and there will be elected Democrats who fail to recognize who their leaders are, and they will be meh. But by no means will elected Democrats be the thing that ultimately moves the Democratic Party.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:57 PM on February 24 [24 favorites]


All the handwringing "whither the Democrats?" stuff feels like a dispatch from another time or another country. Politics simply doesn't work like that anymore.

Can we make fun of Lessig now? cause I kind of love making fun of Lessig...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:58 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


That Pelosi clip is something.
posted by doctornemo at 5:02 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


As long as corporations and dark money groups can pour cash into campaign coffers and PACs to get their preferred candidates in office, I'd say the Democrats' best bet would be to take over Wal-Mart and Goldman Sachs first.
posted by darkstar at 5:04 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


>So your belief is that they've learned enough to not retry the 2016 hubris-plus approach of ignoring these groups and assuming they'll just fall in line, because there's no other option?

My belief is that, unlike in 2016, left organizations today are very rapidly replicating the useful parts of the apparatus of the Democratic Party. We are not dependent upon the Democratic Party to maintain our organizations, to carry out actions, or to effectively communicate with the media and with each other, and this, coupled with the massive influx of new activists in the wake of the Disaster, gives us leverage and practical power that we didn't have back in 2016.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:05 PM on February 24 [24 favorites]


It will require a competent and sane populist who's platform and easy, breezy quotes and quips and mottoes all address income inequality and social inequity, both, in a way that puts everyone in the undecided middle and the base on the side of the angels, and the Stormtrumpers and God-Botherers and the Selfish Elite right with the Devil.

It will require a ground game that takes no race for granted, as either a win or a loss. Fight like hell for every seat! Find candidates that can run and win in every race, and back them to the hilt!

It will require a ground game that identifies, registers and ushers to the polls sympathetic non-voters , turning them into a solid constituency! Most of the country polls our way in terms of political sympathy, let's use that, goddammit!

It will require the leading luminaries in the mainstream Demoicratic Party fighting Fascism and Theocracy and Plutocracy in visible, voluble and ever and ever larger campaigns of direct action, while painting themselves as the reasonable everyman pushed past their breaking point. Light the fires and hoist the banners to call the tribes, we ARE AT WAR! Every voter must register, every registered voter must make it to the polls! The Rebublic itself is at stake. We need leaders with skin in the game - they must be eager to be first against the wall if we fail, to inspire those who remain.

It will require left-leaning independents or alternative-party members to Learn from The Bern, and become Democrats of Convenience. Look at it like forming a parliamentary coalition. You are now owed a boon from very powerful fellow-travellers, and more than a little consideration in the platform.

It will require those of us in safe states to volunteer to phone-bank for even the most inconsequential election in the most podunk town, and it is the responsibility of the Democratic Party to all of the American People to give us the tools to use this.

It will require a vicious and savage legal response to voter-suppression laws and measures. Sue a year ahead of time to make sure there are enough voting locations and machines at each location. Fight every redistricting. Fight every Voter ID initiative as inherently racist and ageist, and if that doesn't work, sue to make damn sure if a voter can't make it to an office that issues ID, the office that issues ID comes to them, on the voter's schedule.

This is a hard fight. I've donated to the ACLU, and now have paid subscriptions to the WaPo and NYT and Sakonnett Times - as LOCAL POLITICS MATTER.

I will admit I'm a Democrat of Convenience, and have been most of my adult life. RI Democrats, apart from the Governors, who are hypercompetent (Raimundo, Sundlin and Garrahy). Even now, the RI Speaker of the House is opposed to Raimundo's plan of phasing out the Car Tax while funding a plan to subsidize two entire years of higher education for every adult resident of RI.

Even so, I'd man the phones for an hour or two each evening to make sure a Democrat or Green or Social Democrat or Anarchist dogcatcher was elected in Truth Or Consequences, NM.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:12 PM on February 24 [62 favorites]


As if there's ever going to be another election...
posted by Thorzdad at 5:12 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]




Follow flippable.org for special elections you can help with. There are several!
posted by Chrysostom at 5:18 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


As if there's ever going to be another election...

Franco American hopes so, but his little talking point can be thrust right back into his face. Every race the Dems lose between now and 2020 can be declared to be fixed, due to unfair voter suppression or outright fraud.

Fucking hell, there's an election in less than two months.

Oh, yeah, it will require networking with everyone who's the slightest left-leaning or even center-right to remind them they need to get their ass to the polls on a random Tuesday in April, IT'S IMPORTANT. Fire up the phone-banks, send in the canvassers! No election uncontested! No voter overlooked!
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:20 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Under the previous administration, abortion declined to historic lows in the U.S. (Original Study). And this despite anti-abortion activists accusing Obama as the most pro-abortion president for eight years! Granted, the anti-legal-abortion movement is largely led by those who are against contraceptives. But Democrats should try to reach out to the rank and file and at least inform them that policies that legalize abortions do not necessarily lead to the rise in abortions, and that other policies in guaranteeing reproductive health and funding reproductive education might even lead to the reduction of abortion, regardless of the legal status of the procedure. The average pro-life supporter is most likely okay with condoms or IUDs. (Unless a Pew study proves otherwise.)

It seems like there's a significant block of voters who are against the Democrats simply because of the issue of abortion. But maybe there's some middle ground to swing some of them. Those who are for abortion remaining legal are not necessarily pro-abortion themselves, and some may favor reducing the practice. Couldn't Democrats appeal to moderate anti-legal-abortion/pro-lifers by suggesting that pragmatic public health and education policies (not to mention subsidizing natal care, single mothers, etc.) will cause women to voluntarily choose not to have abortions, or not need to have an abortion in the first place?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:21 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


The problem with the party system in our constitutional design is the same kind of problem consumers run into with cable packages: you can't just vote for one plank in the policy platform, you're stuck with whatever narrow range of policy priorities the two parties have in their platforms as a package. That creates opportunity for forced choice game playing, like magicians use, to narrow all the available options down to various business and industry preferred ones.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:25 PM on February 24 [9 favorites]


Every race the Dems lose between now and 2020 can be declared to be fixed, due to unfair voter suppression or outright fraud.

EVERY race? I feel there are CDs where the GOP has like a 80/20 lead where they can win fairly.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:33 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


In the ideal case the Democratic Party as an institution would become a puppet of mass movements outside the party, stuck with no option other than simply rubber stamping the decisions made by activists.

*blink*

Er, the GOP as an institution has become a puppet of mass movements outside the party, stuck with no option other than simply rubber-stamping the decisions made by a demagogue.

Why the hell do you think that this is a tactic to emulate?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:36 PM on February 24 [25 favorites]


I can only speak for the rural California county parties, but in the California Democrat Internal Civil War, the progressives/ Bernie supporters are being purged by a better organized bloc of conservative Latino Clintonistas. It does not bode well for 2018, at least locally.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 5:36 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


Fucking hell, there's an election in less than two months.

It's worse than that; there's an election tomorrow.
posted by lalex at 5:36 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


Democrats need another Lyndon Johnson (and, no, I'm not kidding). A vulgar bully with the instincts of a Ganges River thief. We've seen what will win nowadays. With, one hopes, progressive leanings and less warmongering.
posted by Chitownfats at 5:38 PM on February 24 [22 favorites]


I do think appealing to the single-issue voters and the low-information voters (who just sort of abstractly think abortion is a sad thing so let's vote against it) is important and maybe the best use of time and resources, from a certain standpoint.

On the OTHER hand, I think the party is full of a bunch of fuckin' Hermiones who think fairness will save the day somehow, nobody knows how but somehow! And I increasingly believe that there won't be any midterm elections, not any real ones, or maybe they'll just refuse to accept the results. I just got done listening to my state assemblymember's town hall with special guest Rep Brad Sherman, who listed off half a dozen ludicrous bills he's going to file that will never see the light of day and then said as a proud member of the Ways and Means Committee, um, the Rs are never gonna cooperate so *shrug*, we're going to get some lawyers. I don't know, he said the word "lawyers" like 20 times, he was very excited about lawyers.

So I think they're going to sit around and wait for some lawyers to fix this somehow. I am sure I will come out luckier than many, because I live in California, but I don't really believe anymore that there will be federal elections in 2018. Godspeed, lawyers.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:41 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


the progressives/ Bernie supporters are being purged by a better organized bloc of conservative Latino Clintonistas. It does not bode well for 2018, at least locally.

Thank fucking god. If the faux-gressive nihilists who burnt the party down because they heard rumors that the primaries were STOLEN are never heard from again, this country will be a better place.

I don't want a thousand splinter parties, and I sure as fuck don't want the my-way-or-the-highway lefties given any power. We've seen where that goes, and it's not pretty.

Did you really think this thread was going to be productive?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 5:43 PM on February 24 [51 favorites]


EVERY race? I feel there are CDs where the GOP has like a 80/20 lead where they can win fairly.

Make them sweat it out, make them explain every last skeleton in their closet - yeah, we'll lose, but we'll undermine their mandate and plant questions that eventually must be answered to the electorate.

This assumes a good candidate on the D side of the ballot.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:49 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


To be fair, we did make it 29 comments in before the ad hominems came out. That's not too bad.
posted by Balna Watya at 5:49 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


We've seen where that goes, and it's not pretty.

I mean, ideally, the Democrats would want to prevent where they go, because those embittered splittists go and vote for the Green candidate.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:51 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


> Er, the GOP as an institution has become a puppet of mass movements outside the party, stuck with no option other than simply rubber-stamping the decisions made by a demagogue.

Why the hell do you think that this is a tactic to emulate?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:36 PM on February 24
[1 favorite +]


1: Because the problem with the Republicans isn't their tactics. It's their politics.
2: Because "mass-led movement" and "demagogue-led movement" aren't synonyms.
3: Because Indivisible is explicitly designed as an attempt to deploy Tea Party tactics toward good rather than evil, and they're doing a brilliant job of it so far.
4: Because the activists who put together the Women's March and who are putting together new marches and actions have already started to force the Democratic Party electeds into line.
5: Because everything hopeful about American politics right now is coming from the masses who lead rather than the electeds who follow.

And that is why the hell I think it's a good tactic to emulate. I'm just sad we didn't do it first, before they got the chance.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:00 PM on February 24 [73 favorites]


America has not moved to the right. Trump won the general because rust belt voters appreciated his vigorous opposition to rubber stamped trade agreements.

The Democratic party needs tweaks not gutting, starting with an economic contract with America, a plan that addresses cost of education, support for workers who are bullied into not pushing for unionization, job creation, healthcare reform, prescription medication reform, job protection, etc.
posted by Beholder at 6:00 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]




Trump won the general because rust belt voters appreciated his vigorous opposition to rubber stamped trade agreements.

No, he didn't. Exit polls showed that the voters who actually cared about economic issues favored Clinton. The reason Trump won was the reasons the Democrats pointed to both before and after the election -- rampant racism and the Comey letter.

The Democratic party needs tweaks not gutting, starting with an economic contract with America, a plan that addresses cost of education, support for workers who are bullied into not pushing for unionization, job creation, healthcare reform, prescription medication reform, job protection, etc.

You mean the 2016 DNC platform? The one that the 'leftists' insisted didn't matter?

Yup, you're right. The Democratic party needed those things. It's a real pity we won't be getting it.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 6:06 PM on February 24 [28 favorites]


We are an organizing party. We organize. This is what we do. If you cannot talk to people on the doorstep or on the phone, or worse, if you do not want to talk to people on the doorstep or on the phone, then you need to find another place to go. There’s nothing wrong with that! The Democratic Party is not that place, though.

Congrats on making an even-more-compelling case for the disaffected and alienated to go vote republican or just stay home (which, in 2016, they did indeed already do; they're hearing this message loud and clear already, my bro!)
posted by Greg Nog at 6:07 PM on February 24 [23 favorites]


Because the problem with the Republicans isn't their tactics. It's their politics.

The problem with the Republicans is their tactics and their goals complement each other. They want to dismantle the Federal government, so they use tactics that blow the process up. You can't fight that using the same tactics without producing the same results.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:10 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


America has not moved to the right. Trump won the general because

....of gerrymandering. That's really it. It comes down to that. Gerrymandering. They're hoping we stay so busy tearing each other down we won't notice and won't do anything about it.
posted by Miko at 6:10 PM on February 24 [50 favorites]


I'm as hopeful as anyone about the new activist energy but I know I'm not the only one who's been seeing these new activist groups running into the problems of leadership drama and cliquishness as they grow. I'm quickly coming to realize that the Indivisible tactics are very useful to get something started but the groups get super unwieldy after they reach a certain size and the group leaders aren't really prepared for the commitment and pressure that brings, so I'm hoping it transitions into more of a "many small coordinated groups helping each other out" model before we hit a big wave of burnout. Break off into smaller groups freely and often, just help each other out. The Democrats are a big tent coalition party and I think it really hurts party unity when they don't put that expectation front and center, and it needs to be that way from the ground up - lots of small groups fighting for victories where they feel it's most important, but coalescing around the best pragmatic option for victory come election day.

Otherwise you end up with large unwieldy factions engaged in huge fights that can break significant chunks of the party off. See the response to the perception of the establishment freezing out Sanders being "ok then we'll take over the party and freeze you out!" which ends up with the same results.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:12 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


I'd argue that the national parties are necessary mostly for organizing a convention and for forming loose but exceedingly obdurate coalitions of convenience on both sides, but otherwise is irrelevant. It's for conventions and meetings and holding on to some form of power. People don't go into the party hierarchy because they're really interested in change. Activism has generally been outside the established party.

The electorate identifies more with parties politically, of course. But politics has always been about making deals and solidifying positions.
posted by Peach at 6:20 PM on February 24


It's kinda bizarre to see people saying 'we need activists! We need people who are fired up!' - but what are those activists allowed to fight for? What are the only things they're supposed to be fired up about lest they be labelled leftist splitters? Kicking the can down the road. The Democrat status quo. Denial that there's actually anything in the US that needs fixing. Support for bland corporate fundraising sellouts. People are supposed to be excited about that?

Dare suggest police militarisation is a problem, dare suggest the richest country in the world could actually afford to provide free healthcare and education, and you're labelled by the Democratic Party loyalists as some kind of agitating Commie. And you end up with people actively working to discredit and purge you.

Good luck fellas.
posted by Jimbob at 6:20 PM on February 24 [83 favorites]


We are an organizing party. We organize. This is what we do. If you cannot talk to people on the doorstep or on the phone, or worse, if you do not want to talk to people on the doorstep or on the phone, then you need to find another place to go. There’s nothing wrong with that! The Democratic Party is not that place, though.

Congrats on making an even-more-compelling case for the disaffected and alienated to go vote republican or just stay home (which, in 2016, they did indeed already do; they're hearing this message loud and clear already, my bro!)
I thought he was specifically talking about staffers, such as the one in the anecdote that proceeded that statement. He doesn't think that the Democrats should be hiring people who think that field organizing is demeaning or unimportant work. Are you concerned about disaffected and alienated paid Democratic staffers?

Also, "my bro"?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:21 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


my bro
posted by Greg Nog at 6:23 PM on February 24 [12 favorites]


America has not moved to the right. Trump won the general because

....of gerrymandering.


Are we defining the Electoral College as "gerrymandering" now? Because no one's been able to gerrymander a state boundary in nearly 60 years.
posted by Etrigan at 6:23 PM on February 24 [25 favorites]


As much as I'd like there to be a Democrat backlash like the one that created the Tea Party... and that actually seems to be happening, I'd just like the Democrats to... well, at the risk of sounding sexist, grow a pair.
posted by Splunge at 6:26 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Above all, Democrats need to develop short, effective messaging which provides hooks and calls to action for those who might vote, but typically do not.

Trump's policies are abhorrent; but his key slogans of "Build the wall", "Drain the swamp", "Crooked Hillary" and "Make America Great Again" are memorable, fun to say, easy to remember, and serve as a helpful shorthand to reference broader and more complex policy positions.

Compared with "I'm with her", Trump's slogans are insanely effective as a visceral jolt into action. Democrats must distill their policy into resonating shorthand to channel the current outrage against Trump and transform it directly into electoral results.
posted by dave99 at 6:27 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


The wrong way to rebuild the Democratic Party

It's not that I don't like the TV's Frank cosplay, but it just... seems a little much? A bit over the top?
posted by duffell at 6:28 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]




Yeah, gerrymandering had nothing to do with Trump's win. I don't believe that win was authentic. I think Russia hacked the elections. They did it to create discord and something like cultural/social cognitive dissonance. It was psiops intended to, as the Russian intelligence services own mission statement acknowledged, promote sectarian tension in the U.S., same as we did to them to bring about the collapse of the USSR. It's been reported one of the biggest promoters of Calexit may have been working with Russian intelligence services, too. Their goal is to destroy us. But we'll never know or be able to defend ourselves against future interference because there's not enough accountability or uniformity in the electoral process to prove it and the entire issue has already been made into a partisan one.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:31 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


In the current politics thread Coventry linked to an academic presentation about surreptitious manipulation of political events via social media in various countries around the world.

Part of the reason we're in the current situation is that Republicans have spent decades cultivating a base who can be easily manipulated and are detached from any grounding objective reality, but couldn't even imagine any non-Republican domestic political force leveraging that state of affairs, much less a foreign nation.

So it seems to me as though one exception to "win at any cost" ought to be that any approach that involves trying to make society in general more amenable to this sort of manipulation might not be a good idea.
posted by XMLicious at 6:33 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Also, "my bro"?

Surely sib, my sib
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:42 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


Er, the GOP as an institution has become a puppet of mass movements outside the party, stuck with no option other than simply rubber-stamping the decisions made by a demagogue.

Why the hell do you think that this is a tactic to emulate?


Um as a member of aforementioned mass movements this sounds kind of fantastic?
posted by atoxyl at 6:47 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


No, he didn't. Exit polls showed that the voters who actually cared about economic issues favored Clinton. The reason Trump won was the reasons the Democrats pointed to both before and after the election -- rampant racism and the Comey letter.

Ohio and Michigan are so racist that they voted for Obama twice.
posted by Beholder at 6:48 PM on February 24 [29 favorites]


America has not moved to the right. Trump won the general because

....of gerrymandering.

Are we defining the Electoral College as "gerrymandering" now? Because no one's been able to gerrymander a state boundary in nearly 60 years.



True...but gerrymandering of districts is an iterative process that allows Republicans to retain control of districts they otherwise couldn't. Which means they get to have state legislative districts redrawn every ten years to disproportionately favor their continued disproportionate victories in state houses. Which allows Republican state legislators to pass voter suppression laws, etc., etc. that disproportionately penalize/disenfranchise Democratic constituencies in that state. Which....probably does have the effect of helping to elect a Trump.

But yeah, racism, economic frustration and demagoguery, too.
posted by darkstar at 6:49 PM on February 24 [16 favorites]


Dare suggest police militarisation is a problem, dare suggest the richest country in the world could actually afford to provide free healthcare and education, and you're labelled, by the Democratic Party loyalists as some kind of agitating Commie.

I come down squarely on the side of pragmatism at the ballot box but I do agree with you here, this is a problem (and I agree with you on those policy points). The Democratic party establishment has a long history of taking the left for granted and always saying they'll get to those concerns at some unspecified future date when the time is right. The Democratic party has been spinning that bullshit for years.

But. Right now that's not the only problem in the party. Bernie set out to run on a loooong long shot with the goal of pulling the platform left and he did it. And that goes totally unacknowledged! The man fulfilled his stated goals, but because he was so close to actually pulling off something even bigger we could taste it, it ultimately felt like a disappointment even though it was a huge, game changing victory on the terms he set out!

I don't know, I wanted Bernie to win, I switched to Hillary when she had the best shot, I was happily surprised to see the direction the party platform went in. I guess it's just frustrating to see the continuation of that go from carrying on Bernie's work and pushing further to the left to recriminations. Pushing further left is an achievable goal we're actually winning on, intraparty war is a recipe for disaster. Equally frustrating to see the party's old guard just not fucking get it that they can't play the old stupid exclusionary game anymore with the left. The problems on both sides worry me a lot, the old way will absolutely lose us more elections but so will purity testing out any candidates that might be flawed but realistic contenders in a local context. Or taking the ball and going home after a disappointing result - I'm pretty worried about what happens if Perez gets the DNC chair with all the unearned FUD spread about him by fellow Ellison fans.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:51 PM on February 24 [40 favorites]


I really don't mean there are no reasonable objections but it seems like a fairly silly question to ask why it seems appealing. And doesn't dissuade me of my general sense that Democrats are strangely afraid of having power (which might be admirable if we were already overwhelmingly successful but...).
posted by atoxyl at 6:53 PM on February 24


"Racism" doesn't apply only to black people. In this case I think racism means Those Goddamned Mexicans and Muslims.

Don't forget to throw misogyny* in with racism, gerrymandering, emails, Russia...anything else?

*because apparently the country is A-Okay electing an African-American man twice but elected a literal idiot man instead of a completely qualified, intelligent woman.
posted by cooker girl at 6:55 PM on February 24 [24 favorites]


Compared with "I'm with her", Trump's slogans are insanely effective as a visceral jolt into action.

I really am trying to get in the habit of focusing more on steps for the future than failures of 2016, but in my heart I will never tire of pointing out what an awful misunderstanding "America Is Already Great" represents.
posted by atoxyl at 7:07 PM on February 24 [17 favorites]


Somewhere between "always punch hippies" and "always nominate hippies," the truth lies.
posted by delfin at 7:14 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


*raises eyebrow*
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on February 24 [20 favorites]


Don't forget to throw misogyny* in with racism, gerrymandering, emails, Russia...anything else?

Yeah, she's a non-trivially unpopular person with the general public, her campaign imo was mismanaged, and she was not-unfairly associated with technocratic failures like the Iraq War and Wall Street banks.

Democrats badly need to get their state-level houses in order, but I'm not too worried about the 2020 presidential election in which we will run Not Hillary against Trump. That assumes we'll have a free and fair election though, which is something I'm deeply worried about.
posted by lalex at 7:21 PM on February 24 [11 favorites]


Trump's policies are abhorrent; but his key slogans of "Build the wall", "Drain the swamp", "Crooked Hillary" and "Make America Great Again" are memorable, fun to say, easy to remember, and serve as a helpful shorthand to reference broader and more complex policy positions.

With the exception of "Crooked Hillary" (which is a dumb schoolyard ad hominem that I don't think is worth emulating) these are all exhortations to action of some sort. "I'm With Her" and "Stronger Together" are fine in the "short and punchy" department, I guess, but they are also platitudes that demand no specific action and specify no particular problem. How about:

Tear It Down
Throw Him Out
Drain The Swamp (there's no reason we shouldn't throw this right back in Trump's face after his cabinet debacle)
Defend The Law
Heal The Sick (maybe too messianic?)
posted by contraption at 7:29 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


America is Already Great™
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:56 PM on February 24


I still like "Kick 'Em Out" with a kicking Dem donkey for 2018

I can't even imagine what Trump defending his record on the campaign trail will look like, it's easy to rail against the establishment but he is the establishment. He opens himself up to so many direct policy attacks if the Dems are smart enough to go after policy and not personality.

And I'd LOVE IT if a 2020 Dem challenger tallied up Trump's excessive bills for Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower protection and had a policy that could be paid for specifically with that money.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:00 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


America is Already Great™

That one was a disaster. It's essentially saying I've got mine, screw you.
posted by Beholder at 8:02 PM on February 24 [31 favorites]


The bonkers thing about current Republican moves is that it's entirely plausible we'll see Dems running on state and municipality rights and fiscal responsibility after this clusterfuck.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:08 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Beholder - what's more, it's as out of touch as George H.W. Bush at the supermarket.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:11 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Here's to Chris Murphy and Jeff Merkley, two mainline Dems who didn't crash and burn because they couldn't turn left (apologies to F. Biederman).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:12 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Couldn't Democrats appeal to moderate anti-legal-abortion/pro-lifers by suggesting that pragmatic public health and education policies (not to mention subsidizing natal care, single mothers, etc.) will cause women to voluntarily choose not to have abortions, or not need to have an abortion in the first place?

This is literally what planned parenthood does and despite repeated statistical facts of the work they do to reduce abortions in aggregate on this it doesn't seem to sway the uterus police because after all "its wrong that planned parenthood does abortions and sells baby parts."
posted by Karaage at 8:13 PM on February 24 [18 favorites]


America is Already Great™

That one was a disaster.


They had a lot of branding disasters, starting with that Goldwater logo and sliding down thereafter.

Can't stand all the fingerpointing and blame-anyone-other-than-the-badly-run-campaign that couldn't even beat... well, you know. Shifting blame, censoring dissent, that's how we get the same failures again.
posted by rokusan at 8:17 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


It's too many syllables. Should be "America is Great."
posted by Apocryphon at 8:18 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Make America Great For Once (MAGFO)
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:20 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Yes, gerrymandering is super important for establishing party control of the Congress, local districts, and the entire discourse, and for building the legislative infrastructure that acts in a long-term cyclical way to reify the conservative anti-government vision. Trump's victory is the direct result of 40 years of GOP strategy to exert control at all levels of government. The machine works, and it worked for him. He rode the wave.

I see zero percentage in the Dems playing a moderate/centrist line. There is no one there to pick up. There are, though, a shit-ton of disenfranchised/alienated voters - people who can no longer vote because of their incarceration under draconian policies, young people under 29 and middle-aged people who just shrug off voting at insanely high levels, low-income voters, people who have bought the line that nothing matters anyway so why bother. There is a lot more juice in that direction than in trying to move to the center to pick up angry alienated white guys from the Rust Belt. They belong in the Democratic Party if they really believe in policies that support lifting all boats in the lower and middle income class. They do not belong if they expect their interests to be privileged above others in the same kind of boats, but who happen to have different skin colors or home places. Sacrificing inclusion would be the surest death sentence for Dems.
posted by Miko at 8:21 PM on February 24 [35 favorites]


I sometimes think the whole liberal - conservative spectrum is shaped like a funnel, with the conservative end being narrow and focussed and therefore more unified in its message, and the liberal end being wider and more spread out, and more diaphanous and prone to in-tribe fighting because of the width of the circle it attempts to draw in.

I fear that even if Trump is the figure that can unify the Left as a unit toward victory, their focus will shortly be unfocussed again because of the diversity of their issues and causes.

If someone could come up with a single unifying way to express what ALL the progressive/liberal/left causes are in a way that could be a banner under which they could all march, that would change things.
posted by hippybear at 8:23 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


I see zero percentage in the Dems playing a moderate/centrist line.

I think we just saw that 1990's style centrist third-way stuff doesn't work in this century, yup.
posted by rokusan at 8:24 PM on February 24 [13 favorites]


If someone could come up with a single unifying way to express what ALL the progressive/liberal/left causes are in a way that could be a banner under which they could all march, that would change things.

This keeps getting said but I question it. I really don't think we differ all that much on causes. I think most people from center-left to extreme left agree in general on outcomes. Where we disagree is really tactics - and that's what's been killing us. The agenda itself isn't the problem. The divergent ideas about how best to pursue the agenda is. And it's ironically a conservative vs. liberal debate within the left: "my way or I take my toys home" vs. "collaborate, prioritize, be patient and sometimes that means you wait a long time for your foremost issue to get addressed." It's actually fairly hard to bridge this tactical difference, and it's not because people disagree on what the outcome of those foremost issues should ultimately be. It's that they disagree on the strategy it'll take to get there, and on how they would prioritize them.
posted by Miko at 8:29 PM on February 24 [19 favorites]


Hmm...DTMFA as a campaign slogan?

It would fit neatly on bumper stickers and campaign buttons...
posted by darkstar at 8:29 PM on February 24 [17 favorites]


And it's coming right after Lawyer Up.

Now let's just figure out how to Hit The Gym.
posted by rokusan at 8:31 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Where "gym" is a metaphor for Single Payer.
posted by darkstar at 8:33 PM on February 24


I really don't think we differ all that much on causes.

'Pragmatic' status-quo Democrat: "Free college tuition is an impossible dream, it would literally defy the laws of physics."

Anyone even vaguely a member of the actual left: "Germany did it last year."
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on February 24 [62 favorites]


(repeat ad nauseum re: healthcare, infrastructure investment, etc.)
posted by Jimbob at 8:36 PM on February 24 [15 favorites]


One thing that makes for good timing re: not chasing the centrists anymore is that if Betsy DeVos gets her way a lot of centrists will come along anyways without a lot of cajoling. She had by far the broadest opposition of cabinet appointments because people really really don't like when the school system gets fucked with. I can see her very presence bringing back some of the suburban voters Clinton lost.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:37 PM on February 24


Remember Cheney and Bush and company's secret energy strategy meetings where they were all secretive about who they were meeting with and what was discussed? Did we ever learn who were involved and what they discussed? What are the odds the oil industry heads all got together and planned a takeover to maintain their hold on power and further delay/blunt the challenge to fossil fuels as a base of political power? Putin, remember, is one of them. People like to think we've moved past control over resources being political power, but in practice, it still is: we haven't transitioned.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:42 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


'Pragmatic' status-quo Democrat: "Free college tuition is an impossible dream, it would literally defy the laws of physics."

Anyone even vaguely a member of the actual left: "Germany did it last year."


It's crazy how far things have come when I step back and look at them. Obama really couldn't have gotten the votes for single payer in the circumstances of the time, and nearly everyone on the D side was terrified of being called socialist... and just last year a loud and proud Democratic Socialist had huge crossover appeal and outdid everyone's expectations. Politics is the art of the possible and sometimes that means we can't have what we want right now but the party has to see that "the possible" has changed in pretty dramatic ways. Bernie defied expectations and Obamacare is damn near a third rail right now.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:42 PM on February 24 [28 favorites]


Well, if the Dems don't learn the right lessons this time around (and there's a lot of evidence that they won't), Cory Booker's gruesome loss in '20 or '24 will probably do it. The death knell of neoliberalism is inevitable, even for the hard of hearing.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:45 PM on February 24 [14 favorites]


Are you equating Dems with neoliberals? And casing Cory Booker as a neoliberal? Or do you have two ideas abutting against each other in your comment that aren't meant to be together?
posted by hippybear at 8:49 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


I know it's a big leap to go from mayor to president and I hate that the electorate being what it is means his sexuality could seriously hurt his chances but I'd love to see a President Buttigieg. He's the kind of roll up your sleeves and get shit done, pothole-filling, man/woman of the people Dem we should run.

Jay Inslee is another one I'd like to see in the mix since he stood up to fight Trump in no uncertain terms.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:56 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


'Pragmatic' status-quo Democrat: "Free college tuition is an impossible dream, it would literally defy the laws of physics."

Good example. First, free college tuition is probably something we can all agree would be great - sort of - if we think college is the universally awesomest. However, a lot of people will legitimately argue that it's not the first priority - especially because college and fifty cents will not even buy you a bag of chips in a failing job market. Germany has the second-highest tax burden in the OECD and it's growing. They're paying a lot more tax than Americans are, even at the middle margins. Can it be done? Sure. Would it be nice? Probably. Should this be our first, and most realistic priority? There are a lot of decent reasons to say maybe not right now, and they include strategy for emerging economies, contraction of the job market, limitations of higher-ed degrees, and plenty of other reasonable considerations.

Do Democrats agree that education should be affordable and accessible? I bet we do. Do we all think the best tactic to get there is to push uncompromisingly for universal free college tuition to a 4-year university at any and all cost, in light of the increased tax burden and in the context of a dozen or so other pressing needs, including what you do after you get a degree that's near useless in the emerging economy? Probably not.

This is a good example of where and how the enemies of all compromise, strategic prioritization, and incrementalism bail out, to all of our detriment.
posted by Miko at 8:59 PM on February 24 [28 favorites]


"The center" is an abstraction. It is sometimes a useful abstraction. It is sometimes not a useful abstraction. Right now it is not a useful abstraction.

Right now the task before us is to stop fascism, by whatever means are most effective. What will win votes for the Democrats is joining the people wholeheartedly opposed to fascism. The issue on the table in the election of 2018 will not be "left or right?" The issue will be "antifascist or fascist?"

We must oppose fascism in every way we can. The left is best at the in-the-street and on-the-phones work of opposing fascism. The left is leading. The liberals are helping too though.

I mean look, I am confused about this conversation happening on this site. All y'alls spend your afternoons helping jam up congressional phone lines. I know there's a bunch of other people here on a first-name basis with multiple Feinstein staffers. What do you think you're doing when you're on the phones, if not participating in a mass attempt to forcibly move the Democratic Party?

Feinstein D.C. office:
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954

California offices:
SF: (415) 393-0707
LA: (310) 914-7300
Fresno: (559) 485-7430
San Diego: (619) 231-9712

posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:59 PM on February 24 [9 favorites]


Are you equating Dems with neoliberals? And casing Cory Booker as a neoliberal?

Yeah and yeah. You might disagree on semantic grounds, but that's my view and it's not a particularly idiosyncratic one.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:00 PM on February 24 [14 favorites]


Do you really expect the admin to treat Obamacare as a third rail? Because they aren't so far and they won't. The Trump crowd do not care what the public wants. They've got a different set of priorities and they plan to force them through by any legal or extra legal means at their disposal. They're being pretty clear and blatant about that, moving ahead with plans to gin up growth forecasts in full public view, because they know if they just keep pressing, we'll get emotionally burnt out and give up and try to see the situation as normal anyway because that's how human psychology works; it's too stressful to face it forever when things are really and truly fucked up.

I don't know. The money for both parties comes from the same places. The funders have too much influence, they won't give money to candidates who are too independent and won't prioritize the POV of business leaders.

The Dems can't alienate their funders either. The money and parties in the process just corrupt all of it.

I'm not optimistic. Unfortunately, it's probably going to take either law enforcement or the GOP to put any real pressure on Trump. The Dems aren't really a factor right now, unless all this fascist signaling from Trump really is just a massive troll and he's suddenly going to stop proposing to dismantle most of the Federal government and become reasonable. But I don't see that happening. They're going for broke this time, the whole shebang. It's not at all unlikely we won't see free elections again. Fascists don't like to leave things to chance.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:06 PM on February 24 [6 favorites]


You might disagree on semantic grounds

And it might come to pass that the refusal to break bread with people who share essentially the same goals means you're marginalized, just as people more on the center-right who refuse to come along will be.

We ultimately all have to decide whether we're in or we're out for this Democratic-party reform and progressive movement effort. Those who are in will determine what the party is. The more of us that can convince ourselves to get in, the leftier the party will move, and the more successful we may be at achieving some of the goals we all agree are good. Those of us who cannot or will not find ways to collaborate and compromise may risk continued alienation and marginalization. There is no other viable party or coalition or mechanism.

I do not think that the purists among us are going to prevail by insisting on the purism; either they will lose because their refusal to mutually engage means the emerging party has to give up on including and prioritizing them, or they will lose because they withdraw from the party, and it continues to lose because it lacks numbers and energy, and then we all lose as American policies continue to move ever rightward.
posted by Miko at 9:08 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


Do you really expect the admin to treat Obamacare as a third rail? Because they aren't so far and they won't.

Years of vowing to tear it down only to finally have the opportunity and the Republicans flinched. It's not actual third rail status, and god knows Paul Ryan wants to get his grubby paws on the real high voltage thing by going after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but the party has no idea what to do about Obamacare because suddenly people like it and they're responsible for what comes next. And it's shaping up to be a huge mess of infighting for them. I can still see them whipping their party to fall in line and voting on something, they're really good at party discipline, but if this were an alternate 2013 where Romney won it'd be gone already.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:18 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


I'm onboard, I was this last time. I've voted straight Dem for years and even volunteered for the party in the past but I honestly think it's too late.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:20 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Yes but and also the question "what should the Democrats do?" is best answered with the question "what am I doing?" If you're not satisfied with what you're doing to oppose fascism, join your local Indivisible or DSA or SURJ or whatever chapter and start doing more. Or join your local antifa.

The connections we are all making through activism, right now, are going to define who we are going forward. They are also going to define what the Democratic Party becomes.

Politics is not a matter of measuring the temperature of the population and then providing a candidate that appears to match that temperature. Politics is a matter of organizing people to move them to your side, and it's a matter of disorganizing the people opposed to you.

It's not about measuring people. It's about activating them.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:22 PM on February 24 [28 favorites]


I think it's wrong to call some people purists. It's arbitrary. You could say that Clinton is a purist in the ideology that we must collaborate with the very bankers who crashed our economy. I mean, the reality is there are widely diverging viewpoints and in our deeply flawed, two party democracy, everyone on the very broad left is stuck with Democrats, even though there are almost no unifying principles of that party's membership. I can't feel that the party of bombing Afghanis and appointing Wall Street crooks to cabinet positions and supporting fossil fuels and defunding schools and union busting is my party. But I've been stuck with it if I want to participate in electoral politics as even part of my activism.

The right has been owning not just our politics, but our very imagination of politics, since Dukakis got called a liberal as if it was a bad word.

I honestly think we're nearing the end of the US as a project, but I think it's worth trying to pursue my real values through the channels available. And I think starting from a position of compromise is a losing strategy.
posted by latkes at 9:22 PM on February 24 [18 favorites]


'Pragmatic' status-quo Democrat: "Free college tuition is an impossible dream, it would literally defy the laws of physics."

I mean one thing this election has shown is that criticism of the Democratic Party from outside of it is as rife with straw men and mischaracterization from the supposed "left" of it, as it is from the right.

A faction yelling about free college (which mostly helps socially-middle- class white people) and says nothing about public K-12 (which is where a lot of actually disadvantaged and impoverished kids get assistance with things like food and critical interventions, and often simply cannot get an education that prepares them for college) is not at all left of some supposedly "center right" politician like Hillary Clinton.

It is also pretty freaking politically naive about the leanings of the average American voter in 2016. The candidate who made free college one of his two core campaign promises couldn't even win the popular vote of the primary of the leftward party. And the politically astute answer to that is to double down?

It makes me wonder if there’s a more general term than "engineers disease" for when white dudes who know jack shit about something decide that the only reason nobody has solved a problem that has just come to their attention is that nobody as smart or principled as they are has ever tried.
posted by mrmurbles at 9:25 PM on February 24 [45 favorites]


I've voted straight Dem for years and even volunteered for the party in the past but I honestly think it's too late.
---
I honestly think we're nearing the end of the US as a project


We need to fight because that's the very real danger we face but we can't be a month in and giving in to the despair. FWIW the congressional Republicans sure as hell act like they're going to be facing some really rough elections, if that gives some glimmer of hope. Now we show them they're right to be worried. Wave elections can turn gerrymandering into a liability.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:45 PM on February 24 [8 favorites]


> And the politically astute answer to that is to double down?

The answer is to build a broad-based well-organized movement against fascism. We've already started.

I remain deeply confused by all this 2016-talk here in godforsaken 2017. Like, the Washington Post just adopted the motto "democracy dies in darkness," and they had good reason to do so. Talk about positioning ourselves for the next election on a left-right spectrum displays a deep misunderstanding about what politics is. Politics is not about making a mark on paper or on a touchscreen. Politics is not about 2018. Politics is about organization, and it's about right now.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:48 PM on February 24 [22 favorites]


I agree. Free college was a dumb thing to prioritize. What we needed was a massive infrastructure spending plan for construction and workforce reeducation to transition to a completely renewables based energy economy. And we should have done it not by raising taxes but allowing the Fed to print money freely for spending on government programs, making actual costs the drivers for budgeting instead of budgeting being constrained by the artificial scarcity of the tax base. We needed to do that, and a lot more to promote peace and social cohesion worldwide, because we're going to need that to make the best of the bumpy ride we're in for a lot sooner than Trump and his followers think due to human accelerated climate change.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:53 PM on February 24 [10 favorites]


Unless they do know it's happening faster than most people think or are willing to accept and this really is the lead up to a global resource and survival conflict, and the smart money is betting Russia comes out better off in the near future, with oil to spare (while the rest of the world runs dry) due to global warming opening up access to new reserves. If they know that's about to happen, soon, then a strategic alliance with Russia would be the realpolitik thing to do. Kissinger would approve.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:57 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


Are you calling a purist? For me and many others on the left, Sanders was the compromise candidate.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:06 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


In one of my most favorited comments ever on MeFi, I pointed out that the Democrats have to make their GetOutTheVote work a lot more than finding likely voters and calling them on election day. Legwork and resources can offset some if not most of the Republicans' voter suppression actions, from PHYSICALLY HELPING them to get all the needed paperwork for bulletproof registration to PHYSICALLY TRANSPORTING them to the polls. The charge that D's were "busing in" voters from outside the district? Well, when the only polling place is intentionally inconveniently located, bus them in from where they live. If it's a two hour wait, provide food, drinks, folding chairs and entertainment just outside the "no electioneering" line. Make your voters feel like kings, because they'd obviously be better rulers than the Little Emperors we have now.

Also, where the districts are 80/20 Rep-to-Dem... don't have any official Democrats do it, but recruit Moderate Republicans to primary the TPers (looking at you, corb). Now that we're seeing the damage they're doing, a lot of people will be open to the formerly-extinct RINO if they have one to vote for.

And the power of Big Money is showing signs of fading - at least in the Big Advertising Buys category. Smart campaigning means putting the money where it does the most good, and if you're doing that, you don't need as much money.

As for the comment I'd say the Democrats' best bet would be to take over Wal-Mart and Goldman Sachs first., well, Arkansas' Own Bill Clinton got some support from Wal-Mart way back in the '90s and Hillary was trying to get Goldman Sachs support (only to get some people voting Trump because they thought he was ANTI-Goldman Sachs, the idiots). Of course, if Trump and Co. wreck the economy soon enough, billionaires will come flocking to the Democrats' door; but don't sit waiting for that.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:07 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


Dare suggest police militarisation is a problem, dare suggest the richest country in the world could actually afford to provide free healthcare and education, and you're labelled by the Democratic Party loyalists as some kind of agitating Commie.

I disagree. I think the problem is that as soon as some Dems start to take interest in moving further left some faction of the Left says "See! Everyone fully agrees with us and we need to burn it all down and start over."

No. Just thought you had some good ideas, but never mind.
posted by bongo_x at 10:21 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


I agree. Free college was a dumb thing to prioritize. What we needed was a massive infrastructure spending plan

I know, right? If only Hillary Clinton had announced in August 2016 a $275B infrastructure plan and promised to enact in it in her first 100 days as president.
posted by mrmurbles at 10:37 PM on February 24 [35 favorites]


Yeah, that's why I voted for her. That and she was sane. And competent. But I'm only one dude, and not an especially powerful one at that...
posted by saulgoodman at 10:39 PM on February 24



Yeah, that's why I voted for her. That and she was sane. And competent. But I'm only one dude, and not an especially powerful one at that...

Ah apologies, I misread your "needed" as "should have had but didnt."
posted by mrmurbles at 10:49 PM on February 24


Why the hell do you think that this is a tactic to emulate?

I mean, it's record of wild success?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:02 PM on February 24 [5 favorites]


We don't win when the Democratic Party adopts a particular set of policies. We win when we get people activated.

Go get activated, instead of theorycrafting about policy.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:11 PM on February 24 [4 favorites]


The answer is to build a broad-based well-organized movement against fascism. We've already started.

I remain deeply confused by all this 2016-talk here in godforsaken 2017. Like, the Washington Post just adopted the motto "democracy dies in darkness," and they had good reason to do so. Talk about positioning ourselves for the next election on a left-right spectrum displays a deep misunderstanding about what politics is. Politics is not about making a mark on paper or on a touchscreen. Politics is not about 2018. Politics is about organization, and it's about right now.


I recently re-read AJP Taylor's Bismarck and came across his observation that small L liberalism is always the ideology of those who expect to create a perfect system through legislation, and then that will be it; all that is then required is occasional tweaking, and people can go on about their lives, uncaring of politics. That clarified a lot of things for me, regarding the attitude of a lot of people to politics and activism, as basically temporary means to temporal ends, when activism and politics need to be thought of as constant human behaviors. But I don't know how to get people to that point.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:16 PM on February 24 [7 favorites]


Punch ballots and nazis.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:17 PM on February 24 [15 favorites]


I don't have any answers for how the Democratic party can salvage itself, except to say that if "2020: A Perfect Vision" isn't their campaign tagline, I'm voting for Deez Nuts.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:21 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


I mean, it's record of wild success?

It is "wild", I give you that. But its the kind of success that is basically short-term electoral gains at the cost of things like institutional strength and trust or a well-informed and sane public.
posted by FJT at 11:31 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]


So you haven't been making phone calls and you haven't been going to demonstrations and you won't be attending any town halls? Is that what you're saying?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:40 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


If someone could come up with a single unifying way to express what ALL the progressive/liberal/left causes are in a way that could be a banner under which they could all march, that would change things.


The closest I've gotten personally to a snappy soundbite which sums up everything that I MO needs fixing in the US (and also the world in general) is "Share The Wealth", but it reads as (and is) deeply socialist, which is still an electoral death knell. I'm not convinced it's not the right thing though. Who among us hasn't been taught we need to share with our family and siblings? It's just convincing people that basically everyone is essentially family that's the sticking point.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:40 PM on February 24 [1 favorite]


Go get activated, instead of theorycrafting about policy.

You're right, but without a single energetic leader or clear pillar around which to rally, human beings never seem capable of maintaining any kind of effective enthusiasm. As much as anarchy might appeal to me, personally, people seem to need structured organization.

Remember when TV nterviewers tried to get any two people from Occupy Wall Street to make the same demands? The risk of activated energy without organizing principles is real.
posted by rokusan at 12:02 AM on February 25 [6 favorites]


what rubbish, none of these articles mention ritual human sacrifice
posted by poffin boffin at 1:14 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


1) Get rid of Nancy as minority SOH, 2) DNC chair must be a fresh face, 3) Never endorse a candidate simply because they have 'paid their dues'. See Hillary, Romney, McCain, Kerry, Gore, Dole.

For presidential, people like to take a shot with unknown, unless of war or financial calamity. And, Nancy is so vilified, as well as being from Wacky California, people will vote R in the gerrymandered district just to spite.

You are welcome!
posted by breadbox at 1:18 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I hate to come across as the voice of "let's all calm down a minute" but here's what I'm thinking:

Everything is terrible. We all agree. A lot of really, genuinely bad things are going to happen in the next few years, some targeting mostly the already marginalized, some applying to everyone who isn't rich.

But:

1. It has been less than four months since the election. I feel like the speed of the internet has led to a certain amount of "why isn't there one clear mass movement leader giving us directions already, this must mean we're totally fucked". No one had a plan for this, not on the left or the center. Even ardent socialists thought we'd be dealing with Hillary. I think that we're going to see a lot shake out in terms of leadership and message in the next six months or so.

2. Right now we have only a very shaky sense of how Trump is actually going to govern, because he hasn't been able to do very much of it. "Terribly, chaotically and incompetently" is about all we've got. Right now, to me at least, it is not clear whether things are going to shake out as "really terrible fascism, border camps, ICE agents on every block" or "endless proclamations about how we're doing really terrible fascism and recruiting a lot of ICE agents, but a reality of poorly conceived plans and being slow-rolled at the state level and by Democrats".

3. We have a national level of ferment that I have never seen. Some of it will die away, but we can't mistake that for failure - even if 50% of it dies down, that's still, like, the remaining 50% more than I've ever seen in my life.

4. Republicans are splitting and flailing on all kinds of stuff, because their ideas are dumb and unpopular.

5. Maybe most importantly: think realistically about what victory looks like. Right now, victory isn't "getting rid of the Trumpist agenda; preventing all the bad things from happening". Victory is "slow-rolling, splitting, raising the cost, saving everything we can". In a plague year, victory isn't "there's no plague", victory is "we reduced the spread of disease and the number of deaths".

6. New doors will open. Picture us running down a corridor banging on the doors. Most of them are locked, some are not, we don't know which ones. We have to keep going, and then going through the doors we find. We know some doors will open, even if we don't know which yet.

7. Trouble for Trump is important - there's room for policy people and people who just want to slow his roll. The less he can get done, the more he has to deal with trouble, the less legitimate he looks, the less time they all have to recoup the better.

8. We have to stop hypnotizing ourselves with evil dreams. Seriously, I cannot handle the "there will never be elections again" thing. First, I don't think that's true - this is a country with strong democratic norms, however lousy the democracy in practice, and other countries in the Americas have faced worse than we do with some electoral process still intact. Second, unless you're saying "there will never be elections again, let's start a guerilla movement in the hills", what's the point? If we tell ourselves that there's no hope and we're all just going to die in the dark, what do we expect that to accomplish?

9. Americans have faced worse. We have organized from zero. There have not always been unions. Union organizers have been blacklisted and murdered; protesters and their families have been shot down in cold blood. Black organizers and community leaders have faced worse in this country for almost the entirety of its history. What about all those people out at DAPL? The Native activists organizing that are almost all far more vulnerable and precarious than most of us reading this thread. It sucks. This is not what we wanted or what we deserved. But it is not the end.

Fight, hold on, look for opportunities, keep yourself as alive and whole as possible. Do what's in front of you and look for doors. Surprises happen, reverses happen. Our enemies are powerful but also evil and stupid. Even Hitler couldn't make a thousand year Reich, and Bannon is only Hitler in his daydreams.
posted by Frowner at 2:51 AM on February 25 [126 favorites]


Democrats traded Social Justice Issues at home for military action and killing overseas. Fuck that. And we deserve a bit of what we get now...

The entire system we believe in and relied upon has been utterly turned against us, American's, because we can't universally admit and agree that way back when we started, owning other human beings was wrong. If we said that and meant it before, all of our "melting pot" bullshit would be true and we would not be facing our moral quandaries and be so easily divided by outsiders who want to dominate us. It's our fault because we refuse to recognize the Humanity in all of us - American or Foreign - we're all Human Beings.

We're getting what we invested in. It's not a mystery.
posted by jbenben at 3:24 AM on February 25 [5 favorites]


A faction yelling about free college (which mostly helps socially-middle- class white people) and says nothing about public K-12 (which is where a lot of actually disadvantaged and impoverished kids get assistance with things like food and critical interventions, and often simply cannot get an education that prepares them for college) is not at all left of some supposedly "center right" politician like Hillary Clinton.

College funding is one of the few things that can be done at the federal level thanks to the bedrock principle local control and funding of schools. Unfortunately, even "liberal" white majorities have been remarkably consistent in fighting any kind of equitable distribution of funding for K-12.

Hell, part of why DeVos is going to go down in flames is that pretty much nobody *except* affluent urbanites, a tiny fringe of hardcore libertarians, and people who've given up on their local K-12 systems entirely -- many of them quite liberal in most of their political beliefs -- actually wants *their* school district funding chopped up by the Feds for vouchers and so on. The folks who live in rural districts and suburban districts like their public schools just fine, because they pay for them already and they control the curriculum.

Fixing public K-12 in a real, meaningful way is the sort of thing you do knowing it will be unpopular with most of those groups, and thus the sort of thing you do *after* consolidating a majority.

We have to stop hypnotizing ourselves with evil dreams. Seriously, I cannot handle the "there will never be elections again" thing. First, I don't think that's true - this is a country with strong democratic norms, however lousy the democracy in practice, and other countries in the Americas have faced worse than we do with some electoral process still intact. Second, unless you're saying "there will never be elections again, let's start a guerilla movement in the hills", what's the point? If we tell ourselves that there's no hope and we're all just going to die in the dark, what do we expect that to accomplish?

I don't think people are literally saying "there will be no more elections;" they're saying that various forms of voter suppression and disenfranchisement, gerrymandering for state and legislative offices, and the push towards splitting up the electoral vote in states like Virginia and California would produce the form of elections but the outcome of one-party rule. It's the fear that all future elections will be Scott Walker-ed into submission. I don't think that's an unrealistic fear.

And I think the response to this:

Americans have faced worse. We have organized from zero. There have not always been unions. Union organizers have been blacklisted and murdered; protesters and their families have been shot down in cold blood. Black organizers and community leaders have faced worse in this country for almost the entirety of its history. What about all those people out at DAPL? The Native activists organizing that are almost all far more vulnerable and precarious than most of us reading this thread. It sucks. This is not what we wanted or what we deserved. But it is not the end.

Is essentially this:

recently re-read AJP Taylor's Bismarck and came across his observation that small L liberalism is always the ideology of those who expect to create a perfect system through legislation, and then that will be it; all that is then required is occasional tweaking, and people can go on about their lives, uncaring of politics.

Yes, all of those wonderful things like unionization and the New Deal and the Great Society programs and *happened* in the past, but they weren't *maintained*. They were treated as done deals. Well, it turns out nothing is really a "done deal." And all of those things were rolled back, slowly at first, and now perhaps very, very quickly.

Why? Because the Goldwaterites, the Nixonians, the Chicago Boys, all the radical right-wing nuts never stopped pushing their radical ideas, never stopped propagandizing, never stopped looking for avenues to spread their ideas. When Paul Weyrich and co. couldn't win at the ballot box, they started winning in the pulpit. When newspapers and TV weren't spreading the message, they started up direct-mail newsletters and took over AM radio....and that let them build strength until they got a good chunk of TV, too.

Hell, Trump has won, and he and the right-wing media are still holding rallies, raging against the perfidy and weakness and wickedness of "liberals." They did the same when Dubya was riding high. They don't sit back and say, "we did it once, we'll do it again." They are always fighting not to have their guns taken away, always about to have their kids brainwashed by Commie professors, always about to have their money taken away and spent on the underserving ethnics. Every victory is fragile at worst, and at best an opportunity to *keep pushing the envelope.*

The triumph of the reactionaries is precisely in their understanding, albeit in other terms, that permanent revolution is the only political tactic that works in the long run.
posted by kewb at 3:44 AM on February 25 [13 favorites]


This might turn into a rant but I hope it's just a story of my experience in the Progressive Organizing Machine.

Back in 2006 when I finally admitted to myself that everything I knew and believed had been a giant lie, that Republicans were thieves, God was dead, and global warming is an existential crisis for humanity, I quit my job at the IT center of my university and went to work for Greenpeace. You know those annoying as fuck canvassers on the street who give you the opportunity to clear your conscious of liberal guilt for $30/month? That was me. Trouble was I actually wanted to do something and I had enough functional brain cells to know Greenpeace is a total waste of time and money. The same is mostly true for all of the big organizations, especially any organization that prioritizes advocacy over meaningful direct action. What do I mean by meaningful? Well Greenpeace has their big dumb boat "protecting" whales, but it is 100% a propaganda showpiece. ACLU, on the other hand, wins lawsuits that protect thousands of people every year.

After quickly tiring of Greenpeace I tried a different approach. I sought out a small local organization that had a great reputation for direct action, education, and advocacy. But was totally focused on the local area. I worked to create a canvassing program there. And one of the things we learned was that you have to knock on every single door. When I read about data on the campaign in 2016 and only targeting the right voters it scared me, because I suspected they weren't doing it the right way. See, the first time you go to a block you knock on every door and talk to every single person who lives there. Then maybe a month later you go back. And then, armed with data about who was interested and who was an asshole, you win big.

I know the entire progressive alliance works this way because I took some time off in 2008 to work for the League of Conservation Voters on the election. We were supporting a bunch of local politicians and of course the Demcratic Senator and Obama. And every day I had to make up lists for me and my volunteers to call and knock, and at least once a week I would beg my boss to let us talk to everyone. In fact, one of the reasons I got the job in the first place was that I was the organizer of the my.bo group for my hometown. And we were having lots of success in bringing in longtime republicans. But when OLCV got involved these people were summarily shunned. I couldn't understand wtf was going on.

One of the state senate candidates I was helping offered me a job if he won. He's a good guy and would have been a great senator. His opponent wasn't exactly popular. He was the incumbent but even Republicans were never very fond of him. I remain convinced that the reason the Democrat lost is because the machine only targeted democratic votes and never even tried to go after the republicans. I went back to my job working on local environmental issues. And honestly, I think I got way more accomplished there in 3 years than most big organizations did on the national level. It's much more real to see changes in your own city and to connect with people about their day-to-day lives. Speaking with Republicans about pollution in the water their daughter likes to swim in is much easier than talking about global warming, and it tends to actually lead to results.

I remain very bitter about the entire progressive organizing machine. Almost every organization that promises national legislative action is more or less a money laundering scheme for political science majors. We take your money, you feel like you're making a difference, and nothing ever changes. If you want change you have to organize locally. And you have to put in the time. But the democratic party doesn't really want your participation. I mean, maybe in very controlled and easily marketable situations. Like as a prop for a press release. Or a crowd when POTUS does something stupid. But citizens actually engaging, being aware of the situation, and demanding things improve or else? No thanks.

The postscript is that on election night and throughout November, December, and January I was trying to contact anyone I knew who might be able to get me involved again. I'm expat now, but my wife and I agreed that this was too important to just sit on the sidelines. I wasn't expecting a job offer, I wasn't expecting tons of interest, but I hoped that someone would want to talk with me about moving to a swing state and registering voters. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.


TLDR:
The Democratic Party is incompetent, especially nationally. If you want to change something, work locally.
posted by Glibpaxman at 4:56 AM on February 25 [48 favorites]


I don't want to be hypnotized by the possibility of Trump and the other deplorables not allowing real, free elections, but they are conspicuously modeling their approach to governance on the kinds of regimes that don't allow real free elections but only go through the motions to offer plausible deniability and a patina of democratic legitimacy. I think it's exactly that tendency--the tendency to think the process and fairness will always win out and there's no real threat of that sort of serious hardcore authoritarianism here. If we aren't even brave enough to face the kinds of things that we all know are not outside the realm of political or practical possibility, as they've been observed to happen to democratic societies time and time again in other cases throughout history, then we aren't willing or brave enough to understand and accept the reality of politics and power and the real threats. International politics doesn't come with the kinds of moral limits democrats tend to assume are universal. We've destabilized and toppled whole nations for less than might be motivating Putin to try to do the same here dozens of times over.

I don't want anyone to be hypnotized by threat of their not being any truly fair or unmanipulated elections. The opposite. We need to be able to keep our eyes on the snake without getting hypnotized before it strikes, because exceptionalism is a myth; there is absolutely no better guarantee against that threat--a deal breaker for our democracy that obviates most of how we're accustomed to thinking the political process and activism should work because we're in the territory of raw power over civil society now--other than vigilance and willingness to face the worst case scenarios practically and realistic, not avoidance and retreat into blind faith in the integrity of institutions that are actively being taken apart and compromised while we watch. We already know Republicans aren't above voter suppression and trying to manipulate processes in bad faith. It's not that big a step for them at this point to just take that to the next level, is it? They're the only ones with legal authority to check their own power right now. The danger is critical because there's no turning back from that point through the usual political processes and approaches to activism we're used to. If they're busily working on locking down democracy for themselves while we debate strategy for winning the next election, assuming they'll still be fair, it's game over before the next round of play even begins.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:01 AM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Ach, forgive typos. Distracted by children over here...
posted by saulgoodman at 6:12 AM on February 25


I see zero percentage in the Dems playing a moderate/centrist line.

"The center" is an abstraction. It is sometimes a useful abstraction. It is sometimes not a useful abstraction. Right now it is not a useful abstraction.

Most of the abstract center crossed over to Trump in swing states while Democrats were counting on them. It looks like denial to continue to count them out. Speaking of which, some authors have recently pointed out the dangers of cognitive dissonance in the next election. Wavering voters will be in denial about how bad Trump is and talk him up, then double down on him to convince themselves otherwise. There should be a top priority and urgency to address these voters. They just need to know that they can fix it, and that it's up to them. The nice thing here is that no other message needs to be crafted, nor any policy put forward. The die is cast for the next four years. The entire message is anti-Trump as a unifying pro-American moment, and that's why we need a special prosecutor about Russian meddling right now.
posted by Brian B. at 6:13 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Because the problem with the Republicans isn't their tactics. It's their politics.

The Republicans' main tactic is that they lie. Unabashedly and incessantly. Without a twinge of guilt, Trump told desperate coal workers that he would save their jobs. That he would drain the swamp. That he had a plan to defeat ISIS. That he had a better cheaper health plan. That he had no contact with Putin. The Republicans won because human beings are wired to trust big men who speak with confidence. The only hope the left has is that enough people wake up before it's too late. I don't particularly see the Democratic party as being the engine for that ever happening. If anything, like in the fairy tale, it'll take a "child," perhaps a rising young political movement, to get America to finally acknowledge that our Emperor is in fact naked as a pig.
posted by xigxag at 6:28 AM on February 25 [9 favorites]


and that's why we need a special prosecutor about Russian meddling right now.

Well, first, that person would have to be appointed by the GOP, since they control both houses of Congress.

And second, the 1990s suggest strongly that a special prosecutor aimed at a politician with high approval ratings in his own voter base might just accelerate that whole "double down to stop the dissonance" thing.

In any case, the "center" has never really been a set of stable policy positions, by definition. It's more of a self-perception among some voters, most of whom are in practice partisan voters or very poorly informed and uninterested in being well-informed because party politics strikes them as icky or because they just aren't that interested in current events.

Those in the "center" who are persuadable are reached in the last couple of weeks, and often more by the tone of media coverage than by direct campaign messaging; those who aren't persuadable...aren't.

Beyond that, there is a strange idea in the Washington press corps that the parties should just compromise on everything and strike grand bargains, but there's very, very little evidence that voters actually *vote* for this sort of thing, and increasingly a lot of counterevidence that intransigence is a successful strategy for incumbents.

The center that supposedly voted in Barack Obama didn't punish the Republicans for years of obstructionism, for example. Nor did Trump's extremist rhetoric seem to mobilize them vote for an establishment candidate. In practice, the "center" is basically a rhetorical device the media and a certain, marginal pool of voters use to try to seem objective and to justify false equivalencies.
posted by kewb at 6:28 AM on February 25 [9 favorites]


In practice, the "center" is basically a rhetorical device the media and a certain, marginal pool of voters use to try to seem objective and to justify false equivalencies.

Alternatively, the center is concrete as a rejection of right and left abstractions. The media see a movement, then duly redefines it in terms of a counter-movement, real or imagined, as a measured but false neutrality. All others are undefined, then disregarded as abstractions.
posted by Brian B. at 6:40 AM on February 25


Most of the abstract center crossed over to Trump in swing states while Democrats were counting on them

Nobody much really "crossed over." Voting for Obama was the anomaly, not voting for Trump. The sector that voted him in is fundamentally socially conservative and were only ever Democratic on economic issues. Economic issues are important, but soft-playing social justice issues to pander to economic anxiety does not feel like the future of a viable party in a country whose diversity (and simultaneously, justice issues) are only increasing, rapidly.

It makes me wonder if there’s a more general term than "engineers disease" for when white dudes who know jack shit about something decide that the only reason nobody has solved a problem that has just come to their attention is that nobody as smart or principled as they are has ever tried.

....I call that "Trumpianism."

Alternatively, "patriarchy."

activism and politics need to be thought of as constant human behaviors. But I don't know how to get people to that point.

Locally. I am not as discouraged about the big picture as glibpaxman above, but I also started to get really active in 2006, with a focus around issues of food systems and community resilience. It was remarkable what we have been able to achieve, and keep achieving. People who were formerly apolitical and non-galvanized have been pulled into a much more active and aware network that brought them friends, hope, things to do, and positive visible change, and that's addictive. Then, when it comes time to stump for candidates, a lot of your work is already done. You are a strong network, you have channels, you have trust, and you have platforms you can use to have political discussions and plan actions that do have an impact at the state and federal levels.

without a single energetic leader or clear pillar around which to rally, human beings never seem capable of maintaining any kind of effective enthusiasm.

See above. I do believe you can maintain enthusiasm around causes and ideas for a very long time - experience has shown it - but I think we need a good balance between decentralized grassroots activism and levels of organization that allow for strategic, inclusive but focused platform-building. Occupy's organization (lack of) did not work at a legislative or electoral level, but was effective in introducing ideas and vocabulary and highlighting significant issues. The DNC's way of staying insular in the machine and keeping cards close to the vest and only allowing major players into the planning was highly strategic and has been somewhat effective, but not enough. We need both. We need a more open and transparent and responsive party that taps and channels grassroots activist energy. We won't have a leader, we'll have leaders - in the way many people active in local organizations find their practice has evolved, working together to divide and conquer particular issue areas while joining cells together on major, collaborative campaigns. The DNC can be the structure that instead of dictating positions, links networks and unites various efforts around a generalized, but still debatable and malleable, set of issues focused on human thriving and good quality of life for all residents of this country. It's a slightly shifted way of organizing, it does work, and I hope the Dems will move toward it - in part, because that is what my involvement in the Democratic Party is focused on doing.

If you don't like what the Democrats are doing, I can't emphasize it enough - open up another tab, find your town or county committee, drop them a line, and get going.
posted by Miko at 6:41 AM on February 25 [13 favorites]


"It's time to repeal and replace ObamaCare...with Medicare for All!"
posted by Captain l'escalier at 7:09 AM on February 25 [12 favorites]


I ran for U.S. Senate in 2006 on a technology, transparency, and accountability platform as a Democrat. My primary problem was that I ran in Utah, an overwhelmingly Republican state. During that campaign, I reached out to Mitch Kapor with no response, and even had dinner with John Perry Barlow, not because he was interested in my campaign, but interested in one of the women who is my friend. Aside from a few checks mailed from small donors from outside the state, I got nowhere with "tech luminaries" in supporting my campaign. This in spite of Orrin Hatch repeatedly favoring extending copyright to the detriment of tech and the Internet.

I ran again in 2012, adding campaign finance reform in the mold of public financing to my planks, refusing to take money from PACs. I was deep-sixed in convention by organizations who didn't like my vision of taking away priority from the biggest spenders. I felt completely shut-out by the controlling organizations of the Democratic party.

Orrin Hatch is currently the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate. He is an apologist for Trump who calls private corporate visits "town-hall meetings". By all indications, he is going to run again in 2018 in spite of pledging that 2012 was his last term.

I would like to run again, but I question whether the Democrats nationally are going to again view Utah as a waste of time. I was a Sanders supporter and I equally question the Democratic will to commit to the left over trying to be Republican-lite and appealing to the right. If running as an independent didn't pull less than 1% in Utah races, I would consider it because I've never felt anything but shut-out by the DSCC and the DNC when I ran.
posted by pashdown at 7:39 AM on February 25 [47 favorites]


I really think the only way forward is for progressives on a small scale to start running for ALL county/county equivalent and states offices. This requires a lot of local, on the ground and person to person organizing so it is not easy but it is possible. Take back county government, take back state houses and governorships and national offices will follow. This means being aware of when the next local election is and voting in it.

The Democratic Party is not interested in doing this and the reasons don't really matter. Find out when your next local election is. Are there progressives running for every office? Help recruit candidates, support them while they campaign, take your friends to vote on voting day.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 8:00 AM on February 25 [9 favorites]


Orrin Hatch is currently the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate.

This is pretty obviously untrue.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 AM on February 25


People in Wisconsin are showing up. 75,000 people marched in Madison (pop. 250,000). We just had a nominally non-partisan primary election for state superintendent; turnout of 360,000 for a race that drew 240,000 last time there was a primary, and the increase all went to the Dem-supported incumbent, who drew 70% of the vote statewide. Hundreds showing up for town halls for our absent Senators, phone calls nonstop. Women in my neighborhood who I never even knew were political flew to DC for the big march or signed up for Emerge Wisconsin to train as candidates. As far as I can tell, there is not a ton of interest here in who becomes the chair of the DNC, or who supported Bernie and who supported Hillary. Democrats in the state are activated; they are activated to run as Democrats and activated to support Democrats. Honestly, I think it'll stay that way no matter what course the national party takes.
posted by escabeche at 8:37 AM on February 25 [14 favorites]


Make America Great For Once (MAGFO)

Let America Be America Again
posted by dersins at 8:43 AM on February 25


My favorite (hamburger) part of this post election funtime is how everybody knows with total certainty 1. what the Democrats did wrong and 2. what we need to do differently now.

I have seen precious few articles (or MeFi comments) that do more than reinforce a reader's preexisting POV on the issue. Is it possible to get from here to more reasoned discussion?

(I'm also ready to be wrong in my analysis. Or maybe this kind of You're wrong I know what's best! rhetoric is more useful than I know.)
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:03 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Universal College is an interesting platform (even if it would almost certainly be limited to 2 free years at a Community College) but it's not a compelling tentpole to build a campaign around for a variety of reasons despite it being a favorite of people on Metafilter.

It only impacts a small amount of the electorate even if you account for non-traditional students (like the WWC who wants to go back to school to get into a better career). There are too many voters that have already gotten their education paid for and would respond in a predictable manner to the various Republican talking-points against government assistance in College education.

Unfortunately it's generally preferable to focus social policies that impact a larger percentage of the country particularly if it's popular among older voters (who vote more reliably than younger cohorts).
posted by vuron at 9:04 AM on February 25 [6 favorites]


For me, free college should definitely be an eventual long term goal, but we aren't at a point where we can even achieve and stabilize a functioning health care system. And global warming is an immediate threat to every other policy priority any faction might have, plus, done properly there could be huge social and economic benefits to a big, all-in infrastructure and workforce reinvestment program. That said, systemic reforms are a big priority to me. There's never going to be any significant change in the political outcomes while all the major funding inputs to the process are primarily motivated by narrow business interests rather than broader public interests.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:10 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


This thread is remarkably akin to the talk among the British left that led to Corbyn's election as leader, who then went on to lose Brexit, to the first Labour by-election swing to a Tory government candidate in modern times and (remarkably) to the potential revival of the Lib Dems as a competing party of opposition, which augers grim for 2020 FPTP results.

Left wing leadership of the default center-left party, and left-wing protests feel good but achieve remarkably little -- preaching to the choir. Wisconsin protests were just cited -- all the protests in Wisconsin amounted to ... Walker and his legislators re-elected, Feingold defeated, and Trump carrying the state, the first Republican to do so since 1984.

The reality is that only determined DLC style centrist leadership will do -- that is how you address the millions of people who voted for Obama switched to Trump or stayed home. That is how you peel off your McCain/Romney Republicans, very few of whom were dissuaded from voting for Trump because of his supposed extremism, and who are being rewarded for their fidelity by Trump doing exactly the mainstream conservative things -- regulatory reform, his Cabinet, Gorsuch, with more to come on taxes, guns, and religious freedom -- that they expected and desired in swallowing any qualms to vote for him.

All the celebration of the fall of the white majority ignores that Trump may be the leading wave of converting white votes in the upper Midwest and Pennsylvania outside the close-in suburbs to the R vs D polarity of the South ... which means at least 20 more years of Republican government, or forever more years if
f Trump emplaces significant immigration reforms. The kind of Democrat who wins those votes is Bill Clinton circa 1992.
posted by MattD at 9:16 AM on February 25 [10 favorites]


Miko Do Democrats agree that education should be affordable and accessible? I bet we do. Do we all think the best tactic to get there is to push uncompromisingly for universal free college tuition to a 4-year university at any and all cost, in light of the increased tax burden and in the context of a dozen or so other pressing needs, including what you do after you get a degree that's near useless in the emerging economy? Probably not.

See, that's a position where I can see reason even if I disagree.

But it isn't what Clinton said. She said that free college was **IMPOSSIBLE**. Not that it shouldn't be the top priority, not that it'd be a hell of a fight that would sap our resources for more pressing matters. She said it was impossible, that it flat out couldn't be done economically.

Same with universal single payer. She actually said the US just plain couldn't afford it, not that it wasn't politically achievable, not that there were other ways to get better health care that could be achieved more easily and quicker, she said universal single payer as impossible.

This is a good example of where and how the enemies of all compromise, strategic prioritization, and incrementalism bail out, to all of our detriment.

Yes, it is. And it's an example showing that the Clintonist/Centrist side is just as guilty of that as us on the far left are accused of being.

Purity, that thing we're so often accused of prioritizing above all else, is hardly absent in the centrist faction. They're just centrist purists.

This keeps getting said but I question it. I really don't think we differ all that much on causes. I think most people from center-left to extreme left agree in general on outcomes.

I'm not at all sure that's true.

Would you argue that the DNC/Centrist faction's general outcome includes dismantling the supremacy of Wall Street and ending the current corporatist order in the USA?

Would you argue that the DNC/Centrist faction's general outcome includes dismantling the military industrial complex and radically shrinking the size and expense of the US military?

Or ending our entire godawful prison system and radically reforming the criminal justice system to redress the systemic racism and classism built in?

And by "ending" I mean literally that, ending as in emptying the prisons of all non-violent offenders, and restructuring the entire system around a more Nordic rehabilitative approach for those few violent offenders we do incarcerate?

I don't think so.

I'd argue that there are some things where the left and the Democratic centrists have agreement, we'd probably all like to see healthcare become available to all (we differ on how that can be achieved best, but the goal is probably ultimately the same), we'd probably all like to see abortion be essentially unrestricted. There's probably a few other areas where we really do agree on general goals.

But I'm not at all convinced that our larger goals are actually all that compatible.

More to the point, I'm looking at a present where we on the left have been told over, and over, and over, that we need to just STFU, vote for any Democrat, and then, if we're good, maybe some of our issues will be addressed if there's time.

I remember being told to STFU about Obama, that we were all on the same team with the same goals. And I remember Obama being utterly ruthless and vicious in his attacks on the left, he attacked us in ways he would never have dreamed of attacking the right.

I'm saying that yes, compromise is necessary. And it's going to have to start with the Centrist faction giving us some fucking ground and legitimacy. Whether that means Ellison as DNC chair I don't know. Maybe not. But we on the left need major concessions. We've been giving the Centrist faction everything they've asked for and in return getting nothing but scorn and hate, we deserve better and if we don't get better I'm fearful for the future.

Because I'm far left, but I'm a pragmatist. That's why I'm going to a local Democratic Party meeting this afternoon with some nice, elderly, well meaning Democrats of the decidedly centrist faction and I'm working with them to strengthen our local party. But there's some less pragmatic folks among the left and our long history of being both the scapegoat for every Democratic failure and the constant demands that we STFU and just vote for anyone with a D are galling to them.

Especially now that they're proposing primary challenges for hte worst of the right wing Democrats and are being told that to even suggest such a thing is unforgivable. All our lives we've been told to channel our left wing anger into the primaries and hold our noses and vote for the Centrist in the general. And it turns out that, apparently, for a lot of Democrats telling us that the first part was a lie and we're apparently also not permitted to mount primary challenges either and that our only legitimate action is voting for whatever corporate tool the DNC chooses for our districts. That's really galling a lot of us on the activist left.

So yes, compromise. But that means the Centrists give some too. And it's their turn to give a whole fucking lot since my side has been giving for decades with absolutely nothing in return.
posted by sotonohito at 9:43 AM on February 25 [34 favorites]


I don't think running as centrists is the only way to win. Democrats haven't forwarded a coherent agenda/vision and because of that the right has been able to fill the gap even though when party isn't identified, most Americans support progressive policies. I've said it here before, there's an opportunity to grab the "defender of freedom" mantle- freedom to love who you want, freedom to not be bankrupted by an illness, freedom to privacy, freedom to get a solid education.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 9:51 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Yes, sotonohito, I agree. Primary challenge everyone. The Democratic Party has reduced itself to "let's try to get 50 candidates in the Senate" so there's basically nothing to lose at this point.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 9:56 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Primary challenge whoever the heck you want, but for god's sake just vote the leftmost you can vote in the General. Look at the UK. We cannot afford a split left. I feel like all of us people who were saying vote for the Democrat in the general should be vindicated - lots of people just didn't vote or voted third party, even in the swing states - and look what we've got as as result. Instead people seem to be doubling down on the tactics that resulted in this mess in the first place.
posted by peacheater at 10:09 AM on February 25 [8 favorites]


The Democrats as the party of social progress are always going to be more divided than the Republicans which are the party of status quo or even reactionary policies. The simple fact of the matter is that progressives/liberals all have a variety of social policy agendas and sometimes they are in conflict with each other or we simply don't have a strong opinion one way or another.

In general I think we should accept that Democrats need to focus on both economic reform and social justice issues. Centrist Democratic Presidents like Clinton and Obama have proven themselves to be excellent at growing the economy but Democrats need to pay attention to the fact that while the economic policies of the middle-way Democrats have benefited a large number of Americans they have also contributed to growth in economic inequality and an increasing percentage of the electorate is getting frozen out of the new economy. By a similar token the Democrats cannot abandon the various cohorts made of LGBT individuals and PoC in an attempt to recapture the so called WWC.

Broadly speaking I think Democrats can probably find solid pluralities of the electorate that would support a number of social policies. Generally speaking they seem to issues related to infrastructure investment and economic redevelopment, criminal justice reform (largely linked to drug policy reform), a general focus on equality being the cornerstone to social justice issues, and policies designed to reduce the income inequality gap. Most of these have been central to Democratic social policy for some time but there has been a lack of a clear strategy for articulating these issues to voters. I don't think it will ever be possible to boil the ocean to the point where we can create the policy simplicity present in the Republican platform (White Christian Men need to remain the dominant social group, taxes are bad, the government is useless except for military and criminal justice spending,etc) but we can definitely get a competing vision of the role of government in improving people's lives out there.

I strongly suspect that a central message of NOT TRUMP will be a strong one in 2018 and 2020 but we need to develop something more compelling. People want to vote for something rather than vote against something.
posted by vuron at 10:24 AM on February 25 [6 favorites]


On the whole conversation in terms of "message" miss the point. Any message will do, so long as it's not altogether disconnected from reality — basically, any message to the left of "everything is fine sit down be quiet and let mommy and daddy manage things for you" and to the right of "worldwide revolution now!"1 is workable, as is any combination of any of the messages in that range.

The important discussion is about logistics, not messaging. How do we get activists into place to mobilize across the country? How do we continue elevating antifascism and humiliating fascists? How do we kneecap the ability of the right to govern? These are not questions about message, and they're not questions about elections — though doing this stuff is how to win elections. These are questions about getting actual people in actual rooms to disrupt what happens in those rooms when it's bad, and to control what happens in those rooms when it's good. These are questions about organizing the logistical means to break intense voter suppression. These are questions about getting people agitated and keeping them agitated and helping them agitate others. If the national level Democratic Party helps, that's fine. If the national level Democratic Party doesn't, that's their mistake to make. Regardless of what they do, we'll keep taking over the local party apparatuses, and we'll keep building our own apparatuses outside the Democratic Party so that we don't have to rely on the national party for leadership.

Stop pretending it's 2016. Stop focusing on how other people should tailor their messages. Start doing things yourself.

1: "Worldwide revolution now!" is, of course, a fine message, but because the Democratic Party is focused on electoral means, it's not the right message for them.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:10 AM on February 25 [10 favorites]


On the whole conversation in terms of "message" miss the point.

How do we get activists into place to mobilize across the country?


With a credible, appealing message...
posted by Coventry at 11:15 AM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Why can't we even sell a message as basic and obvious as our country is literally under direct attack by a conspiracy of business interests and historically hostile foreign powers and urgent action is needed to save our democracy not tomorrow but right now? It's not the message that matters. It's all about personal identity and party loyalty. Even when Dems come down strong on messaging in ways that voters support when Republicans do it, it doesn't work. A lot of people are looking for more rationality and reason in all this than is there to be found I think.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:27 AM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Nope! We get activists into place across the country by finding things for them to do. We already have the groundswell. All we need is opportunities to act. And we're making them.

Opportunity to act, and institutional structures that allow people to turn desire to act into effective action, are different from and separate from language and positioning.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:28 AM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Perez fell one vote short in the first round. Onwards to round 2.
posted by zachlipton at 11:29 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


1st round:

Perez: 213.5
Ellison: 200
Brown: 12

Votes needed: 214.5 (I have no clue either), so 2nd round it is!
posted by carsondial at 11:30 AM on February 25


Not that this makes sense, but apparently members living abroad get half a vote.
posted by lalex at 11:36 AM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Seems like Perez is likely given that only one Brown supporter is required to put him over the Top and there aren't enough to actually give Ellison the victory.

I don't really mind either way both have strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully either way we can get back to a 50 state strategy
posted by vuron at 11:38 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


5. Maybe most importantly: think realistically about what victory looks like. Right now, victory isn't "getting rid of the Trumpist agenda; preventing all the bad things from happening". Victory is "slow-rolling, splitting, raising the cost, saving everything we can". In a plague year, victory isn't "there's no plague", victory is "we reduced the spread of disease and the number of deaths".

This is a good account of what realistic victory looks like over the next year, but it's worth also thinking about at least two other time-frames: 2018, and 2020. What we can realistically strive for in 2017 is different from what we can achieve in 2018 or 2020, and each timeframe may entail somewhat different strategies. Nobody seems to want to think in too much detail about 2020, especially on the candidate level, which is fine, but even on the broader electoral strategy level, the best strategy for 2020 might not be the best for 2018. It may or may not make sense in 2020 to run the same strategy as 2016 but do everything we can to get those 80K voters we needed to win in 2016. But 2018 is going to be very different.

I know optimism isn't too popular around here these days (and for good reason), but even thinking with gimlet-eyed "realism," in 2018 there is actually a realistic possibility of achieving big things. It is not at all unrealistic to think that winning both the House and the Senate back is within grasp. With an unpopular (below 50%) president in a midterm year, a gain of 20 seats in the House is around the historical median. Maybe gerrymandering has made this harder for Dems and maybe Dems have a harder time in midterms, but there is not any actual quantitative evidence for either of those claims, and big gains seem quite plausible.

Of course, such gains don't happen automatically -- they vary depending on various other national currents, plus of course the Democratic midterm strategy. The challenge is that we need to win super-majorities to even win a bare majority in any branch of the government these days; the positive news is that a large swing is quite probably in 2018. So the question is, for those few things we can actually affect, such as party strategy, what strategies should we pursue in this particular election cycle, within the reasonable scenario that large Congressional wins are quite possible, though of debatable likelihood. But to do that may require a different strategy than 2016 plus a few more rust-belt voters, even if that strategy might make the most sense for 2020. For 2018, most of what matters of course is anti-Trump, which will happen under any conceivable party strategy. But within broad umbrella, there are still decisions to be made about what sort of campaigns our hundreds of candidates should run in House, Senate, and state races.

To me, it seems that the Dean strategy, which may not be best for all years, is especially called for here. There may be many surprising and fundamentally unpredictable pick-ups waiting to happen with the sort of wind at our backs that we haven't had since 2006 or 1982. Mostly we all agree on that though. So then the question is, what sort of substantive campaigns should our candidates run, to the small degree that the party leadership can affect such things? Even if you don't think a wild, Tea-Party-style left-wing campaign makes sense for 2020, it seems that there are good reasons in 2018 to marry the anti-Trump message with slightly more extreme pro-left messages, especially if such messages are necessary to enlist the sorts of unrealistic idealists who might actually run in the sorts of (officially) low-probability races we might reasonably pick up in 2018. But in any case, agree or not, it's realistic to think about a fairly optimistic scenario for 2018 (if not 2017) and what sorts of messaging strategies are best suited to the possible wave building for Democrats in two years.

[That said, at this very moment the party seems on the verge of deciding to go with the more moderate strategy. So we'll see how that works out, especially for candidate recruitment.]
posted by chortly at 11:38 AM on February 25 [7 favorites]


Fox is covering the vote live outside of the room and sort of gloating about "which faction will walk", not entirely sure what that means or is anything but snarky bloviation.
posted by sammyo at 11:42 AM on February 25


Is the DNC trying to send some kind of message playing "Sorry" ("Is it too late now to say sorry?") here?
posted by zachlipton at 11:47 AM on February 25


Unfortunately it seems like for some people the DNC position is of course a great way to relitigate the primaries with Perez as Clinton and Ellison as Bernie even though both have very similar positions on a huge number of things and seem committed to working together.
posted by vuron at 11:59 AM on February 25 [14 favorites]


Former DNC chairman Howard Dean, a Buttigieg backer, sent an email to DNC members saying he will now back Ellison. His statement nods to the earlier controversy of the Ellison campaign claiming they had Buttigieg's endorsement, even though they don't:

"This is Governor Howard Dean. I believe that Keith Ellison would be the most likely person to be able to successfully bring in the first global generation to the Democratic Party. (This is real)"
How does this make sense, coming after the vote which is likely to decide the election?
posted by Coventry at 12:05 PM on February 25


My favorite (hamburger) part of this post election funtime is how everybody knows with total certainty 1. what the Democrats did wrong and 2. what we need to do differently now.

However it is nice to see, on MetaFilter at least, that the vast majority here do actually understand there is something about the Democrats that needs to be fixed and that the blame doesn't 100% lie with teh Russians.
posted by Jimbob at 12:06 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


> How does this make sense, coming after the vote which is likely to decide the election?

He sent it before the second round of voting.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:07 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


The Dems can't alienate their funders either,

Are they a political party or a bank ? Because a political party exists to get candidates elected and a bank exists to raise money.

And yeah, I get that money can help win elections. But you know what helps win even elections even more directly ? Running a fucking candidate in the first place. There were 4 unopposed Republicans on my ballot.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:07 PM on February 25 [20 favorites]


I never get this -- if Perez and Ellison are so similar, why did Perez choose to run and Obama nudge him to do it? The party was pretty unified behind Ellison for a month before Perez stepped in. Was it just a personal desire for power that caused him to decide to split the party by running? Or are there actual policy differences, as implied by their different supporters (Ellison mostly the Sanders wing plus lots of rank-and-file, Perez mostly the ex-leadership and bigger funders)? The other notable thing is that most of the arguments that it doesn't matter very much, that one shouldn't get too worked up by it, and that one certainly shouldn't use this as an occasion to relitigate the primaries -- are all supposedly neutral arguments made almost exclusively by one side of the conflict. And I expect we'll see even more calls to not relitigate and not get worked up if Perez wins, with no explanation of why those who pushed for him actually bothered with any of this.
posted by chortly at 12:11 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


And one thing that the godforsaken election of 2016 taught us is that money is in fact not everything, in our new and very weird media environment.

But, whatever. Whoever wins the role of DNC chair, the DNC must be understood as a blunt instrument that may be used for our ends, rather than as a source of leadership or as an organization to identify with. Take what's useful, and let the useless parts catch up with us or wither away.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:11 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Never mind the Chair election, I'm abandoning the DNC over their choice of on-hold music.
posted by Coventry at 12:16 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I can live with Perez if he'll fight, but what bothers me is that he's being presented by the Centrist faction as the sort of anti-Ellison. I don't think he is, and I can agree that Ellison has problems and is far from my ideal DNC chair (among other things there's a good argument to be made that a sitting Congressperson isn't really ideal under any circumstances).

But at the moment what I see as the most urgently needed quality is fighting spirit, and Ellison seems more fighty than Perez.

We've been in dire need of a DNC articulating a strong opposition to Trump and Trumpism, to be the banner bearer for the Party as a whole so they can rally around the message and get down to the hard business of opposing with all their might. We've needed that since 11/9, and unfortunately now we're four months past when the opposition should have started and it's still not really well organized yet.

If Perez is fighty and can articulate a message of uncompromising opposition I'll take him despite preferring Ellison. What bugs me is that the Centrists seemed to feel there was a deep and urgent need to run someone else. Why? Don't they want a fighty DNC chair?
posted by sotonohito at 12:17 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


that is how you address the millions of people who voted for Obama switched to Trump or stayed home

Oh god, the myths of low Democratic turnout and "economic anxiety."

Obama in 2012 got roughly 65,000 more votes than Clinton in 2016 -- out of 65 million votes, that is about 0.1%.

And of course Clinton won the popular election by almost 3 million votes.

Turnout for Democrats can always be better, but that's not why Trump is president.

He's president because first and most because of our screwed up electoral college system, and second because of the roughly 2 million Republicans who showed up for Trump and not for Romney.

Economic anxiety you say? Turns out that evidence strongly favors straight-up sexism and racism.
posted by mrmurbles at 12:17 PM on February 25 [23 favorites]


It's Perez, with 235 votes over the needed 218.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:22 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


It's going to be a long four years.
posted by zachlipton at 12:24 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


I get that money can help win elections. But you know what helps win even elections even more directly ? Running a fucking candidate in the first place. There were 4 unopposed Republicans on my ballot.

The thing about the 50-state-stategy and running candidates up and down that ballot is that pragmatists like Rahm Emanuel (DCCC chair and anti-Dean in 2006) couldn't really do it even if they wanted to. The only folks who will run against secure Republicans are crazy idealists willing to waste a year of their lives for a near-impossible goal. The pragmatists don't bother with these races, and when they do, they recruit other pragmatists -- people who by definition wouldn't waste their time running in a race they are unlikely to win. But the thing about 2018, like 2006, is that there may well be a lot of unlikely wins for Democrats in the offing, both for federal and state offices, but by the time we'll know for sure which way the winds are blowing, it will be too late to field new challengers. So it may be that the only way to fill these blank ballot lines while we can is to appeal to the nutty idealists who are willing to disrupt their lives and careers for a series of long-shots. We'll see whether Perez can muster that kind of enthusiasm, or even tries to.
posted by chortly at 12:25 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Pity it wasn't Ellison. Hope he does a good job.

Any Bernie-or-Buster types wanting to throw the midterms over this can go jump in the ocean.
posted by Artw at 12:26 PM on February 25 [23 favorites]


Anxiously awaiting Democrats to become the Center Party, encircled by Republican policies. That is, it's not Left/Right anymore, it's status quo vs. whatever Trump represents, change, extremism, and breaking shit.
|-----Republicans-----|-----Democrats-----|-----Republicans-----|
posted by rhizome at 12:26 PM on February 25


As Mark Twain correctly argued, sexism and racism can often be proxies for economic anxiety though. If your politics only address the symptoms but not the root causes of the increasing belligerence of voters, they won't stick. The Dems are too quick to dismiss coalition building in areas of overlapping interest basically because of something that reads as snobbery, dismissal, and contempt to outsiders. You might disagree that's what it really is, but that's absolutely how Trump supports see it. They think Dems are patronizing, contemptuous, and smug as fuck, which might be understandable since even a lot of leftist activists see it that way.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:26 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Ellison looks like he swallowed a frog.
posted by sammyo at 12:27 PM on February 25


Motion by Tom Perez to appoint Ellison as Deputy Chair
posted by melissasaurus at 12:27 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


If Trump and his band of fools had been more organized, better prepared to take their victory and employ it to maximum effect, we'd already be well beyond totally fucked and into "never going to recover" territory thanks to the total absence of any sort of unified leadership in the Democrats.

We've been making do with Warren (and occasionally Sanders, though his pathetic cowardly conciliatory talk towards Trump revolts me to my core and makes me ashamed that I ever voted for him in the primary) but Warren isn't in any actual official position and the elected members of the Party aren't rallying around her and her message. Schumer is quite possibly the worst choice we could have made for Minority Leader, he's just not a fighter and never will be, and he's not even remotely ruthless enough with his party discipline.

So I'm seeing the DNC here as the last, worst, hope for the rallying point for the resistance. Which is why I'm so firmly behind Ellison, and why I fear that with Perez the Centrist faction is (for reasons that are impenetrable to me) seeking to destroy that hope and prevent any sort of organized, vociferous, opposition from coalescing.

If, as they say, there really isn't a big difference between Ellison and Perez, why did they run Perez? Clearly he's got something the Centrist faction greatly values, but instead of telling us what it is and letting us choose honestly between the two, they're obfuscating, telling us both are about the same, and that deeply worries me.

Are they just rehashing Clinton/Sanders and hating Ellison because they see him as a Sanders surrogate (I've seen several Centrist people I follow on Twitter pushing Perez basically on those grounds and arguing that if Ellison is DNC chair they'll never support the DNC or Democrats again (again, see, Centrist purity tests now))?

Or what?

To me it looks as if they just hate fighters and want to make sure we have an across the board milquetoast "leadership" that can't lead us for shit. But that seems unlikely to be their actual motivation.
posted by sotonohito at 12:27 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


It's Perez, with 235 votes over the needed 218.

The party that brought you Summers, Geithner, and Emmanuel won. Pelosi/Schumer 2020 - "Vote for us, or something, I guess, if you want. We will totally fight for getting more campaign money."
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:27 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Oh, Lord, Kumbayah.
posted by Coventry at 12:28 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I was going to oppose the fascist, racist, homophobic authoritarian in the midterms but then the DNC chair was a fairly liberal guy and not the very liberal guy so now I'm staying home.
posted by Justinian at 12:31 PM on February 25 [67 favorites]


Seems to me that many Bernie-or-Buster types had only been tentatively getting involved in politics in the first place, and handing them two smackdowns like this can't really be doing much to keep them interested. I know I'm pretty disillusioned by the primaries and this election today, and I'm a longtime liberal supporter - I can imagine how ready these newbies might be to just write off the whole damn thing as hopeless.
posted by scrowdid at 12:32 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


I was going to oppose the fascist, racist, homophobic authoritarian in the midterms but then the DNC chair was a fairly liberal guy and not the very liberal guy so now I'm staying home.

I don't belong to any organized party. I'm a Democrat!
posted by Talez at 12:32 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


oh god please let Indivisible or whoever become the shadow DNC
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:33 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


I look forward to the post-election surveys of the Perez voters.

- "So, why did you vote for Perez over Ellison?"
- "No reason, they're totally the same, why do you care so much, get over it, don't relitigate the primaries, stop getting so worked up, let's focus on unity."
posted by chortly at 12:34 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


Well, they did elect Ellision Deputy DNC Chair. I don't see how you can get any more olive branchy than that without saying "you know what, fuck it, I drop out of the race".
posted by Justinian at 12:36 PM on February 25 [17 favorites]


Motion by Tom Perez to appoint Ellison as Deputy Chair

This sounds unifying, maybe?
posted by corb at 12:36 PM on February 25


Well, they did elect Ellision Deputy DNC Chair. I don't see how you can get any more olive branchy than that without saying "you know what, fuck it, I drop out of the race".

How about not choosing to run a month after the party had unified behind Ellison?
posted by chortly at 12:39 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


Justinian Well, they could have let the left have a victory, that would have been a lot more olive branchy.

But yeah, it beats Perez telling the "professional left" to fuck off and die. I'll take it. I don't like it much, but I'll take it.

Now let's see how well he scraps. Because right now we need a gutter fighter. Someone who escalates every single situation, the political version of that old "they bring a knife we bring a gun" line.

If he'll get down in the gutter, kick 'em in the balls, sucker punch 'em, ambush 'em, and generally fight like a rabid wolverine I don't care if he's officially allied with the Centrist faction I'll back him and like him.
posted by sotonohito at 12:40 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


How about not choosing to run a month after the party had unified behind Ellison?

They announced their candidacies 31 days apart, 11/14 and 12/15. Unless you're saying the party was instantly united behind Ellison, I think there's a problem with your dates.
posted by chris24 at 12:41 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


On the one hand, viscerally it's unpleasant to see the DNC take a new and energized contingent that are actually for things and tell them to sit down and shut up while they re-run plays form the "Party of NotTrump" binder. On the other hand, the RNC decided to pander to a new and energized contingent and that quickly took them off the cliff into batshit cuckoo cloud land in no time flat.

So maybe there's something to be said for a more staid, centrist approach right now, especially since the boring playbook ended in a sizable popular vote lead before the outright fascist displays. The past month has given me an unprecedented appreciation for the inertia of governmental systems. It feels like the only thing keeping the whole thing afloat, at the moment.

On preview: Ellison as Deputy is a good signal. Not amazingly hype-worthy but perhaps in retrospect we'll praise it as prudent.
posted by Freon at 12:43 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I'd have preferred Ellison, but both choices were great and I hope both are very visible in their new roles. And let's be real, either is a massive upgrade from Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
posted by lalex at 12:44 PM on February 25 [23 favorites]


How about not choosing to run a month after the party had unified behind Ellison?

But the party manifestly didn't unify behind Ellison? The Sanders people did, but they're a minority in the party.
posted by Justinian at 12:44 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]




Freon Problem is, that's a recipe for another Obama in 2008 style "victory". Assuming we actually have free elections in 2020 it seems quite likely to me that the Democrats could run just about anyone and not just win, but win bigly. Maybe even another sweep like in 2008.

Problem is, if they just run on "we're not Trump", they'll suffer a turnaround in 2022 just like Obama's 2010 turnaround. Because the American voter seems to have a memory that lasts around 6 months and by 2022 "we're not Trump" just won't cut it.

Throwing away the left just because you're scared of the right seems like a recipe for long term failure.

Do you really think a leftist candidate would be ungluing the country like Trump is? I don't.

Hell, they gave Obama a Nobel Peace Prize basically because he wasn't Bush. And the utter and abject failure of the Bush years bought Obama two fucking years of power before the no memory segment of the American people decided to start electing Republicans again.

"Vote for Us, We Aren't Republicans" is only a winning slogan after years of Republican misrule, it does jack shit for you even two years later. Much as it may gall the Justinians of the world, the Democrats desperately need the leftists.

I hope that the olive branch and outreach to the leftists doesn't end with making Ellison Deputy Chair. If the Democrats want a future, they need the leftists, they need the Indivisible people, even if that annoys the Centrists who don't like us.
posted by sotonohito at 12:53 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Now let's see how well he scraps. Because right now we need a gutter fighter.

The thing is, for 2018 they have to more than gutter fight. They have to inspire a whole bunch of people to run in near-hopeless races over a year in advance. That requires actual messaging, and a willingness to spend hard cash on a lot of long-shots. 50-state is not just an ambition, it's a willingness to risk more likely wins by diverting cash to more unlikely races, and it's a party message that induces the idealists to run for those long-shot. As Obama's hiring of Emanuel suggests, that was not Obama's style, and his advocacy of Perez suggests the same for him. But who knows -- Perez is his own man. We'll see who he backs, how he decides to chop up the money, and what the messaging strategy is going to be. But there are actually a lot of substantial decisions that have to be made at the party level if we want to ride the wave in 2018.

But the party manifestly didn't unify behind Ellison?

If you mean that tautologically, since Perez decided to run in December, they necessarily weren't unified, then sure. But if you mean it more than tautologically, there was very little sign in late November and early December that major factions of Democrats were going to bolt or otherwise undermine the party if Ellison rolled on to become chair. I'm certainly not saying it was his right to run unopposed or that the party would have been better off, but there was no compelling reason Perez had to run, and in response to the original question, yes, there was indeed more they could have done for unity than offer Ellison the Deputy position -- they could have decided to explicitly back him (especially if there was no great difference between them) in December rather than fielding another candidate to contest it. Not that I blame the centrists for wanting someone more centrist running thing.
posted by chortly at 12:55 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I was going to oppose the fascist, racist, homophobic authoritarian in the midterms but then the DNC chair was a fairly liberal guy and not the very liberal guy so now I'm staying home.

I donated money and time in 2011. I wrote my people and made the calls. I got harassed at work because I signed the recall petition for Walker. The Democrats managed to take fecklessness to a new level between then and 2016. It is an open question as to whether their singular accomplishment in 30 years is going to be undone before summer comes - but if it stands, somehow, it won't be because the dems themselves did anything about it.

I've said before - dem leadership doesn't have to care about how difficult life will be for my family and friends. They can barely hear us from underneath the piles of money. Everybody in the part who brought us to this point is not only going to retire as millionaires, they're still employed and haven't apparently gotten the message.

The DNC barely exists as an organization in my county. I've spoken to members and they've suggested I work with other organizations that have had more of an impact by moving the unopposed republicans.

This election is a sign that the DNC isn't as ripe for change I had perhaps thought.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:55 PM on February 25 [17 favorites]


I was going to oppose the fascist, racist, homophobic authoritarian in the midterms but then the DNC chair was a fairly liberal guy and not the very liberal guy so now I'm staying home.

Hello, Rust Belt voter.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:57 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


sotonohito: "Now let's see how well he scraps. Because right now we need a gutter fighter. Someone who escalates every single situation, the political version of that old "they bring a knife we bring a gun" line."

“We can hit [Trump] between the eyes with a 2-by-4 and treat him like Mitch McConnell treated Barack Obama,” Perez told the audience at The Huffington Post’s live Democratic National Committee debate on Wednesday.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:59 PM on February 25 [28 favorites]


sotonohito:I think that yes, as a roadmap to the '18 midterms, being the "Not Pants-On-Head Crazy" party is probably the strongest play. 2020 will depend on what happens to Trump: If he's still in power somehow and the government hasn't burnt to the ground then an Obama 2008 style victory would frankly be a world-saving event rather than a tactical failure.

If we're n number of years into a Pence administration then you can hand the reins to the more progressive wing--who will provide a positive contrast to an undoubtedly hard christian conservative agenda--and drum up new voters rather than play to the older, tried and true voting blocs.

I'll be honest, I was (and still am) a huge Bernie supporter and when I read these types of thing pre-election I would often scoff at the remarkable conservatism of DNC leadership.
posted by Freon at 1:08 PM on February 25


A faction yelling about free college (which mostly helps socially-middle- class white people) and says nothing about public K-12 (which is where a lot of actually disadvantaged and impoverished kids get assistance with things like food and critical interventions, and often simply cannot get an education that prepares them for college) is not at all left of some supposedly "center right" politician like Hillary Clinton.


As if those are mutually exclusive goals. Just what, pray tell, are disadvantaged kids with their now great k-12 educations supposed to do in an economy where a college degree is now considered the entry level requirement for many careers? And really, the free college idea isn't even a crazy far-left idea. All throughout the 90's, the answer from the DLC types to secure unionized jobs with middle class wages and benefits being shipped overseas was for young people entering the workforce to get college degrees. Of course, solutions beyond the DLC scope to help everyone like raising the minimum wage to a living wage, actually creating a true safety net, jobs programs, and stronger unions would be great, but those solutions also would be dismissed as "impossible" and "unrealistic" by the DLC types. Publicly funded k-16 education (free college) is the bare minimum of what we should be doing to even meet the stated goals of the "opportunity society" the New Democrats were trying to create.

Now let's see how well he scraps. Because right now we need a gutter fighter. Someone who escalates every single situation, the political version of that old "they bring a knife we bring a gun" line.


The Democrats don't need the DNC chair to be a fighter. They have Sanders, Warren, and 90% of the entertainment industry to fight Trump though the media. Shumer and Pelosi are supposed to be organizing and whipping Democrats in congress. The DNC chair is not really involved with policy or acting as a spokesperson.

What the Democrats need from the DNC chair is someone to build up the capacity for party organizing, messaging, and recruiting candidates at the state, local, and national levels that got gutted during the Obama years.

Keith Ellison has been organizing since he was in college, articulated a clear plan to rebuild the Democrats, was successful in increasing turnout in his district by massive amounts, and, perhaps most importantly, seemed genuinely interested and passionate about he job. Howard Dean had electoral experience as a governor and record of success as a past DNC chair. Most all of the other DNC candidates had similar records of experience in organizing and running campaigns.

Perez ................... was a labor lawyer. That's great! I'm not saying he's a bad guy. However, what election was involved in at even the state level? Prior to this year, what indication has he given that he is interested in organizing the Democratic Party? From the media coverage I saw about him entering the race, it sounded like he was deciding between running for Maryland governor and running for DNC chair.

I'm glad he's a smart guy and he probably had advisors for this election, so he knows how to say the right things, but what indication based on his prior resume is there that he would be successful in this job? I just don't get the logic of him running beyond the need to keep people like me away from positions of power in the party. Not only to do I interpret this as a slap in the face and an indication that Democrats will continue to ignore me from a policy perspective (they'll sure as fuck ask me for money, though), I question this on the grounds of basic competence with regard to organizing and managing a party capable to winning elections. Maybe he'll prove me wrong; I hope I'm wrong; but, I doubt I'm wrong.
posted by eagles123 at 1:11 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


> oh god please let Indivisible or whoever become the shadow DNC

I hope that we can figure out pretty rapidly whether Perez is serious about a 50-state approach and that if he's not, groups like Indivisible and Swing Left can take up the slack and do their own groundwork to identify and fund the more long-shot races. If the DNC wants to sit back and remain the big-donor establishment, there ought to be somewhere else for this unprecedented groundswell of citizen activists to throw our support and money.
posted by contraption at 1:16 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Chrysostom - Hatch is president pro tempore of the United States Senate, third in line for the presidency, and chair of the Senate Finance Committee. How do you rank power in the U.S. Senate?
posted by pashdown at 1:21 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I live in one of the leftiest districts in the county, Seattle 7th, and I've been going to three or four activism things a week for a little while now, and my local Dems are the best-the most plugged in and impactful and the place where the most information and activism opportunities are flowing together. It's correct and true that we need to be activated but we also need an apparatus and lots of the other groups are trying to find their footing and struggling under the weight of increased interest and participation. The local Dems already have the apparatus and are ready to be coopted.

I went down to King County Lobby Day in Olympia on Monday and met my (great) state reps and (a little useless and ready to be primaried) state senator and learned a lot of things about what the state leg is trying to do and whether they're succeeding and why. Most people come down there with a very particular cause or agenda, so a group of concerned citizens just trying to find out what they are doing and why and how it's going puts pressure on them in a new, good way. Other groups aren't organized enough to provide that opportunity.

Tuesday I phone banked with WA Immigrant Solidarity Alliance to inform Yakima citizens about their city council's debate about becoming a 'welcoming' city for immigrants and ask them to go to the meeting and call in support. This was a UAW thing and local Dems are plugged into that other groups just aren't...they just need bodies, and a body i can provide.

Other groups are doing *their* things but not as well connected to other groups. And sometimes unsuccessful: the Indivisible group is holding a town hall for US Sens Murrary and Cantwell tonight since they didn't schedule one but they're in Atlanta voting for DNC chair and couldn't come even if they wanted to-Indivisble didn't try hard enough (or at all?) to work with their schedule.

So, don't discount the Dems, you can move them and make them what you want, and the Bernie wing (which to be clear I am not a part of) is alive and influential here and could be where you live, if you go. And if you live in WA 36th Leg district, come on out to Phinney Neighborhood Center on the third Wednesday of the month. We're adopting the WA 45th and going to flip it and with it the state senate this year.
posted by Kwine at 1:32 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


pashdown: "Chrysostom - Hatch is president pro tempore of the United States Senate, third in line for the presidency, and chair of the Senate Finance Committee. How do you rank power in the U.S. Senate?"

The statement was that Hatch is literally the most powerful Senator. That is manifestly Majority Leader McConnell. There have been times when the committee chairmen totally ran the Senate and Majority Leader was more of a figurehead, but this is not one of those times.

It's not really worth the derail - I wouldn't argue that Hatch is NOT powerful.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:35 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I just don't get the logic of him running beyond the need to keep people like me away from positions of power in the party.

He's Hispanic. That's probably what he brings to the game. He's not lily white and Dems are pandering to every subgroup of voters but white men right now. Maybe I'm being cynical but all the Washington establishment types seem to think the future is capturing the Hispanic vote. That's not going to do much good if Trump kicks them all out before the next election. But the diversity angle is probably at least a factor for Perez supporters, I would guess.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:38 PM on February 25


> He's Hispanic. That's probably what he brings to the game. He's not white and Dems are pandering to every subgroup of voters but white men right now.

Keith Ellison is not exactly a WASP.
posted by contraption at 1:40 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


Larry is totally a whiteboy, but he's the asshole that runs Oracle. This Ellison is Keith.

Perez ................... was a labor lawyer. That's great! I'm not saying he's a bad guy.

He also ran the Labor Department and was head of the Civil Rights Division at DoJ. These are not "was a labor lawyer."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:42 PM on February 25 [17 favorites]


I'm glad he's a smart guy and he probably had advisors for this election, so he knows how to say the right things, but what indication based on his prior resume is there that he would be successful in this job?

Well, Ellison the guy you believe is a great organizer is the deputy chair. Who is often responsible for much of the nitty gritty work. So it seems like the best of both worlds to me.
posted by Justinian at 1:42 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


Blergh, Keith! Keith Ellison! sorry about that.
posted by contraption at 1:42 PM on February 25


Right, Perez has a great resume. I understand that some people are disappointed but Perez is a major player with a very relevant and impressive background.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


Why are we assuming The Centrists ran Perez? Has he no agency of his own? He was Secretary of Labor, that job was ending, and he ran in an election for an open party office. What is problematic about this?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:44 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


He also ran the Labor Department and was head of the Civil Rights Division at DoJ. These are not "was a labor lawyer."

Doctors are very smart people. I still wouldn't expect one to know how to fix my car. The point is that he has little direct experience with campaigning. Seems like a problem to me.


Well, Ellison the guy you believe is a great organizer is the deputy chair. Who is often responsible for much of the nitty gritty work. So it seems like the best of both worlds to me

I'm glad they were nice enough to give him a consolation prize. I wonder why the didn't give Ellison, or someone else with experience the head job, given the fact that they have, you know, experience.

And its not just that Perez doesn't have experience, he doesn't seem particularly passionate about the job, either. From what I read in media coverage of his decision to run, he was deciding between running for DNC chair and running for Maryland governor. Ellison was willing to quit his seat for the job.
posted by eagles123 at 1:49 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


> he was deciding between running for DNC chair and running for Maryland governor

Sacrificing a potential gubernatorial run actually seems a lot more significant than leaving your minority seat in the US House of Representatives. All minority reps do is talk to C-SPAN cameras in a mostly-empty chamber. The governor of Maryland can actually Get Shit Done in a state with a large economy, which means actually accomplishing something policy-wise while also taking the role that looks better on the resume if you happen to be thinking about running for higher office.

I was rooting for Ellison, but I think Perez is suited to the task of running the party and planning to win in the off-year elections, and it's great that Ellison is on board as well. Now we can stop talking about a comparatively meaningless symbolic battle and focus on ones that will directly affect peoples' lives in the coming years.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:00 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


Sacrificing a potential gubernatorial run actually seems a lot more significant than leaving your minority seat in the US House of Representatives. All minority reps do is talk to C-SPAN cameras in a mostly-empty chamber. The governor of Maryland can actually Get Shit Done in a state with a large economy, which means actually accomplishing something policy-wise while also taking the role that looks better on the resume if you happen to be thinking about running for higher office.

True, but, from what I read, the reasoning was that Perez didn't like his chances against Hogan. As a resident of Maryland at the moment, I can't say I disagree with that assessment.
posted by eagles123 at 2:02 PM on February 25


Seems like the elephant in the room is that Perez sets the progressive wing up for future rat fuckings akin to what it suffered at the hands of Wasserman-Schultz, if it ever gains any traction again
posted by Coventry at 2:20 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


"Elephant in the room" is an idiom that suggests everyone is thinking about something but nobody's talking about it. Who the fuck is thinking about "future rat fuckings" at a time when progressive interests are presently being rat-fucked at every level of government?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:26 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


He also ran the Labor Department and was head of the Civil Rights Division at DoJ.

Worth noting that the Civil Rights Division of Obama's DoJ (under Perez and later under Vanita Gupta) did A LOT. The reason Sessions is now AG -- and Thomas Wheeler and John Gore are running the Civil Rights Division -- is specifically to undo everything that Perez and Gupta accomplished.

I really wish everyone who is dismissing Perez based on things people shared on Facebook would take a closer look at who he actually is and what he's actually done.
posted by neroli at 2:29 PM on February 25 [29 favorites]


Here's what I don't get.

If Perez is so bad for the Democrat party, as various retweets in my Twitter feed suggest, then doesn't that make this the time to build a new party? Like, if we're really headed for four more years of weak-spined opposition and irrelevance as people seem to think, then why DON'T we take the new institutions built like Indivisible, Our Revolution, etc. and tell the centrist wing of the Democrats to fuck off?

Because it's hard? Sure, that makes sense. Is it harder than dealing with Perez as DNC chair? Like, if this pick is really so bad for the left, then surely it doesn't matter how hard it would be, we'd have to try it anyways, right?
posted by chrominance at 2:31 PM on February 25


Yeah Perez is fine, I really really really wanted Ellison or Buttigieg but Perez will do great. Let's not forget Ellison waffled on the DNC taking lobbyist money and got cozy gladhanding DNC donors because that's the reality of the job. Ellison wouldn't have had the political room to be as progressive as he or I would have liked because that job is 100% about making the whole coalition as happy as realistically possible. The important thing is sticking to the 50 state strategy and backing that commitment up with resources, Perez can do that, and as a bonus Ellison as deputy will help that along.

Plus as much as I wanted Ellison in there part of me really wasn't looking forward to losing an effective progressive rep to put him in a job with a bunch of qualified applicants.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:39 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


To me, the elephant in the room is that the Democrats still don't appear to view political organizing and messaging as distinct set of concerns and skills apart from legislating and policy.

To paraphrase something I read elsewhere: Republicans come from backgrounds in business where they learn about marketing and creating organized campaigns to sell things, often things that people don't need and that may not work as advertised; Democrats are mostly lawyers.

No matter how much left leaning people may wish otherwise, the public sphere is not a courtroom or high school debate meet. The "rules" are different. Messaging matters; emotion matters; building relationships matters.

It doesn't matter what Perez did at the DOJ or what he thinks about the TPP. What's important is the experience he, or anyone else, brings in those above areas. My fear is that this vote signifies that the Democrats aren't serious about getting better at organizing or messaging.

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not optimistic.
posted by eagles123 at 2:40 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


If Perez is so bad for the Democrat party, as various retweets in my Twitter feed suggest, then doesn't that make this the time to build a new party? Like, if we're really headed for four more years of weak-spined opposition and irrelevance as people seem to think, then why DON'T we take the new institutions built like Indivisible, Our Revolution, etc. and tell the centrist wing of the Democrats to fuck off?

Because it's hard? Sure, that makes sense. Is it harder than dealing with Perez as DNC chair? Like, if this pick is really so bad for the left, then surely it doesn't matter how hard it would be, we'd have to try it anyways, right?


Make a new party? Holy shit the FUD around Tom Perez. There's no putting the Bernie genie back in the bottle, the party will still be running on at least as progressive a platform as in 2016 and I still haven't seen a coherent argument as to why Perez is bad other than "not Ellison".
posted by jason_steakums at 2:44 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


If Perez is so bad for the Democrat party

Democratic Party.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on February 25 [25 favorites]


> If Perez is so bad for the Democrat party, as various retweets in my Twitter feed suggest, then doesn't that make this the time to build a new party? Like, if we're really headed for four more years of weak-spined opposition and irrelevance as people seem to think, then why DON'T we take the new institutions built like Indivisible, Our Revolution, etc. and tell the centrist wing of the Democrats to fuck off?

1: Because they're not ready yet.
2: Because even once we have fully functioning alternative institutional structures, there's no reason to initiate a formal split.

By 2018 we might have a sort of "dual power" scenario, wherein both the DNC and Indivisible/Our Revolution/etc. have valid claims to legitimate control over the party. So long as the old guard isn't fearful or jealous enough to reallocate all of their resources toward suppressing left victories — and yes, I know I'm naive for thinking that they might not be — this would be a wholly positive scenario.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:51 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Would Ellison be a stronger force for progressive policy as:

(A) Someone trying to split his time between a House that needs all the progressive voices it can get and a DNC in desperate need of an attentive leader who will give them a full overhaul

(B) Someone who devotes all his time to the DNC, but does so by leaving his elected position to someone who inevitably has less experience navigating the often-complicated rules and mores of Congress

(C) Someone focused entirely on progressive lawmaking in the House, but now with the benefits of the raised profile and national support that came as a result of his DNC campaign

I mean GEEZ.

Specific election strategies--which policies to emphasize, how to attack and defend, etc--are the purview of individual campaigns. The DNC chair's job is to get the money those campaigns need, and do the thankless mix of organization, gladhanding, and wheedling that's needed to convince all the scattered local organizations to work as a whole. Some are more than happy to see the DNC as a central force, but other local groups view their organizations as fiefdoms and will require schmoozing. This doesn't require extensive campaigning experience, this requires experience running large organizations and being an administrator. Which Perez has in spades.

DWS could do the damage she did because nobody outside of party insiders cared about who was DNC chair until the primaries. Both Clinton and Obama wanted her out years ago and Clinton's campaign lobbied for Obama to push her out before the primaries started. The Obama Administration left her there because they felt the pushback from her supporters would complicate their own legislative and political goals (remember: DWS had a strong faction of support). Now, if the general population had given a shit prior to Bernie and been agitating for her removal, then Obama would be able to point to that to get her supporters to back down and force her removal. If progressives remain engaged in the workings of the party, then you can bet we will not see another DWS irrespective of who's chair.
posted by schroedinger at 2:54 PM on February 25 [13 favorites]


To me, the elephant in the room is that the Democrats still don't appear to view political organizing and messaging as distinct set of concerns and skills apart from legislating and policy.

Republicans simply have to agree on a lie to tell everybody, while the Democrats have to agree on the truth. And I'm not suggesting the latter is even possible, but representing the interests of 90% versus the interests of 10% makes it different.
posted by Brian B. at 2:54 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


god though I wish democrats would get behind lying as a tactic. Lying is great.

I've come to realize that my whole deal can be summed up as something like "overly earnest, open, and honest statements of the necessity for disingenuous, secretive, and deceptive tactics."
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:58 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I am extremely frustrated by the attitude that the election of a single person signifies whether or not all is lost. Successful political movements do not require a single person to survive, because members of successful political movements understand that it requires continuous involvement and action irrespective of who is occupying one position or another. If you are truly interested in making your ideology become policy, then you can't rely on the fantasy that if you just elect the right superhero they'll take care of everything and you can go back to Netflix.

The issue is not Perez or Ellison. The issue is whether each and every one of us is committed to doing the work necessary to regaining political power. If you have decided that the DNC is doomed because Perez is chair instead of Ellison and are throwing up your hands and leaving, then you either didn't give that much of a shit anyway or have a piss-poor understanding of how politics actually works.
posted by schroedinger at 3:05 PM on February 25 [47 favorites]


I think this may be playing out differently in different parts of the country, based on what I read here. In Wisconsin, Indivisible doesn't read as some kind of insurgent movement that's separate in its goals from the Democratic establishment. The people pushing it feel like the same people who were marching in pink hats on Jan 22 and who were I'm With Her in November. Local activists trying to create a new normal where activism is part of everybody's everyday activity, not something you do for a few months out of every two years. Their page has very little about the DNC election. It's all "here's when we're going to Tammy Baldwin's office, here's when our Dem rep's town hall is, here's how you vote early for the state superintendent election and why that's important, here's where you train to be a legal observer on election day, here's what our state senator says are the major state leg issues people need to be pressing on," etc.
posted by escabeche at 3:08 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


I am extremely frustrated by the attitude that the election of a single person signifies whether or not all is lost.

Sometimes it really does though. We know that from the examples of other countries, from even a shallow study of history. Why are people still so goddamned convinced America is somehow exceptional?

Y'all just do whatever. I'll show up when I can. But I spent about ten years being mercilessly harassed at a job I couldn't leave for my liberal political activism online and irl, and when I asked my "liberal" friends for help, they decided what I needed were more lessons in pain and humility, so I'm skeptical of everybody's motives and tactics at this point.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:17 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I think Perez is fine. Let's see if they support candidates all the way down the ballot in every state and as many districts as possible. Just cause they'll probably lose doesn't mean its not worth getting the message out.
posted by Glibpaxman at 3:19 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Since they're flying fast and free at the moment, I also have a Theory about the Democrats:

Democrats would benefit from a clearly articulated and exciting vision. Sure, I am for free college and single payer healthcare because they are the right thing for a government to provide, but I'm also for them because they are exciting policies for people to see really noticeable benefit from. A win on something big and fast like that would make a big impression on people. It would say, "We CAN have a just society: see? we just did it."

Say we had a party that really pushed for something big in policy change, instead of say, merely slowing the erosion of our long-eroded safety net, or providing a few minimal checks on the rape of the planet. And say they threw everything into maybe 3 big ticket items, for example, Euro-style generous paid family leave, big clean energy infrastructure building, and single payer. And say we won 2 out of 3 of those within a 4 year period or so: people would see really big, measurable, obvious improvement to their daily lives in a short period. All these would reduce stress and increase money in people's pockets. It would show people that we can make big demands, we can achieve those demands, we can feel a sense of a shared civic pride/shared identity.

I think that's much more exciting and mobilizing than either "We're not Trump" or "We're really only interested in impressing monied white people who are nervous about Republicans", but hey, I might be wrong. People who study this stuff all day and night get it wrong so who knows. But at least if I'm wrong I'll be wrong as I try to really do the right thing for poeple.
posted by latkes at 3:20 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


Anyone trying to make Tom Perez into a centrist should probably try reading up on the man first.
posted by asteria at 3:25 PM on February 25 [21 favorites]


Anyone trying to make Tom Perez into a centrist should probably try reading up on the man first.

Agreed. And that reading should probably be broader than things shared on Facebook and Twitter in the past few weeks.
posted by neroli at 3:31 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


Agreed with escabeche that my local Indivisible chapter is not really insurgent or necessarily in opposition to establishment Democrats. I would say that Indivisible differs from the Democrats more in terms of tactics than in terms of ideology or personnel. If anything, I think the emphasis on tactics has allowed Indivisible to paper over some potential internal divisions. It'll be interesting to see what happens to it if and when it has to be for something, rather than against something. That's not a problem at the moment, because the Republicans are busy burning down our state and salting the earth, and it's easy to unite in order to go to town halls and yell at people.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:33 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Sometimes it really does though. We know that from the examples of other countries, from even a shallow study of history.

You're talking about the Great Man theory of history, and while it is very popular among biographers and movie-makers, most historians no longer ascribe to it. "Great Men" are, by and large, products of their societies and the time periods they were born in. For example, Hitler would not have become Hitler without WWI or the Treaty of Versailles or the Great Depression. Lincoln's entire presidency was created by the Civil War. The Civil Rights movement involved thousands and thousands of people and myriad prominent leaders who started and shaped it before MLK ever rose to prominence. "Great Men" become who they are through context, they are not born into it.
posted by schroedinger at 3:33 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Well, yes and no? I mean, yes, the graveyards are full of indispensable men. But no, in that it seems indisputable that Reconstruction would have played out rather differently if Lincoln survived. Or WWII, if FDR had not survived the 1933 assassination attempt.

I think there *are* currents of history, but I also think there are, as it were, sometimes rocks in the river that can affect where the current gets pushed to.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:38 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


One reason why I think that marxist-leninist organizations are kind of silly is that they tend toward a historiography that treats historical progressions as necessarily proceeding through stages with each stage being largely determined by the previous stage. I think the thing this overlooks is the contingency of history; despite there being broad tendencies to the flow of history that can be identified and understood through research into political economy, chance events — "rocks in the river," to use Chrysostom's metaphor — can cause disruptions that produce results wildly different from what the underlying tendencies might lead one to expect.

There may, on the whole, be more noise than signal in the historical progression of human societies, more contingency and luck than necessity or certainty.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:50 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Tom Perez is absolutely a liberal. Which is why the rage online doesn't read to me as anything except "we got a liberal but not our liberal so burn it all down!".
posted by Justinian at 3:54 PM on February 25 [22 favorites]


The Facebook and Twitter FUD about Perez feels like the same sort of Lol Hillary is in the pocket of Banksters that was incredibly divisive last year.

The reality is that the Obama Coalition is still a viable election strategy. Trump was able to sell a bullshit faux populism to White Americans that are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that all Americans deserve the same rights as White Americans. It just so happens that our Demographics and the Electoral College allowed Trump to get a victory based upon racial resentment in Rust Belt states.

Trump won't fix any of the structural issues harming the WWC and they'll hemorrhage support in the midterms and 2020 if they continue to push such a reactionary set if policies.
posted by vuron at 3:55 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


I think the thing this overlooks is the contingency of history; despite there being broad tendencies to the flow of history that can be identified and understood through research into political economy, chance events — "rocks in the river," to use Chrysostom's metaphor — can cause disruptions that produce results wildly different from what the underlying tendencies might lead one to expect.

Hari Seldon could not predict The Mule!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:59 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Acknowledging that historical and social context shape how an individual grows up and behaves is Marxist? Because it seems more like "common sense". If you are investing the fulcrum of political events on the decisions of a single individual you're reducing the rest of humanity to automatons. I don't have to explain why that is factually incorrect, right? It's not that individuals and their decisions don't make a difference, but that those individuals are not put into the position of being able to make a difference without larger movements happening around them and shaping them. If one is arguing that Ellison is the hope for the Democratic Party, then you're basically making the argument that everyone else involved in the DNC has no agency in deciding what happens to it outside what he gives them. Given that the DNC existed prior to Ellison and will exist after him, that attitude is pretty clearly a load of bull.
posted by schroedinger at 4:07 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I was personally delighted when Perez was fielded, given that he has the progressive positions I like but having him in the role did not require losing a seat. I don't find him as charismatic a leader as Ellison, but we had to lose somewhere, and with Ellison as vice chair I can absolutely live with the compromise.

I am *baffled* by the folks calling him a corporate shill. Honestly. Have they read his record?
posted by frumiousb at 4:16 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


> Have they read his record?

Yes, up until the first occurrence of "Clinton."
posted by tonycpsu at 4:17 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


[One problematic comment and a couple good responses deleted; I am positive it is possible to discuss the implications of Islamophobia on electoral politics without performing Islamophobia.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:20 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


The greatest trick that Establishment Democrats ever pulled was convincing liberals that Bernie, Warren, and Ellison supporters are naive racists/sexists/dudebros who have been beguiled by the unreality of socialism. Although this is decidedly not the case, it has ensured that they will remain in power for the foreseeable future, despite being unable to accomplish anything of lasting value.

Of course "compromise" is code for "shut up and let us win." Anything else would be [appalled liberal gasp] divisive.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 4:31 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


What interests are there in pretending that Perez isn't progressive? I can understand preferences for one or the other but the current narrative that Perez being chosen is a slap to progressive ideals is hogwash.
posted by vuron at 4:40 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


What interests are there in pretending that Perez isn't progressive?

Looking smarter than everyone else by seeing what everyone else doesn't see.
posted by Talez at 4:43 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


It's not a slap in the face to progressive ideals, it's a slap in the face to thinking outside the establishment democratic machine

Looking smarter than everyone else by seeing what everyone else doesn't see.

This type of belittling is undercutting the performative calls for unity.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 4:45 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


This type of belittling is undercutting the performative calls for unity.

You're complaining about Talez undercutting unity while simultaneously alluding that Perez's victory is a product of the shadowy cabal of The Establishment. Exactly how is anyone supposed to pursue unity if the opposite side has decided that all their own losses are the product of rank corruption?
posted by schroedinger at 4:58 PM on February 25 [15 favorites]


What interests are there in pretending that Perez isn't progressive?

I think there are some people who started paying attention to politics solely because of Bernie, and proceeded to shape their entire political worldview around Bernie vs. Clinton & The Man. Perez is associated with Clinton, Bernie endorsed Ellison, and that's pretty much all that matters.
posted by schroedinger at 5:02 PM on February 25 [19 favorites]


Okay but for reals if we're going to factionalize, could we at least factionalize on more interesting lines this time? I think this time we should split off into anarchohoxhaists on one side and neogeorgists on the other.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:03 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


You're complaining about Talez undercutting unity while simultaneously alluding that Perez's victory is a product of the shadowy cabal of The Establishment. Exactly how is anyone supposed to pursue unity if the opposite side has decided that all their own losses are the product of rank corruption?

I'm not complaining about Talez undercutting unity. Unity is in the best interest of the people who won. I'm pointing out that the calling for unity while belittling Ellison supporters is contradictory.

Perez's victory is the product of the Establishment. You can say "shadowy cabal" to make it sound conspiracy theorist, but it's true. Just like it's true that the GOP has an Establishment. This should not be controversial. I'm not even claiming it's corrupt, just shortsighted. The GOP has listened to and embraced their populist wing and it has worked electoral wonders for them. The Dems refuse and they continue to lose power.

I think there are some people who started paying attention to politics solely because of Bernie, and proceeded to shape their entire political worldview around Bernie vs. Clinton & The Man. Perez is associated with Clinton, Bernie endorsed Ellison, and that's pretty much all that matters.


This is meanspirited and smug, claiming that people who disagree with you are merely uneducated about the way the world really works. This erases the work that many of us Bernie supporters have put into the democratic party over the years, only to watch it cede power and influence.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 5:08 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


The greatest trick that Establishment Democrats ever pulled was convincing liberals that Bernie, Warren, and Ellison supporters are naive racists/sexists/dudebros who have been beguiled by the unreality of socialism.

I am a Bernie, Warren and Ellison supporter and I lay the blame for that on the naive racists, sexists and dudebros that absolutely exist among my fellow supporters. They undercut the message of inclusivity in progressive economic principles and directly led to the idea that Bernie is all class issues at the expense of acknowledging racial realities (when in reality he's got a nuanced view of both and just puts his foot in his mouth sometimes). There's a whole contingent of so-called progressives who went wild on that shit from the moment BLM protestors got on stage when Bernie was speaking, regardless of what Bernie himself felt about that, and it was toxic as hell. Like I said, I'm a Bernie, Warren and Ellison supporter, and I don't feel the need to excuse that shit or pretend it isn't there. The reality of populist movements is they bring out some awful stuff with the good. Many of the people who paved the road for modern progressives were all too happy to throw women and POC under the bus, the ideology absolutely attracts people who think they could have it all if they just didn't focus on those pesky "identity politics" that fight for the lives and respect of real people. Bernie and Warren and Ellison aren't that kind of progressive and I wouldn't stand by them if they were.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:10 PM on February 25 [31 favorites]


anarchohoxhaists

For the multiple seconds it took to parse this, I thought you were suggesting that half the DNC conduct its business in Basque.
posted by busted_crayons at 5:11 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


jason_steakums

This is a fair point, but I believe it also gives license for the old guard of the DNC to throw the baby out with the bathwater and dismiss the socialist wing while remaining in power.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 5:13 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


sorry busted_crayons, but the group consensus is that that's revisionist talk.

we're kicking you out of the bunker.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:13 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Splitter!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:15 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I am positive it is possible to discuss the implications of Islamophobia on electoral politics without performing Islamophobia

Well, my intent is to point out that Ellison's faith was going to give the Republican Ratfucker Brigade one way-too-easy thing to attack... every time he spoke aggressively, they'd yell "JIHAD" and every proposal would be called "SHARIA LAW". I'm glad he's in the Deputy position because (1) it's a call for unity from Perez and (2) he could contribute a lot without taking away from his Congressional Duties (where he can also contribute a lot). Perez's big asset might be that he was Secretary of Labor IF Organized Labor trusts him, because that's long been an important but shaky element in the Democratic Coalition.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:18 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


This is a fair point, but I believe it also gives license for the old guard of the DNC to throw the baby out with the bathwater and dismiss the socialist wing while remaining in power.

I do worry about that too. I just don't think they'll have a chance. Electing Perez isn't that, from all I've seen of him he's more than willing to harness the energy Bernie brought in. What really needs to change is a lot of mid-level staff and strategists running off the old playbook, it wasn't just DWS who abandoned all the hard districts. There's a real disconnect on that level of the party, a lot of people who don't understand the needs of progressives in red and purple districts and just give up on them.

Luckily progressives in those districts are finding themselves empowered to solve those problems. Perez just needs to allocate the resources, and I know he is willing, and I know Ellison will push him further.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:18 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


You're complaining about Talez undercutting unity while simultaneously alluding that Perez's victory is a product of the shadowy cabal of The Establishment. Exactly how is anyone supposed to pursue unity if the opposite side has decided that all their own losses are the product of rank corruption?

Quite. Perez/Clinton/(neo-)liberals/moderates are not the "opposite side"; Ellison/Sanders/socialists/progressives are not the "opposite side".

Can we remember for like five seconds that our country is careening toward fascist autocracy, here? Whatever the relative merits of the various candidates for DNC chair, now Tom Perez is the chair and Keith Ellison is vice, soooo let's put on our big kid pants and together figure out how to defeat American fascism.
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:22 PM on February 25 [25 favorites]


Perez's victory is the product of the Establishment.

If you -- or anyone else -- can make a cogent argument against Perez that doesn't include the terms "Establishment," "Wall Street"," or "Clinton," I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to say.
posted by neroli at 5:22 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


it amazes me how the establishment dems manage to look down at the progressive movement while still having their heads buried in the sand. there's all this talk of how both candidates are great choices and will get the job done. i agree with this, but one of these candidates had a significant groundswell of support from the young progressive movement who feel (for good reason) that the party establishment has failed them and refuses to listen to them. if these two candidates are really both so qualified than throwing the bernie wing a bone should have been the easiest thing in the world to do, and it would have convinced an entire generation of voters that the democratic party is actively listening to their concerns. tom perez will do a great job i'm sure but a message has been sent and it's clear as day.
posted by JimBennett at 5:22 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


The biggest problem with the DNC chair election is that it should have happened in December.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:28 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


what indication based on his prior resume is there that he would be successful in this job?

The country just elected Donald Trump to the presidency. We're living in a post-resume America.
posted by axiom at 5:28 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


and for all this talk about unity and how this is a pointless squabble: the progressive movement's entire point is that the old guard's tactics have done nothing but lose elections in the last seven years. and instead of addressing that concern we're doubling down on the same strategies and failing to properly harness the populist energy in the air. so every time i hear someone say we need to unite the party all i really hear is "shut up kids, we've got this" even though you, objectively, absolutely do not fucking have this.
posted by JimBennett at 5:28 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


Perez's victory is the product of the Establishment. You can say "shadowy cabal" to make it sound conspiracy theorist, but it's true.

And here we come to the root problem, because you just throw this out there like (A) there is a central hivemind Establishment that exists and (B) this Establishment conspired to elect Perez are both incontrovertible facts. Where is your evidence of these things?

As far as I can tell, the major difference between Perez and Ellison is that Bernie endorsed one and not the other. In ideology, platform, proposed strategy, they're basically the same. Bernie is not The Progressive Savior who now gets to decide who is Establishment and who is not, who is Progressive Enough and who is not.

---

Frankly, the abuse of DNC members by the BernieBro faction actively hurt Ellison and he has said as much. Much like the superdelegates, people do not take kindly to "protestors" who bury them and/or their friends in death threats and verbal abuse. Bernie realized too late that this faction was undercutting his campaign and was unable (or unwilling) to roll it back; Ellison trying to do so was seen as a capitulation to The Man. I would be pretty damn leery of "throwing a bone" to any movement that decided those were appropriate tactics, and whether or not you like to hear it those are some of the people most strongly identified with that wing.
posted by schroedinger at 5:29 PM on February 25 [26 favorites]


I'm not complaining about Talez undercutting unity. Unity is in the best interest of the people who won. I'm pointing out that the calling for unity while belittling Ellison supporters is contradictory.

I got capital and a passport from a country that isn't imploding under the weight of its own populist stupidity. I don't donate money, call people, enter data because I get something out of it. It's because there's other people who are well worse off than me that can't fight for themselves.

So yeah, fuck people who only want to help if they get things 110% their way. If someone not hurting a person's feelings is the only thing keeping that person interested in helping people the only way we can then fuck them. They're not worth the time because they'll just fuck you down the road when you need help the most.
posted by Talez at 5:29 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


Well, I feel I may have helped bring at least a couple of those dude bros along to Obama's side back in the day, and it's a shame those energies were wasted because apparently their votes aren't as valuable as the votes of others who just default to the Democratic establishment candidate.

There were lots and lots of socially libertarian, economically liberal independents who came over to support Obama who ended up getting alienated and either not turning up at the polls or voting third party or even voting Trump in frustration because of how disrespectfully they felt they'd been treated by Democratic activists and supporters of Clinton.

Might there have been some sexism in that mix? Maybe. But there was much more contempt and dismissal coming from the Clinton side even though these voters were at one point persuadable. And okay, maybe they didn't have the deepest commitment to the Democratic party--they weren't Democratic faithful to start with, after all, but independents and decent, disaffected Republicans--but they genuinely cared about trying to move the country in a better direction and wanted to be allowed to be part of that conversation. But they were shut down aggressively from day one, even as many of them tried, imperfectly, to join in in good faith, and it was done not on the basis of the substance of their ideas, but on the basis of who, demographically, they were perceived to be.

In reality, we had more LGBTQ and transgender support in our area for Sanders than any Sanders' dude bros. But all you ever heard about online was the dude bros, and the point of it was to make them feel ashamed for not being perceived as feminist enough, so they'd be too self doubting and emotionally rattled to fight back. That's identity politics, not because it had anything to do with gender, really, but because it was about personal humiliation, not ideas.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:30 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


If you -- or anyone else -- can make a cogent argument against Perez that does include the terms "Establishment," "Wall Street"," or "Clinton," I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to say.

Wall Street or Clinton have nothing to do with it. Perez is an Obama labor guy. But the Establishment wing of the DNC wanted him and not Ellison. I don't have anything against Perez except for the fact that the DNC could have shown made a symbolic choice to nominate a Muslim Progressive who has been improbably successful in the Midwest. But, they chose the guy next in line.

I'm checking out of this discussion. I've engaged too much already. This community is hostile to socialists demanding some form of power in the Democratic party.

So yeah, fuck people who only want to help if they get things 110% their way.

This assumption about Ellison supporters is utter horseshit.
posted by R.F.Simpson at 5:34 PM on February 25 [13 favorites]


The biggest problem with the DNC chair election is that it should have happened in December.

Of 2015.
posted by darkstar at 5:35 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


god though I wish democrats would get behind lying as a tactic. Lying is great.

I've come to realize that my whole deal can be summed up as something like "overly earnest, open, and honest statements of the necessity for disingenuous, secretive, and deceptive tactics."


:Perks up ears:

I've been toying with ideas along those lines - destabilize the enemy with lies while more earnest folks argue our side - but I can't quite find the right wedge. The conservative lie factory is waaay above my weight class.

Still... strategically-deployed bs is kind of my thing. It's how I feed my family. If there's a game on that could use me, I'd like nothing better.
posted by BS Artisan at 5:38 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the major difference between Perez and Ellison is that Bernie endorsed one and not the other.

As far as I can tell, Bernie isn't even a Democrat. The day after he lost the nomination at the Democratic convention he announced that he would return to the Senate not as a Democrat but as an Independent. He didn't even wait until the convention was over.
posted by JackFlash at 5:40 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


Also: if you think that what the progressive movement needs right now is more factions and less unity, then I am going to guess that neither you nor anybody you care about has been seriously threatened by the rhetoric and policies being used by this administration.

That's identity politics, not because it had anything to do with gender, really, but because it was about personal humiliation, not ideas.

The fact that anecdotes about sad white men who fell victim to emasculating pro-Clinton SJWs is in a conversation about the election of the DNC chair only underlines exactly how much this has to do with viewing a Bernie endorsement as the defining indicator of goodness or badness rather than a candidate's actual proposed policies or statements.

But the Establishment wing of the DNC wanted him and not Ellison.

Your issue with Perez has nothing to do with him and everything to do with who you define as Establishment and Not Establishment? Do you not realize what an incredibly reductive view this is of the DNC and politics in general?
posted by schroedinger at 5:40 PM on February 25 [21 favorites]


But all you ever heard about online was the dude bros, and the point of it was to make them feel ashamed for not being perceived as feminist enough, so they'd be too self doubting and emotionally rattled to fight back.

Clinton supporters, especially women, were being actively harassed and threatened by some of these guys. Women who are members of this site experienced it. Elizabeth Warren experienced it. It was a big story because it was a huge problem even though it was a small portion of his supporters (and, I absolutely suspect, some astroturfing by pro-Trump parties, but not all. There absolutely were waves of this on Reddit that line up with the Russian playbook of stirring up shit on both sides of the aisle with sock puppets and bots. But not all, or even most was that.).
posted by jason_steakums at 5:40 PM on February 25 [20 favorites]


Maybe Perez will be the figurehead to show the centrists are in charge but Ellison will secretly run everything. In retrospect the Democrats could have cultivated the mystique of that fantasy during the general by running Sanders or Warren as VP
posted by Apocryphon at 5:41 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


and for all this talk about unity and how this is a pointless squabble: the progressive movement's entire point is that the old guard's tactics have done nothing but lose elections in the last seven years. and instead of addressing that concern we're doubling down on the same strategies and failing to properly harness the populist energy in the air. so every time i hear someone say we need to unite the party all i really hear is "shut up kids, we've got this" even though you, objectively, absolutely do not fucking have this.

I agree generally with your assessment of the problem, but I mean the DNC chair election happened now, and here are the results. Progressives aren't actually whiny children -- we're grownups who can deal with a perceived 'loss' and move on. Right?
posted by tivalasvegas at 5:41 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


This community is hostile to socialists demanding some form of power in the Democratic party.

You know it's pretty fucking easy to stack a Democratic branch, right? There's like five people who bother to show up and they vote themselves into the county establishment. Then five people show up to state meetings and vote themselves into the state apparatus. If you can't even accomplish the near trivial political task of taking over the Democratic party in leftist strongholds then how lazy do you have to be to just demand power?
posted by Talez at 5:43 PM on February 25 [16 favorites]


Wall Street or Clinton have nothing to do with it. Perez is an Obama labor guy. But the Establishment wing of the DNC wanted him and not Ellison.

Just pointing out that I requested an argument against Perez that did not use the word "Establishment" and this is what I got. Still open to hearing a more nuanced response.
posted by neroli at 5:45 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I don't have a particular angle on the DNC chairmanship. I'm an independent (technically a Green, but that's just a youthful indiscretion I never atoned for) in a state that just eliminated independents from the ballot box.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:45 PM on February 25


Seems pretty clear to me the way all these trends are going is toward consolidation of power and narrowing of options regardless of electoral strategy.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:46 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Receipts:

Large Democratic donor calls Ellison an Anti-Semite

Dershowitz threatens to leave the Democratic party.

Perez takes advantage of Islamophobia
posted by R.F.Simpson at 5:46 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


So yeah, fuck people who only want to help if they get things 110% their way.

like the establishment wing of the DNC, who have been dismissing outside opinions since the democratic primaries, struggle to engage with the populist wave of disaffected liberal youth, and when faced with two incredibly qualified candidates who are going to work together either way can't bring itself to pick the candidate that actually EXCITES and speaks to that youth movement? it really seems like one side here refuses to engage, and when the other side says "hey guys maybe we can try things our way?" we get completely shot down. progressives don't assume we can roll into the party and completely run it our way from day one but we would like to be heard in a significant way, especially since the old school has, again, done nothing but lose power for years now.

I agree generally with your assessment of the problem, but I mean the DNC chair election happened now, and here are the results. Progressives aren't actually whiny children -- we're grownups who can deal with a perceived 'loss' and move on. Right?

like of course we don't want to be in this petty struggle. we went to move on and fight trump. but the people who hold all the cards in this party have the wrong tactics and the wrong attitude, and they're doubling down. how can progressives just move on from this when we're watching the centrists start to make the same mistakes they've been making for years? the reason we're fighting right now is because we're trying to stop being the fucking losers.
posted by JimBennett at 5:47 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


Oh god Howard Dean is saying Schumer's endorsement of Ellison was a kiss of death. WHAT. Howard, you did great work, your 50 state strategy should never have been abandoned, you were my formative populist political crush, but seriously WTF. And as much as it pains me to say it, Howard, you don't have a leg to stand on after taking a healthcare lobbyist job.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:48 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


dammit, I was certain that jokes about hoxhaism would bring us all together. oh well.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:50 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


I think there are some people who started paying attention to politics solely because of Bernie, and proceeded to shape their entire political worldview around Bernie vs. Clinton & The Man. Perez is associated with Clinton, Bernie endorsed Ellison, and that's pretty much all that matters.
~~~
Okay but for reals if we're going to factionalize, could we at least factionalize on more interesting lines this time? I think this time we should split off into anarchohoxhaists on one side and neogeorgists on the other.

I read just one contrarian narrative about '72 and ever since, I have been convinced that the ghost of George McGovern needs to return and purge the party of every last vestige of the New Democrats and their neoliberal successors. Can we have a Summon McGovern occultist faction?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:52 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


If you can't even accomplish the near trivial political task of taking over the Democratic party in leftist strongholds then how lazy do you have to be to just demand power?

you know trump was elected less than five months ago? this is a new movement still organizing itself. maybe instead of wasting time battling us the establishment wing could have used their infrastructure to embrace some
new ideas in the wake of continuous crippling loss.
posted by JimBennett at 5:53 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Is it possible that the "establishment wing" genuinely thinks that Perez is the best candidate for the post, or is the only possible motivation pissing off Bernie supporters?
posted by peacheater at 5:54 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Large Democratic donor calls Ellison an Anti-Semite
The fact that racists are opposed to Ellison is not an argument against Perez.

Dershowitz threatens to leave the Democratic party.
The fact that racists are opposed to Ellison is not an argument against Perez.

Perez takes advantage of Islamophobia
This article seems to hinge on the fact that Perez told Jewish leaders "“What I have learned in my work, and what I have learned throughout my life as a life-long Democrat, is that the Jewish community has always had an invaluable place in our party. And that must never change.”

Is it your argument that saying that is wrong?
posted by neroli at 5:55 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


HYou know, some of the back-and forth in this thread feels a lot like crab bucket behavior. I know it is well intentioned, and discussing strategy is important.

But I'd echo the sentiment above that, now that the DNC election is done, we need to link arms and decide that we are all moving FORWARD, no side glances, and do whatever we need to do to plow through any resistance, whether it comes from our side or the enemy. Keep the goal firmly in mind and don't get distracted.

I've blogged and volunteered through a number of Dem campaigns over the years. The best one was when we were able to boot AZ blowhard rep JD Hayworth from office. Standing with Harry Mitchell in JD's old DC office was one of the proudest moments of my life. But I confess that since then, I've just felt overwhelmed by the seemingly Sisyphean task of dealing with the Republicans in AZ who still have a lock on the state lege. I had begun to focus on my own life more. Something I had more control over.

With Trump's ascension, though, I'm prepared to wade back out in that damn fever swamp again. I don't have the energy I used to - none of us do, and we probably all still feel like we've been kicked in the stomach from last November. (Seriously, I took Feingold's loss probably even harder than Clinton's, and I've never stepped foot in Wisconsin.)

We have history, reality and morality on our side. We just need to stop seeing each other as the opposition and embrace one another for the fight. We don't have the luxury for factionalism now. There are people arrayed against us that are literally trying to destroy us.
posted by darkstar at 5:55 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


Just pointing out that I requested an argument against Perez that did not use the word "Establishment" and this is what I got. Still open to hearing a more nuanced response.

I'm open to an explanation of why Perez's backers won't make the same demands of him that they made of Wasserman-Schultz the next time they need a thumb on the scale.
posted by Coventry at 5:55 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Perez's victory is the product of the Establishment.

You do realize Ellison was also backed by the Establishment like Schumer works in the Establishment and was running to lead the Establishment?

That's how fucking silly this Establishment talk is when we're talking about politicians which is what these people are.
posted by asteria at 5:57 PM on February 25 [15 favorites]


It's just an anecdote, but when a black transgender woman tells you she felt she'd been made invisible by Clinton supporters dismissing her as a Bernie bro, you start to wonder if there might not be something to all these complaints of arrogance and elitism. That said, it's not worth fragmenting over now. There were probably agitators on both sides aggravating the tension all along anyway.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:59 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the major difference between Perez and Ellison is that Bernie endorsed one and not the other.

Ellison took Trump's candidacy seriously in a time when most people, including many Democrats, didn't. That alone suggests the type of astute unconventional thinking that is useful in a leader.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:00 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


dammit, I was certain that jokes about hoxhaism would bring us all together. oh well.

at least with your bunker quip we know which side you're on
posted by indubitable at 6:03 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


like seriously i feel like the two wings of the party have exactly one real difference and that is an awareness of the party's failure. in the wake of an economic collapse that has financially crippled my entire emerging generation (and our parents) it's insane to me that the dems keep losing and insist we continue with politics as usual. politics as usual has done almost nothing to help me or my friends in our adult lives. trump won because he actually acknowledged that fact (even if he didn't actually intend to, you know, fix those problems). until the democratic party actually addresses our concerns, progressives are going to have to fight because our interests are not being represented by the democrats. this is why it's hard for us to just move forward in blissful goddamned unity. i am going to continue fighting trump and i will vote for the next democratic presidential candidate. i will also spend the next four years fighting for that candidate to be a true progressive and fighting to push this party further and further left because that is the only way to win the war.
posted by JimBennett at 6:04 PM on February 25 [30 favorites]


Large Democratic donor calls Ellison an Anti-Semite

Dershowitz threatens to leave the Democratic party.

Perez takes advantage of Islamophobia


You do realize, right, that your three arguments against Perez are all: Jews like him
posted by neroli at 6:04 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


I still want a Buttigieg/Kander team up rolling around the country training Dems on how to run at all levels and other DNC chair hopefuls pitching in big time around the country in a coordinated manner. DNC chair is just one person, and we shouldn't count on a savior, but I wouldn't mind a Justice League.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:04 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Hopefully the new DNC can avoid mixed messaging like "Deplorables" and "Stronger Together" in one campaign.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:06 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


dammit, I was certain that jokes about hoxhaism would bring us all together. oh well.

In infighting between the Splitters --- Sino-Albanian or any other school of schismoids, divisibles, or partitionistes --- and the Aggregationists, the former are always the tautological winners. Once you're infighting it out, you've automatically dis-Aggregated.
posted by busted_crayons at 6:07 PM on February 25


[I swear to God if you guys do a full rehash of Hillary vs. Bernie with a bonus side dish of antisemitism and Islamophobia I am turning this website around and we are not even going to Disneyworld.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:07 PM on February 25 [64 favorites]


So how much of a hash can we get away with and still see Mickey? Like, 60%?
posted by axiom at 6:10 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Ellison took Trump's candidacy seriously in a time when most people, including many Democrats, didn't. That alone suggests the type of astute unconventional thinking that is useful in a leader.
Or maybe even better as a top advisor... IF the leader respects him and takes him seriously. In the current situation, Perez needs Ellison - I hope he recognizes that and uses him not just to keep the Sanders/Warren factor "in the fold" but also to move in the right direction.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:11 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Ah, sweet harmony!
posted by saulgoodman at 6:13 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Tom Perez also had words for Trump back in 2015.

Hopefully the new DNC can avoid mixed messaging like "Deplorables" and "Stronger Together" in one campaign.

No thank you. Hillary was right and I am all for metaphorical punching of those nazi fucks as well as actual punching. Stronger Together Through Punching Deblorables!
posted by asteria at 6:13 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


I swear to God if you guys do a full rehash of Hillary vs. Bernie

HEY THAT GIVES ME AN IDEA! For real though, and not a threadshitting idea.

Bernie and Hillary should sit down and record an airing of grievances with no stone left unturned and symbolically work that shit out for the rest of us. I'd actually really like that, if they could really get real about it. Really get some digs in at each other. They're both adult enough that they could resolve it after laying it all out there. Not a cute little managed thing but like one of those uncomfortable Maron interviews.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:13 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


pops the corn Well 2020 is going to be a GOP landslide
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:14 PM on February 25


Truth and Reconciliation panels are cool and should be done more in general
posted by Apocryphon at 6:15 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


jason_steakums might be a GOP operative.
posted by asteria at 6:17 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I wish, they actually do get paid
posted by jason_steakums at 6:17 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Gotta keep the circular paper cut squad going with rumor and innuendo.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:23 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I believe the traditional venue is a steel cage
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:23 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


And yeah, I get that money can help win elections. But you know what helps win even elections even more directly ? Running a fucking candidate in the first place. There were 4 unopposed Republicans on my ballot.

THIS THIS THIS! I've probably mentioned this in a previous thread, but I live in DuPage County, and several county positions (plus my state senator) had Republicans running unopposed. Granted, DuPage County has a long history of being solid Republican territory, but it's gotten more and more purple lately. Obama won DuPage County in 2008 and 2012. In the last election, Clinton won DuPage County, and it wasn't even close. (53.96% to 39.28%) Tammy Duckworth won DuPage County. Bill Foster (my congressperson) won the DuPage County precincts. For the first time since I've been living here, there was a Democratic challenger for state representative in my district. He didn't win, but he came pretty close. (Closer than a lot of people probably expected!) There is no reason any Republican here should run unopposed.

The good news is that the DuPage County Democratic Party seems to have learned this lesson and has already started work to recruit candidates for 2018.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:33 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


On another note, I thought this was a good read: "Data-Driven" Campaigns Are Killing The Democratic Party. (Yeah, yeah, Politico, but there are some excellent points in here.)
posted by SisterHavana at 6:37 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


like seriously i feel like the two wings of the party have exactly one real difference and that is an awareness of the party's failure. in the wake of an economic collapse that has financially crippled my entire emerging generation (and our parents) it's insane to me that the dems keep losing and insist we continue with politics as usual. politics as usual has done almost nothing to help me or my friends in our adult lives. trump won because he actually acknowledged that fact (even if he didn't actually intend to, you know, fix those problems). until the democratic party actually addresses our concerns, progressives are going to have to fight because our interests are not being represented by the democrats. this is why it's hard for us to just move forward in blissful goddamned unity. i am going to continue fighting trump and i will vote for the next democratic presidential candidate. i will also spend the next four years fighting for that candidate to be a true progressive and fighting to push this party further and further left because that is the only way to win the war.

I agree with this, but maybe not the way you think. It does seem (after 3 flamewars and two flounces already this morning) that the people most upset by Ellison as vice-chair are the ones who take it as an article of faith that Sanders would have won. I guess that if you do *seriously* believe that then it's infuriating that the progressives are not being ceded to in every demand.

I would only remark, mildly, that not everyone who identifies as progressive sees it that way and a lot of us are not very comfy with a cult of personality either. I am content with a candidate with progressive values, and do not demand a candidate anointed by the progressives.

This said, I am extremely happy to have you pushing on the party to move to the left. As am I, as are many of us. Even if we don't agree on Perez/Ellison as opposed to Ellison/Perez, we have that much common ground. I would suggest that Resistance rules apply here-- focus on the common enemy in defense of the many until we are safe enough to look at where we differ.
posted by frumiousb at 6:46 PM on February 25 [28 favorites]


Like I said upthread both Perez and Ellison have strengths and weaknesses. Both of them have strong groups of support (Ellison got 200 votes in the first ballot). Both of them are representatives of emerging demographic support for Democrats (Latinx and Muslim). Both have strong personal stories and both seem to be able to bridge the factionalism that has marred the party since the primaries. Neither one of them is the most telegenic for a position that is at least largely about showing up on the Sunday news programs to explain why Trump is a fucking idiot. It's unclear if either are particularly strong fundraisers but there are still plenty of those in the DNC.

Perhaps a Co-Chair situation would've been ideal but honestly both individuals will be solid if unspectacular in the role. Having Perez be chair and Ellison Deputy Chair should give both of them plenty of media exposure.

I do think that Democrats need to decide whether they are going to accept the declinist framing that Trump/Bannon used to vault into power or if they'll try to create a bold new vision for the US that isn't just about holding onto the New Deal and Great Society wins of the past but adding a bold new chapter to that tradition.

Arguably one can say that Obama perhaps squandered some opportunities but I also think there was unprecedented levels of obstructionism that limited his ability to exploit his mandate.

Clinton/Sanders would've largely been unable to advance much of an agenda either way and it's quite likely that congressional losses in 2018 under Clinton would be awful but I think lots of people saw Clinton as an opportunity to lock in the Obama successes (giving ACA more time to become popular) as well as dealing a crippling blow to the conservative faction in the SCOTUS. Certainly we've lost out on some solid opportunities and the damage that is being done tou our institutions under Trump is frightening. Reactionary policies aimed at rolling back advances made by disadvantaged communities (PoC, Women, LGBT, etc) are undoubtedly going to do massive harm to numerous Americans.

I would love it if people could stop trying to view the Centrist/Progressive divisions in the form of a zero-sum game. I think it's possible for both "sides" to get most of what they want because ultimately Centrist Democrats and Progressives lack the numbers to win without the help of the others. Perhaps instead of insisting that my preferred candidate is the only true Democrat we can look for commonalities and areas for consensus building and compromise.
posted by vuron at 6:55 PM on February 25 [16 favorites]


Seems pretty clear to me the way all these trends are going is toward consolidation of power and narrowing of options regardless of electoral strategy.

To be fair, the removal of independents from Florida is less about reinforcement of the two-party system as it is about forcing Democrat-leaning voters to identify themselves thus making it easier for the Republicans to disenfranchise them.
posted by schroedinger at 7:01 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Let's be honest Republicans in Florida will just try to disenfranchise most PoC as a part of their strategy. Yeah they might disenfranchise some Republican voters but on balance targeting Latino and African American voters is going to advantage the Republicans in most cases. Plus you can do all the really sketchy tactics that Kobach has developed like claiming that lots of voters with common surnames are representative of "Voter Fraud". The fact that certain surnames are extremely common in various minority communities is a bonus.
posted by vuron at 7:11 PM on February 25


Arguably one can say that Obama perhaps squandered some opportunities but I also think there was unprecedented levels of obstructionism that limited his ability to exploit his mandate.

I'm more upset about the Tim Kaine DNC starting the squandering of electoral opportunities than any policy opportunities Obama might have squandered. I'm really glad that there were no candidates with a shot this time who were anything like the past few DNC chairs.

One of the things that makes me confident that the Dem old guard won't be successful in steering the party is that the abandoned state and local party organizations are numerous and desperate for support, and increasingly being coopted by activists. There's going to be too many parts of the party machinery in activist control to ignore. A lot of newly empowered people who are going to be voting for party leadership positions and directing the future.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:17 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


I do think that Democrats need to decide whether they are going to accept the declinist framing that Trump/Bannon used to vault into power or if they'll try to create a bold new vision for the US that isn't just about holding onto the New Deal and Great Society wins of the past but adding a bold new chapter to that tradition.

Let's be honest Republicans in Florida will just try to disenfranchise most PoC as a part of their strategy. Yeah they might disenfranchise some Republican voters but on balance targeting Latino and African American voters is going to advantage the Republicans in most cases. Plus you can do all the really sketchy tactics that Kobach has developed like claiming that lots of voters with common surnames are representative of "Voter Fraud". The fact that certain surnames are extremely common in various minority communities is a bonus.


This should be the easiest argument ever. Just get out there and preach a different narrative, one that doesn't involve pain and abuse and "everyone is lying to you but me", and we can take this back.
posted by saysthis at 7:20 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I want some genuinely new and big ideas from somebody in the game. Not fantasies of revolution but deep, systemic reforms. Our political system doesn't work anymore for anybody but those who are already doing well. Trump sells himself as having bold big ideas, but all he's really got is a dangerous personality disorder and a desire to drag the world back into a cold war era geopolitical power balance, only with the newly restored USSR as a strategic military ally against China and the rest of the world, and fantasies of a return to an imaginary fascist white supremacist utopia.

At CPAC, Bannon basically made no bones about the fact they do literally intend to reverse as much of the last 100 years of progressive political reform in the U.S. as possible. They're shutting down the NEA, PBS, and NPR funding. They've already purged information about U.S. funded environmental research from official websites and started boycotting certain press outlets. In Florida, they're reportedly planning to expand voucher programs and begin effectively winding down the public school system. There may not be anything left by the next election anyway.

Even Jeb Bush wasn't just talking when he said he hoped to dismantle the Florida state government; he did shrink it dramatically, to the point there are all kinds of gaps and declines in level of service the general public likely isn't even aware of, because it's stuff that's out of sight and only has direct consequences for the kinds of disempowered people who don't even have enough economic power for anyone to care when they complain, much less the resources to fight back. Scott has only continued further dismantling the institutions of state government. A lot of the system is dysfunctional or outright broken across different levels now, just organizationally, and there's so little institutional knowledge left in some offices, they're basically just going through the motions, trying to make their political bosses happy with no real enthusiasm for the mission.

I hope we can all unify somehow. If the Democratic party still has any chance to win in the future, they'll likely have mine and a lot of other independent's support. But honestly, the domino effects of Trump's blustering bull in a china shop routine and his absolute, intentional indifference to competently administering and executing most government functions are going to lead to multiple, farreaching crises arising before anyone gets another shot at the White House, and it's hard to advance a positive agenda and really innovative ideas in times of crisis because crisis promotes provincialism and conservatism for reasons of basic human psychology--people don't generally have much enthusiasm for taking more risks when they're already feeling under assault.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:39 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


peacheater Is it possible that the "establishment wing" genuinely thinks that Perez is the best candidate for the post, or is the only possible motivation pissing off Bernie supporters?

I'm 100% confident they felt he was the better candidate and that, at worst, they viewed pissing off the Left as a bonus.

What I'm not at all confident in is their ability to pick the actual best candidate for the post.

Because, see, under the Democratic old guard, establishment, whatever you want to call them, we've been losing. Under the Establishment Democrats we lost what should have been the easiest presidential race in all history. Seriously, how do you lose when your opponent is Donald fucking Trump? It should have been a fucking landslide. But the Establishment Democrats managed, yet again, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

We've tried it their way. All that Clinton era "triangulation", which as nearly as I can figure had good intent but in practice worked out to nothing more than "rush to the far right". I've been alive for 42 years now, and during my entire life I've watched the Democratic Establishment systemically lose to a bunch of clowns.

Seriously, look at the victorious Republican presidential candates over the past few decades. Reagan?! A b-list actor going senile and somehow the Establishment fucked up beating him.

George HW Bush? The walking gaffe? The most boring person to ever run as a Republican until they tried Dole? And who did the Establishment pick? Michael fucking Dukakis. Quite possibly the only person on the entire planet who was, don't ask me how, even more boring and pointless than HW Bush was.

George W. Bush?!? The Republicans were so fucked up they ran the idiot son of the Bush clan, a man who couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel, a smirking chimp of a loser, and yet the Establishment lost against him.

And now this. Given the singular gift of the Republican Party attempting suicide via Trump, the Establishment still managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, to turn what should have been a landslide victory into an election close enough to steal.

The Establishment has had their turn, they've had their chance, and they fucked it up so badly the nation might actually not survive. Their steadfast, ironclad, determination to surrender state and local elections without a fight to the Republicans has, to the surprise of no one with a functioning brain cell, failed to produce victory. The Establishment hated Dean (for reasons I've never been able to grasp), so they took their vengeance on him and eradicated every last trace of his 50 state strategy and, as a result, we now have Republicans firmly and perhaps irrevocably entrenched in most states.

So yes, I'll concede that the Establishment Democrats genuinely thought that Perez was the best possible candidate for the post. And on that reason alone I'd say we should have picked **ANYONE** but Perez. The Establishment Democrat record for humiliating failure to achieve even the simplest of victories is astounding.

All the liberals who just can't stand leftists need to remember how horribly they've fucked shit up, admit that they're incompetent to run a party, and get the fuck out of the way while there's still the faint chance that the nation can be salvaged.
posted by sotonohito at 8:27 PM on February 25 [29 favorites]


I hope, and I'm betting I'm wrong but I can't help but hope, that Perez is capable of learning from the left, is capable of realizing that the Democratic Establishment approach has produced nothing but loss and failure, and that he'll try something new and better.

Like I said, I'll give Perez a chance.

But the fact that, yet again, when faced with the opportunity to admit that they fucked up and have no clue how to run a successful party, the Establishment has chosen to give the left the bird in what seems more like petty dog in the manger spite more than any real devotion to principle rankles me and makes me disposed not to like Perez.

Would it really have killed them to say "yup, we dun fucked up, time to let you lefties have a go at it"?

They didn't, they'll get their chance. But fuck. How about try winning even if it means giving the left a win? Because right now the Democrats seem more focused on denying the left a win than beating the Republicans.
posted by sotonohito at 8:33 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Hopefully the new DNC can avoid mixed messaging like "Deplorables" and "Stronger Together" in one campaign.

When I think of "stronger together" I don't extend it to "together with Nazis."
posted by Behemoth at 8:58 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


Why are you making the assumption that Perez = Establishment and Ellison = Progressives? Ellison got plenty of support from centrist Democrats as well as "leftists". I don't think progressives were entirely against Perez either.

I'm not entirely sure that the thesis that the liberals within the Democrats are incompetent and simply need to get the fuck out of the way is remotely accurate or remotely useful.

Progressives are an important part of the Democratic coalition but they aren't the only faction that is worth courting. Indeed the 2016 primaries showed that a candidate without strong support from minority groups is unlikely to be a successful national candidate. The economic populism that got so many people passionate about the candidacy of Sanders is tempered by painful experiences with past attempts at left populism which have often resulted in PoC being denied a fair percentage of the economic gains won by the progressive movement.

I think it's obviously worth some analysis as to why Clinton failed to defeat Trump last year. Some of that is obviously because Trump rightly or wrongly was seen as a change candidate. However the desire for change didn't extend into a broad desire to throw the bums out. Incumbents typically won in congressional races because while Americans seem to be more than willing to vote against the President they seem to like their local representatives. The hot take on November 9th was that it was the economic distress of the WWC but increasingly data driven analysis seems to indicate that Trump won primarily because of his strength in heavily rural, extremely white areas of the Great Lakes region. At the same time Clinton showed significant strength in numerous congressional districts across the South and Southwest. It just so happened that Trump's supporters were enough to turn some Blue states Red while Clinton advancement in southern population centers was not strong enough to turn traditionally red states Blue.

In hindsight it seems obvious that both Gore and Clinton made strategic mistakes. Gore's failure in 2000 seems to be largely based upon his running away from the success of Clinton. In contrast much of Clinton's failure in 2016 seems to be based upon her being seen as a status quo candidate in an election that broadly seems to be influenced by a desire for a change candidate.

Would a liberal change candidate have been able to win in the General election? Possibly but it's unclear if a liberal change candidate would've been able to hold onto as much of the the Obama coalition as Clinton was able to. Ultimately though it seems like the electorate's desire for a change candidate seems heavily dependent on the racial background of the individual voter. In short White America seemed happy enough to roll the dice on a change candidate like Trump because no matter what it was unlikely that White America would suffer the brunt of the reactionary policies Trump intends to pursue. If you are societally shielded from suffering the majority of the ill effects of a bad decision as to your choice for President it becomes much easier to take a risk. In contrast if the likely result of that change candidate getting elected is that you and yours are going to be targeted for abuse then the tolerance for change in the form of economic populism might be substantial reduced.

I think the Democrats in general are trying to decide exactly where their tolerance for risk lies. If you are a stereotypical Bernie Bro Democrat then the potential upside to a bet on an economic populist can be extremely high while the potential costs in the form of wildly discriminatory policies if your candidate loses are dramatically reduced. In contrast if you are a member of one of the groups that has by comparison done fairly well under the economic policies of Clinton and Obama then you are probably reluctant to risk your hard won advances on a far-reaching set of economic policies.

Right now the voices that seem most adamant about change in how the Democrats run things are those with the must potential upside in displacing the party "establishment" whereas various other factions seem to be disinclined to abandon a strategy that clearly worked well for Obama and Clinton in the past. Sometime going back to the well is a good strategy and sometimes it's a poor one.
posted by vuron at 9:04 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


So...does "the left" as opposed to Democrats or Progressives still just mean white guys telling the rest of us the ways they hope we die? Has that situation improved any?
posted by Lyn Never at 9:08 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


While I appreciate the sentiments (of frustration at Dem losses) I'm not sure I agree with the interpretation of the facts as to why they are doing so (or, indeed, that they are doing so in such a cataclysmic downward spiral). Notwithstanding Trump's victory an current GOP control of Congress:

We've had 8 years of Dems Bill Clinton and eight more of BHO, neither of whom were leftists. That's not so easily dismissed as "the Dems haven't won anything."

Four of the eight SCOTUS Justices currently serving were nominated by Dem presidents.

Dems controlled the Senate 18 of the past 36 years, and 10 of the past 22.

Dem control of the House has been less impressive, at only 4 of the past 22 years, but those four years are pretty recent. And there was an uninterrupted span of 40 years of Dem control before that. Yes, that seems like ancient history in the modern Internet era, but again, that was only 22 years ago.

State legislatures and governorships are where Dems are really hurting. But I think the most compelling argument is that a major part of the trends there in the past few years is due in large part to serious GOP gerrymandering in 2010.

Don't get me wrong: I was a Dean supporter and recall vividly debating with a Kerry supporter that he was a "great resume candidate with zero charisma who will get clobbered in the general because he just can't seem to connect with people." I also favored Bernie in the primary, but enthusiastically got on board the Hillary train despite my misgivings about her high unfavorables.

Charisma and star power counts more than competence when it comes to politics. The only time in modern history that a less charismatic candidate won was GHW Bush, and that was mainly Reagan's coat tails, and it didn't carry him through a second victory. Charisma is why Arnold became Governor of CA despite being (like Trump) an enormous sexist who groped women.

All of which is to say: I think the premise that Dems don't win because they are centrists is hyperbole and not really supportable. There are a LOT of ways I'd like the Dem party to change toward more progressive views. But charismatic demagoguery, sexism, racism, dark money, gerrymandering, voter suppression and exploitation of religious faith account for at least as much of recent GOP victories as any failing in the Dem side. I mean, Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump, after all.
posted by darkstar at 9:08 PM on February 25 [17 favorites]


Because right now the Democrats seem more focused on denying the left a win than beating the Republicans.

You know, when I think of that sentence, I flip "the left" and "Democrats."

Twice in my lifetime, the left has decided that it's going to get on its high horse and form its own party. And twice that has backfired, spectacularly. Both times, the electoral college and popular votes have been split, and both times we've lost by a tiny margin of voters.

And the thing is, both of those times, the schism has been initiated by privileged people who think they have nothing to lose, and it's been initiated at a time when stupid college students aren't aware of what they might be about to lose.

So, honestly, if it were up to me, I'd institute liberal policies. But I'd do it despite knowing I was helping the left. If I could do it without giving anything to any of the idiotic Berniebros and Steinbots, I would do it gleefully, even though I know I'd be leaving former friends to starve. Because they should have known better, and they decided to throw a fit anyway.

I don't trust you people. You haven't proven you're capable of being trusted. And declaring "what do you have to lose?" is a strategy that convinces me you're absolutely out of touch.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:14 PM on February 25 [20 favorites]


I don't trust you people. You haven't proven you're capable of being trusted.

I'm honestly more inclined to distrust the branch of the party that nominated a candidate who managed to lose to Donald fucking Trump.
posted by lalex at 9:23 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


I feel like 60% of the party or whatever isn't really a branch, it's the party.
posted by Justinian at 9:34 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I'm going to repeat myself:

"What do you have to lose?" is not a convincing argument.

Point me to a sustained series of victories by the left. Unless you count the spiteful one (now thoroughly denied by gaslighting Steinbot nihilists everywhere) about "teaching the Democrats a lesson."
posted by steady-state strawberry at 9:35 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I understand the despair, and I would have preferred Ellison get it, but also, I think if you want more progressive policies you need more progressive people in party leadership.

That is reality. What is not reality is seeing political parties as products that you buy or don't. You can't boycott the Democrats into being what you want. You can't win by punishing them by refusing to vote.

You have to do the grinding work of getting involved, in large enough numbers that you can't be ignored. And in the process, you'll still get ignored, or have to suffer the ignorance/ageism/racism/sexism of people in the party, and it sucks, but there is not currently an alternative. Much as we wish there were, there isn't.

This is the only party we have, and it's busted in some ways and held together with duct tape and includes a disappointing number of clueless assholes. But it's still the only party we have. We've had more than one election prove to us that a third party just dilutes our power and wins us nothing (and loses us elections).

Future generations will not judge us for having Perez in vs. Ellison, but they will judge us for giving up.

And if it truly is too busted to win against Republicans, we're all doomed. But I don't think that's true.
posted by emjaybee at 9:36 PM on February 25 [15 favorites]


The point still stands, the people that decided that if Sanders wasn't the candidate then they were going to either vote third party or abstain or even worse vote for Trump because acceleration is totes going to happen man often seem to have less to lose should their bet turn out wrong.

The claims from the left (particularly people like Stein) that functionally Clinton = Trump in terms of economic policies were dangerously false and they created this bullshit narrative that somehow Clinton was Republican Lite despite being arguably significantly to the left of both Obama and her husband.

This completely false narrative served no other purpose than to damage Clinton as a candidate. And obviously the truth of the matter is being demonstrated to us as Trump engages in a form of kleptocracy meets crony capitalism that would make 19th century political bosses blush.

So yeah I think some people are justifiably angry with the all-or-nothing rhetoric coming out of some voices on the left. Many of which volunteer that they aren't actually party members or that they aren't interested in the long term success of the party.
posted by vuron at 9:37 PM on February 25 [15 favorites]


people most upset by Ellison as vice-chair are the ones who take it as an article of faith that Sanders would have won.

There are two basic types of response to interesting and unexpected developments:
A. "how'd that happen and what can we learn from it"
B. "all that is behind us now"

Sanders lost, fair and square. I have no issues with it - I'm not even a registered dem so, it's a horse apiece as far as I'm concerned. But, they had a candidate who created a huge amount of trouble for Clinton in what should have been a lock from the get go. Hillary actually had to run a primary campaign. And to her credit, Bernie did pull her to left somewhat, but like all things Clinton - she was against it before she was for it, who knows what happens tomorrow; it's a wacky world; it depends on what the definition of is is.

But the Democratic party, seeing this Independent upstart create so much trouble should have been a clear warning of radical discomfort within their own ranks. I could see it, and as I pointed out, I'm not even a registered dem.

So here we are, the chance for the dem party to show that they have noticed the iceberg and are willing to change course, and instead we get orders to have the orchestra play on the poopdeck. They don't have to care - they'll never hear the screams from us losers in steerage.

I'll still vote dem. But it won't be because they earned it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:45 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Future generations will not judge us for having Perez in vs. Ellison, but they will judge us for giving up.

You've articulated exactly the feeling I've been unable to properly express or identify. 50 years from now nobody is going to be "If only our predecessors had made Keith Ellison the chair of the DNC instead of Tom Perez everything would be different!". The very thought is ridiculous. But they sure might say that about Trump and Clinton. And they may say it about whoever runs in 2020. And they might have said it about the midterms in 2018 except we tend to forget about the midterms and focus on the Presidential race so they'll probably stick to lamenting 2016 and 2020.

But, really, this is at worst a minor and relatively unimportant difference in organizational structure given Ellison is in leadership.
posted by Justinian at 9:49 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I think the Democrats in general are trying to decide exactly where their tolerance for risk lies. If you are a stereotypical Bernie Bro Democrat then the potential upside to a bet on an economic populist can be extremely high while the potential costs in the form of wildly discriminatory policies if your candidate loses are dramatically reduced. In contrast if you are a member of one of the groups that has by comparison done fairly well under the economic policies of Clinton and Obama then you are probably reluctant to risk your hard won advances on a far-reaching set of economic policies.

There's also the "expand the map" risk and that's a hard needle to thread. What I like about Ellison is that I think he has his finger on the pulse of how to translate progressive policies into rural and small city victories with a focus on labor. Kander, too. But it's a risky gambit, sometimes I fear it's like trying to rebuild the kind of progressive midwestern base that hasn't been big since the early 20th century and that's a tall order. And I don't think a traditional Democrat could win it in those areas without being the most triangulating centrist around, not like the Wall Street Dems that the Clintons became associated with but the image of Bill Clinton at the beginning... but that's a pretty shitty risk/reward, maybe the risk is lower but the reward sucks. It's like you need to fuse the salesmanship and rural authenticity of Bill Clinton circa 1992 with Ellison's progressive and inclusive labor message, and candidates like that might be pretty thin on the ground. So there's a particular risk calculation there that I think is worth considering. I see it in my own Indivisible group, I agree with what they're fighting for, of course, but if I step back I have to wonder "how are we going to sell it to the electorate outside of the insufficient blue islands here?"

It's one of the reasons I'm so entranced with Rev. Barber, the fusion politics model is how you do it long term, short circuit the Republican playbook of playing poor whites against minorities and that breaks the Republican rural stranglehold. But it's so context sensitive, you can't pick up and apply that model elsewhere without some big talents like Barber guiding it and I think it may have to incubate in the unique social and political context of the south until it reaches a critical mass that puts it into national awareness.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:52 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Democrats would benefit from a clearly articulated and exciting vision

This plus charismatic and exciting candidates is pretty much as close as you can get to stating what I think the Democrats need as well. That might mean it's actually obvious but then I still hear people saying we'like be fine because Trump will wear out his welcome among the moderate republicans which - a.) I wouldn't count on and b.) what passes for a "moderate republican" nowadays is actually terrifying.
posted by atoxyl at 9:59 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


I...have opinions. I will state them briefly - gimme free stuff from the state, stop taxing my global income, universal healthcare, less copyright, less religion, draconian punishments for Nazi/bigot speech, fling the borders open to refugees, legalized drugs, way less prisons and underclass creation, and take guns away from white ISIS. Also, maintain US military hegemony and grind Russian autocracy into the dust. So basically, Angela Merkel 2020.

I can't have those things, so...now that we have Perez, how can I get more of them?

Also, I'm a Democrat of convenience. I'm on their side because...well...Republicans are that thing and Dems have the best chance of getting me more of what I want than anyone else. I promise that if I offend any of you in my fight for the things I want or get in your way, in any way, you may call me an asshole and I will probably stop doing whatever it was I was doing to make your life hard.

Apparently Perez is also a wait-and-see thing in this fight. I...will...do that, then.

Maybe there's a platform we can all get behind in there somewhere?
posted by saysthis at 10:04 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


I'm not really sure Perez is all that terrible personally it's a just a kind of a symbolic fuck you to a wing of the party that sure seems to me to be where a lot of the ambition and energy is at right now. To despair about it would be the worst outcome though.

I don't trust you people. You haven't proven you're capable of being trusted.

I don't expect I need to say this feeling does go both ways?
posted by atoxyl at 10:05 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


Let's Be Clear about What Happened to Keith Ellison:
Before this gets turned into another thing where the establishment Democrats posture as the reasonable adults victimized by the assaults of those left-wing baddies, let’s just be very clear about what happened here. It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump, sowing disunity in order to contest a position whose leadership they insist does not really matter.

Democrats pile up election post-mortems
:
Treading on more sensitive territory, the presentation also includes a slide titled, “No Persuasion Canvass,” which includes images of three Clinton ads and criticizes the campaign for mandating that organizers not try to persuade voters through conversations — a decision that has been roundly criticized since November.

It’s one of the more explicit critiques of Clinton’s Brooklyn-based operation among the existing autopsies, which tend to shy away from direct criticism but often note the imperative of finding an affirmative message rather than the anti-Trump one pushed by Clinton in the campaign’s closing stretch.

In fact, that’s an argument made in “A Way Forward,” an early January analysis from former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and party consultant David Eichenbaum.

“The candidate and party with a simple, compelling and consistent economic message that empowers people is the side that usually wins. No matter what polling may say about the efficacy of a positive message at any given time, we need to give voters a reason to be FOR us. A positive vision is not something we can start talking about in the last two weeks of an election, or not at all,” the report concludes.

After all, as Beshear told DNC members at a recent candidate forum in Houston, “The Democratic Party has lost its way. Let’s face it: We’ve been getting our butts kicked in elections. We’ve been losing elections around the country that we should win."
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:05 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


I'm at a place where I'm frustrated with both sides of the the party for different reasons.

I'm frustrated with the traditional party apparatus for a lot of the reasons why the Leftist side of the party is. I think the abandonment of the 50 state strategy, particularly in terms of state houses, was a terrible choice. I live in a swing district and our primary choices to run against our Republican congresswoman were all kinda crappy. We ended up going with a guy who had a DUI because he was the most progressive of the bunch. Recruiting candidates should be just as important as raising money.

However, I am burnt by my dealings with a lot of individuals in the Leftist Wing. Just this evening, I got into an argument elsewhere on the internet, where a progressive man's response to Perez's win was that both parties were the same and he was leaving the Democratic Party. And I got angry -- because while I also preferred Ellison -- it's patently NOT TRUE that both parties are equally bad. It might be true for white men, but that is not my lived experience as a queer woman of childbearing age. One party advocates that I can have control over my own body. One does not.

This wasn't the first time I've had that argument. It came up a lot over the course of 2016. My favorite was when I was told I condoned child killing if I voted for Clinton in the general. (Drone warfare, mind you, not abortion.) And that feels really rich coming from someone who isn't at nearly as much risk for losing their civil rights under a Trump presidency.

And it isn't that my friends don't have the right to be frustrated or that I didn't make a moral calculus choice in voting for Clinton. But over and over again, I kept on finding that a lot of the things I thought people were allies about, they really were not.

And while I also want the same things that they want (Ellison as DNC chair, more progressive candidates, single payer, etc) -- they're willing to left the perfect the enemy of the good in a way that actively harms my own rights as a human in this country. Be it through not voting or voting third party in a swing state, etc.

Admittedly, this isn't most of the progressive folks I know. Most of us voted for Clinton, are actively working within our local Democratic parties -- I even have one friend who is training to run for office. But it's enough of them that I feel burnt.

And to be honest, while the establishment Democrats piss me off, they aren't people I know personally.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 10:26 PM on February 25 [23 favorites]


Democrats really do need to go all in on state and local rights too. States' rights is a dirty phrase for what it's meant in the past but the ability of blue states and municipalities to stand up against Trump is going to be extremely important. We're seeing this thing in Iowa now with bills to override counties or cities raising the minimum wage or increasing LGBTQ protections, and other states have seen similar bills and that shit needs to stop. And there are some compelling ideas on paths forward on healthcare and clean energy that start with California and other states piloting plans and expanding them to more and more states as their effectiveness is proven, and the Republicans are all to willing to clamp down on that kind of thing.

I have noticed that state and local Democrats have really started focusing in on ALEC as a heavily financed, shadowy, out-of-state threat to the will of local constituents and I like the way that's heading. Focus on ALEC was a key tactic of Save Kansas and that shifted things back more to the center in the state. And speaking of Kansas, I was happy to see one mention of Kansas in an Iowa legislative forum today make the Republican rep really defensive, they know their policies head exactly where Brownback's did and they've seen their own base revolt there. More of that, please.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:26 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


"What do you have to lose?" is not a convincing argument.

Hmm, I'm not so sure...sounds familar...must...think...back.
posted by rhizome at 10:28 PM on February 25


States' rights is a dirty phrase for what it's meant in the past but the ability of blue states and municipalities to stand up against Trump is going to be extremely important.

There has to be another way of phrasing this that doesn't have slavery/segregation connotations. Because you're right. But I don't think this specific term is going to ever transcend it's history.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 10:30 PM on February 25


Local rights. When states try to override counties or cities raising the minimum wage or increasing LGBTQ protections, that's the flag to wave. Not In My Back Yard!
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:35 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


In one sense it is taking care of what the feds won't. I'd like to see alliances among states develop to do so, if in fact it isn't prohibited by law or something. I could see a prohibition on collusion like that being passed as a result of Reconstruction.
posted by rhizome at 10:37 PM on February 25


There has to be another way of phrasing this that doesn't have slavery/segregation connotations. Because you're right. But I don't think this specific term is going to ever transcend it's history.

Local control is what I've heard it as in context of fighting the Iowa bill, the term comes out of debate over local vs state education control, but jeez that's going to be an even scarier term when some places use their local control for horrible purposes (since it is a double-edged sword).

State/local sovereignty is tarnished by the fringed-flag Malheur nutjob crowd and their sovereign citizen idiocy.

On preview, oneswellfoop got it in one! Local rights. I like that.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:39 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Don't come up with a new term, just steal "state's rights" for our own purposes. The right wing does this all the fucking time (hello "fake news") and turnabout is fair play.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:41 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The upside to using "states' rights" is that it puts a fine point on the Republican talk about that being nothing but talk once they have federal power.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:42 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


However, I am burnt by my dealings with a lot of individuals in the Leftist Wing. Just this evening, I got into an argument elsewhere on the internet, where a progressive man's response to Perez's win was that both parties were the same and he was leaving the Democratic Party.

I can understand this impulse, but it strikes me as a really shallow and self-sabotaging way to do politics. That guy on the internet has no power. The neolib "Centrists" who dictate policy have a ton of power. Politics is the battle for power. That's what it is. If you want genuinely left policies and social change, then it's pretty clear the Dems aren't going to give it to you unless (until?) pressure from the left is sufficient to force them to do so (because if they don't they'll lose their jobs--obviously losing election after election isn't enough).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:56 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The proper way of describing the idea of municipal, county, and state control of municipal, county, and state matters is "Following The Constitution of the United States", which specifically designates some powers for the feds, some for the states, and some for both to share. "States' rights" doctrine was about using a cartoonish exaggeration of the Tenth Amendment to defend subjugation of African Americans, but that doesn't mean liberals have to take an equal and opposite stance with respect to local control of local affairs. The Tenth Amendment is a thing, and there's a broad understanding (if not universal agreement) about which categories of activities are to be regulated at which levels. We don't have to suddenly stop acknowledging the existence of the Supremacy Clause to understand that Trump sending the National Guard into Chicago based off of stats he heard on InfoWars isn't what the founders were going for.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:00 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Chair and Chair Alike
I'm so old (as we say on the Twitter) I remember when the self-denominated progressive faction was looking on Labor Secretary Tom Perez as a kind of savior against those terrible corporate Democrats, maybe ten months ago—when somebody was talking him up as a vice presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton. Didn't work out, but that's another story. But Perez did have a very progressive reputation: [...]

The DNC chair has nothing to do with policy formulation in any case. The job is mostly about money, secondarily about political strategy (Howard Dean really made this part of the job because he turned out to be so great at it, at least for that one season, but I'm afraid that his successors haven't done as well). If Obama didn't want a member of the Sanders insurgency to be at the executive top of the party of which Obama is still the titular head, I think he was entitled (he didn't lose the election). As symbols, the team of Perez as chair with Ellison as vice chair will be far better than just one of them with the other sent out in the cold. The two of them knew far better what they were up to than their supporters sometimes did. This is a pretty good outcome.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:03 PM on February 25 [13 favorites]


I can understand this impulse, but it strikes me as a really shallow and self-sabotaging way to do politics. That guy on the internet has no power. The neolib "Centrists" who dictate policy have a ton of power. Politics is the battle for power. That's what it is. If you want genuinely left policies and social change, then it's pretty clear the Dems aren't going to give it to you unless (until?) pressure from the left is sufficient to force them to do so (because if they don't they'll lose their jobs--obviously losing election after election isn't enough).

I guess I thought I was doing that? I vote in primary elections, I call my representatives, I give money to progressive candidates and causes, and I volunteer for the local party. I do those things AND I'm still burnt by people I know.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:10 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


As symbols, the team of Perez as chair with Ellison as vice chair will be far better than just one of them with the other sent out in the cold.

yes but ellison as chair and perez as assistant chair wouldn't have pissed off an already disillusioned wing of young progressive voters. people always talk about how milennials aren't engaged enough in politics, well, we were engaged in this race and told that our voices didn't matter. again, perez himself is not necessarily the issue, it's the context of how he got there that people are mad about. the article positing that obama basically annointed him does not make this any better.
posted by JimBennett at 11:10 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


How he got there appears, to me, to have been a perfectly reasonable and fair democratic election.
posted by Justinian at 11:12 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


I guess I thought I was doing that?

Yes, but you framed pretty explicitly your experience with an asshole (or assholes) as a reason to be suspicious of or dissatisfied with the Left. If you didn't mean that and just wanted to vent about assholes, then I apologize for the misunderstanding--I'm fine with venting and I recognize there are assholes under many, many rocks in all directions.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:13 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


That's fair. It's late and I'm cranky.

I think if I was trying to be clearer -- I would say that I wish my side of the party was better about intersectionality.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:17 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


How he got there appears, to me, to have been a perfectly reasonable and fair democratic election

yes, an election that actual constituents didn't get to actually participate in. the whole thing with representative democracy is that ideally the folks with the power do what the people would like them to. it seems insane to me to pretend that Perez had nearly the amount of support Ellison was getting from actual voters. Ellison had a (small but real) movement behind him and as always the democratic party ignored that movement. i understand that the DNC race is not an actual governmental election and occurs behind closed doors but to progressives it is yet another sign of the dems in power completely ignoring the world shifting around them. if this position is mostly symbolic - which is what you guys keep telling us - then Ellision would be an effective olive branch to unite the party. instead Perez comes across as basically "our way or the highway," whether or not he turns out to be good at the job.
posted by JimBennett at 11:21 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Hey, could people stop saying BernieBros and SteinBots (though that's a new one on me).

I have voted Green and this election I was pretty excited about Sanders, as was almost everyone I know, zero percent of whom are Bros.

I'm a dyke. My friends are women, queers, POC, disabled, intersectional feminists, trans, and also long time activists, organizers, volunteers and non profit workers. My people were excited about Bernie because he more closely represented our values. That's it.

I don't think Clinton support makes you a dick or stupid. People supported Clinton out of pragmatism or out of ideological similarity or for lots of reasons but I see no need to call them names just because they were more excited about this presidential candidate than I was.
posted by latkes at 11:29 PM on February 25 [25 favorites]


if this position is mostly symbolic

We know from last year's antics that the position comes with real influence. It's ridiculous to appeal to Perez's progressive values as if that's going to matter more than who he's beholden to for the win, when things get sticky.
posted by Coventry at 11:30 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


in my brain i think that's why they stumped Perez, not so he could Wasserman-Schulz the next establishment candidate but to ensure that Ellison couldn't Wasserman-Schulz a progressive candidate, that this is another example of ridiculous 4D chess to prevent a dark horse progressive candidate from taking over the party during the next election, even though their chess game doesn't ever get anything accomplished and only manages to alienate larger and larger swathes of potential active party members.

in my heart i feel like they just can't give up their power, not even just a little bit, not even after they've lost and lost and lost and lost.

the republican party scares and infuriates me multiple times on a daily basis but i find myself truly worn down by the dismal disappointment that is the dems. every day that passes feels more hopeless because the so called opposition party can't or won't do any work to fix itself. 2018 elections are only a year and a half away and the only mobilization happening seems to be grassroots. it would be helpful for everyone if the dems embraced those people instead of fighting us at every turn. and of course it's our fault we can't unite even though the establishment holds literally all the cards.
posted by JimBennett at 11:47 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


if this position is mostly symbolic

If it's symbolic and doesn't matter, why did the establishment so forcefully insert Perez, who has no campaigning expertise? (Hint: it matters).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:56 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Hey JimBennett, I don't expect you to believe me, nor do I claim to be right-- but the support for Perez isn't nearly as 4D chess as you are imagining. I'm ironically enough an independent voter, but I do have some friends who are pretty serious DNC folks and have been part of a lot of the discussions around Ellison-- at least in a glancing way.

The biggest point of concern I have heard (by far) has been the fact that he's got a seat in the house. We really can't afford to lose any of those. It's a really practical issue but it's an actual one, ya know?

I heard *everyone* literally agreeing we needed a strongly progressive candidate and we needed Ellison on board. Which is what we got in the end, without risking the seat or Ellison's ability to act unencumbered. Whether or not Perez/Ellison is the right compromise remains to be seen, but I'm pretty sure there was none of what you describe above in the folks I know. There also isn't a card-carrying Establishment wing of the party and I don't think the Sanders' supporters have any kind of lock on being progressives. It's a spectrum, and a pretty large one, with many views represented.

What I see as a shame is how little transparency there seems to be about how the big parties work. Please realise that until fairly recently there wasn't much interest in the inner workings of the DNC. I think that is a huge shame because it allowed folks like DWS to evolve who were mainly like policy wonks-- sort of like how nobody cares who runs for class president in college until they start making weird rules. And then it turns out that the folks who run for student government positions don't necessarily have that much in common with most of the students.

Sanders' participation in the DNC is something I generally believe is a really good thing. He brought a lot of interest in the party from outside the party. What's less of a good thing is when large misunderstandings about how a political party functions today are written off as conspiracy and not a genuine best effort at compromise.

The grassroots stuff you talk about earlier is actually where all this change needs to happen. The national platform is not nearly as important. This is the lesson we should have learned earlier, IMO. The tea party got it and stacked the school boards while the dems believed that focusing on the national races was what was going to save us all-- and that view got us hoist on our own petard.

Many of us will watch Perez *and* Ellison carefully and for sure our job is to put their feet to the fire. But our main role is in the local elections. We just had a big victory in Delaware. There's another special election coming up Tuesday in Connecticut. We've got Pruitt's seat coming up in Kansas if we want to go for broke. Be upset at the DNC if they don't support those races. Be upset at them for voting too much for Trump. But lets don't invent enemies which aren't really there. The party rank and file who I know are fighting the same fight as you and I in the best way they know how. Disagree, sure. Monitor and hold responsible, absolutely. But there are enough concrete enemies to go around right now and they are actively hurting folks who can't fight back. Can we please put our focus there?
posted by frumiousb at 12:51 AM on February 26 [30 favorites]


What frumiousb said.

And I continue to be flabbergasted by those on the far left who have no experience working with the humans that actually make the DNC function and yet still believe that anyone who's been a member for more than X years has signed a blood oath to The Establishment and gone through some dark ceremony to pledge their soul to corporatism.

What if the DNC is run the way that it is because, at heart, the people who are railing against it have never genuinely tried to participate in it? Or as Talez pointed out:

You know it's pretty fucking easy to stack a Democratic branch, right? There's like five people who bother to show up and they vote themselves into the county establishment. Then five people show up to state meetings and vote themselves into the state apparatus. If you can't even accomplish the near trivial political task of taking over the Democratic party in leftist strongholds then how lazy do you have to be to just demand power?

How many of the people claiming the DNC is irrevocably corrupt and run by The Establishment Cabal have actually participated in the DNC? I mean actually trying to get involved in local branches and the boring day-to-day workings that ultimately lead to greater change, not just voting in primaries or complaining about who the party is running in the general.
posted by schroedinger at 3:29 AM on February 26 [30 favorites]


Hey, could people stop saying BernieBros and SteinBots (though that's a new one on me).

I doubt it. This is the thread where "maintaining US military hegemony"* has been posited as part of a "platform we can all get behind".

*I guess because it's an excellent idea to have the tools for the destruction of civilization always at the ready, waiting to be handed to a maniac whenever the electorate fails their exam?
posted by busted_crayons at 4:07 AM on February 26 [5 favorites]


I doubt it. This is the thread where "maintaining US military hegemony"*

Believe it or not, we do still have good reasons to worry about other country's militaries and to be prepared to defend ourselves. I wish we didn't live in that world, too, but we do.

At certain points in the past, when the U.S. had a strong defensive military capability but didn't use it as a tool for resource grabs or territorial expansion, the U.S.'s military strength really was a stabilizing force in the world. It'd be nice if geopolitical risks and power struggle were something we could solve without some kind of military, but realistically, as disruptive a role as the U.S. military and especially our intelligence services have played in the world in the past, we can't really just dismantle the U.S. military and expect that to make peace break out around the world. Does anybody seriously think we would survive for even a minute without some kind of military power?

I hate that it's true, but there are still other powers out there who'd love to be able to harm America or grab control of our natural resources, same as any other resource rich territory in a time of politically reinforced artificial scarcity.

So maybe not hegemony, but we do need to be at least strong enough to defend ourselves against hostile nations. That's something we can all agree on, isn't it? Like it or not?
posted by saulgoodman at 4:56 AM on February 26 [6 favorites]


I'm fine with either Perez or Ellison, but my first choice was Jehmu Greene followed by Mayor Pete. I watched a few of the forums and really liked what Greene had to say as well as her experience/resume. I don't understand the usage of "establishment" here - at least when it was applied in the context of Bernie (a longtime member of government) it made some sense because he wasn't a part of the DNC historically. Both Ellison and Perez have been part of the Democratic Party for a while - they are both the establishment. And it's not like Ellison would have been running unopposed if Perez didn't join the race. If anything, the dick measuring contest between the two "factions" distracted from the other qualified candidates on the ballot. I really think any of the candidates would be fine (and most Dems would be an improvement over DWS) but would have preferred Greene. Black women are the Democrats' most reliable voting block and came out in force in 2016; the DNC has never elected a black woman as its chair (though Brazile has been interim chair a few times). I think Greene's experience would have really helped in flipping seats in the south/Texas.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:07 AM on February 26 [10 favorites]


we can't really just dismantle the U.S. military

So I didn't argue for this, and you yourself said "maybe not hegemony". To whom are you responding?
posted by busted_crayons at 6:21 AM on February 26


I think with all my passion and cussing I managed to express myself poorly.

I'm not even remotely saying "what have you got to lose", I'm saying what the Establishment Democrats have been doing empirically does not work. All their triangulation, their targeted spending based on giving up entirely in some places, their entire strategy has proven itself to be a monumental failure.

The Party is broken and defeated and the biggest hope we have right now is that Trump will be such an awful president that in a few years the American voting population will vote against him bigly enough that we might be able to take the Presidency and possibly pick up a few Senate seats.

At this point "let's do things exactly the same way we've been doing things in the past" seems not like a sensible position that will protect us from harm, but a surefire way to lose everything we've got because, and this is the core of my argument: doing things the DWS way keeps losing us elections.

If the DNC/DWS/Establishment/whatever approach to national politics is clearly a failure.

I don't think saying "how about we try a different approach since the current approach isn't working" can be reasonably summarized as "what do you have to lose", or an attack on minority rights by a self satisfied white dudebro.

I also resent the accusation that I'm a BernieBro. Yes, I voted for him in the primaries, and then I threw every resource I had to spare at getting Clinton elected once he lost fair and square. I'm involved with my local Democratic party and working hard with them to get our candidates elected in local elections. The idea that I'm some sort of traitor to the party, or in some way not sufficiently Democratic to count and I can and should be dismissed as a bad person willing to risk everything on an insane gamble is not merely offensive to me it doesn't even remotely match the reality of either what I'm doing or saying.

The BernieBro is a convenient scapegoat, but there simply aren't enough of them to account for Clinton's loss. They're obnoxious, yes, but they are hardly an existential threat to the Party.

There **ARE** however a lot of young, newly active, voters who just watched the standard DNC approach to things fail miserably, not just with the Presidential election (for which the 35+ years of Republican FUD about Clinton can be partially blamed, and Comey's last minute attack of Hooveritus is also partially responsible), but with the continued House and Senate loss.

Yes, the House is gerrymandered all to hell so it's really hard to win. And who's fault is that? It damn sure isn't the fault of the leftist/progressive/whatever wing of the party, we got kicked to the curb **hard** with the ouster of Dean and since then the centrist/Establishment/whatever faction has had total and complete control.

What did the Democrats, under the control of the centrist faction do? They crafted policies that empowered the Republicans to gerrymander the House all to hell, that's what they did.

I get that the liberal faction of the Democratic party really, really, really, hates, loathes, despises, and wants to hurt the leftist faction. I don't really understand what exactly it was that we on the left did to make you hate us with such passion, but I understand that you hate us.

What I don't understand is why you hate us so much that you're willing to continue policies that are a proven failure just because the only other alternative is admitting that we had a point back when we were advocating for Howard Dean's policy.

The TL;DR is simple: What the centrist Democrats tried objectively failed miserably and has objectively filed for the past, well, forever. It has produced nothing but an unbroken string of failures and set us up for a permanent Republican majority in Congress. I don't see abandoning a proven failure of a strategy as a risky gamble only proposed by assholes asking "what have you got to lose"
posted by sotonohito at 6:30 AM on February 26 [9 favorites]


One of the many reasons I would have preferred Keith Ellison over Tom Perez - keep in mind that this was over a year and a half ago:

Keith Ellison on Trump

The man had foresight, which IMO is crucial for a position like this.
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 6:31 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Hey, could people stop saying BernieBros and SteinBots (though that's a new one on me).

I doubt it. This is the thread where "maintaining US military hegemony"* has been posited as part of a "platform we can all get behind".

*I guess because it's an excellent idea to have the tools for the destruction of civilization always at the ready, waiting to be handed to a maniac whenever the electorate fails their exam?
posted by busted_crayons at 8:07 PM on February 26 [3 favorites +] [!]


Sorry if I came off the wrong way, but this Vox article is what I meant by "maintaining US military hegemony". I certainly did not mean Iraq/Afghanistan/misguided invasions for fake "security". I'm not scared of Yemen or Iran, I'm scared of Japan deciding it's a good idea to go nuclear because we've made it clear we don't care anymore.
posted by saysthis at 6:31 AM on February 26


I get that the liberal faction of the Democratic party really, really, really, hates, loathes, despises, and wants to hurt the leftist faction. I don't really understand what exactly it was that we on the left did to make you hate us with such passion, but I understand that you hate us.


So I guess I'm part of the "liberal faction" of the Democratic party, in that I supported Clinton in the primaries. However, I did think that Ellison would be a good choice for DNC chair and I was surprised when he didn't win. But I do think Perez seems like a good candidate too. I think you're uncharitably ascribing negative motivations to a really large group of people. I really have to reiterate - there's more than one reason to decide you prefer Perez over Ellison. Maybe you're a huge Obama supporter (he did manage to win two elections comfortably and manage to come out with an amazing favorability rating despite everything the Repubs could throw at him - not bad for such an Establishment politician) and you respect his support. Maybe you really don't want to lose Ellison's House seat (which honestly if I'd realized I probably would have supported Perez earlier too). There probably is a group of the party that is annoyed at the shenanigans during the convention or feels that there was sexist rhetoric coming from the left-wing of the party and wouldn't support their candidate for that reason, but I would be surprised if that was the majority. I think you are making a mistake in characterizing the liberal faction of the Democratic party as really, really, really, hating, loathing and despising the leftist faction. I don't think that's remotely true as a whole, and it would be a good idea to think of people as just people, rather than monolithic blocks. I get that it's hard - it was hard for me to remember that not everyone who supports Bernie was sexist during parts of the primary. But small differences have a way of becoming disproportionately important once people have decided to choose a side. And this can't happen any longer, it really can't. So, please, olive branch.
posted by peacheater at 6:50 AM on February 26 [18 favorites]


I'm not even remotely saying "what have you got to lose", I'm saying what the Establishment Democrats have been doing empirically does not work.

Okay. But that's just not relevant to this because they've both been saying pretty much the same things and offering pretty much the same plans. It's not like Perez stood up and announced that liberalism has failed and we have to find a third way* and maybe we just shouldn't even try to compete in red areas.

There is just no reason to consider Ellison "non-establishment" except that Sanders supported him.

*I have seen some of the reverse -- people arguing that "identity politics" has failed and that Democrats need to stop being so vocal about things that frighten 60-year-old white men in Pennsylvania.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:01 AM on February 26 [11 favorites]


[One comment removed. People have lots of legitimate things to be frustrated/upset about on this topic and so I feel you, but let's keep away from more personalized arguments/attacks. And all around let's maybe try despite the topical thrust of the thread to not get in the loop of relitigating previous relitigations of months of arguments on the site during the primaries. Those threads are all still there, and if going back and reading them doesn't sound like fun to you then think harder about why you'd want to contribute to mimeographing another one in here.]
posted by cortex at 7:14 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I'm going try this again now that I have had sleep.

For me right now -- there are two issues. One is that the Democratic Party has made a lot of choices that have cost us elections. Not just in 2016. We abandoned local and state politics in a lot of places. I think anything we do to correct that in the future is smart.

The other -- and this is much harder -- we need to actually think about how we practice hospitality as a party. There is a lot of emotional labor that needs to happen to make a big tent party work and it's not happening. And you can say that this work doesn't matter, but not doing it is what leads to the burn out and disillusionment that a lot of people in this thread are expressing. There is a distinct lack of trust on all sides right now and I think ignoring that isn't going to help the party move forward. How can we make steps to welcome the incoming activists who want a voice at the table? How can we make sure that women, people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, poor people, immigrants, etc don't feel even more marginalized? How can we manage differences in opinion in a way that gets us more of what we collectively want? And how do we do that and still also do all the things we need to do to win elections?
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 7:17 AM on February 26 [8 favorites]


Maybe you just think the DNC chair right now should not also have another full time job? Maybe it's not a proxy war for something else and is just an issue of human resources?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:19 AM on February 26 [8 favorites]


*I have seen some of the reverse -- people arguing that "identity politics" has failed and that Democrats need to stop being so vocal about things that frighten 60-year-old white men in Pennsylvania.

Yeah, I've seen that too and it infuriates me. They're pretending that white isn't an identity, and that Trump's win was essentially the result of him appealing to white identity politics.
posted by sotonohito at 7:30 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Maybe you just think the DNC chair right now should not also have another full time job?

Ellison said he would resign from the House (and his is a safe blue seat) if elected to the DNC chair.
posted by Etrigan at 7:37 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


In addition to cortex's mod note above, can we maybe pull back just a little bit on the overstatement of other people's positions and sarcastic "Well I guess if you like nuclear war..." stuff too?
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]



There is just no reason to consider Ellison "non-establishment" except that Sanders supported him.

I like Ellison fine but an endorsement from a highly successful career politician who has been in one or another house of Congress since 1991 is not a reason to consider him non-establishment, not even a feeble reason.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:03 AM on February 26 [10 favorites]


Are there any particularly strong/compelling leftist voices right now that I could be following? I'm confused about a lot of the arguments I'm seeing and I want to believe they are minor matters of perspective because I'm not looking in the right places.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:22 AM on February 26


Ellison said he would resign from the House (and his is a safe blue seat) if elected to the DNC chair.

I argued this earlier: I think Ellison is actually a stronger voice for progressives by leveraging his experience and now-heightened profile to combat the GOP in the House. He's got a decade of experience. If he resigned he'd most likely be replaced by someone who would be trying to get used to being a legislator at a time when we need our legislators to be at their strongest.

At this point "let's do things exactly the same way we've been doing things in the past" seems not like a sensible position that will protect us from harm, but a surefire way to lose everything we've got because, and this is the core of my argument: doing things the DWS way keeps losing us elections.

What evidence do you have that Perez will do things the DWS way? He and Ellison have virtually the same platform. In fact, if he and Ellison disagree on anything it hasn't been aired to the public, and they've been doing their best to demonstrate their amity towards one another during this entire process.

I am getting pretty tired that it appears to be taken for granted that Perez is an Establishment Pawn In The Pocket Of Corporate Neoliberals while Ellison is a Knight Of The King Of Socialists And Real Americans. Numerous attempts have been made in this thread to tease out exactly what's wrong with Perez and how we know he's Establishment, and the response has been to just repeat the accusation of him being Establishment.
posted by schroedinger at 8:40 AM on February 26 [32 favorites]


I'm not super invested in the Democrats, I think activists lead and elected officials follow, but elections are a tool and an especially important one at this horrifying juncture.

So I have this question about the DNC: is there any effort to address the way they did clearly choose to put more support behind one candidate early in the primary? I mean, there is uncontested evidence. I'm not exaggerating what they did: I wouldn't say Clinton stole the primary, but it is clear that she had more support from the DNC and the DNC participated in some efforts to undercut Sanders.

Note I'm not attacking anyone or lobbing insults. But I'm wondering if they have an internal process for addressing if primaries are real and if the DNC stands behind that process?

Because we're clearly in a crisis of democracy. We know the states have been gerrymandered into absurdity. We're all wondering if our presidential election was manipulated. So my question is, is the Democratic Party making some kind if effort to demonstrate a commitment to free and honesty primaries?
posted by latkes at 8:54 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


So I don't think this has been brought up quite yet on the issue of, "Why double down on the policies of the guy who couldn't pull out a primary win?"

Well, he won the two states that lost Clinton the election. Maybe spending four years being full throated about the government directly helping people would be enough to convince voters in Michigan and Wisconsin that the democrats are not Republican-Lite.

The party could probably coast to victory on the litany of awful things a Trump regime will be responsible for in four years too, not that I'd trust that particular approach.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:02 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


To whom are you responding?

Maybe nobody, just hoping to dig down to the common ground as a starting point. If we can all get down to a common set of assumptions and premises, it should be easier and more stable to build on those foundations. We spend a lot of time focusing on the differences I think sometimes we forget there probably is some common ground to be found that cuts across all the schisms if we make an effort to find it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:13 AM on February 26


"Why double down on the policies of the guy who couldn't pull out a primary win?"

That's one (accurate!) way to look at it, but the other is that he did incredibly well for a candidate with no real institutional political or financial support. Fuck the BernieBros for sure, but there's no real reason to throw his other supporters out with the bathwater.
posted by lalex at 9:18 AM on February 26


The left is truly off the rocker on Perez vs. Ellison.

You cannot point to anything in their records that makes Ellison more left that Perez. Indeed, between his time at DOJ and his time at DOL, Perez is like the platonic ideal of the modern left: DOJ was all kinds of minority-rights social justice stuff, and DOL was all kinds of socio-economic inequality stuff.

As far as I can tell, the only reason the left felt so strongly about it is that Ellison being black felt like some kind of correction or redemption for the fact that black voters preferred Clinton overwhelmingly over Sanders in the primaries, and Ellison being Muslim felt like a two-for-one symbolic confrontation of Trump and of wealthy Jewish Democratic donors. It actually makes me feel a bit bad for Ellison, who is a talented politician and I don't think wanted to carry any of that freight on his shoulders in the race.
posted by MattD at 9:32 AM on February 26 [15 favorites]


Numerous attempts have been made in this thread to tease out exactly what's wrong with Perez and how we know he's Establishment, and the response has been to just repeat the accusation of him being Establishment.
I think it's less about Perez the man and more about how his supporters conducted themselves. When Hillary was picking a running mate, certain progressive publications were calling Perez a choice pick, a "stalwart progressive" and a "radical." Now many of those same publications are calling Perez's selection as DNC chair a "fuck you" to progressives. I can't see how both things are true.
posted by xyzzy at 9:34 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


think about this quote next time the democrats lose an election. and you all wonder why we're pissed off at these people.
posted by JimBennett at 9:39 AM on February 26 [8 favorites]


Be clear about what happened to Keith Ellison

this article is brief but it sums up why the left is angry better than anything else i've read. specifically:

Before this gets turned into another thing where the establishment Democrats posture as the reasonable adults victimized by the assaults of those left-wing baddies, let’s just be very clear about what happened here. It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump, sowing disunity in order to contest a position whose leadership they insist does not really matter.
posted by JimBennett at 9:57 AM on February 26 [6 favorites]


It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump

You know that exactly the same argument could be made about the left wing deciding that Sanders should primary Clinton during the last election, don't you? I think that's disingenuous though, and I think this argument is disingenuous too. We still haven't established why Perez is any more "establishment" than Ellison, and repeating that he's establishment is not persuasive. There were other people who stood in the race, Ellison was not running unopposed. If Perez decided to stand, and got Obama's support, surely that is their own decision. I'm not seeing evidence for a cabal of Establishment types trying to prevent the Left from getting anything they want. Seriously, Perez was being put forward as a great candidate for VP by the Left within the Democratic party. Why is he persona non grata now? He is not "establishment" any more than Ellison is. Is the entire party always supposed to go along whenever the Left in the Democratic party has decided who their anointed leader in any given election will be?
posted by peacheater at 10:07 AM on February 26 [20 favorites]


Wow I actually agree with MattD on something.

Perez is a great, progressive choice for chair. He was a solid Secretary of Labor and he's by all accounts a principled and reasoned fighter who has a record of getting shit done.

Ellison will continue doing excellent work in the house, which he wouldn't have been able to do as DNC chair.

Also despite his exemplary record as a firebrand, as an atheist myself I have to give Ellison a little of the same side-eye I give to any other adult convert to a major religion, and as someone who has done a little research on the guy I see a lot of baggage/political-attack fodder in his late filings, fines, tax liens, etc. Which his now ex-wife, who has MS and with whom he has four children, took the blame for. Perez is comparatively pretty unassailable from the moralizing fuckwits and their moralizing fuckwittery.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:08 AM on February 26 [12 favorites]


decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate

The cool thing about elections is that more than one person is allowed to run.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 10:08 AM on February 26 [16 favorites]


Is the entire party always supposed to go along whenever the Left in the Democratic party has decided who their anointed leader in any given election will be?

this party has lost 1,000 seats in eight years. so maybe instead of annointing their own guy they could have actually listened to the left, not just now but EVER. maybe Perez will turn out to be the first good decision this party has made in five years, i certainly hope he is, but if you really can't see how this race is emblematic of the continuing issues haunting the democratic party, well, i am not a good enough writer to convince you of that. i have made my point half a dozen times in this thread, i won't continue to argue in circles. all i will ask once again is that you read this quote if you wonder why we're all screaming and tearing our hair out over here.

ugh. politics, am i right?
posted by JimBennett at 10:23 AM on February 26 [5 favorites]


So I have this question about the DNC: is there any effort to address the way they did clearly choose to put more support behind one candidate early in the primary?

I'd argue against the undercutting, but anyway . . .

Clinton gained favor for two major reasons:

First, she was qualified as fuck. Her political experience ran from on-the-ground activism (like her infiltration of anti-integration groups in the South) to policy wonkery to Congressional experience to being Secretary of State. She was known for being canny, intelligent, and attentive to policy details. Her work ethic and drive was infamous. And it was thought that behind closed doors she might be able to get more done than Obama. For all their public bluster, if you caught Republican legislators outside election season they'd tell you that while she was a tough opponent, they found her personable and warm.

The personability and warmth leads to the second reason: despite her reputation as a workaholic and a demanding boss, she's inspired deep love and unswerving loyalty in nearly everyone who's worked with her. Why? Well, one common theme among people who have one-on-one interactions with her is she demonstrates an uncanny ability to listen and leave you feeling she truly cares. Most politicians like to be the center of attention, but when she's talking to you you're the center of the room. There are myriad stories out there of, well, nobodies (aides at the bottom of the totem poll, random constituents who sent a letter, theater tech people who helped set up a stage, etc) who encountered her years after their last interaction and found she not only remembered who they were, but details about their lives you wouldn't expect anybody of her stature to care about. Or people she met in massive handshaking lines who described some problem they were having--perhaps a 15-second interaction out of the hundreds and hundreds she'd have that day--and 24 hours later were surprised from a call or email from one of her aides who she'd tasked with fixing it. All off-record and without publicity or fanfare attached. In a crab-bucket place like DC a demonstration of genuine investment in your well-being and consideration for your ideas goes a long way.* "Good listener" is obviously an excellent quality for a leader. But in addition to that, you combine the loyalty with her long history in politics and it meant Clinton had access to an wide field of top-level experts, policy-makers, and leaders in pretty much every arena. There was a feeling that whomever she appointed for leadership positions and policy development was going to be experienced and best-of-the-best.

She had an existing support base, especially among the Black community. Yes, she drew rancor from the media and the Right. But a lot of people genuinely loved her, and she was associated with a presidency that oversaw nearly a decade of economic growth and prosperity.

She'd put the work into the DNC. Nobody questioned her support for the party. She was well-liked and devoted a ton of time and energy towards supporting the Democrats, from raising money to being in the Senate to stumping for down-ballot races. Her behavior after the 2008 primaries is a perfect example. Once it was clear that Obama was going to win, she stepped down and got behind him with full-throated, enthusiastic support. She emphatically rejected "Hillary or Bust" attitudes, recognizing the divide in the party and understanding a win in the general was dependent on healing it. People forget: the animosity between the Obama and Clinton camps rivaled that of Bernie and Clinton. The difference is that Clinton worked her ass off to specifically promote Obama to her supporters and ensure that they didn't sit out the general. By investing all her time into stumping for Obama despite the bitter primaries and narrow defeat, she signaled that the long-term success of the party and its ideals came before her ego and personal ambition.

Finally, there was the hope that because of her history of involvement with the party she'd be wiling to take position as its leader in a way Obama hadn't done and place the Dems in a better position during the midterms. Traditionally the POTUS is the head of their party, symbolically if not in fact. Obama actively eschewed this role and there are not a few Dem strategists who felt his and his campaign's aloofness during the 2010 midterms is one of the reasons Dems did so badly. The feeling was Clinton would take a much more hands-on approach, and between her and Bill they'd be a strong force for the down-ballot races in 2018. Yes, her approval ratings were low--but they were always low whenever she ran for something and always rebounded once she was actually in office.

I feel many Clinton detractors see the numerous early endorsements of her during the primary season as proof of the fabled Establishment Cabal taking a knee to their Dark Queen. I would like these people to consider the possibility that all that early support was less a conspiracy, and more the logical response of people who admired her on both a personal and professional level and saw her as not only the most qualified candidate in the race, but arguably the most qualified candidate to ever run for the office.


*I think Clinton's greatest failing as a politician is the inability to translate this personal warmth to the large crowds. Everyone who's met Clinton will tell you the AmbitionBot Ice Queen persona attributed to her is probably the most bizarre of the various attacks on her because it couldn't be further from the truth. Now, I have some feelings about how implicit misogyny affects our impressions of women who speak loudly and passionately and ask for leadership positions, and how nearly anyone would start getting pretty tense around the media and during interviews if they'd been slamming you and your family with personal attacks and conspiracy theories for decades. And I have some feelings the effect of misogyny and racism on people's attitudes towards candidates, and how the media's journalistic laziness and pursuit of the sexy and new completely undercut her campaign in favor of Bernie and then Trump. BUT ANYWAY.
posted by schroedinger at 10:35 AM on February 26 [56 favorites]


shit that was more than two reasons

damn you, five-minute edit window limit, damn you
posted by schroedinger at 10:51 AM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Clinton gained favor for two major reasons:

Huh? I'm not arguing that Clinton got more support. I'm just pointing out that there is undisputed evidence that the party machine put unequal support behind her and made some efforts to undermine the other candidate. I'm not trying to overstate the impact of that, however, it did happen.

So my point is not to criticize Clinton, it's to ask: Is the DNC making any effort whatsoever to reaffirm the meaningfulness of primaries? Because if not, they seem to be furthering the undermining of the project of democracy. Why should anyone vote in the primaries if they don't think those elections are real? How is this undermining not part of a larger pattern of undermining of voting, and undermining the electorate's faith in the process, though the canning of the voting rights act, gerrymandering and Russian hacking?
posted by latkes at 10:51 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


I'm just pointing out that there is undisputed evidence that the party machine put unequal support behind her and made some efforts to undermine the other candidate.

Is there evidence of this besides Donna Brazile suggesting a question that any competent debater would've prepared for anyway? Or emails expressing frustration with Bernie that were sent after it was clear to anybody who could add that he wasn't going to win?
posted by schroedinger at 10:59 AM on February 26 [7 favorites]


I was definitely NOT a Clinton supporter in the primary (you can read through my comments from those election threads) to the extent that I wasn't sure if I'd vote for her in the general (Hawaii). But I kept an open mind and her campaign really convinced me, to the point that I was phonebanking and organizing others to do so. The stories from people who worked with her or benefitted from her behind-the-scenes advocacy really won me over as well as the entire composition and message of the convention (her comments in the debate defending abortion made me forever a devotee). I can only imagine that people who have known and worked alongside her for 30 years like, respect, and admire her as much or more than a relatively recent Clinton-convert. It's really not a mystery to me why so many in the DNC supported her over someone rumored to be not the best at interpersonal relationships at work.

That said, I have feelings on superdelegates endorsing candidates before primary voting takes place (as well as the structure of the primary calendar and the existence of caucuses).
posted by melissasaurus at 11:00 AM on February 26 [11 favorites]


Superdelegates can switch like they did from Clinton to Obama in 2008.

And 2008 and the fact that some Sanders supporters conveniently choose to ignore that primary is why I can't take any claims of bias seriously. I was an Obama supporter in 2008 and if you think there was institutional support for Clinton this time, it was much fiercer in 2008. This time it seemed like the party tried hard not to be biased. Something DWS was ripped for if you look at some of the leaked phone records - there were people who wanted Sanders out sooner and were angry they weren't pushing him out.

I could go into everything I think Sanders team did wrong but I won't. I'll just say that made a lot of unforced errors and the first was not following everything Obama did in 2008.

Also, I find the focus on superdelegates over the incredibly undemocratic caucuses to be suspect, to put it mildly. If superdelegates go, then so should caucuses but strangely enough many Sanders supporters only care about the former.
posted by asteria at 11:14 AM on February 26 [10 favorites]


So I wasn't delighted about Clinton running because I am super-pragmatic about presidential politics and didn't think she had a great chance of winning (back in the halcyon days where like, Kasich was going to be her opponent) but this:

Well, one common theme among people who have one-on-one interactions with her is she demonstrates an uncanny ability to listen and leave you feeling she truly cares.

is 100% true. I was a Senate intern when she was in office and had the opportunity to observe her in private meetings with smallish groups of people, and she is unbelievably warm and gracious. I remember specifically that she would often warmly touch the elbows or shoulders of the people she was speaking with in a completely non-smarmy way (this is an acquired skill.)

She knows how to listen and, as importantly, let people talk, and this was true whether she was talking to a Senate peer or a not-very-powerful constituent representative. This was especially remarkable because being a senator is, in and of itself, a powerful position, but Clinton derived additional power from her high visibility and the role of the Clintons in Democratic politics.

I didn't want her to run because she's just so damaged in the public eye for reasons unfair and fair, and I don't think she's especially good at campaigns, but it's very easy for me to see why people who have worked with her personally would coalesce around her.
posted by lalex at 11:17 AM on February 26 [12 favorites]


Does the committee even have an obligation or charter to provide equal support to every candidate? If I decide to run in 2020, do they have to give me the same resources, time, attention, promotion, and support as [who the fuck knows, we probably won't find out until late 2019, given that the opposition has already started campaigning]? Should I honestly expect to get the same treatment as the candidate they've been grooming and prepping for? (I'd love to say that'd be a candidate they've been grooming for a decade or more, but I'm not sure I believe that anymore. But for at least several months longer than they've been grooming me, anyway.)

Did the RNC give Carson the same support as Cruz or Rubio (hell, did they give Trump *any*, besides airtime?)? Did Clinton and Obama get the same support for 2008? I don't think they did. I don't think that's how any of it works, and I honestly think this complaint is all part and parcel of the plague of false equivalence that lost this election.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:24 AM on February 26 [10 favorites]


I'm an old fart so I suppose I could be considered part of the establishment wing. I supported Hillary from the beginning. But there's still some old radical in me.

My message to the DNC is this: fight. Fight in all 50 states, fight in local races, fight on the floor of the state houses and Congress, and sure as hell fight in the streets because that scares Trump the most. Throw up a big tent. Really big. Big enough for the old whites that drifted away, big enough for the bros and the Indivisible. We are correct on social issues, we are correct on economic issues, and we damn sure are the majority in this country. Don't let them forget that for a second. Beat the Repubs and Trump over the head with this every day. Focus and never take the foot off the accelerator.

My message to the left, the progressive element of the party, the people that were crying at the convention or stood there with tape over their mouths: run for office. RUN. Run for those little offices and raise a stink. Run for those posts where the party doesn't have a candidate. RUN IN 2018 AND VOTE IN 2018. You're our only hope.
posted by Ber at 11:27 AM on February 26 [21 favorites]


Does the committee even have an obligation or charter to provide equal support to every candidate?

Yes, from the Rules and Bylaws (PDF):
[...] the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.
posted by lalex at 11:35 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


It also reflects poorly on the organization, regardless of whether or not they violated their own bylaws.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:41 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I'm a little confused by people who are saying that Tom Perez is an Establishment hack and he's going to be DWS Part 2 as DNC Chair. That's not the impression I got at all when he was on The Rachel Maddow Show last month to talk about his candidacy and his plan. From the transcript:

"You look at the anatomy of the losses in Ohio, and Florida, and in
Michigan, and they were the failure to do the basics, Rachel. It's not a
strategy to go to an African-American church every Fourth of October. You
know, Mitt Romney got more votes than Donald Trump in Wisconsin, but we
lost Wisconsin because we took Milwaukee for granted and we got our butts
kicked in rural Wisconsin where Barack Obama held his own.

And so, we've got to go back to basics as a party. We've got to – we've
got to make sure that every state has a vibrant party where we are
recruiting candidates, where we are organizing as a four-year, 12-month-a-
year enterprise, where we are working side by side.

And we've got to change this culture of the DNC from this top down sort of
culture to a culture where we're working together with states, because the
Democratic Party can't be the party of the West Coast and the East Coast
and a couple states in between. We can compete everywhere if we are mining
the basics and we lost sight of the basics. Data analytics are fine and
they're important but they can't supplant good old-fashioned house calls."

That doesn't sound like he wants to continue the DWS approach to me. Indeed, it sounds like a lot of the things we've been calling for.

I love Keith Ellison and I'd have been thrilled to have him as DNC chair too. However, I agree that we definitely need his voice in Congress, especially now.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:51 AM on February 26 [21 favorites]




I liked this Twitter thread from Eric Garland.
posted by schroedinger at 12:10 PM on February 26


he tells me @keithellison willl be the 'face of the Democratic party'

But the neoliberals will still be the brain.
posted by Coventry at 12:38 PM on February 26


There has to be another way of phrasing this that doesn't have slavery/segregation connotations.

Subsidarity. Localism.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:48 PM on February 26


But the neoliberals will still be the brain.

Which of Perez's policies designate him as Establishment and neoliberal? What are the differences between him and Ellison that upset you?
posted by schroedinger at 12:49 PM on February 26 [11 favorites]


I used to think neoliberalism meant policies like Bill Clinton's welfare reform promise to "end welfare as we have come to know it" or the 1994 crime bill. Now, being neoliberal apparently means a platform with free college for many, a public option for healthcare, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation once and for all, and paid family leave.

What exactly does neoliberalism mean anymore beyond "not 100% personally blessed by Bernie Sanders?"
posted by zachlipton at 12:49 PM on February 26 [20 favorites]


I am in full agreement that Perez is not a neoliberal, and a great choice for the DNC, but can we please stop assuming that people frustrated with the DNC have nothing at stake in Trump's America?
posted by lalex at 12:54 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I get why people are mad about Perez but also it's goddamn terrifying to see so many leftists seemingly throwing up their hands in despair and saying "well fine I guess nothing is going to change in the Democratic Party then, so fuck it." Not saying everyone who's mad about this is thinking that way but I sure am seeing a lot of it around the internet.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:58 PM on February 26 [16 favorites]


Which of Perez's policies designate him as Establishment and neoliberal?

It's not his policies, it's who he's beholden to.
posted by Coventry at 1:29 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it would have had any effect on the outcome of the primary last year but I am still flabbergasted that it was regarded as acceptable that the foremost official overseeing and adjudicating the primary was the co-chair of an earlier Clinton campaign. It's as if Corey Lewandowski had become a presiding federal election official. (Not that there's really an equivalent position.)

Anticipating a general election candidate with vulnerabilities due in part to decades of Republican propaganda about her trustworthiness, it seems like that was the worst possible time to not even attempt to avoid the appearance of impropriety. If there's ever a next time with similar circumstances, I hope the Democratic Party can at least make a better show of putting aside preparations for an anointed candidate because a primary has become genuinely competitive.
posted by XMLicious at 1:34 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


It's not his policies, it's who he's beholden to.

Based on what evidence besides not being the one to get the Sanders' nod? Seriously asking because this reads like drive-by sniping to me.
posted by frumiousb at 1:48 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


it's goddamn terrifying to see so many leftists seemingly throwing up their hands in despair and saying "well fine I guess nothing is going to change in the Democratic Party then, so fuck it."

People are exhausted, so they're hanging all their hopes on The Next Thing. This is why I'm trying not to get too emotionally involved and keeping a good critical distance, because it's going to stay bad and also get worse and we need clear heads to figure out a good way forward. I'm less concerned with each little bad thing, each of which may or may not be cover for something else, and more about the vulnerabilities exposed both through action and inaction.

How do we figure out what Trump values, what he doesn't want to be a part of the story? That's what the excluded-from-gaggle news orgs should be focusing on. He is the Lard Lad, so what happens if we just don't look?
posted by rhizome at 1:50 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I hope the Democratic Party can at least make a better show of putting aside preparations for an anointed candidate because a primary has become genuinely competitive.

I feel like this went ok in 2008. I was a big Obama supporter then, and I have to say I would have been very displeased if I'd felt the DNC was wrangling the primary towards Hillary.

I'm not a child or a total fucking nihilist so of course I would have volunteered and voted for HRC in the general, but I would have felt upset and alienated. And then if the party-approved candidate chosen by the supposed adults in the room had gone on to lose the election, destroying any hope for advancing a progressive agenda? OMG.

So I disagree with folks throwing up their hands* but I sort of get it, and of course this is a good reason for party committees to at least remain outwardly neutral during a primary.

* Also I don't dispute that this is happening in some places but the Bernie supporters I know have continued their activism, they've just moved it outside the Democratic Party umbrella.
posted by lalex at 1:51 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


OK, seriously, could we please not declare candidates "anointed" or "Establishment" or insinuate their corruption unless we're willing to provide factual evidence?
posted by schroedinger at 1:53 PM on February 26 [10 favorites]




I'm not a child or a total fucking nihilist so of course I would have volunteered and voted for HRC in the general, but I would have felt upset and alienated.

I think an important thing, and this is exactly why I've been hanging back from the details as much as possible so I don't get similarly depleted, it's time for those closer to the nihilist end of the activist spectrum, but who still have desires, to step up and start getting involved. I hate to invoke it, but there's is almost certainly a formidable population of "Silent Majority" analogs on the Left. They would probably overlap quite a bit with GOTV targets and the nonvoting left. So, an early GOTV to match Trump's 2020 campaign activities?

Those who have been involved in the whole campaign season and are finding themselves frustrated and worn-out are the early adopters, the "true" activists (stay with me). They have to represent a coherent set of principles that we second-wavers (so to speak) can relay forward. Campaigns are relatively simple in that one person has to win a certain single thing, but now some focus is required to find strategies that a minority party, in all senses but gerrymandering and the presidential popular vote, can use to effect its goals.
posted by rhizome at 2:02 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Coventry, so wait-- your evidence is that Obama supports him and that he came out for Clinton? That would make Sanders himself suspect. Do I get you right that you want a Democratic Party Candidate who has no support from Obama or his administration and never chose a candidate different than the one you want? That is not evidence, imo.
posted by frumiousb at 2:07 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


It's evidence of who he's beholden to, and who's going to get screwed when push comes to shove.
posted by Coventry at 2:10 PM on February 26


If someone is looking for something for the Democratic Party to do, phone banking for the special election in CN would be a great place to start. You can do that from everywhere.

I'm being flip, but not really-- I honestly think the best way for the Dems to rebuild themselves is to get out and work on all the winnable local elections. Working together is a great way to understand each other and dial down the paranoia.
posted by frumiousb at 2:13 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


What if we all stopped name-calling and even focusing on specific individuals, but rather focused on what internal structural changes we'd like to see in the party, what campaign strategies we'd like to see, and what policy positions we'd like the Democratic Party to support? It seems like an utter waste of time to argue Ellison vs Perez right now, even though I think it's troubling the Party didn't throw Bernie fans a symbolic bone, but I don't personally give a fuck.

I'd just like to see a Democratic Party that: 1) Is internally democratic - they don't attempt to in any way influence the outcome of internal races. This is central to conveying themselves as the party of fairness and honesty. 2) Has a plan for how to get lots and lots of candidates elected, and also how to get national-level candidates elected in specific, and 3) Genuinely opposes the enemies of the poor and people of color and queers, and genuinely supports policies that protect old people, poor people & children, opposes racism, and boldly confronts global warming, and expresses some kind of visionary, rather than simply mediocre idea of the future should look like for America. In other words, a platform and policy agenda of real progressiveness, not lip service.

We could keep siting here yelling "Bernie Bros!" or "Establishmentarians!" But if you want to show you're not a bro or an establishment hack, then let's focus on demonstrating our work on, for example, opposing sexism, or standing up to big-money interests.
posted by latkes at 2:13 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


I think it's troubling the Party didn't throw Bernie fans a symbolic bone

It's not a figurehead position. As we saw last year, the Chair has real influence.
posted by Coventry at 2:17 PM on February 26


How does the Democratic Party as a whole make sure that everyone is feeling heard? What constitutes a party that listens to all factions in the tent? And how do we work to make that party happen?

Because I feel like so many of the collective frustrations that I'm feeling and that I'm reading in this thread are from people who feel like they're being denied their lived experiences.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 2:19 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


When the deal was made in 2015 to lend the fundraising limits of 33 state Democratic Parties to the Clinton campaign in the form of the Hillary Victory Fund joint fundraising committee, all of the other campaigns protested. I had a link to a contemporary article specifically saying that and direct links to some of the campaigns' own statements but can't find them in a cursory search, but I can look it up if people don't believe me.

I'm a bit surprised people are claiming that no preferential treatment was shown to Clinton. If the things that happened can't be acknowledged even now, I am unsurprised that people are having difficulty putting their faith in the Democratic Party.
posted by XMLicious at 2:20 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


If Valerie Jarrett lobbying for him disqualifies Perez because she's too "insider", where does that leave Ellison, who was endorsed by people like Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid? Didn't he endorse Clinton, too? Perez is corrupted, but Ellison isn't?

Also, "owes Haim Saban"? Holy shit, dude. What?

Your tissue-paper "evidence" boils down to "he didn't back the candidate I liked in the Democratic primaries." You insinuate he's "beholden" to people, but have yet to provide evidence of the corrupt behavior that provide actual proof of being beholden to anyone. It's a bunch of insinuation. Insinuation is not evidence.
posted by schroedinger at 2:21 PM on February 26 [22 favorites]


And as a follow up -- for various factions -- what would meet the requirements of feeling heard?
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 2:21 PM on February 26


Because I feel like so many of the collective frustrations that I'm feeling and that I'm reading in this thread are from people who feel like they're being denied their lived experiences.

Well, yes. And that's part of why the Clinton/Sanders thing got so infected. Sanders' supporters wanted recognition for their progressive voices and women got sick of female candidates being pilloried for things which male candidates would be rewarded. And neither wanted to listen to the other as much as they both wanted.

I would say, again, the best way to have a collective experience is to start from the assumption that the tent is big enough for all of us. Work together. Listen to each other. Maybe start from the assumption that if you're feeling unheard then dollars to donuts so is the gal/guy on the other side of the table.
posted by frumiousb at 2:23 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


I think it's troubling the Party didn't throw Bernie fans a symbolic bone

This. Because at the end of the day, if you want to talk about unification, this was a good chance for the DNC to offer the olive branch.
posted by iamck at 2:33 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I think it's troubling the Party didn't throw Bernie fans a symbolic bone

This. Because at the end of the day, if you want to talk about unification, this was a good chance for the DNC to offer the olive branch.


Alternatively, this was a good chance for "the Bernie fans" (whatever that means in this context) to show their supposedly superior organizing and politicking skills and whip votes and win the actual election.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:38 PM on February 26 [16 favorites]


This. Because at the end of the day, if you want to talk about unification, this was a good chance for the DNC to offer the olive branch.

Practically, what would you have done about his seat? I keep hearing it's a safe seat (is there such a thing these days?), but Ellison is hugely important in the congress right now. I really really like Ellison but I really really wanted him to stay in congress. This has nothing to do with any kind of assigned or symbolic meaning. I know many DNC folks who felt the exact same way. There was *no* negative campaigning. The two men are friends, and Perez used to be pushed by the progressives as a potential candidate.

If the only olive branch you will accept is exactly what you demand, then negotiations in good faith are going to be awfully difficult.
posted by frumiousb at 2:39 PM on February 26 [13 favorites]


It's not his policies, it's who he's beholden to

Coventry, can you provide a more tangible link between Haim Saban and Perez? Perez's name doesn't come up in the article you linked (which was already linked above as a vague assertion of Perez's complicity in . . . something).

Is it just that he's a big democratic donor who has been opposed to Ellison? The same comment that originally posted the Haim Saban link also linked to a Times of Israel article that essentially presents us with the damning evidence that Perez told some Jews that they weren't forgotten by the party. As neroli pointed out.

I'd push back on some interpretations of that article by pointing out that Ellison very definitely did write essays defending Farrakhan's Nation of Islam against charges of anti-Semitism, for which he has since apologized. Now, I think Ellison's great, but I can see where some might find that a little concerning.

Not directed at anyone specifically, but I'm seeing an awful lot of "it's the establishment, maaaan" directed against Perez, and as many have complained above, no one's providing a lot of facts proving that Perez is any more an 'establishment' pick than Ellison.

Thankfully, we don't have to choose, since they're both going to be working together. So maybe we can stop sniping at each other and get on to the hard work of telling these people what we'd like them to do, now that we know who's going to be doing it?
posted by aspersioncast at 2:41 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Remember, a lot of the people we're talking about here aren't and can't be considered Democratic faithful. They aren't necessarily interested in building or growing the party as an end in itself. They're more focused on wanting to see whichever actor might be able to actually deliver on lasting positive change, and it's not really reasonable to expect them to have any loyalty to a party. The issues are what they care about, not the interests of the party itself as a going concern. It just so happens we're at a point in history where the Democratic party is the best bet. It won't always be, that's practically a given, because if Democrats manage to make electoral gains consistently for long enough, the organization will become more of a draw for opportunists and self interested careerists. There's a reason the political alignments of the parties have reversed in the past: it's because the power shifted. If it ever shifts for long enough again, expect another reversal eventually, because the very worst participants in our system only care about having power. And those actors are always going to be there.

Right now, I still can't help noticing how Trump would already be political mincemeat if legislators weren't beholden to party loyalty and held collectively responsible for each other's votes.

I think what those non Dems but progressive voters call the establishment is basically the conventional wisdom of the majority of the party faithful.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:45 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


The issues are what they care about, not the interests of the party itself as a going concern

This I get, but then I do not get why all the sudden anti-Perez sentiment. I have had the conversation with Coventry above in real life too where I try to get my friend to tell me on what key issues Perez and Ellison differ and when he was finally able to do it, it turns out Perez is closer to his views than Ellison. But then five minutes later he's back to Perez is the establishment choice. For the life of me, I cannot work out why except that Sanders recommended Ellison and Obama likes Perez. Where's the benefit of setting yourself aside from the party, if you're going to replace the party with a pov which looks an awful lot like a cult of personality?

I mean, he was calling me an obvious Establishment Dem until I reminded him that I was a registered independent for a lot of reasons and was only pulling so strongly with the dems this time around because #nevertrump.

(This friend, by the way, freaked out when Clinton named Kaine and ran around saying that if only she'd picked Perez he could have supported her. I believed him then, but now I'm just like smh dude-- stop pretending this is about issues.)
posted by frumiousb at 3:10 PM on February 26 [11 favorites]


But then five minutes later he's back to Perez is the establishment choice.

It sounds like your friend is familiar with politics working as a network of relationships and obligations rather than execution on a professed ideology.

I'm sure Wasserman-Schultz ran on a nice platform I could get behind, too.
posted by Coventry at 3:29 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


So what now then? I see a lot of anger, which, fine, and a lot of people who feel like any further engagement with the Democratic Party means bending the knee, which, why? I don't see why that has to be true, unless people just give up trying.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:34 PM on February 26


frumiousb: reminds me of the friend I once had who voted Bush because Martha Stewart was jailed under Clinton's time in office. The more I pressed for explanation, the more frustrated with me he got, and never could offer any explanation I could make sense of using the way I think... We're a weird bunch, us humans.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:42 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


It sounds like your friend is familiar with politics working as a network of relationships and obligations rather than execution on a professed ideology.

I still would like to know why Schumer and Reid were publicly backing Ellison if Perez was so key to this establishment network.
posted by zachlipton at 3:45 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


Reid is out of politics.

Schumer backed Ellison before the Perez strategy was conceived. It's not like he enthusiastically resisted Perez once he was put forward.
posted by Coventry at 3:51 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


By the way, in case it wasn't obvious, Jarrett calling DNC members on behalf of Perez is normal lobbying activity done by all candidates. Bernie was calling members on behalf of Ellison, and no doubt Mayor Pete et al had their own people fielding calls, too. I mention this because that tweet is getting passed around as if it is indicative of something sinister, rather than expected election advocacy.
posted by schroedinger at 3:54 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


"Perez is Establishment because he's supported by the Establishment who supports him because he's Establishment."

MAKES SENSE
posted by schroedinger at 3:56 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Big picture Dem strategy, it's crazy to realize that we're technologically in just about the right place where the Dems could present a massive economic, jobs and education package to build out the infrastructure that leads to the crazy Fully Automated Luxury Communism future. Hey, we've got a bunch of jobs lined up building the smart renewables grid, automated vertical farming, local small scale automated JIT manufacturing, etc etc and a slate of free training programs to learn how to do it, here's a count of how many jobs we'll have to fill broken out by district, you guys want 'em we just need Congress and the presidency...
posted by jason_steakums at 4:01 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


It sounds like your friend is familiar with politics working as a network of relationships and obligations rather than execution on a professed ideology.

Or he's falling into the same fallacy as the trump voters-- frustration with a complex mess leading to a hope that a single Strong Man messianic figure can cut directly through the Gordian Knot.

I maintain that politics and community building are hard work. And it starts at a local level. All this talk about how the DNC failed on the national stage and I agree with this. But I would argue the primary failure is at the grass root's level. We need (with whatever ideology) to get out the votes for school boards, state senate, whatever. Whoever does the best job of that will rule the party, no doubt.
posted by frumiousb at 4:09 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]


Big picture Dem strategy, it's crazy to realize that we're technologically in just about the right place where the Dems could present a massive economic, jobs and education package to build out the infrastructure that leads to the crazy Fully Automated Luxury Communism future.

Omg yes. And selling it to the isolationist right would be dead simple: we'd be secure, self-sufficient, and resilient to global supply chain shocks. 'Who needs China and the ME when we got solar powered Freedom Towers' or whatever.
posted by BS Artisan at 4:43 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


it's goddamn terrifying to see so many leftists seemingly throwing up their hands in despair and saying "well fine I guess nothing is going to change in the Democratic Party then, so fuck it."

Good. It should be terrifying. I hope Dem leadership is terrified too. The Dems have counted on leftists to uncritically and automatically support them for coming up on a century, and they've only moved further and further to the right, until we get to the point where Dems are boasting that former presidents like Bush 41 and Bush 43 agree with and even support their candidate. I mean, I hope you can see how that, to someone on the Left, is a fucking slap in the face. I mean, party leadership couldn't even get behind the Fight for $15--Clinton (advised by ghouls like Robby Mook and John Podesta) was like "um, how about $11" or some other centrist shit.

As Malcolm X said in 1964,
In this present administration they have in the House of Representatives 257 Democrats to only 177 Republicans. They control two-thirds of the House vote. Why can't they pass something that will help you and me? In the Senate, there are 67 senators who are of the Democratic Party. Only 33 of them are Republicans. Why, the Democrats have got the government sewed up, and you're the one who sewed it up for them. And what have they given you for it?
This is how many on the Left feel about Obama's first two years and the last many decades of Dem politics in general--we've had their backs, and for what? A stronger, less restrained banking industry, a predatory police force, tax dollars spent killing wedding parties in Yemen and seemingly endless Middle East adventurism, a gruesomely watered-down healthcare system that's so flawed that even many people who were actually helped by it voted for a candidate who promised to get rid of it.

Things could be so much better, and people on the Left feel like they have an idea of how that can happen. You might disagree, but that's politics. The Dem leadership, though, had better notice that the wind is moving leftward, young people are sick of the same old shit, the same old losses, and promises of "we'll do our best to keep things from getting worse!" If the party thinks it can ignore this development, it's fucked.

Now obviously plenty of people feel like the Dems have given them something of value. That's great. That disagreement, and the fight for power based on it, is what politics fucking is. But know this: The Democratic Party is dead fucked--not that it needs much help since it's made losing into an art form--if it loses the actual (and rapidly growing) Left, and if the Democratic Party doesn't give anything back that people on the Left find valuable, then it's a complete and utter slice of galling bullshit pie to expect the Left to keep on uncritically tossing in its support.

And to those on the Left who have already given up on influencing the Dems and pulling them to the left, well, you're not unreasonable. After all, this actually fucking happened.

(Oh, and if your reaction to this is "well, then run for office, Leftists!" you're right, and we are, and the DSA is exploding, and the Left is actively seeking power, and if the Dems ever want to stop the streak of losing every race that doesn't involve the once-in-a-generation charisma and savvy of Barack Obama then it had better not ignore what's going on.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:16 PM on February 26 [14 favorites]


And to those on the Left who have already given up on influencing the Dems and pulling them to the left, well, you're not unreasonable. After all, this actually fucking happened

There is no hope, you're right, of a non-capitalist Democratic party. But we can at least hope to move the window from Very Bad Capitalism back to Rooseveltian Welfare State.

Socialism is not coming to America, the vanguard of capitalism, without an unprecedented, fantastic disaster.
posted by dis_integration at 5:21 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Socialism is not coming to America, the vanguard of capitalism, without an unprecedented, fantastic disaster.

That disaster may be coming, and for many people it has already happened. I'm glad I'm not as fatalistic and cynical as you are, although I understand why you feel that way.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:25 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


[I am not babysitting a liberal circular firing squad for the next four hours. BE NICE, don't snark at each other, and if you really, really need to rehash the primaries, go reread the primary threads.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:37 PM on February 26 [16 favorites]


The fact that they are so similar is part of what causes the ill feeling I think. I mean, if as the people defending this keep saying, they're essentially the same then why go to the fuss and bother of recruiting Perez to oppose Ellison?

They're the same in ideology and platform but not in experience. Perez has more administrative experience than Ellison. The DNC chair is primarily an administrative position.

Also, their appointments have different strategic consequences. As has been repeatedly noted, Ellison's appointment means he leaves the House. Even if he's replaced by another Democrat, it takes time to get used to working in Congress. Plenty of Representatives will tell you they didn't feel they were in the swing of things until their second term. Electing Perez does not carry the same ramifications.

Finally, if the DNC didn't give a shit about progressivism then their main takeaway from this election would be this: "If you give the Far Left 95%, they'll abandon you over the last 5% so why bother trying." Like, if I literally just cared about making money and consolidating power then I'd behave pretty differently than they are. First of all, I'd roll back the policies and platform that were put there primarily to appeal to the separatist far left factions. Their persistent attacks during the general and votes for third parties indicate I can't depend on them to be loyal, reliable, or amenable to any sort of compromise. So fuck 'em. I sure wouldn't keep talking working from the talking points of the progressive platform I proposed at the Convention in hopes they'd take the hand I was reaching out to them. I wouldn't nominate a progressive darling who was best buds with Ellison, I'd get behind some Generic White Dude who'd appeal to Middle American White People. Fuck that identity stuff, let's go back to focusing on the needs of those Middle American White People with a couple bones thrown to the POC and LGBTQ communities.

Of course there are Democrats who are frustrated with the far left. But there are also members of the far left who are frustrated with the far left. There are some on the far left who believe that Trump represents such a dire threat to their lives and loved ones that a carrot-and-stick approach to dealing with the DNC is preferable to the "Bern it down" attitude that saddled us with Trump.
posted by schroedinger at 6:05 PM on February 26 [15 favorites]


we'd be secure, self-sufficient, and resilient to global supply chain shocks. 'Who needs China and the ME when we got solar powered Freedom Towers' or whatever.

I find that more scary than anything else. Sometimes interdependence is the only reason people want to keep you around. I do hope that in the last 75 years we've built up some of our global relationships beyond that point, but this election has made me seriously doubt it.
posted by FJT at 6:11 PM on February 26


[several deleted; reposts of links that appear earlier in the thread, and people digging in to make the same point over and over.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:34 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Here's a thought on a central piece of a Dem platform that would have a lot of appeal in the age of Trump - anti-corruption and government transparency. Obama burned us on transparency so the Dems need to rebuild trust there: Dems in Congress need to start filing bills with teeth now, even though they'll get shot down. Run on passing those bills.

Actually congressional Dems need to do this across the board on a number of issues and it would be a good way to reassure the left. Throw hopeless bills out there that futilely try to enact policy at least as progressive as the 2016 platform in front of a Republican congress that will kill them in committee, and have every member of the caucus that doesn't want a primary challenge cosponsor, sign on the dotted line. The Dems don't have power to pass this stuff but they can still demonstrate a legislative agenda.

It's a great time for that actually - the Republicans spent years running on dismantling Obamacare and don't have a plan, and I bet the Dems could pull a long weekend and come out with a bill that fixes the actual problems with the ACA just to show them up. Wouldn't go anywhere but it probably would be a more popular bill than what the Republicans have on offer if the Democrats made a lot of noise about it. And it could have almost the entire Dem side of the aisle on board before the Republicans can find something more than half of their people agree on, showing a party that has its shit together. Lone nut Republican legislators throw up stunt bills with no chance of passing all the time to rile up the base, take that tactic and do it as an entire caucus.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:59 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


One more thought on that, after Donnie's very public lie about draining the swamp, if progressive Dems start filing bills right now that would cut off the worst of their fellow Congressional colleagues from profiting off of their positions, some really hard line bills that start with preventing even the appearance of impropriety with things like new and robust nonpartisan watchdogs with real power, and back those bills as a centerpiece of the 2018 run with promises to pass them afterwards if they have control of Congress, that would play well with so many people. There are ways to leverage the extremely low approval rating of Congress as a whole and they all go through fixing that kind of shady shit. And with the pressure from the left side of the base being at the point of openly calling for primary challenges, now's the time for all the elected Dems who don't have their hands dirty to sign on to something like this and pressure the others in the party to get on board or enjoy their primary.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:18 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


we'd be secure, self-sufficient, and resilient to global supply chain shocks. 'Who needs China and the ME when we got solar powered Freedom Towers' or whatever.

I find that more scary than anything else. Sometimes interdependence is the only reason people want to keep you around. I do hope that in the last 75 years we've built up some of our global relationships beyond that point, but this election has made me seriously doubt it.


Well, there's no breaking interdependence completely. Greater resilience and self-sufficiency is always a worthwhile goal, but total economic isolation isn't. No one wants to be Best Korea.

What something like this would do, however, is move us towards a resilient, localized, and sustainable economy for food and physical goods. (Move us toward, not 'grant instantly with magic machines'). Past that, though, it would turn a lot of the assumptions that drive international relations on their heads - which is all right by me. We'd be a lot more inclined to peaceful negotiation with fewer survival-level interests at stake.

Play up local sustainability to one side, security and independence to the other, jobs to both. If we can get something like this rolling, it puts us on the road to viable post-scarcity for basic physical needs.
posted by BS Artisan at 7:40 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Past that, though, it would turn a lot of the assumptions that drive international relations on their heads - which is all right by me. We'd be a lot more inclined to peaceful negotiation with fewer survival-level interests at stake.

An interesting twist on how that kind of technology for independent local self sufficiency would play into international trade is that if we build a good turnkey system we can export the technologies and expertise to help other countries go down that road. It's a product, after all. Other countries would figure out similar systems but it's easier to not reinvent the wheel. It could also be a cornerstone of foreign aid to impoverished countries, the "teach a man to fish build a small footprint aquaponic vegetable and fish source and flexible mini manufacturing plant with renewable power" approach to aid.

And oh boy would cheap tech that lifts up struggling communities without guzzling oil piss off Putin. That kind of thing is a direct threat to a petrostate that needs the appearance of being the only solution to the needs of its citizens.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:27 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


First of all, I'd roll back the policies and platform that were put there primarily to appeal to the separatist far left factions.

Which policies were those? (honest question, no snark intended, not angry).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:58 PM on February 26


The Dems have counted on leftists to uncritically and automatically support them for coming up on a century, and they've only moved further and further to the right, until we get to the point where Dems are boasting that former presidents like Bush 41 and Bush 43 agree with and even support their candidate. I mean, I hope you can see how that, to someone on the Left, is a fucking slap in the face. I mean, party leadership couldn't even get behind the Fight for $15--Clinton (advised by ghouls like Robby Mook and John Podesta) was like "um, how about $11" or some other centrist shit.

I want to push back here because I think there's some evidence that goes against this view. The DNC platform of 2016 and the Hillary Clinton agenda had a number of elements well to the left of anything the DLC-backed Democrats of the Bill Clinton era pushed. Compare and contrast:

Then ––
"The era of big government is over"
Welfare reform to "end welfare as we know it," imposing lifetime caps on benefits and severe restrictions that largely ended cash benefits for many
The 1994 "tough on crime" bill, "superpredators"
1996 immigration bills

Now ––
Free college (with income limits)
Public healthcare option
Paid family leave
Broadly embracing, with some drama and disagreement to be sure, Black Lives Matter
Pathway to citizenship, DACA, DAPA

I get it. The situation is deeply frustrating. If you want a national $15/hour minimum wage and single-payer healthcare, your options are to align with a party that supports watered down versions of those plans, a candidate that supports a zero or lower minimum wage and a smaller government role in healthcare, or a third-party that won't win and, depending on your state and the rest of the electorate, could easily undermine the major-party candidate with views closest to yours. That's not a pleasant place to be stuck, election after election, yet that's what happens.

And yes, there are absolutely a bunch of places where very much I feel let down because Democrats and Obama weren't as far to the left as I want, including the failure to reign in the excesses of the national security state. But fundamentally, the party has moved steadily to the left on a number of important policy areas even as the Republicans have lurched way to the right on many of the same areas, and I don't think that should be ignored.
posted by zachlipton at 10:59 PM on February 26 [17 favorites]


Which policies were those? (honest question, no snark intended, not angry).

The party platform moved significantly to the left to compromise with Bernie supporters. Don't you remember all those negotiations before the convention? It was the most progressive platform the Dems had put forward, ever.

In the mind of the Imaginary Corporatist Evil Fauxgressive, if those policies aren't garnering cooperating from the far left then there's no reason to keep them if they think they're more likely to get support from the center.
posted by schroedinger at 11:20 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Your examples of policies are campaign promises, like how Trump promised coal jobs would return and he would be too busy to golf. And those did get the cooperation of the Left, who by and large voted for Clinton. The anger at the Left from mainline Dems is misplaced. The Left has always fallen in line. It won't do so forever, though, I predict.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:23 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


What would you like the national party to offer in terms of policies beyond campaign promises at this point, seeing as it lacks the ability to pursue a legislative or executive agenda at the federal level or in many states? All that's left are campaign promises and strategy to win campaigns and execute on the agenda. We can discuss whether the strategy is adequate (it obviously wasn't last year), but I'm not sure what criteria one can use to judge the aims of the party at this point beyond the policies it has pledged to enact.

And surprising as it may seem, politicians really do deliver on many of their promises. There's a big difference between an entire party publicly committing to support, say, a paid family leave plan, and a candidate known for saying ridiculous things promising the Moon and Venus too.
posted by zachlipton at 11:45 PM on February 26 [11 favorites]


What would you like the national party to offer in terms of policies beyond campaign promises at this point

Candidates with demonstrated reliable commitment to progressive, popular values.
posted by Coventry at 11:49 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure any grassroots activism or political opposition is capable of dealing with the infosystem architectural coordination evident in the Mercer Phenomenon that is #fakenews
posted by Wilder at 12:15 AM on February 27


Candidates with demonstrated reliable commitment to progressive, popular values.

To do that there have to be candidates with demonstrated reliable commitment to progressive, popular values at the local and state level. But the concentration on national races means that the bench is not there. Look at the Greens; every 4 years they blow millions of dollars on tilting at Presidential windmills when they should be using that cash to get people elected on schoolboards and city councils. Then state legislatures. Then federal.

The Democrats will put forward a lot of candidates with demonstrated and reliable commitments to progressive, popular values (beyond those they already do which I believe is more than you probably do) when those people start winning smaller races.

You gotta play in AAA before the Show.
posted by Justinian at 1:59 AM on February 27 [17 favorites]


To do that there have to be candidates with demonstrated reliable commitment to progressive, popular values at the local and state level.

Also, I feel like, once you hit the big stuff (the presidency!), you *will* have sold out at least once. Being a politician is a constant calculation between political expediency, the demands of your voters, and your own moral values -- and moral values can't always win out, particularly since few votes depend on you alone. Is voting for a bill you hate but your constituents love so terrible if you know yours isn't the deciding vote?
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:47 AM on February 27 [6 favorites]


I'd like to stop the circular firing squad for a moment to talk about the actual plan for the future. Both Ellison and Perez seem to be buying into the economic populism thing as the reason Clinton failed to win firewall states and some component of the plan for moving forward involves an appeal to populism. I am against this in principle; feeding people pie in the sky bullshit to get elected doesn't seem like a good long term strategy. This also confuses me, because I've heard that Ellison and Perez have both advocated telling the truth about robots, climate change, and trade deals. So which is it?

I'm personally a lefty at heart but my brain advocates for pragmatism. I am worried that Democrats will let idealism lead them into more losses, and that our slate for the next go around will be a bunch of unelectables regardless of platform or preparedness. The electoral college is the reality we have to deal with, and we need national candidates that independents in the south and the rust belt will actually vote for. Congress and local government is the best place to experiment with less traditional candidates, imho, and that part of Perez's stated plan really resonates with me.
posted by xyzzy at 6:15 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Candidates with demonstrated reliable commitment to progressive, popular values.

You mean like Perez, who much of the far-left Bernie fans extolled as the best option for VP candidate outside Sanders? Who is widely considered to be the most progressive of all of Obama's appointments and got the most crap from Republicans about his nomination? This Perez? This Perez?

It feels to me that you don't just want candidates with a demonstrable commitment to progressive, popular values--because otherwise Perez would qualify. You also want your candidate to be chosen by your preferred gatekeepers. And I am concerned about the presumed assumption that if they don't meet this standard they're automatically tools of the Establishment. Not just because this is manifestly unfair to any candidates who don't bend the knee to these gatekeepers, but also because that kind of thinking leads to "progressives" extolling the virtues of decidedly non-progressive candidates like Tulsi Gabbard.
posted by schroedinger at 6:26 AM on February 27 [21 favorites]


(Heh, case in point: I left mefi to be greeted by an article titled "Trump Unites GOP as Democrats Bicker." This isn't a good look.)
posted by xyzzy at 6:35 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Fight like hell in the states. Rs are close to having the numbers it would take to amend the Constitution. I'm not OK with that given the current climate of gleeful cruelty.
posted by Glomar response at 7:15 AM on February 27 [4 favorites]


You mean like Perez, who much of the far-left Bernie fans extolled as the best option for VP candidate outside Sanders?

We were talking about campaign promises in general elections. The key question is whether the neoliberal faction which emplaced Perez is going to make it easy for credibly progressive candidates to get on the slate. This is organizational politics, not electoral politics.
posted by Coventry at 9:03 AM on February 27


The Left has always fallen in line.

No, we haven't.

In my experience/immediate circle there are a number of people who voted for Nader/Stein/Che or didn't vote at all because it's clear that the game is rigged.

This is lurching toward relitigating the primaries territory, but of what passes for the "left" in the US there are a lot of people who do not, and have not, fallen in line with the Democratic party.

We literally just had an election where a whole bunch of self-identified progressives didn't fall in line. As a vocal socialist who nearly always votes with the Democrats, I find them equally frustrating, but let's not assert counterfactuals to make a point that doesn't require them.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:28 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Real talk, here. If capitalistic neoliberals provide most of the monetary support for the DNC, how does it make sense for the DNC chair to be a person they view as the opposition? I would think that, from an organizational politics point of view, their preferred candidate would have more of a chance to move the neos left. And luckily for progressives, their preferred candidate has real lefty street cred. Or did, until he became a tool of the establishment for no real reason I can discern except that the establishment preferred him.
posted by xyzzy at 9:28 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


but that horse won't beat itself . . .
posted by aspersioncast at 9:30 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


We were talking about campaign promises in general elections. The key question is whether the neoliberal faction which emplaced Perez is going to make it easy for credibly progressive candidates to get on the slate. This is organizational politics, not electoral politics.

A: "He's Establishment."
B: "What's your proof?"
A: "He was endorsed by Democratic party insiders."
B: "So was Ellison."
A: "Well, he's going to advance a neoliberal agenda."
B: "His platform is the same as Ellison's."
A: "Well, that's all promises. There's no evidence he'll actually do it. We want people who are committed progressives."
B: "Look at his history of committed progressivism."
A: "That doesn't matter because he's Establishment."
posted by schroedinger at 9:34 AM on February 27 [16 favorites]


(Heh, case in point: I left mefi to be greeted by an article titled "Trump Unites GOP as Democrats Bicker." This isn't a good look.)

God, the media in this country really is for shit, isn't it?

Trump isn't "uniting" anyone. The vast majority of elected GOP members of Congress are gritting their teeth, holding their nose and trying desperately to downplay their obvious distaste with the guy just long enough to get him to sign off on their granny-starving and tax breaks for the wealthy. They'd be much happier dealing with Pence than the chaotic evil clown posse that's running the WH currently.

It would not surprise me one bit if they allowed their consciences to conveniently surface just long enough to impeach Trump, but only AFTER he'd proven a useful fool and they'd squeezed as much out of him as they can.
posted by darkstar at 9:46 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


> We were talking about campaign promises in general elections. The key question is whether the neoliberal faction which emplaced Perez is going to make it easy for credibly progressive candidates to get on the slate. This is organizational politics, not electoral politics.

1: Emphasis added.
2: I reject your dichotomy.

Politics isn't a discussion of ideas, it's a struggle over institutional power. We're a debate club, and so we're primed to see words as more important than they actually are. Out in reality, though, who is in power and how they're connected to other people is more important than messaging, and messaging has less of an influence over who is in power than we pretend it does.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:17 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


The vast majority of elected GOP members of Congress are gritting their teeth, holding their nose and trying desperately to downplay their obvious distaste with the guy just long enough to get him to sign off on their granny-starving and tax breaks for the wealthy.

They can't even get that far -- they can't decide on whether the granny starving (Ryan et al) or the tax cuts for the wealthy (Trump et al) should happen first and they're completely gridlocked because of it. They also can't agree on the border adjustment (one of the few ways to pay for the tax cuts) - e.g. Confusion Continues on Trump’s Take on Border Adjustment:
“And if they’re struggling with the stuff Republicans should be able to agree on, wait until we get to trade and infrastructure. Republicans are learning that governing is difficult,” the [tax] lobbyist said.
The GOP is not uniting right now on any issue other than "liberal tears."
posted by melissasaurus at 10:21 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]






The Assassination of Keith Ellison by the Neoliberal Coward Tom Perez
Needless to say, the Medicaid expansion is not the whole story of the Obama administration, and there are many ways in which its economic policies were inadequate. The most recent Democratic platform was the most attuned to class interests of any in decades, but there remains plenty of room for critique. This, however, isn’t Rensin’s argument. His argument is that the interests of the poor have been entirely abandoned by the Democratic Party, and his central evidence for this theory is the selection of one left-liberal with a strong record on class issues over another for a position that does little-to-nothing to set the ideological direction of the party. OK.

People for whom it’s never not 1996 notwithstanding, the Democratic Party is clearly moving to the left, as it should be. What the priorities of this coalition should be when it gets the chance to govern and how to get it in a position to govern remain pressing questions with plenty of room for disputation. But the DNC race will barely merit a footnote when this history is written, and distorting the players to try to transform it into a desperate Last Battle for the Very Soul of the Democratic Party is deeply strange.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:37 AM on February 27 [10 favorites]


The GOP is not uniting right now on any issue other than "liberal tears."

There's also "Don't make us go out there and talk to our constituents!"
posted by Etrigan at 10:41 AM on February 27 [9 favorites]


So the GOP is not united except where they're united?
posted by xyzzy at 11:00 AM on February 27


Trump: "Nobody knew health care could be so complicated."


I know I shouldn't be astonished at this sort of effluent coming out of His Orangeness' bilge-hole, but still.
posted by darkstar at 11:51 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.

Fucking spoken like a man who has never had to worry about health care in his life, let the fuck alone try to get referral to see a specialist while on an HMO plan.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:07 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


If one is a solipsist, it totally makes sense to say "no one knew x" about any x that one personally didn't know.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:16 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


Not unlike GWB's people saying nobody could have predicted the New Orleans levees would fail when the city's mayor went on TV and said people should evacuate because the levees were going to fail.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:19 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


If one is a solipsist, it totally makes sense to say "no one knew x" about any x that one personally didn't know.

Exactly. Maybe some people were saying something like that but they were a buncha nobodies.
posted by contraption at 1:23 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


TheAtlantic: Why the Battle for Leadership of the Democratic Party Mattered (or What Tom Perez' DNC Election Really Means)
Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez may be as progressive as Representative Keith Ellison, but the race for DNC chair was about the reactions each evokes—not the policies they’d pursue.

...

After Hillary Clinton’s election defeat, liberal commentators have, by and large, done what makes the most sense for a center-left technocratic party: sought refuge in facts and empirical reality (against someone who clearly values neither). Facts are obviously good and necessary, but they don’t make a strategy. Moreover, focusing on empirical data creates incentives to downplay the role of emotion and feeling in politics. These are, after all, the things that are difficult to measure and fall out outside the scope of “rational” action.
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:28 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


If one is a solipsist, it totally makes sense to say "no one knew x" about any x that one personally didn't know.

He also firmly believes that he is the best, smartest, most knowledgeable guy in the room. He claims "Nobody knows more about [X] than Donald Trump" on every subject, so when the subject is health care, if the guy who knows the most doesn't know, then logically nobody knows.
posted by rocket88 at 3:35 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


The Left has always fallen in line.

No, we haven't.


Sure, not everyone, but the reality is that Stein got a trivial number of votes, and if you have friends who didn't vote, then they're firmly in the majority of Americans. Again, by and large, people on the Left--who are not liberals and disagree with the vast majority of Democratic policies and actions--have consistently voted Dem over many decades.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:00 PM on February 27


(There's been a lot of anger from liberals aimed at Leftists, in some cases going so far as to blame Stein voters for the election loss, but I've yet to see any actual evidence that it's the case. The evidence I've seen, in fact, contradicts that claim. That said, I think Stein and the Green Party are a joke.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:18 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I'm not entirely convinced Stein voters are Leftists.
posted by rhizome at 6:19 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Are we making a distinction between leftists and liberals? Is liberal the new neoliberal?
posted by schroedinger at 6:22 PM on February 27


Anecdotally, the Stein voters and abstainers I know are most certainly leftists but certainly weren't going to vote for Hillary* if they hadn't voted for Stein. They associate HRC with war and corporate interests.

* I agree this is outrageously irresponsible.
posted by lalex at 6:23 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Are we making a distinction between leftists and liberals?

It hadn't occurred to me (and it probably should have as it may be contributing to the confusion and miscommunication in this thread), but yes, they're not the same.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:31 PM on February 27


I am not convinced that there are enough true leftists in the US to be significant as a voting block.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:40 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


If you're right, then the liberal anger at leftists not falling in line is misguided. But you may not be as right as you think:
In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.
(of course that study does not claim that Milennials prefer socialism, which is why I said "might.")
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:51 PM on February 27


I actually think that leftists can still do a lot of damage, even if there aren't very many of them. They can, for instance, perpetuate narratives that are appealing to people who aren't leftists. But in terms of actual numbers, they're not very significant.

It's interesting that a lot of Millennials say they support neither capitalism nor socialism, but I think it would be more interesting to know what they actually mean by that.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:07 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I also wonder about those 15-20%
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:14 PM on February 27


I actually think that leftists can still do a lot of damage, even if there aren't very many of them. They can, for instance, perpetuate narratives that are appealing to people who aren't leftists. But in terms of actual numbers, they're not very significant.

I don't like to talk about these things in terms of damage, but you're right. How many Roger Stones do you need? At least one, probably about 5, maybe as many as 20.
posted by rhizome at 7:15 PM on February 27


They can, for instance, perpetuate narratives that are appealing to people who aren't leftists.

That's politics.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:23 PM on February 27


Politics is a little different when you're completely unaccountable, though.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:25 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Maybe let's skip having a big thing about mind-reading Obama's thoughts about Ellison being Muslim, doesn't seem like the most promising direction]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:40 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I may not know what you mean. Who's accountable? (genuine question, not snark, etc.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:40 PM on February 27


I am not convinced that there are enough true leftists in the US to be significant as a voting block.

There didn't used to be a lot of out-and-out fascists, either. It took a sustained campaign to make them.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:01 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


I am not convinced that many Milennials or lefties or whatever want a totally state-controlled economy made up of workers' collectives. When definitions are left so loose you can run a herd of goats through them, it doesn't really create a clear sense of what the political or economic philosophies really are. I suspect what they want is vastly increased social welfare, but along with that, the same openness to entrepreneurialism and free enterprise that other generations and sectors feel is a pretty important characteristic of the American economy. This expresses my philosophy, basically: capitalism with constraints, co-existing with a social-democratic political order.
posted by Miko at 8:21 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Are we making a distinction between leftists and liberals? Is liberal the new neoliberal?

**not really a new distinction
posted by Miko at 8:22 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


You know what would be reaaaaallly depressing? And would probably make me button given enough time? If "leftist" turned into a slur here on metafilter, which I feel like it sort of is in the last part of this thread.

Let me tell you some leftists: Leftists were the only union organizers who would organize white and black workers in the early 20th century; leftists were the people who fought for Central American refugees and against the Reagan administration's support for murderous regimes throughout that region; leftists were the people who organized what material opposition there was to welfare "reform"; leftists were the people who stood up to HUAC and paid for it, long before HUAC made the mistake of slandering a military man...I mean, I can't even with all this sinister "you only need a few unaccountable leftists" business. All my life the main anti-police-brutality voices have been leftists - the only people I knew around here doing that work before, like, the last two years were leftists, and good respectable people moved mountains to shut them up.

Leftists have carried the flame of...of regular human decency when the rest of the country was ignorant, complicit or for one reason or another unable to act.

If there's one thing I've noticed in many years of being a bit among the left and a bit among the liberals, it's that liberals generally do not want to believe what is going on when it gets pointed out. Back before the internet, I had about a million conversations with people about the US role in Central America, US backing of the massacre of the East Timorese, people just falling off the map after they got kicked off welfare, police beating people I actually knew - and no one would believe me. They'd believe any lie that ran in the papers about dangerous protesters, of course.

And honestly, I don't blame people for that, because this is a society that works very, very hard to keep people busy and away from certain types of information. It is really difficult to go to work every day and at the same time think about all the terrible stuff that goes on everywhere except, pretty much, middle class white spaces. And yet you've got to go to work. It's ridiculously hard to be a morally consistent person of any kind in this country because of the massive cognitive dissonance that we all have to learn just to be able to get by. This isn't anyone's fault.

But I do object to the idea that leftists-qua-leftists are some sinister force that have to be quelled so that we can, what, return to the status quo? Listen, liberal - as the fellow says - the future of the liberals is with the left. Liberalism withers and dies if it isn't in deep conclave with leftism - that's what we've seen these past twenty years.

Or, alternatively, you might consider that historically the people who've argued that leftists "damage" society are maybe not the people you would ordinarily hold up as heroes.
posted by Frowner at 8:30 PM on February 27 [52 favorites]


Amazing comment, Frowner. Thanks for that. Really great.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:43 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that a lot of Millennials say they support neither capitalism nor socialism, but I think it would be more interesting to know what they actually mean by that.

My guess: "It's abhorrent that people who are not me have ridiculous amounts of money, but not so abhorrent that I'd be willing to give up the chance to have ridiculous amounts of money myself someday."
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:53 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


Kids today, huh?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:49 PM on February 27


I tend to be rather hostile toward any discussion that tries to put people in one box or another, and I find the attempts to articulate bright lines between leftists and liberals particularly unsatisfying. Very rarely do humans sort themselves into these distinct tribes -- perhaps it's the most homogeneous of the tribe members that talk the loudest, so if you just pay attention to them, maybe it does look like neoliberal sellout pragmatists vs .pie-in-the-sky dead-ender radicals, but among the people I interact with, I don't see those kind of firm divisions. With the wide array of political issues and the amazing amount of diversity of America, I feel like there a whole lot of people who would choose "both" or "neither" when asked about their politics, but would still consider themselves to hold progressive ideals, reliably vote for the left-most candidate in elections, etc.

Still, I wholeheartedly agree with Frowner about not wanting the "leftist" label to become a bad word, but I also feel that way about the "liberal' label. "Leftist" may as well have been "commie" for decades, so I'm glad that it's having its moment as a label that folks who believe in a maximalist version of progressive values achieved with more aggressive and radical tactics are trying to reclaim. At the same time, the "liberal" label suffered the same fate throughout the late 80s and early 90s before it sort of became okay to say in mixed company, and I feel like there's a danger of the same kind of us-vs-them-ism involved with attacks on people who have a tactical disagreement with leftists, or perhaps a different mix of issues that they prioritize. "Neoliberal" articulates sort of a special case of liberalism that I think many self-described liberals and self-described leftists would distinguish themselves from, but more and more, I feel like this distinction is being elided in favor of interchangeable use of "liberal" and "neoliberal."

I don't think this erasure is intentional, but it causes harm to people who might agree with the average leftist on 95% of issues but maybe disagree tactically with how they want to get there. People who hated Bill Clinton's welfare reform but thought he was a good President in other areas are suddenly lumped in with coporatist hacks simply because they supported his wife's campaign. People who vocally opposed war before it was cool are now considered hawks because they believed that electing Hillary was the best bet for rolling back our armed conflicts -- not necessarily because they thought she was more dovish than Sanders, but because they thought the narrow differences between the two were outweighed by what seemed like a better chance of defeating the GOP candidate, who we knew for certain would be far worse than both in terms of escalating armed conflict.

Of course that's not how things turned out electorally, but that does not mean ipso facto that Hillary supporters' decision to support her in spite of things they might have disagreed with her on were wrong. The anecdata that show Sanders doing well in counties that went from Obama to Trump are necessary but not nearly sufficient for showing that he would have had any chance to win. I don't see any clear answer one way or another, but because I feel like the in-fighting is driven more by electoral math than by large differences in ideology, it's necessary to understand and account for electoral consequences. It's true that insurgent campaigns like Sanders' never gain any traction if people aren't willing to take a leap away from the "safe" candidate, but it's also true that many people actually like the policies of the "safe" candidate, and some others like enough of them that adding in the risk of supporting a losing candidate in a high stakes election when the opposition party is worse on everything is not the right choice for them.

Another problem is the existence of a particular strain of modern American leftist that is openly hostile or indifferent toward social justice issues. Labeling all or most Sanders voters as such is clearly an error, but the campaigns did emphasize a different mix of issues in ways to appeal to different segments of the persuadable population, and consequently Bernie's campaign did in fact pull in more than its share of them. This was a very good thing for his campaign to defeat Hillary, but led to a base of support that causes problems when trying to build a coalition that can beat the GOP outside the Rust Belt when they run someone other than Donald Trump.

Clinton partisans who suggested all or most Sanders voters didn't care about social justice were wrong to do so, and were engaging in the same kind of erasure of heterogeneous perspectives that I mentioned above with respect to more progressive and even radical Clinton supporters -- but it's not like those "brogressive" voices didn't exist, or didn't have any influence within his campaign. I'm glad they are showing signs of sticking around and wanting to be part of the movement, but there seems to be a demand from self-described leftists that Clinton's electoral loss requires all Democrats to immediately hew to the desires of Bernie Sanders, who chooses to remain outside the party, a choice I think is wise and good for progressive causes, but which necessarily limits how much impact he can have on the party's own decisions, particularly ones like "who should be at the top of the party's org chart." I've made no secret of my wish that Ellison win, but Perez's election represents a very strong progressive turn of the party's leadership, so I find extrapolations from this one narrow defeat for Sanders' choice to run the party Sanders doesn't belong to very silly. Sanders will continue to have a strong impact on the party from his position in leadership, Tom Perez looks like he'll do great as chair, and Ellison will be there to keep him honest should Perez turn out to be the neoliberal sellout so many people have described him as. Where's the problem in that?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:25 AM on February 28 [14 favorites]


The problem, for the Democratic Party at least, is that folks on the Bernie end of the Democratic Party tent (I don't care about the BernieBros or Stein voters) would maybe like a seat at the table.

Does it have to be at the DNC? No. But I'm betting this is particularly frustrating because the DNC is, not unfairly, perceived as putting the fix in for Hillary - for many a symbol of the Iraq War and corporate interests - who then went on to lose what was, let's be honest, an extremely winnable election. So the so-called adults in the room were wrong, we're all stuck in this unbelievably terrible situation, and still it feels like Bernie supporters in the Party aren't being heard.

Look, I noted above that I'm happy with Perez as chair, but if he and Ellison are such interchangeable liberals then why run Perez in the first place?

I'm a liberal but I'm also a Democrat, in the partisan party member sense, and I think the folks who propelled Sanders to a surprisingly successful primary challenge deserve to be heard. But more importantly I think they need to be included in the Party apparatus for the sake of our long-term survival.
posted by lalex at 11:59 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


> I think the folks who propelled Sanders to a surprisingly successful primary challenge deserve to be heard.

Bernie Sanders in party leadership of party he's not a member of? Check.
Elizabeth Warren in party leadership as well? Yup.
Keith Ellison as Perez's second-in-command, whom Perez has said in unequivocal terms will have influence and be a public-facing message-bearer for the party? Indeed.

I see more than one seat at that table, and as a Sanders primary supporter, I'm happy with that result. What more can be reasonably expected?
posted by tonycpsu at 12:09 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


What more can be reasonably expected?

Bold, truly progressive policy positions and fearless pursuit of those positions. (This will mean significant change for the party as the emphasis has been on courting big fundraising dollars.) Plus: a commitment to internally democratic processes.
posted by latkes at 1:42 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Sure, I want those things too, but I agree with your previously-stated position that the Perez/Ellison battle is not where those things will be gained or lost.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:23 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


As usual, Frowner and tonycpsu I really appreciate your voices on this immensely.
posted by aspersioncast at 3:14 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Look, I noted above that I'm happy with Perez as chair, but if he and Ellison are such interchangeable liberals then why run Perez in the first place?

I've asked this before, but why are people stepping over the fact that Ellison is an active MOC who is looked at as a strong Democratic leader? I don't know why Perez chose to run, but I know a lot of the support came because people didn't want Ellison out of the chair. I know that's awfully prosaic, but what if it happens to be true?

I don't think this erasure is intentional, but it causes harm to people who might agree with the average leftist on 95% of issues but maybe disagree tactically with how they want to get there.

Completely agree with this as well as with Frowner's article above.

Realise, please, it's nuts making for a lot of folks that the equation seems to be "not in the Sanders camp" = "not a progressive." You can be wishy washy on the young turks and still a progressive, ya know?
posted by frumiousb at 3:25 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Are you conflating leftists with progressives?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:46 PM on February 28


Oh probably, though 'progressively' and 'left' seem to be used interchangeably when it comes to the Sanders movement in a way I find confusing-- personally. Leftists are more socialist and progressives are more populist? I wouldn't have conflated the two, but when they seem to be used interchangeably by others I'm unsure whether to use the language they prefer for themselves or whether I should try to set my own bright line. Let's put it this way-- I've heard people using "progressive" to signal they are more left than liberal-- if not all the way to being a leftist.

pfft. cue the Laurie Anderson song.
posted by frumiousb at 8:22 PM on February 28


Laurie Anderson, you say? Which one?
posted by rhizome at 8:41 PM on February 28


This one.
posted by frumiousb at 8:50 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Frowner: “You know what would be reaaaaallly depressing? And would probably make me button given enough time? If "leftist" turned into a slur here on metafilter, which I feel like it sort of is in the last part of this thread. ”
I nearly walked away from MetaFilter a few years ago when I got scolded for suggesting that the proper response to legitimate grievances was to show solidarity with those raising them.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:12 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Well, while we're all here arguing this happened. Look at their buttons! :3
posted by schroedinger at 9:51 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


That's sweet but also while we're arguing, every single house and senate Democrat politely applauded the incompetent fascist helming our country last night. At least some house women had a small symbolic protest - at least something. But the Democrats should have refused en masse to attend last night. If they attended, they should have all turned their backs. If they did not turn their backs, they should have brought in protesters from Standing Rock and Code Pink as their guests, to shout down this villain. Polite respectability has never horrified me more.
posted by latkes at 7:56 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Everyday Feminism: Yes, the Left Needs to Keep Infighting
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 8:27 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


every single house and senate Democrat politely applauded the incompetent fascist helming our country last night.

They did? I was pretty sure I saw pictures of Dem Reps like Judy Chu doing thumbs down as Trump spoke and many refusing to applaud. I mean, I know Gabbard and Manchin were out there proving how useless they are but I don't think they speak for the Dem party more than Maxine Waters (who skipped) does.

but if he and Ellison are such interchangeable liberals then why run Perez in the first place?

Because Perez is well-liked and well-regarded and people wanted him to have a higher profile in the Dem machinery which is why he was considered for AG when Holder left and why he was on the shortlist for Hillary's VP? I personally know a lot of people involved in labor rights and the Dem machinery, Perez has always been seen as an up-and-coming star to them.

So maybe the reasons had nothing to do with Ellison or Sanders at all but with Perez.
posted by asteria at 9:22 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


The point, asteria, is that the Democrats as a whole are normalizing Trump by treating him as a normal president. They aren't protesting his theft of the election en masse, they aren't protesting his obscene power grabs and contempt for rule of law en masse, they're trying to treat him like a normal non-Democratic President rather than engaging in full bore, no holds barred, fangs out and hair on fire, opposition and protest of his very existence.

If they did it right you'd see Gabbard and Manchin standing in a sea of empty chairs, their betrayal of the Democrats plain to everyone. Instead they all showed up like good little peons and limited their opposition to polite little nothings.

We're seeing a few spots of resistance rather than our elected Democrats collectively and under the leadership of a real fighter opposing as hard as they can.
posted by sotonohito at 9:43 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


The debate about what it means to be center-left, or liberal, or socially liberal but fiscally conservative, or libertarian, or progressive, or leftist, or socialist is simultaneously (1) incredibly useful, (2) dangerously divisive, and (3) functionally useless.

I agree with the concerns stated above about labeling and categorizing and how it can lead to stigmatizing and excluding from "our team" people we mostly agree with. We really have to be careful. At the risk of alienating some folks, I feel like I need to "come out" as a hetero...politically heterogeneous, that is.

There are a couple of issues on which I am a conservative. E.g., I favor Right to Work (crazy, I know, but it's where I land in the debate, because I think that individual freedom to work without being forced to pay union dues is a part of liberty that trumps the free-rider problem.)

There are a few issues on which I'm a centrist: pro-capitalism, but with reasonable regulations to rein in corporate abuses and excesses, such as the Fiduciary Rule, food inspection, etc.

There are MANY issues on which I'd call myself a liberal or progressive (e.g., significant increase in the upper marginal tax rates; ENDA; affirmative action; unions and collective bargaining for public service workers; freedom of reproductive choice.)

A few of my leftish (spelling intentional) views are SO far left that I could probably be considered a socialist or a communist: UBI, free health care, free higher education, for example.

And there are some issues on which I'm a flat-out libertarian: legalized recreational marijuana and non-addictive psychoactives; elimination of property tax liens that can strip away home ownership).

What does this make me? Liberal? Progressive? Leftist? Leftish? Or just confused? Are these labels at all constructive to describe my situation, or should we not agree to work together regardless of which labels apply, and then focus on discussing the merits of the policies, themselves?
posted by darkstar at 9:54 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


The point, asteria, is that the Democrats as a whole are normalizing Trump by treating him as a normal president.

Except, clearly in true Democrat fashion, they're not doing anything as a whole.

They aren't protesting his theft of the election en masse,

Except for the Dem women who showed up in white, en masse, as protest.

they're trying to treat him like a normal non-Democratic President rather than engaging in full bore, no holds barred, fangs out and hair on fire, opposition and protest of his very existence.

Some are, some aren't. The House Dems overall seem to have more fight in them than the Senators and there are those like Gabbard who really need to be first on the chopping block when re-election time comes but I'm not willing to throw out the wheat with the chaff.

But that said, I've never expected any politician to lead us out of this mess. It'd be nice. I'd love a great real-life "West Wing" moment like that. But I don't expect it. We lead, they'll follow.
posted by asteria at 10:14 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


“Red Sea,” Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station, 28 February 2017
Right now, liberals, progressive, democrats, and the more rational centrist conservatives are all fighting among themselves.

They’ve had since November to get over their defeat and get organized and get a plan on the table and get to work. Time’s a wasting, folks. But liberals haven’t done any better at getting organized than Donald Trump has at organizing his administration.

Two days ago, the DNC elected itself a new Chairman, and predictably liberals fell to fighting amongst themselves. They’re all bitching and moaning and rehashing the election, slinging blame and arguing over candidates that are long lost and who will never be president.



And they’ll still be fighting when Trump wins his second term unless they pull their heads out of their asses right now.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:46 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Matt Christman on Perez vs. Ellison:
It goes back to the thing where people would say they're the same, they have the same views. And yes, of course, then the first question is why the hell did Perez run in the first place. But the second is that even saying that shows that these people are either lying or genuinely don't understand how politics works--and I think it's probably 50/50--and that is: it does not matter what an individual political figure's personal political views on any subject are. What matters is, who is he beholden for his power to? What coalition of interests does he owe his position? Perez versus Ellison: Perez was beholden to the Obama/Clinton people and the big donors, and Ellison would have been beholden to the grass roots. That's the fucking difference. Their personal views on any specific issue are absolutely meaningless, and to not understand that basic fact about politics, no wonder you're getting your fucking asses kicked every goddamn day, because you don't realize what's happening, because you genuinely think this is some West Wing shit where it comes down to your truly held beliefs and your ability to convince people of it.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:57 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


Oh, for fuck's sake, Ellison was hand-selected as his deputy. Perez went on NPR and sounded exactly like Dean in 2006. EXACTLY. The democrats have selected a non-democrat to a leadership position. The GOP won't know what the hell hit them in 2018, regardless if the Sienna Salazar rights his ship or not. Then they also have the Ellison strategy on top, identifying constituents that don't vote, and then convince them to register, get ID and VOTE! As a group!

HERE IS THE DEAL - Third Way Democrats are pragmatists who know a good angle when they see it, and Perez knows he's the gateway between the active left and the centrists in bad districts/states. Yes, he's a Clintonista, but he's surrounded himself with Ellison, Warren and Bernie his own goddamn self, as well as establishment Dems. Pelosi and Chuck both demanded Sessions step the hell down! NICE!

When no-one was paying attention, the Democratic Party was growing a spine. Don't obstruct to obstruct, let the Goopers have as much rope as they need to hang them all, and then move in for the kill when opportunity presents.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:15 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


I cannot for the life of me understand why so many online pontificators are so intent on making an election for a mostly procedural position THE WORST THING EVER while actual things of massive importance are happening in this country and doing real harm to people. Clinton Derangement Syndrome is a hell of a drug, I guess.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:20 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]


Third Way Democrats are pragmatists who know a good angle when they see it

Third way? As in Bill and Hillary, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown? Because their "good angle" was basically "turn into Reagan/Bush 41 Republicans with less loathsome positions on minorities."

tonycpsu: Focusing on something doesn't preclude focusing on other things. I'm sure you have many things on your mind right now. But if criticizing the DNC selection is such a colossal distraction from "actual things of massive importance," then what a truly ghastly distraction it must be for you to criticize those who criticize the DNC selection! It's so unimportant, after all, right?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:53 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Here's another thing I've been thinking about, for instance. Maybe it's also unimportant and not worth my time? I'm sure someone will wag a finger at me if so, and then I'll be sure to correct my errant ways.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on this gruesome thing:
The rehabilitation of George W. Bush really tells you all you need to know about the institutionalization of historical amnesia in American politics. 'Civility' stands in as political legitimacy and accomplishment, while the actual content of an administration is conveniently forgotten. Bush left Washington disgraced with a 27% approval rating. He took the country into an illegal war in Iraq; he signed off on Guantanamo and the Patriot Act but perhaps his signature moment was when he and his administration passively watched while Black New Orleans drowned after Hurricane Katrina. But because he says 'please' and 'thank you' he's now back in the good graces of the media and both political parties. It's that strain of civility that was on display in Trump's address Tuesday night that allowed the punditry to even entertain the idea that this monstrosity was now legitimate and 'presidential'. All style and no substance. It could be shorthand for electoral politics in the U S.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:57 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


I wasn't talking about you, JG, I was talking about the you quoted. But you are right about this being a waste of my time.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:07 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


So you were calling Princeton professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor an "internet pontificator"?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:13 PM on March 2


No, but you know that, since the comment you're quoting me from preceded your comment citing her by a couple of hours, making it unreasonable to suggest I was talking about her at that time.

Removing from recent activity to resist any further temptation to feed the troll.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:21 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Sorry, you're right--my mistake.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:26 PM on March 2


“The Democratic establishment would rather lose than allow the left to lead,” Ryan Cooper, The Week, 27 February 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 9:36 PM on March 2


Here's a specific thing I'd love to see the California Democratic Party get behind. If succesful, this could be a demonstration to the rest of the country that real, pro-active progressive action is possible.

There's a bill for single payer that has a real chance in the state. There are plenty of doubters, but I think Trump is actually providing us with a a real possibility of a truly progressive healthcare policy for the state.

I'd love to see the Democrats get behind this. If they don't, I think that shows, more than who gets elected to head the DNC, a demonstration that their values have not changed and do not represent a progressive agenda.

As someone in the Bay Area, I don't spend a ton of time contacting my senators and house member (I mean, I have called and written but there's a limit when you're from here to what makes sense), so I'm going to put my energy into pushing my state toward more humanity and justice and fairness. To me this is the kind of specific, actionable change that I think we can make more regionally right now.
posted by latkes at 8:14 AM on March 3


“The Democratic establishment would rather lose than allow the left to lead,” Ryan Cooper, The Week, 27 February 201

And the establishment could, reasonably, argue that the the (farther) left would rather lose than allow the establishment to lead. The farther left and the establishment are gonna have to work together at some point, whoever is leading. Or keep losing.
posted by Justinian at 9:44 AM on March 3 [14 favorites]


What does this make me? Liberal? Progressive? Leftist? Leftish? Or just confused? Are these labels at all constructive to describe my situation, or should we not agree to work together regardless of which labels apply, and then focus on discussing the merits of the policies, themselves?

You are likely a demand-side liberal, where the distribution of benefits are handled as needed, rather than as a uniform production of services (which can be unresponsive to consumer demand, and leads to rationing and other service deficits). A demand-sider tends to be Keynesian capitalist, with inequity corrections by design. It tends to allow the creation of wealth in order to tax it, to keep the economy smooth. A supply-sider can be capitalist too, like Reagan, but with central government planning to create a desired effect through production, rather than waiting to plug the holes. Supply-siders tend towards taxing the poor because creating wealth is their end goal, and one could argue that they see the creation of wealth as creating power, ignoring the implications of a public money supply. A supply-side liberal tends towards socialized production (such as government hospitals and doctors, instead of medical payments and subsidies), or perhaps communism (the latter being anti-capitalist, because it can control everything politically anyway). Note that supply-side economics puts Reagan and Stalin in the same camps (though on an opposing axis of political participation), a point that has been praised by neo-con Jude Wanniski, who is credited with coining these terms.
posted by Brian B. at 11:08 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


The Democratic Party seems to have no earthly idea why it is so damn unpopular
When good people who are frustrated with the Democratic Party express their genuine concerns, I see them being told to shut up and unify. “Now is not the time for public complaints,” they are told. “We must all work together.”

But what this apparently means to the people who are calling for unity is getting behind the corporate, suit and tie, lobbyist-driven agenda of the establishment. But let me break it to you – the establishment has almost no grassroots momentum. Virtually every progressive grassroots movement in America right now is fueled by people outside of the Democratic Party establishment and this is a huge reason why the party is so outrageously unpopular.
Cory Robin:
There’s a certain type of person who came of age around the time that I did—or just before or not long after—whose entire political identity is shaped around the idea of being realistic, of shedding childish enthusiasm and adolescent dreams. They were anarchists or activists or God knows what in high school or college. But now they know better. They can sling phrases like “How are you going to get it past Congress?” with all the bark of a short-order cook. They’re unafraid of clichés. They’re more mood than mind. And their world is about to come to an end.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:43 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


And their world is about to come to an end.

I was looking forward to reading the rest of this essay, where the writer offers support for this statement and provides a rationale for accepting his conclusion, except there was no rest of the essay. That is the whole thing.
posted by Miko at 7:10 PM on March 9 [7 favorites]


There's also this, from the comments (but also by Robin):
The political calculations that have underwritten that sense of realism for the last half-century — hew to the center, nothing left can appeal, etc. — are changing. Whether it happens in this election or one or two down the road, the younger generation skews left and will drive politics leftward.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:31 PM on March 9


That certainly seems uncontroversial.
posted by Miko at 7:36 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


This Atlantic article from the Hamilton hot take thread seems pretty relevant in this thread. It's a lot more useful, imo, to pinpoint specific Democratic party philosophies and actors than to shorthand it as "the establishment" which gets amorphous in a big hurry, and this article does a good job at pointing to those specifics.

The nice thing about that article is that it sketches a broad outline of the way forward if you look at the good parts of both Democratic philosophies that were in conflict, the old trust-busters cozying up to some regressive social shit and the Watergate Babies throwing the anti-corporate baby out with the bathwater when they restructured around a social equality platform... the party platform that merges the best of both worlds there looks like a good one.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:50 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


The GOP likes to make a joke of the Democratic Party's directional changes over time - in the 60s, and then again in the 80s, the Party underwent massive philosophical shifts. In my view, this is actually a good thing. This party has the wherewithal to reshape itself when a realignment with political conditions is needed - it's done it before (it's how we got the Clinton-centric regime), and I suspect it will do it again.

Seeing it happen in a way that meets the demands of those of us in the leftmost wings of the party depends upon our involvement in it.
posted by Miko at 5:59 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I caution anyone new to the party games about using the terms left and right to denote anything meaningful over time. The phrasing of left and right is merely a snapshot of the day that assumes everyone knows where the alignment is. It gets especially weird when people use the scale like a ruler to measure more or less either way. People that were formerly known as radicals being described as centrists today is suspiciously convenient phrasing. The terms of the debate have long changed, as wealth accumulated that was never there before, and as union power crumbled. For example, the newest left considers itself radical for opposing labor immigration restrictions, when this would have been a plank in the old days. The newest left embraced technology, and ushered in the era of job-hating robotics. The Microsoft trials in the nineties, and the question of monopoly, was often framed by the media as the old guard versus hipsters, helping make monopoly cool. From my perspective, the radical of today, perhaps undefined, is often more knee-jerk reactionary to the right than vice versa, and are being tacitly encouraged into staking out losing positions against the independents. The point is that the right is ripe for a mainstream attack against their crazy uncle side, if anyone dares to do it, but such an attack on their hidden true agenda may actually be guarded on the radical left as politically incorrect.
posted by Brian B. at 7:29 AM on March 10




O’Malley’s PAC, O’Say Can You See

...starting with that.
posted by Miko at 5:26 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I think this is one of the Iowa speeches O'Malley gave that was mentioned in that Buzzfeed article... I like this new O'Malley! Gives me some hope if a guy who came across as a middle of the road Dem without a lot of presence last year can connect this well in middle America. It's not perfect, but it's a damn sight better than before. Is our Democrats learning?

As an aside, it's super cheesy but I kind of love that every time, without fail, white male Dem politicians signal "blue collar populism" with the ol' Dean Sleeves, just roll 'em up and show that forearm. It's just nerdy enough that it's endearing.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:16 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Aw I miss Dean's "suburban dad who means business" sleeves.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:48 AM on March 15


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