Organize The South
November 4, 2017 10:06 AM   Subscribe

“There’s no state too red for us to go into,” Turner said. “We’re not going to leave any state or anybody in any state behind because they’re not ‘electorally viable.’”

“From Texas to Florida, voters are supporting candidates across the broad spectrum of the left: progressive Democrats and committed socialists who want to reduce wealth inequality, return power to workers, and chip away at structures of oppression that have kept people of color, women, LGBTQ folks, and others from wielding economic and political control.” In cities across the South, Socialism is on the ballot. Casey Williams, Scalawag Magazine. posted by The Whelk (114 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
How We Can Organize The South To Save The Country

Good luck and fingers crossed, because it needs a lot of saving.
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on November 4 [11 favorites]


Definitely my main complaint about the Democratic Party -- more even than the obnoxious knee-jerk centrism -- is that it has long been content to just surrender "red" counties entirely. I'm glad these guys are picking up the slack, as much as it feels like too little, too late.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:31 AM on November 4 [34 favorites]


I do wonder if the two are linked. The Dems probably think their milquetoast economic policies are a way of reaching out to the middle in those states, but it leaves them with nothing real to sell other than not being socially regressive. Enthusiasm gaps like that are dangerous.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on November 4 [21 favorites]


I'm glad these guys are picking up the slack, as much as it feels like too little, too late

I've said for years that the Republican gerrymandering efforts "will only work until they don't" as a shorthand to remind myself that none of this is actually permanent, and when the tide finally turns it is going to be brutal for them. The same applies here. It's only too late until it isn't. It has to start somewhere; too little, too late cuts both ways. One race won here, one race won there, and then one day suddenly the shoe is on the other foot.

But it'll never happen if we quit without trying.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:45 AM on November 4 [43 favorites]


Was just reading a blog post that I find appropriate to link to here. An excerpt:

You know what voters don't care about? Candidates being similar to themselves. Please note who won 62 percent of the vote in those rural Virginia counties: Donald Trump. Did he grow up in rural America? Did he serve in the military? Does he restore 1953 Oldsmobiles on weekends?

And who's the most popular politician in America on our side? Bernie Sanders. He serves a rural state, but it's clear he's not a farmboy every time he opens his mouth.

It used to be an article of faith that Democrats couldn't win a presidential election unless the candidate was a white Southerner. Then a mixed-race guy from Chicago via Hawaii and Indonesia won two elections in a row. And before that, the blueblood Kennedys and FDR were widely admired by people, urban and rural, with far less money than they had.


http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2017/11/dear-democrats-demographic-matching.html?m=1
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:47 AM on November 4 [19 favorites]


As a North Carolinian living in NYC, I have still not stopped being surprised and dismayed at how many people up here just KNOW that the South is basically 100% conservative and a lost cause. I'm from a reliably Democratic city in NC and even with the worst gerrymandering in the country we still managed to squeak out a Dem victory in the governorship this past year, but for a ton of people who've never lived there, they have the entire state categorized in their minds as uniformly hyper-right, not just politically but on an individual person-by-person, town-by-town basis. It's infuriating.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:49 AM on November 4 [53 favorites]


Not just the south, as the Huff Post just wrote:

A new poll shows that most Democratic voters want the party to move left, with new people in charge. In other words, they want a political revolution.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:56 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


I'm telling ya, there's no greater satisfaction then smoking these turd balls in the face just where they feel safe.
posted by No Robots at 11:58 AM on November 4 [6 favorites]


These people are mostly running for seats that are already held by Democrats, right? The current mayor of Atlanta is a Democrat. The previous mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, who died in office, was a Democrat. The outgoing mayor of Birmingham is a Democrat. The mayor of Asheville is a Democrat, as is the mayor of Durham. I haven't tried googling the city council seats, but so far every person mentioned in the article is running for an office currently held by a Democrat. I'm not sure how this is evidence that the Democrats have abandoned the South? Isn't it more like smug Northern leftists don't realize that a lot of local offices in Southern cities are held by Democrats?

It's also striking how overwhelmingly male the candidates are. 9 out of 10 of them are male. This is not true of their opponents. Any thoughts about why that is?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:00 PM on November 4 [21 favorites]


It used to be an article of faith that Democrats couldn't win a presidential election unless the candidate was a white Southerner

That this makes not sense is a good point. I'm a (formerly) white Southerner—formerly southern, still white I think—who has always operated from the principle of mediocrity. I.E. I'm not special, I'm just a guy much like any other guy, and my views by definition are most likely quite ordinary. And yet I've never once had an issue admiring or voting for someone from somewhere else, or with differently colored skin, or a different gender. I don't care about those things, and I track quite far to the left politically. If my belief in my mediocrity is correct, then Q.E.D. same for many others. These local offices are therefore winnable if we but try.

It's just that the assholes are so damn shouty all the time. That doesn't mean they're actually a majority though, just rude.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:02 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


I mean, yeah, I have thoughts on why this new left is not friendly to women, but I...

Ah fuck it. I mean. It’s a problem. I don’t want to go to work for candidates if I don’t think they’ll have my back. I don’t mean I have to love everything about them; I mean “will they sell women out.” And now, bc of the fuckery of the last two years, I’m deeply, deeply suspicious of any candidate who comes out of anything tainted with the misogyny of the primaries. Like they get no benefit of the doubt from me. They get the presumption of shittiness, instead. That’s...not great?

And I don’t know how to talk about the future of the Democratic Party or the left without talking about this. The Democratic Party has no future if it aligns itself with moneyed interests over people, and “the left” has no future if they ignore or fuck over POC or women. That is the core constituency of progressive politics, and the failure to grapple with that by many key figures in a self-declared progressive movement is ridiculous. So frankly, I see the moneyed alignment as an easier fix than prejudice and bigotry that isn’t even acknowledged. For a terrible value of “easier,” anyway.

So, to sort of time warp...does anyone know what happened with Dean’s 50 state strategy? Genuine question, bc I checked out for a few years. But that was, at one point, extremely promising, right?
posted by schadenfrau at 12:13 PM on November 4 [31 favorites]


does anyone know what happened with Dean’s 50 state strategy?

well they just publicly un-endoresed Northam...
posted by ryanrs at 12:23 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


dean was obviously crazy[1]
---
1. he once yelled exuberantly into a mic in a crowded room
posted by entropicamericana at 12:30 PM on November 4 [13 favorites]


I'm glad these guys are picking up the slack, as much as it feels like too little, too late

It's going to be a long game. This is one way the far right ultimately became ascendant over the entire GOP -- they started out back in the '70s and '80s by running for (and often taking over) school boards and city councils, chipping away at various godless curricula (evolution! sex education! oh my!) and local ordinances. These people were largely considered the fringe of the Republican party back then, but now they are its bedrock.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:33 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


does anyone know what happened with Dean’s 50 state strategy?

IIRC the Obama 08 campaign began moving away from it in the later stages of the 2008 election since it was considered too much of a resource sink. That could just have been a financial decision made in the heat of battle, but Dean stepped down at the end of his term after that election and his successor chose to continue moving away from the approach. Brief write-up available here. Some of this sounds like short-sightedness, in retrospect; making plans to maximise the odds for a successful Obama 12 re-election campaign may not have been a good long-term solution for the party as a whole.
posted by halation at 12:35 PM on November 4 [10 favorites]


Tonight I'll be going to one of 100 barbecues across Texas for Beto O'Reilly, running for US Senate against the execrable Ted Cruz.
posted by scalefree at 12:45 PM on November 4 [29 favorites]


I always assumed Dean's success with a strategy other than prioritizing a handful of battleground states and abandoning half the states as unwinnable and pointless probably made him some powerful enemies in the Democratic Party.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:55 PM on November 4 [15 favorites]


I always assumed Dean's success with a strategy other than prioritizing a handful of battleground states and abandoning half the states as unwinnable and pointless probably made him some powerful enemies in the Democratic Party.

Too much democracy!
posted by scalefree at 12:57 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


As a North Carolinian living in NYC, I have still not stopped being surprised and dismayed at how many people up here just KNOW that the South is basically 100% conservative and a lost cause.

This. And, at least here in Boston, it's not just the South. It's also forgetting that there are liberals or radicals in the Midwest or Southwest.

Or that there are rich or even middle-class people in any of those regions — which matters more than you'd think, because Bostonians are classist as fuck holy shit y'all.

Or that there are non-Mexican immigrant communities in any of them, or businesspeople, or drugs other than meth, or artists, or queers, or NPR stations, or foodies, or people who read books, or even really people who have finished high school.

It's like as soon as people up here let their guard down for a second, you realize that they may know better in theory, but that in practice their demographic categories go like this: "Rich parts of New England; Parts of New England that have poor people but are still part of the 21st century; New York and all that crap; California; UNRELENTING PRETECHNOLOGICAL DOROTHEA LANGE 1930s DUST-BOWL LANDSCAPES, ONLY WITH MORE GUNS AND MONSTER TRUCKS AND MAGA HATS."
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:05 PM on November 4 [46 favorites]


I'm probably guilty of this myself. Please feel free to prove me wrong out of spite or for any other reason. Just prove me wrong. Please.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


It took us 50 years to get to this point. It's going to be a long, long road to reversing it. I just hope people don't get disheartened in the meantime.
posted by Automocar at 1:15 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


It's not my fucking job to prove to you that I'm a decent person just because you're prejudiced against the place of my birth.
posted by haileris23 at 1:15 PM on November 4 [33 favorites]


We have a socialist on the Seattle city council. I lean hard left, but I'm totally disillusioned with her. She's always proposing incendiary, ridiculous policy, to the point that I wonder if it's some kind of long-form trolling. E.g., that Boeing workers should seize the Boeing factory and its profits, or more recently, a proposal that landlords who drive tenants out by raising rent will have to pay the tenants three months of rent in compensation. That latter one sounds great prima facie, except that its actual effect will be to create a strong incentive for landlords to discriminate against lower-income renters (the proposed policy applies only to those who make < $50k).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:20 PM on November 4 [9 favorites]


Sorry, my admission was not an attempt to offend.

But seriously, just fucking win.
posted by Artw at 1:21 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


Honestly part of the issue is that Northerners who spend time in the South meet a ton of leftists and liberals and don't even realize it, because "grizzly old Harley-riding veteran who runs his local DSA chapter and is super into bow-hunting" isn't an archetype they recognize. Or like "Pro-choice retired jam-making churchgoing grandma who's considered the absurdly liberal black sheep of her family because she's Presbyterian (and did I mention pro-choice?)" Or "Lesbian artist who lived in Birmingham for a long time but now she's caring for her aging parents in the back of buttfuck nowhere and raising goats and blogging about it."

They don’t want to be around poor people but at least they consistently vote for poor people to not die in the street. This is in contrast to the contemptuous attitudes of “Christian” deep red bible belts.

Jesus, dude. You're really making my case for me here.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:35 PM on November 4 [31 favorites]


Voters in rural states may have voted for Trump but he couldn't have won without lots of help from New York and California. New York made him rich and California made him famous. People in every state voted for him and people in every state voted against him. Even the reddest state wasn't over 70%. That's 30% blue even in most Republican areas.
posted by irisclara at 1:37 PM on November 4 [10 favorites]


[Coupla comments deleted. Talez, this is the third time today I've deleted something from you that was guaranteed derail-bait. Please think harder before you comment.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:40 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


Honestly part of the issue is that Northerners who spend time in the South meet a ton of leftists and liberals and don't even realize it

In my experience, some of this is down to the fact that blue-types in red places often won't talk politics unless/until they know you well. Either they're conflict-averse, or they're used to avoiding certain conversational topics, or... well, honestly, in casual interaction, politics doesn't necessarily always come up. But yes, I find this true. Heck, one of the most true-blue types I know has a gun collection so large and exotic he had to get a special license for it and owns a literal Ford pickup truck.
posted by halation at 1:44 PM on November 4 [15 favorites]


Between the vegan organic apple grower Nazis of eastern Germany and the gun collecting pickup truck-driving liberals of the American south, tribal political assumptions show their limits.
posted by clawsoon at 1:52 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


There's also this interesting thing where Northerners who can be really subtle in their understanding of political realities up here sometimes forget that shit when they start thinking about the rest of the country.

Like, ask a Boston Democrat why the state elects Republican governors all the time and you'll get a super nuanced story: yeah, it's kind of weird, but there's a long tradition of electing Republican governors up here, for some good reasons and some honestly kind of silly ones, and anyway some of them aren't all that conservative, and frankly some of it is just that they get to run on this "outsider"-type image that really resonates even with people who might not be 100% on board with their actual party platform.

Ask that same Boston Democrat why Michigan went Republican in 2016 and you get a tirade about those redneck shitstains over there and how everyone is ignorant and the whole country is going to hell.

I'm not asking you to like that a bunch of people in Michigan voted Republican. I'm just saying maybe treat that fact the same way you treat the fact that your rich asshole neighbor thinks Mitt Romney was Jesus.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:54 PM on November 4 [16 favorites]


Voters in rural states may have voted for Trump but he couldn't have won without lots of help from New York and California.
I don't know what counts as a rural state, but every single progressive candidate in the OP article is running in a city. Some of them, like the candidates in Atlanta, are running in really honking big cities. It is so very bizarre to me that some people use "rural" to describe everything that isn't the West Coast or the East Coast north of D.C.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:55 PM on November 4 [41 favorites]


  • Remember guys: November 7. No one ever considers off-year elections, but they are important. You'll probably have to resort to Google to figure out where and when to vote.
  • I've remarked before, there is no place like late night Dennys in a red state to overhear horrible political opinions. At ours, I'll regularly hear bits like "(chuckle) They can't impeach him and it makes them so mad." It is my own personal cross to bear, to not spin around and confront them, because that never goes well.
  • For all the positive developments in the news, the Democrats are still in disarray. They're still endlessly refighting the primaries, of all things. The Clinton wing of the party and the Sanders upstarts, unable to set aside their differences long enough to capitalize on the Republican confusion. The Clinton supporters can't stop talking about how bad those "Bernie bros" are and why didn't Sanders drop out of the race in Iowa (seriously!), and some of the Sanders supporters view Hillary as basically Wall Street's pawn. There is no political environment so favorable that Democrats can't mess it up.
posted by JHarris at 2:03 PM on November 4 [9 favorites]




UNRELENTING PRETECHNOLOGICAL DOROTHEA LANGE 1930s DUST-BOWL LANDSCAPES, ONLY WITH MORE GUNS AND MONSTER TRUCKS AND MAGA HATS.

It’s like they don’t even know about college football.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:11 PM on November 4 [10 favorites]


It shouldn’t be surprising that the big cities in the South are overwhelmingly Democratic; this is an unsurprising result of white flight that moves the Republicans into the suburbs.

The big challenges are getting enough Democratic voters in the statewide elections to beat out the suburban and rural gun nuts, and fighting the state governments’ constant attempts to overturn or restrict local governments. (See also: statues, Confederate)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:15 PM on November 4 [8 favorites]


Ok, so I've been thinking about this. I think here are the key points.

1. There are Democrats in the South! In related news, there are black voters in the South! It is weird to me that either of these things are news, but there you go.

2. In a couple of recent elections, left-leaning candidates have won office in overwhelmingly black Southern cities. The news here isn't that Democrats can win those offices if they try, because the offices had previously been held by Democrats. It's that Southern black voters voted for leftists in these particular cases. So maybe the lesson to take from Bernie's inability to win Southern primaries is not that Southern Democrats won't vote for leftists. Maybe they will vote for leftists who aren't Bernie.

3. Some people on the left want to believe that this means that leftists can win the entire states, and that the reason Democrats haven't won those states is that they were too moderate. I really think this remains to be seen.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:15 PM on November 4 [32 favorites]


Like, ask a Boston Democrat why the state elects Republican governors all the time and you'll get a super nuanced story:

Here’s the story. It’s an off year election, Democratic turnout is low, and Evan Falchuk was a big enough of a spoiler to fuck everything up.
posted by Talez at 2:16 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


Good! Hooray! Dismantling Dean's 50 State Strategy was one of the biggest mistakes the Democratic party machine ever made. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I'm not going to speculate as to whether Dean made the kind of powerful enemies who wanted him out, because that's water under the bridge by now. So there's now grassroot efforts to revive the Democratic party in underserved areas.

I've always felt helpless, living as I do in a reliably indigo-blue area and watching how the Democratic party infrastructure has left (many) red-state local Democratic parties to rot. If Democrats are going to clean up their collective act, and the Democratic Socialists of America are to become a major party one day, local is where we have to start. It was a huge mistake for the Democrats to take their eyes off the local ball(s).

So hooray for these people and how they're not waiting around for headpats and attaboys from the likes of the DNC. I hope this is the start of something big!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:23 PM on November 4 [10 favorites]


Sure, there's a reductionist Northern view of the South as a lost cause because it's 100% Republican. Obviously that's a simplification, a sort of mental shorthand for the more nuanced views which in a lot of ways works out to the same thing (inasmuch as our hypothetical northerner doesn't care about the local politics of any particular place in the south). To wit:

1) There are a lot of Republicans in the South (and the West).
2) Most of the Democrats tend to be concentrated in populous cities whereas Republicans tend to be more rural.
3) Gerrymandering has locked up all the Dem votes into a small number of districts.
4) Therefore, when talking about US Congress and Presidential voting, the South is a bastion of the Republican party.*

I mean, sure intellectually I know that not all Southerners are Republicans, but it's a convenient way of speaking when talking broad-brush national politics. Never mind that also Democrats from southern states tend to be more moderate.

All of which is not to say that there can't be progress made south of the Mason-Dixon line. It's necessary, in fact, to undo the efforts already undertaken by Republicans to gerrymander and solidify their holdings.

* Except for Florida, weirdly**, where its one Dem senator is the only statewide elected official who is not a Republican.
** Maybe not that weird, this is Florida we're talking about, they have all kinds of weirder shit going on.
posted by axiom at 2:28 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


I grew up in NC and I'm really proud of my friends and family who are politically active there. They are fighting the good fight. I couldn't take it anymore and moved to the west coast.
posted by scose at 2:47 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


All of which is not to say that there can't be progress made south of the Mason-Dixon line. It's necessary, in fact, to undo the efforts already undertaken by Republicans to gerrymander and solidify their holdings.

Well, again, the problem is that every DNC chair in recent memory except Dean has acted like the opposite was true, i.e. that both the South and the Midwest were absolute lost causes and not worth spending any money on.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:50 PM on November 4 [7 favorites]


Well, again, the problem is that every DNC chair in recent memory except Dean has acted like the opposite was true, i.e. that both the South and the Midwest were absolute lost causes and not worth spending any money on.
I am not going to defend the Democrats' strategy in Iowa, because it has been a trainwreck, but it is absolutely not true that they have written off this state, and it is absolutely not true that they have failed to spend money here. They may write off Iowa in the future, but they spent like mad here in 2014 and to a lesser extent in 2016. It just didn't work.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:00 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


This is what I hate about the electoral college. Kentucky was the first to throw a red blotch at the map in 2016, and all eight electoral votes went to Trump. That confirmed our redneck status nationwide. But 33% of us voted for Clinton. Why couldn't we have two out the eight votes? While I'm trying to change minds here, I always regret that my vote never counts. Not in house or senate races, either, although we do get a dem gov every once in a while.
posted by Miss Cellania at 3:06 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


“the left” has no future if they ignore or fuck over POC or women.

over half of the poor & working class are POC/women so IMO this is a false choice
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:29 PM on November 4 [11 favorites]


by that I mean that if eg the rights of women to medical care aren't respected generally then a given political movement is not really serving the poor/working class and is therefore not really left.

the important thing is distinguishing this principle from litmus tests that prioritize the specific concerns of, eg, relatively wealthy women or teacher's unions or whatever and then claimthat those specific issues are supposed to represent the Only Important Issue(s) to Women/POC
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:35 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


by that I mean that if eg the rights of women to medical care aren't respected generally then a given political movement is not really serving the poor/working class and is therefore not really left.

You can say this pretty easily, but there is definitely a strain of leftism that believes fighting sexism and racism specifically is "divisive"; that it's a liberal psyop designed to turn factions against one another on the left, distracting them from their common enemy of capitalism.

In some circles this is called brocialism or manarchism. I also call it "magic bullet leftism", because it not only believes that smashing capitalism would end racism and sexism; it believes the fight against capitalism can be separated from anti-racism and feminism. As you touch on, it is in fact impossible to separate issues of sex, gender and race from economics. But there still remains an unfortunate element of cosplaying white cis dudes who pine for the days of 1915 with their flat caps, red kerchiefs, and prominently displayed Joe Hill posters.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:45 PM on November 4 [28 favorites]


Do liberals really believe that that's what modern socialists are like or is it simply convenient to keep that myth going?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:48 PM on November 4 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't know, I'm not a liberal. Speaking from personal experience of some of the many, many tedious arguments I've had with (predominantly) white male socialists, usually MLs, and some anarchists.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:51 PM on November 4 [12 favorites]


Do you people need a MAP?
posted by marycatherine at 3:53 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


California; UNRELENTING PRETECHNOLOGICAL DOROTHEA LANGE 1930s DUST-BOWL LANDSCAPES, ONLY WITH MORE GUNS AND MONSTER TRUCKS AND MAGA HATS.

*looks out the window*

Yeah, pretty much.

Also sagebrush.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:58 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


You can say this pretty easily, but there is definitely a strain of leftism that believes fighting sexism and racism specifically is "divisive"; that it's a liberal psyop designed to turn factions against one another on the left, distracting them from their common enemy of capitalism.


yeah this is dumb but also a lot of the blame for this needs to be placed squarely on pro-business, pro-$$$-interest politicians who paint any kind of class-conciousness as inherently tied to sexism/racism (or tied to giving welfare queens the money you worked hard for)

racism, especially, is a huge wedge issue at the same time that it's an enormous real issue, and not every acknowledgement of that is brocialism
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 4:12 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


does anyone know what happened with Dean’s 50 state strategy?

well they just publicly un-endoresed Northam...
It's worth noting that Dean stepped down as the leader of DFA over a decade ago and has condemned their un-endorsement of Northam:

@GovHowardDean: As the founder of DFA, I think this is a destructive and foolish statement and I oppose this action by DFA
posted by galaxy rise at 4:20 PM on November 4 [8 favorites]


I think that progressive politics has to be about social justice; when you think about it, the moneyed class is largely white and its women are mostly dependent on the men for their money, and lifting up the poor means lifting up POC and women, because they are the majority of the poor.

We don't have to choose between social and economic justice. Period. The problem is believing that we have to, and catering to racial grievances on the part of some working-class whites who only want economic gains to accrue to them, and people who think that rights are a pie or a zero-sum game and there's only so much to go around.

And there are men who want economic justice but think women should stay in the kitchen, and to them we can say a firm "No. Rights for all means rights for all."

I really hope the progressive left doesn't follow the Third Way-ers down the path of milquetoast "electable" candidates. That would...rather defeat the whole idea of a progressive left. Good god I hope the left isn't out looking for the elusive "swing voter."

I think what hobbles progressives, more than failing to assuage the fee-fees of angry white men, is breaking up the love affair between Democrats and their couches in local and midterm elections. Democrats just can't seem to quit them, the couches that is, when it's time to get out and vote... I wonder how different the electoral map would look today if more Democrats turned out to vote in 2010.

On the whole, though, I love seeing these grassroots movements! It's what we need!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:50 PM on November 4 [15 favorites]


I've had it up to here with all the identity group protests. Every action pales in comparison to having a massive GOTV effort. The only thing these protests accomplish is motivating conservative voters, because they hate you. Seriously, nothing else matters.

The underlying problem to EVRY minority group issue, racial/sexual/gender/whatever (and I am a hardcore liberal progressive) is GOTV. Our side doesn't fucking vote. Period. It's shameful and horrible but true. Minorities need to step up. Minorities stay home in DROVES in off presidential elections. Over and over. Predictably.

All any of us can do is move forward. GOTV efforts are the only thing anyone should be focussing on.

I frankly don't care why. I don't give a shit why. The only thing our side is good at is navel-gazing and pontificating (see? I'm doing that now). Conservatives get their people to the polls and we lose, in spite of numbers. Because I don't care how oppressed/triggered/unsafe you are or feel, if you don't vote, go ____ yourself. Because nothing will change until voting patterns change. Nothing.

Well things will change. For the worse.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 5:16 PM on November 4 [1 favorite]


The underlying problem to EVRY minority group issue, racial/sexual/gender/whatever (and I am a hardcore liberal progressive) is GOTV. [...] GOTV efforts are the only thing anyone should be focussing on.

Really? Getting out the vote in 2018/2020 means we should stop all unionizing efforts? That we should stop defending abortion clinics? That we should stop protesting cops who kill black people with impunity? The ONLY answer is to elect Democrats and wait for them to take care of everything for us?

Nope, nope, and nope.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 5:36 PM on November 4 [24 favorites]


It shouldn’t be surprising that the big cities in the South are overwhelmingly Democratic; this is an unsurprising result of white flight that moves the Republicans into the suburbs.

....it's also an unsurprising result of the fact that the big cities tend to be where liberals and progressives move to because by and large, most of us feel safer there. Many places in the South see a lot of turnover--for example, in my suburban high school in one of the feeder communities of Atlanta, one of our teachers once asked us how many of us were native Georgians and how many had moved from elsewhere. I think there might have been one truly local kid in the room; the rest of us were transplants.

I frankly don't care why. I don't give a shit why. The only thing our side is good at is navel-gazing and pontificating (see? I'm doing that now). Conservatives get their people to the polls and we lose, in spite of numbers. Because I don't care how oppressed/triggered/unsafe you are or feel, if you don't vote, go ____ yourself. Because nothing will change until voting patterns change. Nothing.

bro, I voted last week, and I'm telling you now that if you tell me that the reason that we suck is because marginalized people are too concerned with making sure that their theoretical political representatives actually respect us and our concerns, you can go take a long walk off a steep pier yourself. I've voted in every federal election since 2010, and I've voted in every local election I could find since 2016 or 2015. Your attitude is not the way to actually make people feel like their votes matter. So if you don't understand why people are talking about building enthusiasm, be quiet until you do. We need people to buy into the system, and that means giving them a reason to do so.
posted by sciatrix at 5:39 PM on November 4 [15 favorites]


"Our" side, if you're including POC in "us", is not sitting on its ass. It's being actively prevented from voting.

Most of the GOTV campaigns I see are targeted at apathetic white millennials. So of course they fail, because apathetic white millennials are, by definition, apathetic.

The only way out of this mess is a sustained effort at increasing voter registration and helping people navigate all the horseshit obstacles that the GOP keeps throwing in their way like ID restrictions. Incidentally, the fact that the GOP is going in so hard on voter suppression is your big tell that this is the real issue rather than some mythical voter apathy.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:44 PM on November 4 [30 favorites]


Progressive Liberal White Guy says the real problem with the party is minorites.

Film at 11
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:46 PM on November 4 [23 favorites]


I like this, Chicago DSA is building resources for men on how to ID, address, acknowledge and correct shitty behavior within chapters and while organizing
posted by The Whelk at 5:53 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


[ jeff-o-matic, your hot take is noted and you don't need to harp on it.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:56 PM on November 4 [4 favorites]


To break up the bad taste in my mouth and address the contention that all the candidates for office being endorsed are white men, let me tell you about a candidate I've been following here in Texas. Her name is Jana Lynn Sanchez. She started running for office in the wake of last year, after being heavily encouraged to do so by folks in the Pantsuit Texas groups and other progressive Texans. Her district is a heavily gerrymandered district, mostly rural but including a chunk of the Dallas Fort Worth area to dilute the efficiency of the city (and DFW is also, as I recall, the largest primarily conservative city and the only primarily conservative megacity in the nation). She's running to depose a Republican who has held the seat without serious challenge since 1985.

She's been building an effective social network and garnering serious support for months, and it's paying off: Sanchez announced in the last two weeks that her campaign had already amassed more financial support than anyone else who has ever challenged the seat while its incumbent has held it.

She is also savvy as shit when it comes to selling her progressive values, cheerfully packaging abortion rights with gun rights in an appeal to personal freedom--which I'm betting will wrongfoot more than a few people who try to pigeonhole her or write her off as someone who doesn't know her likely constituents.

I am enjoying watching her go, and I've donated to her campaigning efforts in the past. She's come a long, long way since January, when she formally announced her run, and I am impressed by how quickly she's learned to hit the road.

In Austin, there are groundswells of energy also rising for the upcoming Congressional elections, and several House seats facing strong challenges. (God, if we can get that shitstain Lamar Smith out of office...) My own congressman is a) one of the most principled Dems in the House already and b) under no threat from conservatives as he's universally beloved citywide, so I'm watching these other campaigns with great, great interest.
posted by sciatrix at 5:58 PM on November 4 [15 favorites]


I'll nth the growing chorus that dismantling the 50 State Strategy was the stupid thing the Democrats have done in ages. It's how Obama got elected in the first place, and how he had a Democratic majority across the House and Senate to accomplish stuff in his first six months. Abandoning it set his Presidency up for failure, and it's amazing he accomplished as much as he did.

The biggest problem with mobilizing Democrats in the South is not that the South is full of bigoted rednecks. The problem is the South is run by Republicans who are not only very good at voter suppression operations, but also have free reign to implement them. Within the next twelve months, you're almost certainly going to see a lot more rollbacks of early voting, closing of polling places, more voter ID laws, and I wouldn't be surprised if there's more brazen stuff like making it illegal to transport multiple voters to a polling site, or something like that. (Remember the nonsense Republicans made about busses of illegal voters back in 2016?)

You can round up as many people who want to vote for Democrats as you like, but if they can't vote, or their votes get thrown out, it's for naught.
posted by SansPoint at 6:13 PM on November 4 [8 favorites]


I'm not saying that voter suppression isn't a huge problem, particularly of African-Americans. It's very important to look at the dirty tricks Republicans use to suppress the vote, especially because I doubt they could last as a party, as they are now, without voter suppression. Their platform is, on the whole, very unpopular. America is not a center-right nation (Eric Levitz, NYT).

However, there are plenty of Democrats who only vote in Presidential elections and stay home at the midterms. This is nothing new. People who vote in Presidential elections are, obviously, registered to vote, and can get to a polling place at least some of the time. We (Democrats and DSA) need to get them to show up every damn time there is an election.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:22 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


33% of us voted for Clinton. Why couldn't we have two out the eight votes?

Lawrence Lessig and his group Equal Citizens have filed a few lawsuits aimed at making that how it works
posted by the agents of KAOS at 6:44 PM on November 4 [2 favorites]


Presidential elections are an event. It can be a lot harder for someone who works for a shit boss or at a shit job or is just generally part of the economic class that gets exploited all the damn time to take off for local or off-year elections, no matter what the rules are.

I’d like to see automatic registration and voting holidays as policy goals, in addition to dealing with the more obviously malevolent forms of voter suppression. It should be goddamned EASY to vote.

(I am on board for mandatory voting too, but I genuinely have no idea if that’s a thing we can do.)
posted by schadenfrau at 7:16 PM on November 4 [6 favorites]


I think Mandatory voting will be another weapon against the poor but yes, voting holidays, automatic registration, re-enfranchisement, voting weekends, voting by mail, all of it and more.
posted by The Whelk at 7:20 PM on November 4 [8 favorites]


I’d like to see automatic registration and voting holidays as policy goals, in addition to dealing with the more obviously malevolent forms of voter suppression. It should be goddamned EASY to vote.

Automatic registration instead of active voter suppression (and racist gerrymandering and and and) seems like a pretty straight forward public good.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:03 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


I've had it up to here with all the identity group protests. Every action pales in comparison to having a massive GOTV effort. The only thing these protests accomplish is motivating conservative voters, because they hate you. Seriously, nothing else matters.

This is not only stunningly offensive, but wrong.

Wrong because Clinton got 3M more votes than Trump and still lost, so actually, what mattered there wasn't getting the vote out, it was reforming the electoral college.

Wrong because you can both protest and have GOTV efforts, they're not mutually exclusive.

And stunningly offensive because oh my god who the hell are you to tell people to shut up about their oppression? Female suffrage happened because of protest. The Civil Rights Act happened because of protest. The only reason UFW had any power at the bargaining table was because protest made middle class consumers willing to boycott grapes.

Maybe a good way to get marginalized groups to turn out is to have candidates they feel are worth supporting (like Obama) rather than trying to silence them and berating them for not voting.

Oh and btw, you're not "liberal" -- not even close. Nobody telling marginalized groups to shut up and fall in line is.
posted by mrmurbles at 10:47 PM on November 4 [26 favorites]


red kerchiefs

I mean, I would also like to call out this as cool thing we should do, cause I gave out 50 red bandannas for the Halloween party and I started to wear mine as an ascot/neckerchief for when i go shopping. I really don't see anyone wearing them.

I wore this to buy apples, but i also think the liberation of all classes means complete and total freedom among gender lines. and how can you even talk about class in American without discussing race, geeze.
posted by The Whelk at 11:46 PM on November 4 [3 favorites]


She's always proposing incendiary, ridiculous policy, to the point that I wonder if it's some kind of long-form trolling. E.g., that Boeing workers should seize the Boeing factory and its profits,

Socialist Alternative are a trotskyist party and this is pretty much a bog-standard marxist belief. You're not going to get a lot of socialists into office without getting at least some honest-to-god marxists in the mix. That said, Sawant is not actually attempting to introduce legislation related to this, so it's not super relevant to her position on the council that she believes in a worker's revolution.

Personally, I don't love everything she does but she does a lot of good work pushing for better outcomes from an often complacent council. Her more incendiary stuff is just what makes the news. I'm out of her district now, but I was happy to vote for her when I had the chance. I wouldn't want a whole council of Sawant clones, but she's good to have.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:28 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


But 33% of us voted for Clinton. Why couldn't we have two out the eight votes?

The Republicans occasionally introduce state-level laws to this effect, but only, mysteriously enough, in blue states.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:49 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


Oh and btw, you're not "liberal" -- not even close.

There you have it, my point indeed. I'm ideologically in line with you, but I'm "othered" by you because we have some disagreement on tactics. You just divided us. A good way to create discussion and distinctions, but even more — a really, really great way to help get conservative, anti-liberal candidates elected.

I never told anyone to shut up. What I wrote was basically "what our side is doing IS NOT working." How do I know this? GOP has House, Senate, SCotUS, Presidency and most governorships.

I agree the electoral college system needs reforming. That won't happen until we get people elected. If we don't do this, inch by inch— even with less than stellar candidates— the Right wins again, and ratchets everything just that more to the right.

And as mentioned above: it's not all about voter suppression or gerrymandering. Sure those are indeed problems. Bur side votes in big numbers in presidential elections, and in tiny numbers in off-elections. That's a huge problem.

I agree with all the other points: we need better, more diverse candidates, better access to voting, less voter suppression, less gerrymandering, etc. But nearly all of that can only be solved by getting non-conservatives elected. Even So-So non-conservatives.

Because the conservative side hates us. Hates you. And will crawl over broken glass to vote for ANYONE who promises to stick it to you, and make it even harder and harder and harder for you and your kids to vote.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 7:03 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Every primary and general Election Day should be a National holiday, and we should have systems in place to ensure voting is far easier than it is now - like online voting. It’s not an accident that voting is so hard in this country...

As it is, I am heartened by these efforts, and that is all I really have to say. Online talking accomplishes nothing - action does; especially action that results in someone voting to support progressive values that hasn’t before.

With that, I wish everyone luck in their efforts.
posted by eagles123 at 7:07 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I've had it up to here with all the identity group protests. Every action pales in comparison to having a massive GOTV effort. The only thing these protests accomplish is motivating conservative voters, because they hate you.
I've been puzzled by this for some time. What do these groups think they're accomplishing?

For example, if you tie up traffic during afternoon rush hour downtown, you are affecting working-class people that are trying to get home to pick their kids up from day care--people who probably mostly agree with the tenets of your movement. Once this happens a few times, they basically hope you die in a fire and repress any feelings of agreement. And these are not all conservative voters, but they still hate you. Where's the up side?
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:09 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Our side doesn't fucking vote. Period. It's shameful and horrible but true. Minorities need to step up. Minorities stay home in DROVES in off presidential elections. Over and over. Predictably.

hi, I worked for an all PoC civic engagement group, coordinated a lot of the GOTV and election protection efforts in Atlanta and the issue is voter suppression, not turnout. if we had a national holiday on election day and the various Secretary of States didn't regularly purge hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls every year and the state legislature didn't regularly attempt to pass extremely shitty voter ID laws, maybe your bootstraps model of voter engagement will work

you have things like county officials knowing a polling location is predominantly PoC so they group a lot of them together, forcing them to once central location that they purposefully understaff and underprovide for leading to 200+ people in lines, many of whom are paid hourly and so can't stay, which leads to many of them leaving, frustrated

you also have things like rumor-mongering about how you get on jury duty if you register to vote or how elections don't matter because 'who really decides the Presidency anyway'

and you also have civic engagement groups that are spending so much of their time scrambling for funds and themselves are understaffed and underpaid that makes it all very difficult to turn out the vote. civic engagement isn't a 9-5 job. it's often a lowly paid 9 - 8:30ish (or whenever you're done canvassing with your volunteers who can only canvass after work) job that also requires you to work at least five hours a day on the weekends coordinating efforts and then requires you to work a 14 hour shift on election day for election protection

Every action pales in comparison to having a massive GOTV effort.

well so like elections are not year round and there are a million different issues? I don't even know what you're getting at here. civic engagement often is identity-based work. you think a Korean-American living in the burbs of Georgia wants yet another white person to come by, fuck up their name, and tell them what to do? you think black folks like it when white, holier-than-thou people come out and tell them to do what's really good for them?

you want to armchair quarterback GOTV, you do so. but it doesn't make you sound any less like you don't have a single fucking clue what you're talking about
posted by runt at 7:13 AM on November 5 [17 favorites]


> Minorities need to step up. Minorities stay home in DROVES in off presidential elections. Over and over. Predictably.
bwahahahahahahahahahahahahha
> America is not a center-right nation (Eric Levitz, NYT)
He needs a MAP!
posted by marycatherine at 7:15 AM on November 5


The parts about Vincent Fort and the Atlanta mayoral race seem off to me and makes me wonder about the rest of the article. For all the call-backs to the Civil Rights Movement and meeting with Killer Mike in a barbershop, a pretty significant chunk of Fort's support comes from the kind of Edgewood Ave white hipsters the article takes a lazy swing at. I mean, he did an AMA on Reddit, and not even on the Atlanta subreddit, but the Bernie one.

I'd be toes-over-tits happy to see more progressive, socialist, and generally more leftist candidates getting elected, but this article left me with a sort of bad taste in my mouth. It felt like the blackness of the candidates named was being used in a way that it has often been exploited: to signal that something was cool and therefore lend extra cachet to its white participants. More so because, in my experience, outwardly identifying as a socialist (or variants there of) tends to be much more of a fringe position in the black community than among whites.

And as others here have already pointed out, having further left candidates win seats in already solidly blue areas is not going to do anything to address gerrymandered districts or swing state-wide elections. Nor will having an already solidly Democratic voting bloc like African-Americans going more radical alter that political reality. Every black person in Georgia could become a card carrying communist tomorrow, and while they'd have some interesting results on the Atlanta municipal elections this Tuesday, we'd still end up with a Republican governor and senators.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:09 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


If you want Congress to move left you need to hit at the primaries not bitch at the general.

Like my district had no Democratic primary opponent. Jim Costa, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress had no primary challenger from the left in California. Georgia’s 13th had no primary challenger in Panjandrum’s case (at least I assume, GA-13 is Atlanta, right?)

The left doesn’t even show up to contest these elections where all they need to do is run a ham sandwich, make noise, and vote. Every point the left win in a safe primary will send a message. Staying home for the general tells candidates to chase the center harder.
posted by Talez at 9:40 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Also, if you’re in a safe red, register as a Republican and vote for the person who isn’t a nut job. Get your friends to do the same. Hell, run as a moderate Republican.
posted by Talez at 9:43 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Plus if you run in the primary in safe red seats you’ll deplete Republican war chests just by being there.
posted by Talez at 9:45 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Thank you for reminding me to register as a Republican. My kingdom for the unseating of Doug LaMalfa!
posted by elsietheeel at 10:36 AM on November 5


The GA-13 is South Atlanta and it suburbs, a carefully gerrymandered majority black district that Democrat David Scott has served since 2002. I don't know what point you're trying to make about that district.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:43 AM on November 5


Well if you want to move Congress to the left you have three options:

1) Move a safer seat leftward
2) Flip a seat from R to D
3) Install a saner Republican in a safe R seat

If you want to move a safe seat leftward you need to run candidates against the incumbent in the primary from the left and scare them. If you win you also have moved Congress leftward as well. At the moment the strategy is to complain that the Democrats are running shitty candidates and failing to accomplish #2.

If we get into the whole “well I hate Congress but I love *MY* representative then we’re going to go nowhere in a hurry because a lot of people really do love their representatives.
posted by Talez at 10:53 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I'm "othered" by you because we have some disagreement on tactics.

That's not what othering means. "The Other" is an important concept in discussing the ways PoC, women, etc. have been framed as inferior or deficient through colonialism, misogyny, racism, etc., so I would suggest as a liberal that you strongly reconsider your effort to co-opt it and turn yourself into the victim here just because people are pushing back against your reductive assertions about GOTV as the magic bullet out of this mess.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 11:01 AM on November 5 [15 favorites]


Tonight I'll be going to one of 100 barbecues across Texas for Beto O'Reilly, running for US Senate against the execrable Ted Cruz.

Make that Beto O'Rourke, which I knew perfectly well. Guess I had BBQ on my mind. Looks like I'll be manning a phone bank before too long.
posted by scalefree at 11:41 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


a pretty significant chunk of Fort's support comes from the kind of Edgewood Ave white hipsters the article takes a lazy swing at

lol, I know a lot of the people involved in Fort's campaign and a good chunk of them came up through radical left organizing like Tent City or Occupy. I have PoC activist friends who'd die on the cross for Fort because they've seen him out at all of their events and they've gone to jail with them

part of the reason why there aren't radical 'black' organizers in establishment politics is because the radical, liberation-focused black organizers Do Not Trust the political system, period. four decades of black mayors and you have a city that's rapidly gentrifying, only just recently partially decriminalized marijuana, and a million $ + corruption scandal plaguing city hall. Kasim, the fucker, got rid of all public housing, is cushy with Nathan Deal, and just recently defunded all of the homelessness taskforce. that's a black Democrat for you in Atlanta, a lot of smoke and very little fire

black activists are tired of that shit so they're not going to jump in unless there's somebody from their own ranks like Khalid. plus, they have plenty of other issues to worry about including but not at all limited to the slayings of DeAundre Robinson and Anthony Hill, to taking fights to developers on the street level in the West End, to radicalizing and bringing up organizers in the AUC, and so much more

having further left candidates win seats in already solidly blue areas is not going to do anything to address gerrymandered districts or swing state-wide elections

actually, when a city like Atlanta can pass a non-detainer policy, that means cities like Decatur, Norcross, Dunwoody, etc have cover to pass non-detainer policies. Atlanta Jobs With Justice has been fighting hard to push for $15 minimum wage for city workers - they succeeded with Clarkston which led to a domino effect in other cities culminating in Atlanta declaring they would be $14.97 or some rando almost $15, state-legislature proof wage that will be fully enacted by 2019

further left candidates work on a policy level. and then, once those candidates can bring about progressive legislation, grant money from major foundations will start flowing into the city with all of this new media attention. and that's when civic engagement groups can start reaching out and pushing in areas like Columbus and Macon which require funding for hotel stays, organizing workshops, fuel, and canvas cutting research

none of this stuff is either/or - it's a messy confluence of interconnectedness. if there's ever a mitigating factor to organizing work, it's egos and the inability to say 'hey, I don't have the experience or the organizing knowledge to know what works and doesn't - so I'll keep my philosophical objections to myself until I'm actually doing the work'

it's those people with armchair philosophical objections who aren't organizing because of some weird bit of mental gymnastics on their end that weaken the movement. snipe at it from the outside, get other people uninterested, and wham, somehow the Buckhead-funded white Trump-loving woman rises to the top of the polls in Atlanta because they're the ones who can turn people out
posted by runt at 11:51 AM on November 5 [11 favorites]


I'm "othered" by you because we have some disagreement on tactics.

When I say it's not "liberal" to tell marginalized groups to shut up and fall in line (which really is what you're saying with "stop protesting, start voting for the candidates I think you should vote for") what I mean is that people with power have been doing that to marginalized groups for the entirety of American history. Sometimes out of sheer malice and selfishness, but other times with the best of intentions!

But it's not actually a disagreement about tactics, it's a disagreement about goals. For example, some NFL owners want players to stop protesting because they're racist shit-heads, who can't stand to see black people have a voice. But some NFL owners want players to stop protesting because they think they have the players best interests at heart. Protests alienate NFL audiences, viewership and ticket sales decline, players become less popular, earn less money. These owners sincerely believe they are protecting their players' careers, doing what's best for them.

But those players may not put their NFL salaries or careers above every thing else. They may care more about making people aware of police brutality than making money. And for the owners to assume they know what's best for the players/ what the players want, and to dictate how they behave is profoundly paternalistic and not actually liberal.

Liberal is listening to marginalized people, learning why certain things might be more important to them than you think they should be, and believing that they know the costs and benefits of what they're doing, they know what's in their own best interests, that their assessment of their situations and what's of primary vs secondary importance to them is accurate.

And look, this is hard for many people -- myself included. I remember in college, hearing a black woman say that she felt more oppressed as a black person than as a woman. I remember thinking at the time that it was because she just didn't understand how insidious and internalized sexism is. I absolutely still believe that sexism is worse than a lot of women understand (especially younger women) for many reasons, but I'm also now an adult who realizes that a black woman is in a much better position than I am (as a latina) to evaluate whether racism or sexism is more oppressive in her life.

So that's what's offensive about telling people that they should stop protesting and start voting for whoever you think they should be voting for. It fundamentally assumes that the people you are talking to are stupid, not acting in their own best interests, unable to evaluate the calculus of their political actions with the clarity that you, from the outside, can. It's very similar to the shaming that happens to poor people -- the assumption that poor people are just too stupid to avoid cigarettes and predatory lending, without an understanding of the factors that make those things absolutely rational, or in some cases, the only, options people have.
posted by mrmurbles at 1:30 PM on November 5 [12 favorites]


If you want to move a safe seat leftward you need to run candidates against the incumbent in the primary from the left and scare them. If you win you also have moved Congress leftward as well. At the moment the strategy is to complain that the Democrats are running shitty candidates and failing to accomplish #2.

As a Georgia Democrat, I would much rather my party not spend its time on cannibalistic attacks against sitting members of congress, but instead put its energy into running competitive Democratic candidates in some of the rapidly changing though gerrymandered Republican districts like the 6th and the 7th, both of which have gone from reliably Republican to toss ups over the past 10 years.

Also, as someone who is feels that she is represented well by Hank Johnson in the GA-4, I'm pretty damn tired of white men from other states who spend a disproportionate amount of time online attacking my congressmen. There is apparently a reddit group or something where they trade videos and insults and make plans to go online and harass Johnson and his constituents. I have no idea what you personally have against Rep. Scott (I have no idea if you even know anything about Rep. Scott), but I personally trust the people of the GA-13 to choose their own congressmen and to turn on Scott themselves if he stops representing them well.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:59 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


As a Georgia Democrat, I would much rather my party not spend its time on cannibalistic attacks against sitting members of congress, but instead put its energy into running competitive Democratic candidates in some of the rapidly changing though gerrymandered Republican districts like the 6th and the 7th, both of which have gone from reliably Republican to toss ups over the past 10 years.

That’s the thing. You don’t attack. You run a candidate that says “I will be as progressive/socialist as possible”. Then you just see where the chips fall. Then you show up in the general and vote for whoever wins. You don’t start a shitfight you’re showing the incumbent where the votes are.
posted by Talez at 3:20 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


I do, however, practically insist you start a shitfight if you try to be a moderate insurgent in one party R primaries.
posted by Talez at 3:22 PM on November 5


I never said minorities should vote for certain people or a party. We have to get asses to voting booths, not every 4 years or 2 but in all local elections also.

That’s what I mean by GOTv. Perhaps I wasn’t clear. But note I get multiple responses telling me I don’t know WTF I’m talking about and STFU. And a scolding for using a term in an unapproved way. You know who got Othered? You and me, by people who fucking go and vote for candidates who hate us equally. I'm a metrosexual libturd, you are gay, trans, minority, PoC, whatever. They hate US.

The right wing is nearly steamrolling you AND me.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 4:03 PM on November 5


And a scolding for using a term in an unapproved way. You know who got Othered? You and me, by people who fucking go and vote for candidates who hate us equally.

You're not being scolded, you're being conversed with in a way that presumes that you in fact agree that the precise use of words, concepts, data, and facts matters to our side (as opposed to the right), and therefore that this particular point is actually relevant. Othering describes a specific set of historical, cultural, and social phenomena. If you are a straight, white, native-born, non-Jewish/non-Muslim cis male who doesn't live in poverty, you almost certainly haven't been othered historically by capitalism, colonialism/imperialism, or systemic racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. Moreover, you aren't being othered by people here who disagree with you, nor are you in fact being othered by the far right.

I agree with you that the right strives to demonize all of us (regardless of gender, race, etc.) who are even slightly to the left of the John Birch Society these days, and that they express plenty of contempt and even hatred for white male liberals. But that does not put white male liberals in the same sociohistorical boat as people of color or women (etc.). Moreover, arguing that it does is actually (if inadvertently) a way of erasing the fact that while capitalism and the current political are certainly steamrolling millions of us (just as you say), not all of us are being steamrolled equally. Those of us who have been othered historically and continue to be othered today by virtue of our class, race, gender, etc. do not wish to have our lived experiences erased -- no, not even by liberal male allies -- as we move forward in struggling against the far right.

As the saying goes: "Empathy plus action equals solidarity." To try to minimize our different experiences, perspectives, and goals is to miss the first part of that equation.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 5:01 PM on November 5 [10 favorites]


I'm a metrosexual libturd, you are gay, trans, minority, PoC, whatever. They hate US. The right wing is nearly steamrolling you AND me.

this is probably the ugliest and most brutish understanding of intersectionality and only as it is specifically applied to voting and one single demo

which is to say: buddy, it's not like you're preaching to the choir. it's more like you're scolding a professional choir after having sung in the shower for a few minutes because you, for what's becoming obvious, seem to think you have the privilege of having your voice heard
posted by runt at 5:14 PM on November 5 [10 favorites]


[jeff-o-matic, you've said your piece in this thread and repeating the same thing over and over and over again is not going to convince anyone else. I asked you yesterday to stop harping on it; today I'm telling you to take a break from this thread.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:30 PM on November 5


lol, I know a lot of the people involved in Fort's campaign and a good chunk of them came up through radical left organizing like Tent City or Occupy. I have PoC activist friends who'd die on the cross for Fort because they've seen him out at all of their events and they've gone to jail with them

I'm sure they would, but that does not change the appeal of his campaign to, for lack of a better term, "bernie bros," who are not PoC and do not have experience with OWS or the Turner field/GSU camp.

further left candidates work on a policy level. and then, once those candidates can bring about progressive legislation, grant money from major foundations will start flowing into the city with all of this new media attention. and that's when civic engagement groups can start reaching out and pushing in areas like Columbus and Macon which require funding for hotel stays, organizing workshops, fuel, and canvas cutting research

That's a wonderful future I'd like to see happen, but Atlanta/Decatur has been significantly more left than the metro area (and even further left than the rest of the state) for some time now, and this wonderful future has yet to come to pass. Cherokee and Forsyth still dump tens of thousands of votes towards Republican candidates and the rest of the state also swings red in significant numbers and policies. It could even be argued (if I was feeling like needling you, which I am) that the policies of Reed (and Franklin, Campbell, and Jackson) in growing the city and making it a desirable place for people and business to relocate have done more to tilt the political landscape of the Atlanta Metro Area towards the left than any undefined progressive legislation and theoretical grant money.

it's egos and the inability to say 'hey, I don't have the experience or the organizing knowledge to know what works and doesn't - so I'll keep my philosophical objections to myself until I'm actually doing the work'

Fort is going to lose on Tuesday, and he's going to lose quite badly. And it will not be because of the egos and inability of voters to challenge their oh so ignorant opinions and line up behind the one true candidate of Fort. It will be because he failed to run a campaign that connected with the majority of Atlanta voters.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:36 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


All I know how to do is GOTV. That said, I'm doing GOTV quite hard. The rest of it, idk what to do about.
posted by dogheart at 5:57 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Artw:

I'm probably guilty of this myself. Please feel free to prove me wrong out of spite or for any other reason. Just prove me wrong. Please.
.............................................................................................
Sorry, my admission was not an attempt to offend.

But seriously, just fucking win.


I am seriously struggling to understand how you could make the first statement and not see that it is wildly offensive, or how you could think that the second statement is an apology. Unless, of course, you don't believe that people from outside your approved areas of the US are actually human beings.
posted by tumbling at 6:06 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Fort is going to lose on Tuesday, and he's going to lose quite badly.

lol, no shit. he's not the 'one true candidate', he has a shoddy history of actually managing cities and there's not a single person on his team who would actually be good at the day-to-day grunt administrative work that it takes to run a city. Fort will lose because he's there, like he's always been there, to put a voice to what actual progressivism looks like in Atlanta. and the people helping him aren't 'Edgewood hipsters' - there are people in his campaign who've given up a normal life, who've been arrested standing up for housing rights, who sacrifice their time and money to organize with accountability and with the community in mind first. that you decided to characterize activists living their best lives as 'Edgewood hipsters' is a very divisive kind of meanspiritedness that you know you deserved pushback on

It could even be argued (if I was feeling like needling you, which I am) that the policies of Reed (and Franklin, Campbell, and Jackson) in growing the city and making it a desirable place for people and business to relocate have done more to tilt the political landscape of the Atlanta Metro Area towards the left than any undefined progressive legislation and theoretical grant money.

for some? I'm not sure which reality of Atlanta you're living in where the past few mayoral admins haven't displaced residents en masse. if the progressive future you want to live in is white, makes six figures a year, and everybody lives in mixed-use condo units then we have very different definitions of what counts as progressive and what doesn't. Decatur was 70% black, 30% white at the turn of the millennium - now it's 50/50 with median housing prices at 500k+ (thanks Cathy Woolard). it's only progressive in name - and it's taken outsider organizers like me and many others to even get them to think about taking down a Confederate monument in their square or to codify their non-detainer policy

any undefined progressive legislation and theoretical grant money.

lol, Atlanta's non-detainer policy was written for them by organizers from Project South, GLAHR, and other folks in the J20 coalition and the Not1MoreDeportation coalition. Atlanta's $15 minimum wage policy was written for them by Atlanta JWJ and the coalition they built with 9to5 and others. Atlanta's marijuana decriminalization bill was written for them by SnapCo with organizing assistance from the J20 coalition. all the progressive legislation you take for granted, that you attribute to Kasim or Kwanza or Andre, those are documents that organizers have been pushing for months to have heard by these milquetoast 'liberals' in City Council

when I organized in Norcross and Gwinnett, we helped to unseat an incumbent, three-term Republican in the State leg and replaced her with an openly gay Korean Democrat with no political experience. we were the effort that increased the Asian-American voter turnout by half and we did it because we were connected to further left candidates like Sam, Brenda Lopez, and Ted Terry who could connect us to other organizers, who could get us seats at the table, and who helped vet us when we applied for grant money

we can get further left candidates to office and, when we do, all of the above efforts become easier. they make it so those panic attacks and depressive episodes and sleepless nights that I and other folks like me experienced in the effort to push progressive legislation forward aren't a default state. there's nothing that will change about Georgia politics unless you build a new system outside of the hand-in-pocket good ol boy one in place - that's the goal we're aiming for. don't kid yourself with moderates. there's no such thing as a moderate when there's money in politics
posted by runt at 6:35 PM on November 5 [7 favorites]


So that raises the question: are further left candidates worth it if, like Fort, they're actually kind of shit at their job once they're in office?
posted by Merus at 6:48 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


that you decided to characterize activists living their best lives as 'Edgewood hipsters' is a very divisive kind of meanspiritedness that you know you deserved pushback on

If you could take a moment to come down off the cross there, William Jennings, and read what I wrote, you'll note that I was specifically making a distinction between the "radical left organizing like Tent City or Occupy" and "PoC activist friends" who would die for Fort, and the more casual supporters of him. Also, if you have a problem with "Edgewood hipster" language, take it up with TFA which I'm sure you read:
Behind them, framed by a plate-glass window, pedestrians milled up and down Edgewood Avenue. Once a center of black life in Atlanta, the street now reflects the urban architecture of white hipsterdom: barcades and beer gardens flank the avenue; fixed-gear bicycles gleam in a nearby storefront.
It's good to know that Fort and his team of people who have thrown their lives into supporting him and his causes are absolute shit at their jobs though. It's also good to know that the dividing line of appropriate language is that calling people "who've given up a normal life, who've been arrested standing up for housing rights, who sacrifice their time and money to organize with accountability and with the community in mind first" incompetent is fine, but mere hint that they might be hipsters is worthy of pushback rant.

I'm not sure which reality of Atlanta you're living in

The reality is that the city I grew up with my entire life and have lived in my entire adult life was one that was hollowed out by white flight, crack, and crime. The reality is that the city I live in has demonstrably improved for its residents over the past two decades because we are better off with Centennial Olympic Park rather than a bunch of abandoned warehouses. We are better off with a Downtown that actually has people and students in it, and businesses that stay open after 5pm rather then the whole thing becoming a fucking ghost town at days end. We are better off not having every third building on Peachtree St boarded up. We are better with the Villages of East Lake instead of East Lake Meadows. We are better with Ponce City Market instead of the moldering abandoned heap of City Hall East. We are better with Krog Street Market instead of an empty warehouse that Tyler Perry might occasionally film in. We are even better with the big box retail of the Edgewood Shopping District instead of the U-Haul rental and storage facility that used to be there. And though even I have a hard time believing it, we are even better with the sterile outdoor mall of Atlantic Station instead of the abandoned and contaminated steel mill that was there. We are better with the Beltline instead of unused railroad tracks. We are better with beer gardens, barcades, and fixies on Edgewood than we were with empty store fronts. We are better with lofts and art strolls in Castleberry Hills than we were with empty warehouses. We are better with the music school that took over the crack house I used to live next to and with people living in homes on what used to be empty lots or abandoned buildings in the neighborhoods in which I've lived.

I'm sure you'll piss all over the above as gluttonous gentrification which has crowded out the poorest and most vulnerable of the city, and that the economic advancement has been far from equally distributed, and that the city still faces significant hurdles both right now and looming in the future -- and you'd absolutely right, but Atlanta today has more homes, more jobs, more opportunities, and simply more life in it that the city I got my first apartment in. That doesn't mean I'm stroking myself off in anticipation of Future San Franlanta; if I didn't actually care about things like affordable housing, transit options, and school funding I wouldn't be wasting my time arguing with you. But "none of this stuff is either/or - it's a messy confluence of interconnectedness" as someone put it up thread, and managing sustained growth for a city of more than 400K people in a metro area with 4M more is a complicated tasks, but one that does require homes, jobs, and some modicum of livability. So keep up your good work, but don't shit all over those of us who are happy we have a grocery store now.

Decatur was 70% black, 30% white at the turn of the millennium - now it's 50/50 with median housing prices at 500k+

Census statistics for the City of Decatur

2000: White 65.6% (11,906) / Black 30.5% (5,532) / median value of owner occupied homes $220,400
2010: White 73.5% (14,215) / Black 20.2% (3,910) / (couldn't find an exact equivalent on the Census site, city of Decatur states 2015 estimate of $350,400)

At least your trends were in the right direction, even if your numbers were completely bullshit.
posted by Panjandrum at 11:12 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


And jfc, speaking of trending in the right direction but missing the mark...

Kasim, the fucker, got rid of all public housing

Atlanta started tearing down its old and often uninhabitable public housing complexes in the early 90s -- ahead of the Olympics and when Reed was still in law school and Bill Campbell was mayor -- using HUD HOPE VI grants to build mixed income developments with subsidized housing and to provide rent assistance/housing vouchers. The Atlanta Housing Authority is still very much a thing and debates over how to utilize it to provide more affordable housing stock and curb the condo bubble has very much been a part of the both the mayoral and council elections.

just recently defunded all of the homelessness taskforce

No, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, which is non-profit organization and not a governmental body, finally lost a years long series of law suits to close their Peachtree-Pine homeless shelter, whose operation was, to put it lightly, controversial. No doubt the city would prefer more development in the prime real estate the shelter sits on, but the residents and businesses of the area would probably also prefer less muggings, shootings, and TB outbreaks. Regardless, MATFH got a purported $10 million settlement for the property this June and then the city council issued a $26 million bond to fight homelessness a month later (matching $25 million already put forward by the United Way).
posted by Panjandrum at 11:47 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I'm sure you'll piss all over the above as gluttonous gentrification which has crowded out the poorest and most vulnerable of the city, and that the economic advancement has been far from equally distributed, and that the city still faces significant hurdles both right now and looming in the future -- and you'd absolutely right, but Atlanta today has more homes, more jobs, more opportunities, and simply more life in it that the city I got my first apartment in.

this is a very excellent delusion where white flight out and white gentrification moving back in was just a natural, policy-driven thing that the City of Atlanta magicked into existence and not part of a much larger demographic trend enabled by a history of white supremacist legislation and culture that's happening in cities all across the United States. I agree with you - I think it's excellent that food deserts are disappearing, roads are being paved, and abandoned lots are being rebuilt. I think it's somewhat less excellent that this facilitates huge increases in the cost of living and I think it's far less excellent that affordable housing initiatives are largely ignored by the City in favor of allowing developers to run rampant and it's probably actually pretty bad that these initiatives are coming at the cost of services to the actually needy like the time Atlanta took $30 million out of its public schools and dumped it into a massive gentrification project

I have no idea where or why you trust the city to be equitable except it seems that you, personally, seem to have benefited greatly from the Beltline coming to your neighborhood. ignoring, of course, the complete failure of what was to be the most symbolically progressive promise of a city-wide pathway which has done nothing but to gentrify the city more

I'm sure you enjoy your shitty fusion food that costs $40 an entree and the plastic surgery clinics that have opened up in Inman Park as much as you enjoy all the condo units sprouting up 'starting in the high 300s' per unit. I'm sure you love the fact that the way Atlanta dealt with the homeless around the Olympics was to give them all a one-way bus ticket out and that Peachtree and Pine died a long, slow death from a lack of funding and effort by the City, whose death made the area around where I work just giddy with the prospect of it being replaced by yet another bland piece of multi-colored crud

not a single thing you're saying tells me that you care about affordable housing - you seem to love the prospect of a city being 'built up' for your benefits while folks are marginalized en masse, while you give Kasim a free pass in the same way he's given a free pass to developers

of course there's complexity in managing a city. and I might sound like a frothy activist (because, I own it, I am) but the faith you have in Atlanta is something that only outside beneficiaries to City politics seem to have. city employees that I'm friends with, who've seen the sausage making on the inside, are a fair bit more cynical about the corruption that's intrinsic to Atlanta's current political system while you ignore all of its many flaws

the fact that the one person with any kind of ethical and moral character in the council gets attacked by Kasim for pushing for transparency in finances after the City received a failing grade by a watchdog group is apparently not enough to rouse you out of your fresh food induced slumber

you keep focusing on how good you have it now while you sit and do nothing but snipe at progressive efforts in your own city and I'll keep focusing on how bad it's getting for people who can't afford to even rent in your massively gentrified neighborhood and continue my organizing efforts and we can call it a day
posted by runt at 6:53 AM on November 6 [5 favorites]


So that raises the question: are further left candidates worth it if, like Fort, they're actually kind of shit at their job once they're in office?


It's good to know that Fort and his team of people who have thrown their lives into supporting him and his causes are absolute shit at their jobs though.

http://beautifultrouble.org/tactic/electoral-guerrilla-theater/
posted by runt at 7:03 AM on November 6


HOPE VI funding system? It's a racket (Iron Triangle: feds (HUD), PHAs, RE developers exploiting congressional appropriations for profit and, actually, undermine any tendency to race, class integration in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The program institutionalized a historical cycle of housing (de)segregation typically signaled by "white flight" (value, volume) from cities. The "mixed use" mandate is a weak condition of the grant award as is the 30% set-aside of unit stock for "low-income" buyers and renters. On its face, the terms fail to satisfy much less restore 100% displacement of "low-income" residents in those zones that RE developers have identified as cheap investment risks. In my lifetime, HOPE VI and "Enterprise Zone" promotion during the Clinton administration exemplifies bipartisan agreement on the proposition.
posted by marycatherine at 7:07 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


breaking up the love affair between Democrats and their couches in local and midterm elections

I have good news from Colorado! We're having an election on Tuesday for city council and board of education, and the amount of effort local volunteers have put into canvassing has been astonishing. We had the same races in 2015 and there was radio silence, but this time around the ground game has been strong. We went out to dinner last night and, for the sake of the dog, had to hang up a sign indicating that, yes, we have turned in our ballots already, thanks very much. Of course, we'll see how helpful this was when the election results roll in, but I think Trump has really energized people into caring about mid-terms and locals.
posted by zeusianfog at 12:44 PM on November 6 [7 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted; Panjandrum and runt, this needs to get less heated and personal if it's going to continue on here. ]
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:05 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I've had it up to here with all the identity group protests. Every action pales in comparison to having a massive GOTV effort.

Speaking from abroad, this is arrant nonsense - at least in Britain. If you try and run just a GOTV campaign then the people turn round and say, entirely reasonably "You only ever turn up for our votes. Why should we bother voting for you?" A GOTV-only campaign is like a cake made entirely of icing sugar and fondant.

What people acutally respond to is candidates that are actually there for them. If a local councillor has the council fix your fence you are likely to vote for that councilor even if you can't stand their beliefs (the textbook Green Party of England and Wales example involves a literal member of the IPCC voting Conservative because of this).

People are there for, organise for, and campaign for those who are there for them. If all you do is a GOTV vote you are showing you aren't there for them so why should they be there for you? All you are offering is empty promises.
posted by Francis at 2:57 AM on November 7 [10 favorites]


I can t favorite Francis' comment enough. Politics is what happens between elections y'all. Meetings, hearings, client services, staff responses to complaints about agencies, this is politics.

During BP, Barbara Boxer was our third Senator. Corey Booker and Maxine Waters have had more visits to constituents in Louisiana than our Senators. Corruption and Racism means we are not represented, but make no mistake who the fighters are. Southerners won the civil war, for the Union.
posted by eustatic at 2:00 PM on November 7


Southerners won the civil war, for the Union.

Well there’s a novel take.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:18 PM on November 7


It s not novel. W E B DuBois wrote Black Reconstruction in America in 1935.

here's a much shorter read focused on military strategy

It s just always been convenient to use "the South" as a scapegoat for the ills of the United States.
posted by eustatic at 4:39 PM on November 7


Congratulations to everyone on all the winning.

See, I knew you could do it.
posted by Artw at 6:24 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


re: the HOPE VI racket in Atlanta

http://reason.com/blog/2017/10/17/atlanta-scrambles-to-get-out-of-massive

"That's the question the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) is no doubt asking itself as it tries desperately to get out of a deal it made to sell $138 million of land to a property development company for the recession-era price of $17 million.

The company, Integral, claims it was promised the $120 million discount by former AHA chief Renee Glover in a 2011 agreement. AHA's current president, Catherine Buell, says she knew nothing about the 2011 deal until Integral tried to make good on it in late 2016, and that the terms are wholly inappropriate. "The Atlanta Housing Authority is not a land bank for private developers to purchase land at rock bottom prices," says Buell. Her agency is now suing to stop the deal, calling it "unconscionable," "secret," and a violation of federal and state regulations.

[...]

This particular episode has its roots in "revitalization agreements" made between AHA and Integral at the turn of the century, whereby Integral promised to convert several of Atlanta's low-income public housing projects into mixed-income developments. For its trouble, Integral was awarded some $114 million in AHA loans, funded through Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE VI program."
posted by runt at 10:41 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


From the AJC article:

"Glover signed the 2011 deal with Integral without informing them or holding a required board vote, which she denies. Glover said the incentives were in the works for nearly two decades as part of her plan to replace AHA’s islands of poverty with neighborhoods nice enough to convince the middle class to move in next door to the poor. Integral deserves the deal for years of working in areas that were once so desolate and crime ridden that some called them war zones, she said."

you know how they say all pop songs sound the same
posted by runt at 10:48 AM on November 8


I was fed up with all the CRA blame gaming online in the face of local reporting on PHA conflicts of interest AND before the Panic of '08. So I went in search through HUD archives for HOPE VI documentation. There's just nothing there from any of the award "phases" to recommend positive outcomes for dislocated residents. Couple that trend to FHFA deregulation and decimation of its mortgage market share from '94 forward, and the grift became clear to me.
posted by marycatherine at 12:49 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


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