The Case for A Populist Democratic Party
April 10, 2018 7:19 AM   Subscribe

FIRST This report shows that a pivot toward the “center” is poison with the Democratic primary electorate, using historical data to show the increasing liberalism of Democratic voters on core progressive values. SECOND This report shows that marginal voters and nonvoters support key progressive policies and could form a durable base for the Democratic Party. FINALLY This report shows that many Democratic incumbents are failing their constituents by opposing progressive policies with broad-based support. Future Of The Party.
posted by The Whelk (111 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 


Hm, the website is getting blocked by my network security thing.

I keep getting these paper surveys in the mail that purport to be from the Democratic Party, despite the fact that as far as I remember I don't think I've ever.... enrolled? what's the verb here?... as a member of the Democratic Party. Is that the kind of thing this report that I cannot access is being based on?
posted by inconstant at 7:25 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


inconstant: If your voter registration says Democrat, you're enrolled. If you've donated to a Democratic candidate, you're gonna get surveys.
posted by SansPoint at 7:33 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


The Democratic Party's current base is where kooky Dennis Kucinich was 14 years ago

IIRC, the Democratic Party's base 14 years ago was also where kooky Dennis Kucinich was, but the party leadership was too obsessed with "electability" games and triangulation and a general sense of we-know-what's-best-for-you to listen.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:42 AM on April 10 [26 favorites]


Timely related article: The Democratic Party's current base is where kooky Dennis Kucinich was 14 years ago

Yeah, I think the party is less tolerant of quiet systemic racism, which is the part about Kucinich that seems to always get left out when he comes up.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:44 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


I'm good with moving the party left and getting out the vote because I firmly believe that if we vote we win. However, the reports "Bad Democrats" seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I think taking control of the party will be a gradual thing as incumbents move left to preserve their positions and new faces come in. It doesn't need to be a sweeping housecleaning of all the less than perfect politicians.

Also, as a student of history, I am deeply leery of the term Populist. That language is not typically used to support an agenda of open-minded and forward-thinking. Just because an idea is of the people doesn't mean it's a good one. Jackson was considered a populist and he was a monster.
posted by teleri025 at 7:45 AM on April 10 [42 favorites]


Kucinich has spent a lot of his recent time on Fox defending and praising Trump. The last thing he seemed to accomplish was in his brief stint as mayor.

If he's the future of the party then no thanks.

IIRC, the Democratic Party's base 14 years ago was also where kooky Dennis Kucinich was

And where was the Democratic Party and base 10 years ago? 6 years ago? I just don't get the hard-on the left has for old white dudes who talk a good game but don't follow it up. It's a big country, there has to be someone better to use to look to the future.
posted by asteria at 7:46 AM on April 10 [47 favorites]


Kucinich has spent a lot of his recent time on Fox defending and praising Trump. The last thing he seemed to accomplish was in his brief stint as mayor.

I think Kucinich hits on a good point, though, that it is Trump's pointing out and speaking to people's dissatisfaction that he was in agreement with, while being firm that Trump is wholly incapable and unwilling to actually follow through in helping people in any way. Democrats treating articulation of this kind of dissatisfaction with disdain is how you get "America was already great".- it's a losing strategy to ignore it.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:14 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Kucinich has spent a lot of his recent time on Fox defending and praising Trump.

...and Assad. And saying the Deep State is after Trump. The Paranoid Style sadly does show up on both sides*. When you've decided that the US is the source of all the problems in the world**, it can completely blinker you to the things you should actually be paranoid about, like conspiracies by Russians to throw our elections.

*See also: Stein, Jill
**See also: Stone, Oliver

posted by leotrotsky at 8:22 AM on April 10 [33 favorites]


I think Kucinich hits on a good point, though, that it is Trump's pointing out and speaking to people's dissatisfaction that he was in agreement with,

You mean that he was in agreement with Trump's appeal to white supremacy - something that would come as no surprise to anyone aware of his political career? Again, there's a reason why "economic anxiety" became such a punchline - you don't have to scratch deep to find the racism underneath, which has been pointed out over and over. And as the actual Democratic base becomes comprised more by minorities, this argument is only going to become more of a loser.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:22 AM on April 10 [19 favorites]


And where was the Democratic Party and base 10 years ago? 6 years ago? I just don't get the hard-on the left has for old white dudes who talk a good game but don't follow it up.

My point being not that Kucinich is the super best candidate ever and that we should be looking to him now as the saviour of the party or whatever but rather that the Democratic Party's leadership has a long history of pulling hard to the right and generally not giving a shit what the membership thinks.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:27 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


My point being not that Kucinich is the super best candidate ever and that we should be looking to him now as the saviour of the party or whatever but rather that the Democratic Party's leadership has a long history of pulling hard to the right and generally not giving a shit what the membership thinks.

And our point is that using Dennis Kucinich - a politician who has a rather questionable history with regards to racism - to argue that point doesn't really work because of that history.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:32 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Hm, the website is getting blocked by my network security thing.

My version of Chrome blocks it as an insecure connection. You'd think THE FUTURE could use HTTPS.

Timely related article: The Democratic Party's current base is where kooky Dennis Kucinich was 14 years ago

I worked with the SC Dean campaign in '04 and I met Kucinich the night of the SC debates. I liked him! He bought me a beer! He's also a complete fruitcake for precisely the reasons leotrotsky enumerates and I'd no more vote for him than I would Tulsi Gabbard or Roseanne Barr.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:44 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


Kucinich seems like a major derail to the actual report.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:04 AM on April 10 [29 favorites]


I'm convinced that one of the biggest problems in US politics is that every elected official in the country is convinced that their electorate is 5-10 points more conservative than it actually is. There are all sorts of other factors that push them even farther to the right, but I think even if you strip those away, there's this bone-deep assumption that no matter what polling data says, and no matter what district you represent, you have to pander to reactionaries a least a little because otherwise you'll get voted out. I've sort of given up hope on the existing body of Democratic politicians to ever realize that they should represent their actual constituents and not the reactionary monsters they assume their constituents are, but hopefully the group of aspiring politicians and other people who start running for things in the next few years can shift their expectations about what electability really is, because it's absolutely not running Joe Manchin in every open position across the country.
posted by Copronymus at 9:04 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I've sort of given up hope on the existing body of Democratic politicians to ever realize that they should represent their actual constituents and not the reactionary monsters they assume their constituents are

do democratic politicians/pollsters Read The Comments? because idk that might have something to do with it
posted by lalochezia at 9:08 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


I really, really wish he'd retire, as a former Ohioan who is just kind of exhausted by him. The vast majority of his political opinions are totally where I am--but he himself is not someone I could vote for because of basic reasons of not believing that, if put again into a position of having to be a serious adult in a position of responsibility, he'd handle it well. The fact that he's the face of these political positions is a tragedy, but I kind of understand why. The last time a working-class person could get into politics in Ohio without aggressively trying to court money and therefore "the center" was decades ago... and even then it still required that you be a cishet white dude. I am not at all convinced that Tara Samples would have been able to credibly run for state or federal office with Kucinich's sorts of positions without him attached, much less have any chance of winning. There's still a tired broke kid in my head who's just, like... not convinced that the party is going to move in the direction of a lot of people who don't have any money when those people are still going to vote Democrat because the alternative in Ohio is worse.

I am not suggesting that anybody should refuse to do so; I did, myself, every time. But it's not a good position to negotiate from.
posted by Sequence at 9:11 AM on April 10


My version of Chrome blocks it as an insecure connection. You'd think THE FUTURE could use HTTPS.

The link in the OP is HTTPS. My company's firewall policies are locked down as hell, and I was able to get to it. (Using current version of Chrome on Win 7)
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:12 AM on April 10


The mainstream of the Democratic Party is comfortable discussing and working on racial issues to a certain extent. You're probably never going to see reparations for slavery on the party platform, for one thing. The reason why? The Democratic Party is a party of the bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie (those who own the means of production, and those whose interests substantially align with them). Their class interests can accommodate issues of race and gender insofar as it doesn't meaningfully cost them anything.

This is why Democratic politicians are generally on board with issues of diversity and representation, but balk at any serious wealth redistribution policies, even those that address identity-based issues.

This is also why many bourgeois and petite bourgeous MeFites like to beat up on leftists whenever they bring up class issues.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:14 AM on April 10 [35 favorites]


Again, there's a reason why "economic anxiety" became such a punchline - you don't have to scratch deep to find the racism underneath, which has been pointed out over and over. And as the actual Democratic base becomes comprised more by minorities, this argument is only going to become more of a loser.

The Democratic party has lost massively since Obama was elected, that's just a fact. No doubt a large part of it was due to racism, but if you write off rural white people you will never win because of how over represented they are by our system. Minorities are becoming more numerous in places that Democrats already have a lock on. Besides, I don't agree that it was entirely due to racism. How did Democrats win so massively in 2008 in the first place? What needed to happen was the abolition of the filibuster (talk about a racist institution) followed by passing ACA with a public option at a minimum (including the option to register to vote which the Obama administration in its wisdom decided to back down on.) Also card check, DACA, a larger stimulus bill, and a host of other progressive legislation. One of the contradictions of centrist talking points is that they say we need to be moderate to win over Republicans but then say that running as a progressive won't work because whites are too racist to vote Democratic anyway. The first point has been proven to be laughably false by everything that transpired between 2010-2016 and to the extent the latter is true you might as well go for broke anyway. Maybe they'll even vote for you once you prove you can tangibly improve their lives and go after the rich and powerful.
posted by bookman117 at 9:16 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


I think part of the problem is that the people in America who are farther to the left tend not to vote, or at least not in the same numbers as more centrist Americans, because they don't see themselves represented by the available candidates. Voting for the lesser of two evils may be important, but it's not exactly motivating. Politicians generally don't pitch their campaigns toward people who they expect not to vote, so it's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Basing your campaign strategy around increasing turnout among a group that is historically less-active is risky in a way that's difficult to quantify.

The other part of the problem is simply that politicians are people with their own personal political beliefs, and most of the politicians who are in positions of power within the Democratic party are relatively conservative. These are the people who help choose what the strategies will be and which candidates will get the party's support. They're going to push for people and policies that they think can win, but they're also going to be looking for people whose positions they feel personally compatible with.

That said, we could use a little populism around here. Not the kind of shitty grifter populism that appeals to the worst in people and then once in power simply does whatever it pleases. Real populism, that looks for the things that people really want, finds the ways that their needs aren't being met, and then works to make things better for common people—at the expense of elites when necessary. That's a kind of populism I could get behind.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:21 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


In case anyone else was curious about where this was coming from: the report was commissioned by Justice Democrats, a PAC
founded on January 23, 2017 by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The organization formed as a result of the 2016 United States presidential election and has a stated goal of reforming the Democratic Party by running "a unified campaign to replace every corporate-backed member of Congress and rebuild the Democratic Party from scratch" starting in the 2018 congressional midterm elections.
From their website:
By aligning with Wall Street over working men and women, the Democratic Party has allowed Republicans to take over most state legislatures, most governorships, Congress, and the presidency.

The solution is not unity with the corporate-backed Democrats. The solution is to challenge them and replace every single one of them with people who will fight for voters, not donors. It’s time to rebuild the Democratic Party from scratch to be a party that fights for a clear progressive vision.

The report is interesting, but it's also substantially a report commissioned by a PAC to further the PAC's message, and it aligns entirely with the stated plans and goals of the PAC: this is a message driving a report, not a report driving a message. Which is also why it's so focused on talking about generic Democrats vs. incumbent Democrats, and so focusing on the hypothetical of primarying out incumbent Democrats, and doesn't talk at all about running Democrats in currently Republican districts.

I simultaneously support a lot of the nominal goals here (a more progressive Democratic party; pushing for progressive change within the Democratic party through primary challenges rather than through third-party challenges in general elections) and yet, at the same time, I'm a bit skeptical of any report that notes that 'Democrats have correctly blamed gerrymandering for their [voter turnout] woes, but another key issue is that the voters that prefer them simply were not mobilized in 2016' -- without mentioning voter suppression or Shelby v. Holder at all -- and instead blaming the Democratic leadership (p.14): 'Democrats...struggled to mobilize people of color.'

That's reflective of a very inward-looking bias to this whole report: looking at voting percentages by income bracket, it suggests that lack of 'aggressive outreach' by the Democratic party is to blame -- structural barriers to voter participation, which disproportionately affect poorer Americans, are not mentioned. The same data they're pointing too suggests that poor Republicans also don't vote; if you're seeing the same trend across parties, that's not a problem with the Democratic leadership, that's a problem with the voting system in general.

None of which is to say that progressives shouldn't run as Democrats in 2018 and 2020 (they should; please, run!) and that current incumbents shouldn't support progressive policies (they absolutely should); nor that any of the specific findings here are necessarily wrong. But this is, on balance, more persuasive in arguing that progressives should run and that progressive policies can win that than it is in arguing that the real block to progressive policies is the existing Democratic party: it doesn't really show that, because it doesn't engage with the broader question of whether or not progressive candidates can win in currently Republican districts. Republicans control the House; Republicans are not progressives. In order for any progressive agenda to advance, Republicans need to lose, and this report -- which is focused entirely on Democratic incumbents (see pp. 30 & 31) leaves that as a giant question mark. If your goal is to drive turnout, that seems oddly self-limiting.
posted by cjelli at 9:23 AM on April 10 [35 favorites]


The vast majority of his political opinions are totally where I am--but he himself is not someone I could vote for because of basic reasons of not believing that, if put again into a position of having to be a serious adult in a position of responsibility, he'd handle it well.
Why is this? He handled the pressure to sell off Cleveland's municipal electric provider extraordinarily well. He definitely seems "crazy" enough to do that again.
posted by bookman117 at 9:40 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


that's not a problem with the Democratic leadership, that's a problem with the voting system in general.

I would suggest that it's also a problem with the Democratic leadership in that they've shown astonishingly little interest in addressing structural barriers to voter participation over the last several years, and, as far as I can tell, most of the action that's happened on that front recently has been pushed not by the national leadership but by state and local groups. It's not an inherent requirement of our system of government that millions of people be functionally disenfranchised, it's something that happened because of choices that people in positions of power have made to either affirmatively prevent people from voting or to prioritize other things at the expense of voter suppression.
posted by Copronymus at 10:04 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


You're probably never going to see reparations for slavery on the party platform, for one thing. The reason why? The Democratic Party is a party of the bourgeoisie and petite bourgeoisie

Well, I wasn't aware that reparations had such wide popular support from rural whites. I guess the Democratic Party must be really disconnected from the people.
posted by FJT at 10:08 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


At the end of the day I don't believe that the establishment Democrats are working in good faith. Obama himself said to Wall Street that he was "standing between you and the pitchforks." Look at the recent legislation to further weaken the already insufficient Dodd-Frank that was passed by a number of Democrats, including Tim Kaine and the guy from Alabama who won on a fluke and is going to be voted out next election anyway. Clinton said "How will breaking up the banks end racism?" All of this is to deflect from the fact that they're there to act as agents of the financial and technocratic elite so they can get cushy board and lobbyist positions once they're out of office. The Republicans do the same thing only worse. This allows the Democrats to play the role of the controlled opposition. Anyway, I do hope to move to the UK someday soon.
posted by bookman117 at 10:31 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Well, I wasn't aware that reparations had such wide popular support from rural whites. I guess the Democratic Party must be really disconnected from the people.

The Republican Party is the party of the rural bourgeoisie (largely landed property owners) and the lumpen-proletariat (members of the working class who are not class conscious and have been duped by the bourgeoisie into supporting their interests over their own, your "guns, god, and gays" types). The Republican Party has been able to very easily cultivate a racist lumpen-proletariat to support them and their shitty policies, in part because the Democratic Party mostly ignores the entirety of the proletariat (AKA working class) and the issues that concern them by refusing to engage with class or with re-distributive policies.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 10:41 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


IIRC, the Democratic Party's base 14 years ago was also where kooky Dennis Kucinich was, but the party leadership was too obsessed with "electability" games and triangulation and a general sense of we-know-what's-best-for-you to listen.

Is not one of the report's major findings that that hasn't really changed?
posted by Naberius at 10:44 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


While the *voting* base of the Democratic party may have become more progressive, I doubt the *funding* base has moved significantly to the left.

Which is the real problem with our system, and why I fear we'll never see any kind of significant change that goes against the interests of the wealthiest members of our society. Without major campaign finance reform which includes an overturn of the Citizens United verdict, both parties are more beholden to large-scale donors than actual voters.
posted by prosopagnosia at 10:54 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]



While the *voting* base of the Democratic party may have become more progressive, I doubt the *funding* base has moved significantly to the left.

Which is the real problem with our system, and why I fear we'll never see any kind of significant change that goes against the interests of the wealthiest members of our society. Without major campaign finance reform which includes an overturn of the Citizens United verdict, both parties are more beholden to large-scale donors than actual voters.


The thing is, funding has diminishing returns. Clinton outspent Trump, in fact in some ways Trump hardly even had a traditional campaign. But that's not the issue. The issue is that it benefits politicians personally to vote in certain ways to ensure their future post-political careers. What's really needed is for someone to go back in time and murder every Founding Father other than Thomas Paine to ensure that we remain a Commonwealth country with a sensible parliamentary system.
posted by bookman117 at 11:00 AM on April 10


I imagine this could be somewhat suspect because of its source. That said, it aligns very well with my beliefs with regard to what the Democratic Party should do, so I like it a lot.

I don't know that it's necessarily saying current Democrats should be primaried. I think it's arguing that current Democrats might also see success in moving left to reflect their voters' will.

Fundamentally, though? It's arguing that the party as a whole should take on some of these issues perceived as "too liberal" as planks of their party's platform. The party has attempted triangulation and avoided rocking the boat, and it's been shown to not work. Let's try pushing hard to the left instead, and watch as it turns out more people are excited than are repulsed.
posted by explosion at 11:08 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


... but the party leadership was too obsessed with "electability" games ...

Unfortunately, this wasn't a feature of the party in 2016.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:12 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


As someone involved at the decision-making level in a Congressional campaign this cycle, we're definitely amplifying this report as much as possible. Our candidate is pro on unions, assault weapons ban, $15 wage, universal health care, and is in a primary against DCCC-recruited opponent who is not.

The DCCC is completely out-of-touch, the determining factor in their candidate selection process seems to be the Rolodex test and whether someone is centrist enough for the district. We haven't had to deal with any of the garbage that Laura Moser went through, but the local Democratic party is literally imploding right now over the race and candidates/party leadership/organizers who may have worked with or supported Republicans in the past.

To me, it's obvious that the support for leftists principles and candidates is strong, and Democrats are going to kill it this fall. If we can get true-economic progressives on the ballot for the fall then we stand a good chance of starting to make gains against the income inequality, social justice and other issues that Occupy, BLM, Bernie and DSA folks have been fighting against over the past few years. Dem establishment folks realize this and are scared shitless, as they know these incoming freshmen will owe nothing to them and will rock the boat -- they remember what the Tea Party did.
posted by daHIFI at 11:24 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


The Republican Party has been able to very easily cultivate a racist lumpen-proletariat to support them and their shitty policies, in part because the Democratic Party mostly ignores the entirety of the proletariat (AKA working class) and the issues that concern them by refusing to engage with class or with re-distributive policies.

This is a load of bullshit, because all of the policies that get routinely derided as "identity politics" are exactly that. Policies that improve the welfare and socioeconomic status of minorities, of women, of LGBT individuals are very much engaging with class in the US, and many times have redistributive aspects in order to achieve a just goal. It is getting tiresome to hear the argument that the Democrats are "ignoring" the working class while they push for policies that benefit heavily those in the working class - just not the members that people think of when they hear the term.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:25 AM on April 10 [29 favorites]


The Democratic party has lost massively since Obama was elected, that's just a fact.
It's odd how the number of elections won by the Dems start going down after the Voting Rights Act was overturned. It's also crazy odd that this report is talking a lot about non-voters but not making any examination of why these people are non-voters. I'd bet something large and shiny that a great number of the non-white, non-voters are non-voters due to factors relating to voter discrimination, either explicitly or implicitly.

We win when we are allowed to vote. It's that simple.
posted by teleri025 at 11:29 AM on April 10 [26 favorites]


It's odd how the number of elections won by the Dems start going down after the Voting Rights Act was overturned. It's also crazy odd that this report is talking a lot about non-voters but not making any examination of why these people are non-voters. I'd bet something large and shiny that a great number of the non-white, non-voters are non-voters due to factors relating to voter discrimination, either explicitly or implicitly.

We win when we are allowed to vote. It's that simple.


Yup, very true. It's important that we give as many people as possible the ability to register as often as possible.
posted by bookman117 at 11:35 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


It is getting tiresome to hear the argument that the Democrats are "ignoring" the working class while they push for policies that benefit heavily those in the working class.

In my view, the Democratic Party has mainly sought to limit the damage the GOP could do to the working class (pretty fecklessly, usually folding to their demands instantly). What few additional gains the Democrats have made for the working class are few and far between. It’s just not their top priority. I can’t think of a clear and meaningful Democratic Party policy that has accrued substantial material gains for the working class. The only thing I can think of is the ACA, but that was a confusing, means-tested mess that was watered down from Single Payer, a policy that actually would have made a huge, obvious difference for the working class.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 11:35 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


"...every elected official in the country is convinced that their electorate is 5-10 points more conservative than it actually is..."


I am mystified by thinking like this. Just look at election results. The Dem lost in the recent Georgia special election. The Dem who won in the Pennsylvania special election was much more conservative than most or all of us on commenting on this thread. If candidates and elected officials were misreading their electorates THEY WOULD LOSE THE NEXT RACE.

At the state level, the Democratic Party has lost hundreds of legislative seats (and governorships) in the past decade, which went to more conservative candidates. There is plenty to be done to register and turn-out more liberal (and more-liberal) voters. But to imagine there's some crypto base of hidden liberalism that can be unleashed by the Democratic Party adopting more progressive policies is a pipe dream and a huge distraction from actually winning elections.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:37 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


It's odd how the number of elections won by the Dems start going down after the Voting Rights Act was overturned.

The Shelby decision was in 2013. The trend of Democrats losing elections after Obama's win was well established by then.
posted by edeezy at 11:41 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]




Anyway, I do hope to move to the UK someday soon.
posted by bookman117 at 10:31 AM


hahahaha hahah hah hahhh haaahhhh
u think the us has problems? oy, read the news. there's no escape from this BS there!
posted by lalochezia at 11:43 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


hahahaha hahah hah hahhh haaahhhh
u think the us has problems? oy, read the news. there's no escape from this BS there!


At least your system has a hope of addressing them because all you have to do is capture the lower house in order to get your agenda through. No divided government bullshit to muddy the waters as to who is responsible for the sorry state of the country.
posted by bookman117 at 11:47 AM on April 10


Thanks for the link to that research study, Space Coyote. The survey data is fascinating. However the fact remains that if politicians were truly inaccurate in their estimation of their constituents' beliefs plus turnout likelihood, they wouldn't be in office.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:51 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


What's the support for this US electoral system version of efficient market hypothesis?
posted by The Gaffer at 11:54 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


The Dem lost in the recent Georgia special election. The Dem who won in the Pennsylvania special election was much more conservative than most or all of us on commenting on this thread.

I don't know the details about what those two men supported, but I do know that Jon Ossof emphasized "civility" while Lamb emphasized healthcare and labor issues in terms of messaging. Those are exactly the issues Democrats need to focus on, even if Lamb was perhaps more about preserving the status quo against further erosion than actually charging forward.
posted by bookman117 at 11:54 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


However the fact remains that if politicians were truly inaccurate in their estimation of their constituents' beliefs plus turnout likelihood, they wouldn't be in office.

Indeed, many Democrats aren't.
posted by bookman117 at 11:56 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


But they are being defeated by candidates who are more conservative than them, not more liberal.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:59 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


But they are being defeated by candidates who are more conservative than them, not more liberal.

They are losing to people who express contempt for the system. In that sense they are more radical. No mass constituency voted for Trump because Clinton was too radical on healthcare.
posted by bookman117 at 12:02 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


Yeah voters can be tribalistically republican voters but you ask them what their actual views are on individual topics without priming them about which party supports which they will generally be a lot more moderate. That doesn't help you if you are a Democrat who thinks leaning more right is the way to get them to vote for you - that just pisses off your progressive voters.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:11 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


There is plenty to be done to register and turn-out more liberal (and more-liberal) voters. But to imagine there's some crypto base of hidden liberalism that can be unleashed by the Democratic Party adopting more progressive policies is a pipe dream and a huge distraction from actually winning elections.

One of the things I find so pointless about these arguments is the level of abstraction at which they're always conducted. It's as if every race was a Presidential race and every constituency was a national one. So the result is always vague demands to move "left," a lot of anti-establishment fervor, a little marxist larping, and some fist-shaking. All in good fun, but it never seems to have a lot to do with actually replacing Republicans with Democrats (or Socialists, whatevs).

They are losing to people who express contempt for the system. In that sense they are more radical.

I think this is key to a certain kind of voter. There's no "right" or "left" here, it's more "will you be a vehicle for my rage or not." I don't know if more of those kinds of candidates would defeat more Republicans. Maybe, maybe not. But it's definitely not a foregone conclusion, IMO.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:14 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


There's no "right" or "left" here, it's more "will you be a vehicle for my rage or not."I don't know if more of those kinds of candidates would defeat more Republicans. Maybe, maybe not. But it's definitely not a foregone conclusion, IMO.

I don't think it's a good idea for those people to be in office in any case, whether they have a D or an R after their name.
posted by tclark at 12:19 PM on April 10


Well some of them are voting, whether you think it's a "good idea" for them or not.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:23 PM on April 10


I don't think it's a good idea for those people to be in office in any case ...

I'm wary of them, too. But, obviously, lots of voters do. And I think "Are you validating me? Do I feel validated by you?" is definitely a real virtue to some fraction of the electorate. As much as anything that was a factor in 2016.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:26 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a good idea for those people to be in office in any case, whether they have a D or an R after their name.

The thing is that they're right that the "respectable" opinion is very often wrong. The case of Dennis Kucinich refusing to sell the public utility to avoid bankruptcy and being vindicated in the end is a great microcosm of this. There have been a myriad of decisions and causes supported by our financial, political, and media elites in the intervening decades that have been just like that but much more consequential.
posted by bookman117 at 12:28 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


I keep getting these paper surveys fundraising attempts in the mail that purport to be from the Democratic Party

FTFY.

The first few times I got them, I gave very explicit and detailed answers along with critique about the "survey" itself, and no donation. After that I've just been tossing them directly in the recycling.

I believe my spouse wrote "MEDICARE FOR ALL, YOU SPINELESS FUCKERS" or something to that effect on one once, but they keep sending them to her too.
posted by Foosnark at 12:41 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Thank you so much for posting this, The Whelk! It's given me a lot to chew on. A few things I can think of right off the top of my head:

- Economic justice and social justice go together, as I see it. When you think of who is most likely to be poor, to be unemployed, to be precariously housed, then economic justice is social justice. I think that the "you can have one or the other, not both" idea is a huge strawman ginned up by mostly right-wing talking heads, as well as certain of the "dirtbag left" bro types (the racist left?). And those who really do think that social services hands out free Cadillacs and steaks to POC only, and where's MY Cadillac? are not going to vote for Democrats in the first place.

- Which leads me to... There really are no more swing voters, so attempts to lure them back are like going on a unicorn hunt - pointless.

- Campaigning on bread and butter issues wins voters. Most voters want to know what you will do for them. Conor Lamb's campaign in Pennsylvania won because of this, not because he is "conservative" (I'd say he's moderate) but because he was in tune with his district and promised to get results for his constituents. Likewise, Danica Roem, the first "out" trans state lawmaker, won because she campaigned on the practicalities. As Roem said, "You can't just say, I hate Trump, vote for me."

I think that the DLCC and many other organizations have become ossified and are more sinecures for consultants than anything else. I also think there's a problem with Democratic candidates having to please donors and voters both, and that is a very hard circle to square. We don't have a base that is as easy to fool as the rabid wingnut Republicans who can pretty easily please their donors and fool their voters (by throwing them some red meat here and there - Guns! Blue Lives Matter! Bathrooms! Unborn baybeez!). And I think that Democrats got some very bad party-wide PTSD from the Reagan years and thus was born the Third Way and bland "electable" candidates who "won't scare anyone" but won't inspire anyone either.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:46 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: I think it's less ossification and more a desire to hold on to power (within the Democratic Party). If you run the DLCC and the DCCC you have a lot of power in an organization that still has a fair amount of political power in the US. If the Democratic Party and its constituents move further left, that jeopardizes the position of the leadership.
posted by SansPoint at 1:28 PM on April 10


Economic justice and social justice go together, as I see it. When you think of who is most likely to be poor, to be unemployed, to be precariously housed, then economic justice is social justice. I think that the "you can have one or the other, not both" idea is a huge strawman ginned up by mostly right-wing talking heads, as well as certain of the "dirtbag left" bro types (the racist left?)

How does that latter part make sense when the so-called "dirtbag left" advocate for programs which are universal? If anything it's mainstream Democrats and "moderates" who have spent decades demanding social justice devoid of substantive economic justice in neoliberal subservience to the market. Obamacare is a perfect encapsulation of this muddy and narrow worldview. It's also just terrible politics as it makes any gains incredibly easy for an opposition to undo.
posted by smithsmith at 1:57 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


One of the things I find so pointless about these arguments is the level of abstraction at which they're always conducted. It's as if every race was a Presidential race and every constituency was a national one. So the result is always vague demands to move "left," a lot of anti-establishment fervor, a little marxist larping, and some fist-shaking. All in good fun, but it never seems to have a lot to do with actually replacing Republicans with Democrats (or Socialists, whatevs).

Speaking of pointless abstractions, the Democratic Party's strategy for that exact problem has not led to particularly good results for it or anyone but the right wing of the Republican Party over the last 8-10 years, so I'm fairly sympathetic to the argument that continually selling out the party's principles to beg suburban Republicans for votes they aren't going to give is a strategy that needs to be abandoned. The existing strategies have failed, and failed completely disastrously across multiple election cycles and across vast swathes of the country. I'm not saying that it's time to completely purge everyone to the right of Elizabeth Warren and force the exact same platform on the people running for mayor of DC and for Orrin Hatch's old senate seat, but I think you'll find in things such as the Future of the Party Report that the people making these criticisms aren't, for the most part, doing that either and have also found that issues such as expanding Medicare and raising the minimum wage are about as popular in Texas as in Oregon. They're not vague demands, they're specific issues that the party apparatus could easily support to the acclaim of the vast majority of people who vote for Democratic politicians.
posted by Copronymus at 1:59 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


Reminder that it was Lieberman who killed the public option. The Obama administration scrapped it in order to get his vote.

How much of this "the populace is always thought to be 5-10 points more conservative" is an outgrowth of decades of the Overton Window getting shoved to the right? We need multiple columnists advocating for Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism for a bunch of years and see how that goes.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:15 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Can we wait until the Republican Party actually fragments before trying to divide up the Democratic Party from within? Or do you seriously want the current GOP to remain in power against a divided center-left?

We did this in Canada, and it made Stephen Harper Prime Minister for almost a decade.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:20 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


(the racist left?)

This ritual self-crossing some MeFites do to assert that no they aren't that kind of leftist is getting wild.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:22 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


This ritual self-crossing some MeFites do to assert that no they aren't that kind of leftist is getting wild.

Leftists believe in confronting issues of race, sex, and class.

Neoliberals believe in confronting issues of race and sex, but not class.

Neoliberals get freaked out when they hear leftists talking about class, so they try to discredit them by claiming that leftists only talk about class, and never race or sex.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:25 PM on April 10 [10 favorites]


What is the term for the economically liberal but socially conservative? I've heard plenty about "economically conservative and socially liberal" but not so much about the other way around. It seems that some of the calls to concentrate on class only veer into this territory.

At any rate, I think that much of the Democrats' problem is that they gave up on local races to concentrate on the Presidency, as if having the right President in office will miraculously take care of everything else - and I think that is behind the fixation on "electability," needing to be all things to all Democrats across the country.

Ignoring or neglecting the local not only earned us a huge drubbing in Congress post-2008 (and thus stymied so much of Obama's agenda) but I think that also contributes to the idea that the electorate is so much more conservative than it is - because Republicans have been allowed to take over state and local governments across much of the country. In states like California and Washington where Democrats hold the majority, the ruling ideology is not conservative or even "Third Way" - it is more and more straight-up liberal. I think a great way to push the Overton Window leftwards is to get more Democrats in power locally.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:36 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Reminder that it was Lieberman who killed the public option. The Obama administration scrapped it in order to get his vote.

This is a myth designed to obscure the fact that a number of Democratic senators were also opposed to a public option and that the choice to pass legislation through reconciliation (you know, what the Republicans just did to pass their hideous tax bill) was rejected by Democrats as being too partisan.
posted by smithsmith at 3:32 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


1) and have been duped by the bourgeoisie into supporting their interests over their own, your "guns, god, and gays" types

2) rabid wingnut Republicans who can pretty easily please their donors and fool their voters (by throwing them some red meat here and there - Guns! Blue Lives Matter! Bathrooms! Unborn baybeez!)

I'm increasingly skeptical of the accepted fact that Republican voters as somehow being duped or fooled into voting for Republican candidates that are against their own interests. It makes more sense to recognize they aren't clueless and that being pro-guns, pro-police, anti-immigration, anti-abortion, and other things are actually in their interest.
posted by FJT at 3:33 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


How does that latter part make sense when the so-called "dirtbag left" advocate for programs which are universal?

Because they like to ignore the fact that things that are already supposed to be “universal” — like, say, prison sentences, to pick a wild example — are always, always applied in a racist and sexist way. And have been. For generations. To the point where some groups have basically been stomped into a hole.

So you can’t very well argue for systemic policy without acknowledging that first you have to address the fact that the system is grossly unfair. Any true economic or social justice has to take into account that the current playing field is basically just a shit ton of moguls on the side of a hill. Or to go back to being stomped into holes: you can give everyone a six inch step ladder or whatever, but that doesn’t help someone who’s already buried three feet deep. Meanwhile, the guy who’s only in a six inch hole thinks everything is awesome. It’s bullshit.

You can have as many “universal” policies as you want, but unless you deal with that, it’s just going to be the same old shit.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:46 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Neoliberals believe in confronting issues of race and sex, but not class.

No, neoliberals believe in privatizing public services. School vouchers, privatizing social security, repealing the ACA. Reagan and Thatcher. And while Democrats sometimes support public/private partnerships, neoliberalism is a fundamnetally conserevative, Republican philosophy.

What I think is bullshit is saying that if something doesn’t affect poor white men it isnt a class issue. For example, funding Planned Parenthood is a fucking class issue. It doesn’t help rich women, they're not going to PP. But it helps poor women dramatically, in part because the single biggest determinant of a woman's — but not a man’s— lifetime earnings is the age at which she has her first child, and this is most true of women without college degrees. So you want to decrease income inequality? Give poor women reliable access to family planning. Fund goddamned childcare, especially for the 30% of single mothers living below the poverty line (I believe roughly 4% of single fathers live below the poverty line). Raise the minimum wage on tipped workers like waitresses, the $15 minimum wage won’t do shit for them.

This is literally the point of intesectionality — just because poor women need things poor men don’t, doesn’t mean they’re not class issues. They are class issues because poor women need them and rich women don’t.
posted by mrmurbles at 3:47 PM on April 10 [30 favorites]


If that was addressed at me, I never said anything about white men and class. I totally agree with you that funding Planned Parenthood is a class issue, and worth fighting for, as are all the other issues you listed. Intersectionality is a useful tool for understanding privilege - sex, race, and class are all dimensions of privilege that intersect and can't really be pulled apart.

I really like The Discord Collective podcast as a source for leftist discussion that frequently centers women's issues, as in these episodes:

Ladies of the Revolution
Women & Leftism
Socialist Feminism
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 3:59 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Because they like to ignore the fact that things that are already supposed to be “universal” — like, say, prison sentences, to pick a wild example — are always, always applied in a racist and sexist way.

The "dirtbag left" doesn't ignore this.

So you can’t very well argue for systemic policy without acknowledging that first you have to address the fact that the system is grossly unfair.

They do acknowledge this.
posted by edeezy at 4:00 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Because they like to ignore the fact that things that are already supposed to be “universal” — like, say, prison sentences, to pick a wild example — are always, always applied in a racist and sexist way. And have been. For generations. To the point where some groups have basically been stomped into a hole.

The comparison of unjust prison sentences to any universal program advocated by leftists is so absurd as to not warrant a response but I do appreciate the demonstration of the pathological tendency to dismiss fundamental economic issues such as universal healthcare, a living minimum wage, housing and free college education (which inordinately affect the people you claim to be very, very concerned about) as little more than a six inch stepladder when, for many, it is actually the difference between life and death.
posted by smithsmith at 4:13 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


f that was addressed at me, I never said anything about white men and class

It was addressed at this supposed dichotomy of "neoliberals" and "leftists." I really do not know anybody who cares about race and sex but not class. I do know a lot of people who are wary of some of the self-proclaimed standard bearers of the "left" who are ready to go big tent on abortion and disparage Planned Parenthood as "the establishment."
posted by mrmurbles at 4:14 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Whoops, quick correction, the podcast I was referring to earlier is called "Discourse Collective" not Discord. That's what I get for posting on an empty stomach.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 4:16 PM on April 10


I do know a lot of people who are wary of some of the self-proclaimed standard bearers of the "left" who are ready to go big tent on abortion and disparage Planned Parenthood as "the establishment."

I wish those clearly genuine feminist concerns extended to dropping bombs on the heads of women in Middle Eastern countries but apparently the tent is already large enough to accommodate a figurehead with those views.
posted by smithsmith at 4:35 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


i mean tim kaine is on the record as personally being anti abortion (though he doesn't vote that way). yeah a lot of leftists read liz bruenig but we're not nominating her to be the vice president either.
posted by JimBennett at 4:39 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


I'm increasingly skeptical of the accepted fact that Republican voters as somehow being duped or fooled into voting for Republican candidates that are against their own interests. It makes more sense to recognize they aren't clueless and that being pro-guns, pro-police, anti-immigration, anti-abortion, and other things are actually in their interest.

Then why do so many people support stricter gun laws but vote for anti-gun-law politicians? See also Obamacare, reproductive health access...
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:05 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


The Overton window on "pro-choice" needs to move to include anyone who supports women's reproductive autonomy, even if their personal feelings are anti-abortion. To me, "I would never have an abortion but I support women's right to choose, and think that the decision is up to the person with the uterus and no-one else" is pro-choice. I mean, I'm not a drinker, but I don't want to bring back Prohibition.

I think this is part of Democrats' issues, that (at least some) Democratic politicians feel they have to be mealy-mouthed and walk on eggshells and can't really stand fast for anything. Again, I think a lot of that is a kind of party-wide PTSD left over from the 80's, when more socially conservative voters defected en masse to the Republicans as "Reagan Democrats." I still remember Bill Clinton's "I didn't inhale" when asked if he smoked pot in college. It was bizarre to me to think that a bit of experimentation in college would be a career-killer, but that was the legacy of the War on Drugs for you.

It makes me wonder how much the media plays into this "we are a center-right nation" idea. Because a lot of these cultural kerfuffles would be soon forgotten if media pundits didn't latch onto them.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:19 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


I wish those clearly genuine feminist concerns extended to dropping bombs on the heads of women in Middle Eastern countries ...

Why, wide swaths of “the left” seem fine with the deaths of Middle Eastern women as long as they can declare it a false flag.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:31 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Think whatever you like about abortion personally, just support policies that support women in making their own decisions about it. On a personal level, it's an individual decision. People should be allowed to decide for themselves, that's the whole point.

Making a big deal about how you personally are against abortion is a pretty gross political move though, especially if you're a man. I understand why politicians do it, though; it's an essentially meaningless statement, yet in the right environment it will win them votes. Those are essentially free votes; I'd expect a politician to say basically anything you like for free votes.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:45 PM on April 10


Economic justice and social justice go together, as I see it. When you think of who is most likely to be poor, to be unemployed, to be precariously housed, then economic justice is social justice. I think that the "you can have one or the other, not both" idea is a huge strawman

Intersectionality is a useful tool for understanding privilege - sex, race, and class are all dimensions of privilege that intersect and can't really be pulled apart.

The intersectional stereotype of the old-school Marxist Left is that they think racism and sexism will just go away after the revolution. The Marxist stereotype of intersectional...ists is that they think "class" means how much money you make.
posted by atoxyl at 6:53 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


So, we're going to see a lot of this, as the 2018 elections approach, probably on an exponential scale.

These debates are going to be encouraged, because they serve an incredibly useful function; they focus the opposition on fighting each other, discourage working together to get out the vote, and generally decrease moral. Thus helping to prevent a Blue Wave in November.

I did say they're incredibly useful, but not for who. In the lead up to the 2018 elections it's worth asking whenever you see anything online, who benefits? Who gets harmed?
posted by happyroach at 7:02 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]




Whoops, quick correction, the podcast I was referring to earlier is called "Discourse Collective" not Discord. That's what I get for posting on an empty stomach.

Apropos of nothing but you mentioning podcasts, has Citations Needed (not to be confused with another podcast called "Citation Needed" singular) come up on MeFi yet? I've only listened to a couple so far but I was pretty impressed, if you want a serious-minded lefty podcast.
posted by atoxyl at 7:12 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


These debates are going to be encouraged, because they serve an incredibly useful function; they focus the opposition on fighting each other, discourage working together to get out the vote, and generally decrease moral. Thus helping to prevent a Blue Wave in November.

This kind of assertion seems to take for granted that the disagreements between the factions with "the opposition" are not fundamentally important, which I do not think is true.
posted by atoxyl at 7:14 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


I did say they're incredibly useful, but not for who. In the lead up to the 2018 elections it's worth asking whenever you see anything online, who benefits? Who gets harmed?

I'll tell you who benefits from us pesky leftists shutting up and getting with the program: the forces of the status quo that would rather we not pick at injustices and badger polite society about such tawdry subjects as the abolition of the prison industrial complex, the creation of a universal health care system, and the clawing back of the wealth stolen from the 99%.

Have you considered that there might be people for whom issues like these are more important than the success or failure of the Democratic Party?

I know what you're thinking... these issues will not be helped if Republicans maintain control. Well, guess what? These issues also won't be helped if the centrists running the Democratic Party take control either. We all want the Republican Party to go down in flames, but that's not a good reason to refrain from talking about leftist priorities and perspectives.

Besides, criticizing the Democratic Party from the left is more likely to strengthen it than harm it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:24 PM on April 10 [17 favorites]


What is the term for the economically liberal but socially conservative?

I think that was a punchline on 30 Rock in 2008, but now in 2018 we seem to be talking about that sort of platform semi-seriously. This definitely says something about the evolution of politics over the past 10 years, but I'm not quite sure what.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:52 PM on April 10


What is the term for the economically liberal but socially conservative?

The broad term is usually "Third Position" or sometimes "Third Way" politics.

In the U.S. it was called populism. William Jennings Bryant ran on it a few times. And a lot of Trump's rhetoric was in this vein in 2015 and 2016.

In Europe, it started out as Völkisch nationalism and was pushed to the far extremes and became fascism and national socialism.
posted by kewb at 3:57 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


More generally, the anticapitalist elements of "Third Position" politics are always conditioned or captured by the ethnonatonalism in the end, historically. And its anticollectivist, most of the time, because collectivism employs the rhetoric of radical inclusivity, something that social conservatism typically criticizes.

In practice, this usually greatly limits the implementation of the original economic agenda.

Some other examples:

Peronism/Justicialism in Argentina
Rights and Equality Party in Turkey
National Bolshevism in various European countries, primarily France and Belgium; coopted by and dissolved into the Communist Party in Soviet Russia, revived under Limonov as a loose opposition party in Russia
posted by kewb at 4:08 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


the report was commissioned by Justice Democrats, a PAC “founded on January 23, 2017 by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign”

Oh, gross! I think the DCCC is a corrupt org rife with people who will cling to power at any cost, but I have approximately zero interest in taking advice on how to fix it from a coalition of people who

-make it their explicit goal to destroy the Democratic Party, rather than choosing something like “defeat Republicans” or “get rid of Trump” or "amend campaign finance laws"
-gleefully make rape jokes, mock survivors of sexual assault, then make sadface apologies before doing it again
-sneer at "identity politics" as if it means something other than "civil rights"
-imply that anyone who disagrees with their methods is obviously loyal to the Democratic Party at any cost
-take millions in funding from Republicans, while demanding that Democrats who get donations are evil for doing so
-function as the Fox News of the left (talking to my dad after he watches TYT videos is like a mirror version of “The Brainwashing of my Dad”— a lot of sneering invective about Nancy Pelosi, but from the other direction)
-keep pretending that the white working class is the future of Democratic populism, despite reams of evidence to the contrary
-stand up on MLK Jr day and say that Obama had nothing going for him but charisma (Bernie himself)
-still have not admitted how much their campaign was used and boosted by Russian psyops (Bernie part two)
-keep telling people to stop paying attention to Russian interference in our democracy (Bernie redux)

Neoliberalism is poison, and the poison needs to be rooted out. But I have seen no evidence that this group’s take is an effective approach to doing that, and there is a lot of evidence that this approach just makes things a lot uglier and a lot worse. (For example: on this very website, many times, and probably again soon after I post this.)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:41 AM on April 11 [11 favorites]


Why, wide swaths of “the left” seem fine with the deaths of Middle Eastern women as long as they can declare it a false flag.

The issue isn’t being fine with it. The issue is being dragged into a war with DONALD TRUMP’S government in charge of that war, based on a flimsy report of something that doesn’t matter except in its ability to wrangle the support of thoughtless people. Someone who dies from conventional weaponry is just as dead as someone who dies from being shelled. But say “chemical weapon” and people start thinking that they should replace it with American artlillery. Like people won’t end up just as dead.

Are the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead a footnote to you? They must be, if you can feel like America is capable of making the world safe. With a crazy asshole in charge, no less.

Have you ever heard “first do no harm?” What about the US going to war right now seems like it would improve any situation anywhere?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 8:47 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


To siderail a bit, I do think there's wave building of some sort or another for 2018. Even Paul Ryan has decided not to see re-election, along with a whole host of other Republicans. Republicans are expecting something to happen that'll keep them from being re-elected. Whether it's losing to Democratic candidates, grassroots or otherwise, or whether it's losing to people further to the Right, I'm not sure, but I hope it's the former.
posted by SansPoint at 9:01 AM on April 11


-stand up on MLK Jr day and say that Obama had nothing going for him but charisma (Bernie himself)

Don't hurt yourself reaching this far.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:03 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


-stand up on MLK Jr day and say that Obama had nothing going for him but charisma (Bernie himself)

Don't hurt yourself reaching this far.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:03 PM on April 11 [1 favorite +] [!]


It's not really much of a reach, and you had to nod through "gleefully make rape jokes, mock survivors of sexual assault, then make sadface apologies before doing it again" and "sneer at 'identity politics' as if it means something other than 'civil rights'" to get to that objection so I'm not sure what you're arguing for? Do you think this is a group of people to whom we should be listening? I have lots of issues with the Democratic party because lots of things they do are bad and harmful and they are not nearly far enough left for me but I don't think the answer is listening to a group who mocks or disregards the problems of marginalized people.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:13 AM on April 11 [10 favorites]


-stand up on MLK Jr day and say that Obama had nothing going for him but charisma (Bernie himself)

Don't hurt yourself reaching this far.


Who's reaching?
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:30 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Do you think this is a group of people to whom we should be listening?

I think using a comedy podcast that was never mentioned in the post to begin with, but which somehow keeps getting brought up when centrists want to define the Overton window with the podcast as a synecdoche for an entire faction of a political spectrum is kind of limiting, personally.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:41 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Some people will never get over the 2016 primaries apparently. Leftists love Bernie because he talked about social democratic ideas that no other mainstream politician wants to address. But he's not as far left as most of us, and we definitely regard him as a kind of goofy old man who's prone to gaffes as most politicans are.

But people who never got over the 2016 primary democratic in-fighting still think he's uniquely racist, as though Clinton never called anyone a super-predator or lectured Black Lives Matter activists about how to do their jobs.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:49 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure why anyone would take advice from people who 1.) don't know the definition of neoliberal and 2.) think the dirtbag left - as exemplified by Chapo Trap House with their racism, ableism, and sexism - are the true arbiters of social justice.

And don't fucking try to call it a comedy podcast when it's the one that gave rise to the term "dirtbag left". Don't insult us with "it's just a joke, bro" when CTH practically gives their fanboys marching orders on who to attack.

as though Clinton never called anyone a super-predator or lectured Black Lives Matter activists about how to do their jobs.

Do we really want to be discussing who retreated to a 97% white state and who actually voted for the god damn crime bill?

White leftists love Bernie because he makes everything about class which allows them to ignore sexism and racism.
posted by asteria at 9:56 AM on April 11 [7 favorites]


as though Clinton never called anyone a super-predator or lectured Black Lives Matter activists about how to do their jobs.

Well, Bernie Sanders is still an active Senator considering another run for president. And Hillary Clinton, unless she's plotting some stealthy comeback that I'm not aware of, is actually more accurate to describe as a "goofy old" person now.
posted by FJT at 9:56 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


[Greetings, we are now done with the 7,000th go-round of this set of themes. If you want to talk about the link or the future go ahead, if you want to read about Clinton and Sanders and so on, please enjoy our many, many, many past discussions that repeat all the same points.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:01 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


White leftists love Bernie because he makes everything about class which allows them to ignore sexism and racism.

I'm not white and I'm not a dude and I'm sick of my alleged well-being being used as a cudgel against policies that would leave the vast majority of women and POC in the US much better off.

Do non-white leftists even exist, or are we all suffering from false consciousness or what?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:02 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Also, frankly, the impassioned defense of "neoliberal" shoved right in there with critiques of CTH as racist, sexist, and ableist --- as though defending neoliberalism is completely the same thing as defending women and POC --- is sickening.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:06 AM on April 11 [8 favorites]


As someone involved at the decision-making level in a Congressional campaign this cycle, we're definitely amplifying this report as much as possible. Our candidate is pro on unions, assault weapons ban, $15 wage, universal health care, and is in a primary against DCCC-recruited opponent who is not.

I wish your candidate Good Luck, but I don't necessarily see much of a good track record for progressives in Democratic primaries. For example, Dan Lipinski, that anti-abortion, anti-Obamacare DINO in the Chicago area, won the Democratic primary against progressive Marie Newman, despite losing his own party's endorsement and his challenger getting a financial boost from EMILY's List. In addition, I think about those "netroots" candidates in the early 2000s who ran in a bunch of primaries, but few of them won their Democratic primaries.

Is there anything that can be done to improve the track record of more progressive Democratic primary candidates? In a partisan primary election, where you don't have partisan cues to distinguish one candidate from another, it seems that a lot of who wins is determined by money & name recognition rather than issues. And as a result, progressives don't have such a successful track record in Democratic primaries, which undermines the case that "the people" (at least those that are Democratic primary voters) are crying out for progressivism.

At the very least, I think progressives aren't going to have much of a chance in Democratic primaries until they start mandating closed primaries limited to registered Democrats. (Lipinski won over Newman, probably due to crossover votes, because the GOP primary had a neo-Nazi lunatic running unopposed.) That may force some of the holier-than-thou leftish "But I'm not a Democrat" to shit or get off the pot & actually register with a party instead of being a politically useless "independent," but I think the number of GOP cross-over voters willing to do dirty tricks in a Democratic primary is probably bigger than the number of leftish independents who feel left out.
posted by jonp72 at 12:32 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


What about the US going to war right now seems like it would improve any situation anywhere?

I'm not under the impression that a rain of missiles will make any one's life better—and for what little it matters, I was opposing the Iraq adventures long before you ever joined this forum—but when some yahoo uses the "deaths of Middle Eastern women" to rhetorically dismiss "feminist concerns" from the left, then I feel impelled to point out that much of that left seems mostly keen on flogging those deaths for their own purposes.

Oh look, Cenk Uygur, yesterday:
Interesting agreement beginning to form between the left and the right online about skepticism on the Syria story. Meanwhile, the establishment press as usual believes the Pentagon without question or evidence. The push for escalation on TV is overwhelming.
Many of the "left" pundits on this beat who aren't actively pro-Assad already* just seem more interested in making another "manufacturing consent" story out of it. Apropos, all those left pundits who spent 2016 arguing that Donald Trump would certainly be more pacific than that bellicose Hillary Clinton are all over themselves right now blaming liberals, centrists, the Deep State, for pushing poor widdle Donnie into war.

*Shit, Max Blumenthal is actually tweeting pro-Assad memes from Gab.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:09 PM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I think the demographics of Metafilter seem like they skew Gen X/Oregon Trail generation (though I'd be interested in a survey to see how accurate that is.) The netroots stuff happened before 2008, Occupy, and back when "socialism" still had its negative Cold War connotations. Not to mention the humiliation and defeat of each party's establishment by Donald Trump. I don't think the future of the Republican Party belongs to libertarians like Paul Ryan. Capitalism's failures are giving renewed rise to both socialism and fascism, just like before. Things are changing, and sometimes they change very quickly. We need to ensure we seize the moment, or someone else will, as we saw in 2016. We can't count on the next one being a dementia addled Fox News grandpa.
posted by bookman117 at 2:00 PM on April 11




“Never mind reports of a swipe at Obama. Sanders found an audience of black voters receptive to his updated critique of class and race disparity.”

Ah but you can't make this stuff up. The author of that article has written one other piece for NY Mag, and it's titled "Racism May Have Gotten Us Into This Mess, But Identity Politics Can’t Get Us Out"
posted by mrmurbles at 7:31 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]






Apropos, considering the discussion of Kucinich here: Amended ethics filing shows Dennis Kucinich was paid $20k by pro-Syrian government group.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:45 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Well, Dennis Kucinich lost. Guess he'll have to go back to defending Trump on Fox News.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:00 AM on May 9


Our Revolution should be ashamed for supporting the Keebler-American asshole in the first place.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:37 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


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