"We Should Stop Using Republican Talking Points"
August 9, 2019 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Elizabeth Warren is Surging. This One Big Question Looms over Her. (Aaron Blake, WaPo) For as long as she’s been talked about as a presidential hopeful, one potential problem has loomed over her like Joe Btfsplk’s perpetual rain cloud: electability. Surging in Polls, Warren Has Clear Path to Nomination (Ed Kilgore, New York) If she gets that one-on-one competition with Biden, the question may be whether Democratic voters want her to be president enough to take a bit of a risk. Warren probably has a plan to make that happen. posted by box (299 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
 
Whether Democrats *perceive* her as electable

I swear, the navel-gazing of the popular press in the years leading up to the U.S. presidential elections is downright aggravating.

Warren is the first candidate I've ever given (meager but nonzero) money to. Ever. And I'm almost 40. So, yeah, I perceive her as electable.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:04 AM on August 9 [85 favorites]


So far I've found that of all the candidates, she is the most prepared, policy-wise, on a huge variety of topics. She hasn't just made general ideological statements either, she and her people have done the homework. She's closer to a full-fledged platform than any of the others so far, so to me right now, among those running for the nomination, Warren is my preferred candidate.
posted by tclark at 9:05 AM on August 9 [53 favorites]


Funny how the only Dems that ever get the "electability" lens held up to them are women and POC. Probly just a coincidence... after all, they're the progressive party. 🙄
posted by Mayor West at 9:07 AM on August 9 [90 favorites]


Responding to Aaron Blake, Rebecca Solnit writes:
Another fucking white guy is fucking waving the fucking bullshit flag of "electability" around again, which is their fucked-up way of trying to dump on and drag a candidate out of personal bias while pretending they're engaging in objective assessment...

As I wrote a while back: The problem, as feminist philosopher Kate Manne put it recently, is that what we say now is not just commentary about what is possible; it is shaping what is possible. She said, “If we knew for sure that a candidate couldn’t beat Trump, that would be reason not to support them. But electability isn’t a static social fact; it’s a social fact we’re constructing. Part of what will make someone unelectable is people give up on them in a way that would be premature, rather than going to the mat for them.” Meanwhile lots of media outlets have worked hard at associating the women candidates with negative language. “How does Elizabeth Warren avoid a Clinton redux—written off as too unlikeable before her campaign gets off the ground,” tweeted Politico. “I Can’t Believe Elizabeth Warren is Losing to These Guys” is the headline of a Jacobin article that ties her to failure.

What makes a candidate electable is in part how much positive coverage they get, and how much positive coverage they get is tied to how the media powers decide who is electable, and so goes the double bind. Perry Bacon Jr. at FiveThirtyEight writes, “Because the U.S. is majority white, and because a significant number of Americans have some negative views about nonwhite people and women, a heavy emphasis on electability can be tantamount to encouraging any candidates who aren’t Christian white men either not to run in the first place—or to run only if they are willing to either ignore or downplay issues that involve their personal identities.” But if a party is majority women and people of color, should the same factors prevail? Shouldn’t we have a situation in which white men don’t really matter so much?
posted by Jpfed at 9:08 AM on August 9 [68 favorites]


Warren could be the best president for the lower & middle classes since FDR but she won't be able to do shit unless both sides of Congress fall into line. This means a ground game an order of magnitude bigger than just getting her in the Oval Office. If the US is going to veer away from its almost inevitablly fascistic oligopoly future, it's got to be an all out war to get the right butts in the right seats or literally nothing will change.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:08 AM on August 9 [55 favorites]


The Warren Voter Lifecycle I’ve watched play out over the last few months:

1. I don’t really care for her one way or the other.

2. Wow, her plan on [thing I know about] is surprisingly good. Never seen a politician get that before. I guess I don’t dislike her.

3. I like her a lot but my neighbor probably hates her. She can’t win. Why do I feel a little heartbroken?

4. Look at this poll. Maybe my neighbor likes her too. Omg.

5. Oh god I didn’t realize I was so invested in wanting her to win!!!
posted by sallybrown at 9:08 AM on August 9 [127 favorites]


Also I have been in a room with 20 other people and Elizabeth Warren while she was still trying to get through the primaries for MA senate, and she is a lovely and charismatic and fiercely-policy-oriented woman who remembered my name half an hour after meeting me and she's leaps and bounds better than any other candidate in this dog-and-pony show and I will FIGHT YOU
posted by Mayor West at 9:10 AM on August 9 [117 favorites]


And honestly I think the only thing that will steer the country away from an actual civil war is getting people in the middle of the country back to work so they don't have so much damn free time and anger on their hands. Ain't no one but Warren going to make that happen.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:12 AM on August 9 [21 favorites]


I am not hopeful about our/humanity's prospects in the 2020 election.

Warren's ascendance is maybe literally the only thing I feel even remotely positive about. I guess that makes it my job to just talk about it nonstop.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:14 AM on August 9 [17 favorites]


The Warren Voter Lifecycle I’ve watched play out over the last few months:

This pretty much reflects my 2016 journey re: Hillary Clinton (disclaimer, I voted for Sanders in the primary).

Unfair as it is, I think that Warren - by virtue of being the female candidate most likely to ultimately edge out Sanders - has inherited some of Clinton's baggage. People just look at her candidacy and get flashbacks. Even Clinton supporters - maybe especially Clinton supporters. But as people actually learn about her as her own person rather than The Female Candidate, they come around to really liking her.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:22 AM on August 9 [14 favorites]


PSA for anyone who can't access the WaPo article: in Chrome, navigate to Settings, Advanced, Site Settings, Javascript, and then add washingtonpost.com to Block. It's the new Incognito Mode for sites that have figured out Incognito Mode.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:24 AM on August 9 [73 favorites]


I would have a beer with Elizabeth Warren.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:25 AM on August 9 [13 favorites]


maybe it's the bubble i'm in, but it seems pretty clear to me that joe30330 is bumbling and kind of stupid in an alienating way and far and away the least electable of the major candidates (warren, sanders, harris, buttigieg, biden). shit, he's likely less electable than some of the minor candidates (o'rourke, booker, castro). i'd take him over hickenlooper or delaney or ryan or the other nobodies, but i'd take a warm bag of wet sand over any of those guys.

here's what i think: if warren, sanders, harris or buttigieg is nominated, i know literally dozens of people who will travel from [blue state] to [nearby purple state] in order to canvas for them. if biden is nominated, all of those people will work on local and state campaigns instead. not out of a fit of "wah my preferred candidate didn't get the nomination i'm not going to campaign for the nominee," but instead because those people have no idea how to sell biden to anyone. it'd be actually counterproductive to have those committed activists knocking doors for him.

here's another thing i think (yes, i am just full of thoughts today): gabbard is a russian agent, and she's inevitably going to run as a third-party candidate. if sanders or warren gets the nomination, agent gabbard's third-party campaign will get no traction whatsoever. if harris or buttigieg gets the nomination, agent gabbard's third-party campaign will only get a little traction. if biden gets the nomination, it's game over for liberal democracy forever: agent gabbard will pick up just enough votes to cost the democrats a couple of states, and donald trump is president until he dies, and then ivanka trump is president until she dies.

we gotta stop biden, y'all.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:28 AM on August 9 [42 favorites]


> I would have a beer with Elizabeth Warren.

i would get absolutely sloshed with elizabeth warren. i would get both sloshed and blazed with bernie sanders. but the ideal situation is splitting pitchers of margaritas with both warren and sanders and also sneaking outside every so often to burn one with bernie (maybe buttigieg could keep warren company while sanders and i are out in the alley? or maybe warren would be out there with us?)

i would not drink a beer with joe biden. i would not go near joe biden, especially not if he's drinking. some of the worst experiences of my life have involved being around entitled old white men with a drink or two in 'em.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:32 AM on August 9 [22 favorites]


maybe it's the bubble i'm in, but it seems pretty clear to me that joe30330 is bumbling and kind of stupid in an alienating way and far and away the least electable of the major candidates

Well, this is why polling about 'electability' is dumb - it's essentially asking "totally leaving aside who your preferred candidate is, who do you imagine is the preferred candidate of millions of people you've never met?"
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:33 AM on August 9 [26 favorites]


My Warren Voter Lifecycle:
1. Ride or Die for Senator Warren after seeing her "you didn't build this" speech in '08.
2. Wanting Senator Warren to stay Senator Warren for life.
3. Holy crap, she is by far the best Presidential candidate in the field.
posted by whuppy at 9:35 AM on August 9 [42 favorites]


(also, for the record, i would absolutely drop acid with marianne williamson. i wouldn't do molly with her, though, because i'm afraid i'd fall for her charismatic ecstatic cult leader schtick if i were in that sort of suggestible state.)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:36 AM on August 9 [19 favorites]


If the primary came down to Sanders vs Warren I would have a hell of a choice to make. Both of them over Biden by a mile, though. He's got the same "It's My Turn Now" aura that Hillary had.
posted by egypturnash at 9:38 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]


Warren could be the best president for the lower & middle classes since FDR but she won't be able to do shit unless both sides of Congress fall into line. This means a ground game an order of magnitude bigger than just getting her in the Oval Office. If the US is going to veer away from its almost inevitablly fascistic oligopoly future, it's got to be an all out war to get the right butts in the right seats or literally nothing will change.

This is true. The Democrats have to take Congress and the presidency and pass sweeping electoral reform, admit DC and Puerto Rico as states, and pack all the courts, as priority number 1. Then climate change, then health care.
posted by Automocar at 9:39 AM on August 9 [14 favorites]


Biden seems like an auto-lose, I'd hate to vote for him. Realistically though I cannot bring myself to believe it matters, I have to admit almost complete ignorance to every candidate besides Biden and Sanders because I feel there is no healthy reason for me to get emotionally invested in any given candidate. Every problem, corruption, treason, etc that conspired to determine the outcome of the previous election have had 4 years of unrestricted opportunity to get worse. I no longer believe this is something that can be solved with voting. I will do my duty and vote against the poison party, but Jesus Christ himself could run as the democrat candidate and he'd lose and most assuredly I say unto you, my vote will not count.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:39 AM on August 9


i would get absolutely sloshed with elizabeth warren.

get wonky for Warren
posted by Mister Cheese at 9:41 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


The last time chasing Republican votes by nominating a centrist white politician worked for the Democrats was in 1992, and it required nominating literally one of the most charismatic politicians in living American memory. It has failed for two decades; the only time the Democrats have won the presidency this century was when they nominated somebody who clearly articulated a vision and a desire to lead. "Here's a boring, charisma-free white guy who isn't as big a shit as the Republican, please vote for us", is a cowardly strategy for losers, and voters don't like cowardly losers. Sin boldly, or go home.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:41 AM on August 9 [92 favorites]


> This is true. The Democrats have to take Congress and the presidency and pass sweeping electoral reform, admit DC and Puerto Rico as states, and pack all the courts, as priority number 1. Then climate change, then health care.

for the record, this is why i very slightly prefer sanders over warren, even though warren is an all-around better person than sanders. i am certain that sanders is an allende type who will definitely do not-normal things in order to thwart fascism and achieve social democracy. i suspect warren is an fdr type will do not-normal things in order to thwart fascism and achieve social democracy, but i'm not certain of it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:43 AM on August 9 [5 favorites]


"Electable" is actually quantifiable in some way, by looking at polling numbers in swing states and she's probably the best of the candidates not named Joe Biden, which is something.

I'm pretty liberal and am all in on Warren. My sister is probably about as liberal as I am, maybe more, and is for Biden. She believes that beating Trump is the only thing that matters and Biden is best suited to do that. I agree with the first part and am increasingly disagreeing with the second for a couple of reasons. First, he seems to be stumbling over things more than usual and I think he might be slipping. Second, while he might be (or have been) best suited, he's not the only possibility. But, I see her point. She is terrified by the prospect of a second term for Trump and thinks that Biden won't freak out moderates.

My political prognostication is pretty awful, so I don't even know why I bother expressing my opinions sometimes (particularly because none of you asked), but hey:

Two women on the ticket = Democrats lose (but don't deserve to)

Two white men on the ticket = Democrats lose (and deserve to. Idiots)

We aren't ready to elect a gay man as President. Not yet. Anyway, Mayor Pete has about 30 years available for him to run for higher office. He can wait.

Neither Warren nor Sanders have the slightest interest in being VP at this point (Warren has said she would have accepted a VP slot with Clinton, however), so expecting a Wonder Twins super-group team-up is kidding themselves.

Biden/Harris seemed like a winning ticket, before Biden started Gaffepalooza 2019 and Harris started beating him up over busing. Now? Who the hell knows?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:45 AM on August 9


I would have a beer with Elizabeth Warren.

Wait for it...

She's got a plan for that, too.
posted by Mayor West at 9:45 AM on August 9 [29 favorites]


I like Warren, she will get my primary vote over all other Dem candidates unless she drops out by the time it comes around.

That said....I want to get T-shirts made up that say 'National Polls Don't Mean Squat' and wear them every day between now and the general election. There are four polls that matter -- PA, MI, WI, MN. (and about three or four more to keep an eye on...OH, FL, AZ, NC...TX?)

It doesn't matter one bit if nationally, or in blue states like CA/NY Sanders and Warren are doing laps around Biden. Those states are Team Blue no matter what. The states that matter are MI, WI, PA, MN....and the fact is based on most recent polling, Biden is more electable vs. Trump TODAY by a significant margin than Warren.

But, and this is the key thing...Biden is at his ceiling there, Warren isn't. The more people hear her message and start paying attention, the more she'll move into the same electability circle as Biden has today, I'm sure of it. Just gotta keep getting that message out.
posted by splen at 9:48 AM on August 9 [15 favorites]


But electability isn’t a static social fact; it’s a social fact we’re constructing. Part of what will make someone unelectable is people give up on them in a way that would be premature, rather than going to the mat for them.” Meanwhile lots of media outlets have worked hard at associating the women candidates with negative language.

Wow Jpfed, thanks for sharing this. This gets at all my frustration at musings about electability. Everybody who's saying "I'm worried that people won't like Warren because of _______" are using that breath to say that instead of "Warren deserves a ton of praise for ________."

Quite frankly, I think that a scan of policies could earn support for her across demographics that have been traditionally split - to whit, her recent plan to reboot the farm economy under a climate change paradigm really meets things that have often been pitted against each other.
posted by entropone at 9:51 AM on August 9 [12 favorites]


forgot to mention gillibrand, klobuchar, and yang as minor candidates who'd be more electable than biden. failing to put them on the list up above possibly indicates that i've got a blind spot — a blind spot i really should interrogate — re: electable but kind of centrist women, and that i don't take yang as seriously as i should. he's a libertarian jackwagon, but his "hey automation is really changing everything we should be thinking about this" message seems to resonate with a lot of people in rust belt swing states.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:51 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


i am certain that sanders is an allende type who will definitely do not-normal things in order to thwart fascism and achieve social democracy. i suspect warren is an fdr type will do not-normal things in order to thwart fascism and achieve social democracy, but i'm not certain of it.

I differ. I think Warren is so results oriented that she will do whatever it takes to achieve those results as long as its not expressly forbidden by the constitution, while Sanders seems to sometimes drift more towards ideology over effectiveness, which can slow action.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:51 AM on August 9 [34 favorites]


electable

We live in a world where just about everyone thinks of themselves as PR agents and in turn sees everyone else as dumb and therefore in need of propagandizing. When you run this through an infinite recursion loop the net effect is that the discourse is a combination of low brow propaganda (the sort of information-free and policy-free statements you hear in debates) and an enormous amount of energy spent on meta-conversations about the democratic process.

That narcissistic turn has been cultivated by the PR industry itself - pump people up with the belief that they're smart, in the know, have access to special information others don't - once you've got them in that place, they're easy to manipulate. The right wing is great at this. The left wing is not, although in fairness there hasn't been much of a left wing since the early 70s anyway.
posted by MillMan at 9:57 AM on August 9 [12 favorites]


forgot to mention gillibrand, klobuchar, and yang as minor candidates who'd be more electable than biden.

Hey! Inslee, too. He doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the sandbags.

OTOH, Yang's novelty wore off with me when he suggested "move to higher ground" as a solution to climate change.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:58 AM on August 9 [18 favorites]


How is electability being reasonably determined, beyond "do people, when asked prefer this candidate?" If voter preference marginalizes Yang, Gillibrand and Klobuchar, on what basis are they more electable than Biden?
posted by Selena777 at 10:00 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


oh true. i heart inslee, but i always forget he's nominally running for president instead of just for a cabinet-level climate-czar post in the warren administration.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:00 AM on August 9 [10 favorites]


> If voter preference marginalizes Yang, Gillibrand and Klobuchar, on what basis are they more electable than Biden?

gillibrand and klobuchar are pros and would not literally or metaphorically shit the bed in the same way that failed-upwards amateur biden would. yang is not a pro, but he likely wouldn't shit the bed as badly as biden would, and he wouldn't lose as many voters to third-party candidates as biden would.

the current numbers of the various candidates don't matter because the genpop isn't paying attention yet and still thinks of biden as that guy who used to stand next to barack obama.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:04 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Sanders seems to sometimes drift more towards ideology over effectiveness, which can slow action

Yeah I definitely don't want another Obama style "only you, the people can effect change!" meanwhile our votes are gerrymandered and suppressed, and we elected you to lead not take the lead.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:09 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


This comment isn't meant to detract from Senator Warren at all, but the framing of this post really makes me want to highlight how impressive the people are that she surrounds herself with, a very talented bunch who have helped her craft the many, many plans she's put on the table.

All the staffers, legislative assistants, comms people, and everyone else in her office that I talked to when I filmed an interview with the senator about student loan debt a couple years ago were wonderfully intelligent, thoughtful, and kind. Warren's office is a highly functioning, well-run policy shop and, to the eyes of this outsider, a nice place to work.

That experience, as much as anything that Warren herself has conveyed, made me a big supporter. It's unfortunate that most voters don't get a good sense for this extremely important aspect of leadership until after an election when a candidate starts announcing cabinet positions and other appointments, and by then it's too late.
posted by theory at 10:09 AM on August 9 [80 favorites]


Also... that energy Warren exhibits on camera? Not an act! I had to revisit her office a couple weeks after the interview to get some b-roll. I just shot it myself instead of bringing a whole crew again and I was warned by multiple people that I best be on my toes because the senator had a habit of darting in and out of a room with little warning. As I tried to follow her around with a camera, she very generously offered to walk down a hall to an elevator a second time because I. could. not. keep. up. with. her.
posted by theory at 10:19 AM on August 9 [46 favorites]


All the staffers, legislative assistants, comms people, and everyone else in her office that I talked to when I filmed an interview with the senator about student loan debt a couple years ago were wonderfully intelligent, thoughtful, and kind. Warren's office is a highly functioning, well-run policy shop and, to the eyes of this outsider, a nice place to work.


Well given the crying need to replace all the slimeballs Trump brought in/fill things he left empty, that's just another reason to vote for her. She actually has a team, not just a gang of assholes.
posted by emjaybee at 10:22 AM on August 9 [22 favorites]


Among other things, I am delighted that Warren has a plan to improve broadband access.
posted by doctornemo at 10:33 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Considering how Trump has treated her so far and how his followers mindlessly mimic him, I don't know if my mental health could survive Warren vs. Trump. I'm already having moments of feeling like I'm going to have a rage-fueled breakdown on a routine basis.
posted by charred husk at 10:38 AM on August 9 [5 favorites]


The real argument for Warren (and some other progressive candidates, although she is best at it) is not necessarily her policies - which are great! - but her framing. The "stop using GOP talking points" thing is entirely accurate for her. She wants to state her arguments, not the inverse of the other side's, because hers are better.

Compare to Team Biden, who this afternoon responded to Trump mocking of Biden by saying "Joe isn't playing with a full deck" by tweeting "Trump's deck is all jokers." Congrats, you've just conceded Trump's point, guys, and his point is "your guy is senile."
posted by mightygodking at 10:44 AM on August 9 [27 favorites]


> Considering how Trump has treated her so far and how his followers mindlessly mimic him, I don't know if my mental health could survive Warren vs. Trump. I'm already having moments of feeling like I'm going to have a rage-fueled breakdown on a routine basis.

a trick for avoiding rage-fueled breakdowns: remember that anything the orange man or his supporters say is best classified as enemy propaganda and can be safely ignored. you have no more reason to listen to donald trump and his lapdogs than people living in london during the blitz had reason to tune into lord haw-haw's broadcasts.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:46 AM on August 9 [15 favorites]


(which brings us back around to the point of it all, the point that mightygodking identified in the comment between ours: biden gets caught up in responding to enemy propaganda, and thereby further propagates it further. warren doesn't.)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:48 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


When people bring up electability sometimes I like to say "Hey, I have an idea, let's hold some kind of election between potential nominees, and if somebody wins, they're electable! We can call it a pre election, or a first election, or maybe... a primary election."


Other times I like to ask "Oh hey, Elizabeth who? What's she famous for? US Senate? How did she get to be Senator? What's that you say, she was... elected?"
posted by wildblueyonder at 10:50 AM on August 9 [26 favorites]


Considering how Trump has treated her so far and how his followers mindlessly mimic him, I don't know if my mental health could survive Warren vs. Trump.

I think the thing to do is just not care what specific color of poop spews out of Trump's mouth (and his crazed cultists, the alt-right, the Fox talking heads, etc.) He and they will be terrible no matter who he's running against.

What I fear most is failure on the Dem side:

- a Warren-Sanders split in the primary, and Sketchy Uncle Joe walks away with the nomination.
- Warren wins the primary, but DSA and others idiotically stick with "Bernie or Bust" and it further divides the left.
posted by Foosnark at 10:54 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


I am reminded that the same people who proclaim who is and who is not electable are in the same ecosystem of assholes who landed us with Trump, in the first place.

Electable, not-electable. At this point I don't honestly care what amateur and professional pundits have to say. I'm voting for whoever gets to the general election.

I hope to God it is either Warren or Buttigieg. But at this point it is about bringing American fascism to a halt and undoing the damage, while there is still time.

And that means ignoring the people who get their rocks off on dividing and distracting us.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:54 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


She doesn't get caught up in responding to enemy propaganda *anymore.*
posted by Selena777 at 10:55 AM on August 9 [10 favorites]


Funny how the only Dems that ever get the "electability" lens held up to them are women and POC.

Funny how that is completely untrue.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:56 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


What theory said may be the best reason to vote for Elizabeth Warren. It's easy to forget that presidents are also mentors. They give people a start in government who last for many, many years after they're gone. Nixon stopped being president in 1974, but 30 years later, he gave us the war in Iraq and so much more via Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who started out on their natsec career paths in his administration.

It's not a matter of speculation what kind of person would get their start in government under Warren. Rep. Katie Porter studied under her at Harvard Law School. (And here's Warren reacting to her election.)
posted by chimpsonfilm at 10:57 AM on August 9 [27 favorites]


I will admit I wrote her off after her godawful handling of the Native American heritage controversy but everything I've seen from her the past couple months of her campaign leads me to believe that was an anomaly and likely the result of her listening to bad advisors.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:03 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


> a Warren-Sanders split in the primary, and Sketchy Uncle Joe walks away with the nomination.

the democratic party allocates delegates by proportional representation. so long as both warren and sanders stay consistently above 15% (the threshold for getting delegates), vote-splitting doesn't matter. if there's a contested convention, sanders delegates will vote for whoever sanders tells them to. and warren delegates will vote for whoever warren tells them to. and neither sanders nor warren is going to tell them to vote for biden.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:05 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


I like to remind people who quiver and clutch their pearls over women (and POC) being """electable""" of what happened in 2018: The Senate seats we flipped in NV and AZ? Women! One of whom is bisexual and agnostic! The House seats we won? A whole slate of intersectional candidates won them! Danica Roem, a trans woman, was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates!

Democrats are the big tent party. We are the diverse party, so diverse and intersectional candidates are electable. I think Warren is so electable, and so competent, and so worthy of being President, that I want to proclaim "#Warren2020!" from the rooftops. I think she's the best candidate we have.

Both Biden and Bernie's big problem, IMO, is that they are too old. Over 75 is when things like falls, broken bones, illnesses, cancer, heart attacks, etc. really can start a downward trajectory in someone's health. Atul Gawande's Being Mortal ought to be required reading. It's not "ageism" or ZOMG Age Discrimination!!!11 to point out that POTUS is a tough job and requires the stamina and good health someone of Biden's age might not be able to sustain. Remember how demented Ronald Reagan got.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:05 AM on August 9 [25 favorites]


(this site's dominant demographics are dead-center the demographics that prefer warren over sanders. but sanders can pick up votes that warren can't, and warren can pick up votes that sanders can't).
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:06 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]


Speaking from the other side of the Atlantic (so, y'know, just a data point and not a particularly important one at that), Warren is the only candidate I think of as being electable. My eccentric position is that while people don't vote on facts, I'm not sure it's emotion either, purely: I think people vote on narrative - they want to be a part of a story that's unfolding. Of all the candidates, Warren has potentially the most compelling narrative. In addition to which, it does seem that even a number of people who voted for him are made to feel dirty by the Trump presidency, and Warren's obvious decency is an antidote to that (if that narrative can be brought over to them).

From over here, watching the elections, there's often a candidate who has that quality - of embodying a story that consummates in the White House. It's easy to identify them in retrospect: Bill Clinton and Obama had it and, yes, Trump too. Hilary Clinton... not so much - it made the campaign difficult to watch. Without the benefit of hindsight, though, it does feel like Warren is one of those candidates. I do hope so. It would be lovely to have at least one decent person in a position of power.

The way I've been thinking of it is that if I woke up tomorrow in a world where Elizabeth Warren was president of the United States I'd be more than happy about it, but that the road from here to there is fraught, and upsetting and dangerous even for those of us at some remove. Not that that road shouldn't be taken - it really, really should! - but I'm preparing myself for distress on the way.

By which I mean that not only do I think she's electable, she might be the most electable.
posted by Grangousier at 11:07 AM on August 9 [26 favorites]


Warren's campaign is reminding me a lot of the slow burn of the Obama campaign. At first it seemed the media were trying to force Buttigieg into fitting that narrative, which I don't think he does, but Warren is clearly playing the long, methodical game Obama did.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:12 AM on August 9 [12 favorites]


Funny how that is completely untrue.

This is where the "people of color" terminology falls a little flat. Sanders is not a "person of color," but as a Jew, he's white-adjacent more than "white". Whiteness is revocable, and anti-Semitism is alive and well in America.

Despite not being particularly devout (at least in any sort of public sense), he's practically a stereotype of a New York Jew, and some of the criticisms of him ("he's too loud") are mapping a white culture morality onto non-white culture in the same way that black folks get called rude for making a reasonable amount of noise in social situations.

"Is he electable" is "will America vote for a ___?" with plausible deniability. With Warren, it's "woman." With Sanders, it's "Jew."
posted by explosion at 11:16 AM on August 9 [34 favorites]


in the context of the 2020 election, i view "electable" as coming down to a singular thing - who can stand on a debate stage with you-know-who and actually have a real debate? all i can think about is: "don't wrestle with a pig - you both get dirty, and the pig likes it". who has the stomach for that? who can keep their shit together in the face of a debate/campaign opponent who is not tethered to the truth or any reality at all? i don't even know how folks could prepare for that.

but that's who we need. i believe warren could do that, and likely buttigieg, and possibly others. i hope that whoever gets the nomination can manage that shit-storm.

also, i felt the bern the last go-round, but i agree with the age thing (re: both bernie and joe).
posted by rude.boy at 11:25 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I hope with all my might that we will see a president Warren in 2020. Well, president-elect in 2020, president in 2021 of course.

I'll take almost anybody over Trump, but I feel really excited about Elizabeth Warren and would love to see her in the White House. Good god, though, is she going to have her hands full trying to clean up the mess Trump will leave behind.

Even if we manage to clear the White House and retake the Senate, the next 4 years are going to be damage control.
posted by jzb at 11:27 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Both Biden and Bernie's big problem, IMO, is that they are too old.

I agree, and I don't think it's ageism to say so.

Joe Biden (born in 1942) is 76. He would take office at 77 and be 81 at the end of his first term.
Bernie Sanders (born in 1941) is 77. He would take office at 78 and be 82 at the end of his first term.

Donald Trump, the oldest first-term U.S. president, took office at 70. Ronald Reagan, the previous oldest president, took office at 69. Both Reagan and Trump demonstrated signs of mental decline in office.

Even if Biden and Sanders are in sounder physical and mental health than Trump, it's a taxing job that makes people age more quickly. (See Barack Obama before-and-after.) If Trump loses the presidency will probably go back to a full time 24-7 job, with no weekends off and constant golf breaks. I'm not confident anyone in their 70s is up to it.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:30 AM on August 9 [16 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren is what you would get if a Democratic mad scientist time-traveled back to the 2016 primary and created a genetically engineered super-candidate by fusing the things people liked about both Hillary and Bernie into one person. She has charisma, she has a progressive vision, she has a track record of getting shit done, and she has detailed and realistic plans that please the policy wonks.

Meanwhile, the only thing separating Joe Biden from the forgettable windbags is his VP pedigree. Barack Obama could level that playing field by endorsing Warren. It’s too early in the race for that, but I’m looking forward to it.

So, yeah, let’s talk about electability.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:31 AM on August 9 [17 favorites]


I'm not confident anyone in their 70s is up to it.
Warren is 70.
posted by neroli at 11:33 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Warren is 70.

And a woman, which gives her a couple years' worth of edge over an equivalent male; men generally start their decline at 75-76 and women at 77-78. I will admit that she is right up against the edge of my personal line of "too old," but it's fair to be statistically confident that she can manage two terms.
posted by mightygodking at 11:35 AM on August 9 [16 favorites]


I like to remind people who quiver and clutch their pearls over women (and POC) being """electable""" of what happened in 2018: The Senate seats we flipped in NV and AZ? Women! One of whom is bisexual and agnostic! The House seats we won? A whole slate of intersectional candidates won them! Danica Roem, a trans woman, was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates!

And also there's that little thing about a female presidential candidate winning the most votes in 2016 and it's only America's backwards election laws that put Trump in the White House.
posted by Automocar at 11:37 AM on August 9 [32 favorites]


Here's where I confess what really turned me off of Clinton in 2016. It's a small thing, and of course it didn't stop me from voting for her in the general, but it made an impact on me and it wasn't good: she was debating against Trump, and she scored some rhetorical point, and she did this little shoulder-shimmy thing in triumph. It looked smug, and I don't want a candidate who is smug, who thinks their victory is some sort of foregone conclusion.

Biden is very smug. Sanders is less smug than Biden, but he's still kind of smug. I don't think Warren is smug. If she wins the nomination, which I truly hope she does, I expect her to keep fighting and campaigning with 100% of her energy until the very last vote tallies are in.

Finally, a message to Biden: Joe, you could have had a chance in 2016. I know your son died, and I feel for you, but sometimes life just isn't fair, and 2020 is not your time. Go home and enjoy the remainder of your days on this planet instead of applying for the world's hardest job.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:38 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


How does Joe "Poor kids are just as talented as white kids" Biden rank above Warren in "electability"? (Yes, he caught himself after that quote, but it was a clumsy catch.) Frankly, I can't imagine Biden or Sanders standing on a stage next to trump and winning that debate. With Biden, it's going to be two confused old white men talking weird past each other, and with Sanders it's going to be too much engagement with trump personally, too much playing trump's game, and too much "all about me". If people want an old white guy with no plan, they'll vote trump. If they want an old white guy who yells a lot about stuff, they'll vote trump. But Warren? Firey. Cohesive. Competent. Charismatic. In spades.

Frankly, Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate out there I can see beating trump, and the only one I see with the experience and skills to actually start putting together a functioning executive branch again. Just close your eyes for a minute and try to really realistically think through what each of the three general campaigns is likely to look like. Team Warren all the way.
posted by mrgoat at 11:40 AM on August 9 [21 favorites]


Another bonus of Warren (aside from her general competence and awesomeness) is that she's effectively "MeToo" proof, unlike male candidates. I would not put it past the Republicans/Russians to dredge up or outright fabricate something about Biden or Sanders and play the greater concern/awareness the left has about sexual misconduct against us.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 11:41 AM on August 9 [16 favorites]


How is electability being reasonably determined, beyond "do people, when asked prefer this candidate?"

There are a few different ways, but I suspect a lot of it is "gut feeling".

Does this candidate inspire people to rush out to the polls and vote for them?

Does this candidate inspire people to rush out to the polls and vote for someone else?

Do they attract votes of people outside their base?

Do they play well in the swing states?

These are all reasonable questions to ask, although I suspect that most of the people talking about "electability" aren't thinking in quite this detail.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:44 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


My eccentric position is that while people don't vote on facts, I'm not sure it's emotion either, purely: I think people vote on narrative - they want to be a part of a story that's unfolding.

Well put. Something lawyers, writers, and PR experts all understand, which often gives them an edge over other candidates.
posted by sallybrown at 11:45 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Joe "30330" Biden seems to be the very definition of unelectable.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 11:46 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Also - and I realize this is incredibly petty of me and should have no real bearing on anything - I really, really want trump to be beaten by a woman in the election. The only thing he will psychologically handle worse than losing is losing to a woman.
posted by mrgoat at 11:50 AM on August 9 [22 favorites]


You know what makes someone electable? People voting for them. I despite this horserace nonsense that has trickled down from the media to Joe Q. Voter. I called it a few years ago, though (long before 2016), when I noticed that what people seemed to really want was to say they voted for the winner. So they try to triangulate who that's going to be and vote that way, so they can feel like a winner by proxy. Policy has little to do with it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:55 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


with Sanders it's going to be too much engagement with trump personally, too much playing trump's game, and too much "all about me" ... But Warren? Firey. Cohesive. Competent. Charismatic. In spades.

If you're worried about somebody who lets Trump get under their skin "personally" and "plays Trump's game," I think Warren is more worrying – unless she's really learned from the DNA test debacle, which was an example of exactly those things.
posted by Beardman at 11:56 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Warren is 70.

Which is one of the reasons Kamala Harris was my pick going in. I like Warren a lot, though, and since things aren't looking so good for Harris right now I'd happily back Warren.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:56 AM on August 9 [5 favorites]


Also - and I realize this is incredibly petty of me and should have no real bearing on anything - I really, really want trump to be beaten by a woman in the election. The only thing he will psychologically handle worse than losing is losing to a woman.

I'm as petty as anyone! Another reason I initially backed Harris is that I wanted racist sexist Trump to be beaten by a woman of color. I want him to lose and I want it to be as devastating as possible.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:57 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I keep beating this drum over the stupid electabilty argument and the high showing of Biden in the polls, so forgive me if you've heard it.

Just remember at this point in the last election everyone said there was no way that Trump lunatic would get the nomination and anyway Clinton would beat him handily.

Elections are long, y'all.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:04 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


The only real downside to Warren is that she's a Senator from Massachusetts. If she steps down to run for President (or to be President), her replacement would be appointed by the governor, who's a Republican. One lost seat in the Senate, in year when the Democrats have some hope of getting control, could cost us everything. That said, she's my current first choice.
posted by SPrintF at 12:32 PM on August 9 [9 favorites]


Beyond the usual X chromosome societal handicaps, Warren has zero of the baggage that HRC had in 2016. Which is to say, Republicans haven’t spent the last 20+ years pushing conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory about her.

Plus, she used to be a registered Republican and I think her journey from uninformed non-political Oklahoman to progressive academic politician (and the resulting growth to the forefront of the Democratic Party) could really resonate with unaffiliated voter if properly presented.

I really, really, really, really wish she had run in 2016. As it is, this middle-aged cishet white guy is increasingly all-in for Elizabeth Warren in 2020.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 12:33 PM on August 9 [13 favorites]


The only real downside to Warren is that she's a Senator from Massachusetts. If she steps down to run for President (or to be President), her replacement would be appointed by the governor, who's a Republican.

If memory serves me correctly, said replacement is only temporary until a special election is held.
posted by Gelatin at 12:57 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


"Warren's office is a highly functioning, well-run policy shop and, to the eyes of this outsider, a nice place to work."

I think this is really important, and yet another reason I'm excited about Warren. And not about Harris. Maybe she's gotten better in her current position, but I heard from trusted friends that Harris's AG office was disorganized and people were unhappy there. I really want someone running the Executive branch who knows how to run a well-functioning team.
posted by queensissy at 12:57 PM on August 9 [11 favorites]


> I think Warren is more worrying – unless she's really learned from the DNA test debacle, which was an example of exactly those things.

count me on team "warren has learned from the dna test debacle." nevertheless, the anti-native slurs that the fascists are going to bring out should she get the nomination are probably her biggest weak point... but less of a weak point to my eye than the weird 1970s rape culture stuff that sanders wrote down back in the 1970s.

though if i were going to play the "get inside the heads of people i don't know" game — which i guess i'm about to — i'd say that sanders' weird 1970s rape culture stuff could be less of a negative than the warren dna test debacle. not because people are genuinely scandalized by warren having made that blunder, but instead because anti-native-american bias is as fierce, unrelenting, and widespread as anti-black bias, and the incessant use of anti-native slurs by the enemy propagandists might make politically disconnected americans think, on an unconscious level, that she's native american.

more broadly speaking — and speaking here as a big warren fan — i think all of us here on metafilter are uniquely unqualified to assess warren's chances. the modal mefite is a professional-class college-graduate social liberal, and also for various reasons the modal mefite is primed to dislike sanders. that's the demographic that's most on warren's frequency. and, well, it's also a relatively small demographic. i'm heartened by her trajectory in the polls, but i honestly cannot make any guesses whatsoever about what her ceiling might be.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:58 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


"OTOH, Yang's novelty wore off with me when he suggested "move to higher ground" as a solution to climate change."

I don't think he meant it as a fix but as requirement. Putting Miami on stilts isn't going work.
Some relocation, in addition to changing how we eat and get energy, is probably inevitable.
posted by Damienmce at 1:04 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


yeah, yang's strength is his brutal honesty about the grimdark cyberpunk apocalypse we find ourselves living in. brutal honesty feels pretty good to people who've been stuck living in the orange man's lie factory for three years and change.

yang's chief weakness is... his chief weakness is...

... yang's chief weakness is that his weaknesses are innumerable. you can't count them, no matter how good at math you are.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:07 PM on August 9 [15 favorites]


RNTP: i think we are uniquely unqualified to assess warren here

I've been surprised/frustrated by the typical reaction I get when I say how much I like Warren, and AOC too, usually because people haven't actually heard/seen them speak. Lately I've been responding with something like, "She says what I'm thinking." Sometimes people ask me what I mean, and off we go.
posted by kingless at 1:08 PM on August 9 [18 favorites]


kingless: that's some damned fine campaigning/evangelizing you're doing. thank you!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:10 PM on August 9


Funny how the only Dems that ever get the "electability" lens held up to them are women and POC. Probly just a coincidence...

Remember Dennis Kucinich?

But that's neither here nor there. The sheer amount of work Warren has to do, policy she has to articulate and intelligence she has to wield, just to pull even with shambolic fuckup Biden in terms of electability is embarrassing.

If ever one was do doubt that women and people of colour have to be twice as good just to be seen as equal...
posted by klanawa at 1:11 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Read this. Rebecca Traister, Elizabeth Warren’s Classroom Strategy: "A lifelong teacher, she’s the most professorial presidential candidate ever. But does America want to be taught?"
Here’s the thing: Since there aren’t a lot of other easy models for powerful women to authoritatively communicate with masses of people they’ve never been encouraged to lead, why wouldn’t it make sense that the model by which a woman could emerge in a presidential sphere might be the same as the one that permitted women entry into the public sphere to begin with?

It is, after all, no coincidence that many of the few women to have made serious approaches toward the presidency in the past found their first professional foothold in a classroom: Shirley Chisholm was a director of nursery schools and an early-education consultant who made early education central to her political agenda; Hillary Clinton was the second female law professor at the University of Arkansas; Margaret Chase Smith and Elizabeth Dole also did stints as teachers.

It’s true that people may resent teachers. It’s also true that people are primed to resent teachers, because they resent women who might wield power over them, and it is still new and uncomfortable to think about women having political — presidential! — power. And yet: People who have had great teachers love them in ways that are intense and alchemical and irrational and sometimes difficult to convey — which is also, oddly enough, how some people love the politicians they believe in and choose to fight for.
posted by zachlipton at 1:21 PM on August 9 [14 favorites]


How on earth could people still be harping about "electability" after Barack Hussein Obama got elected? (To say nothing of the totally unelectable asshole we have now.)
posted by rikschell at 1:23 PM on August 9 [11 favorites]


Funny how the only Dems that ever get the "electability" lens held up to them are women and POC.

No, it gets leveraged against anyone but the anointed one.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:25 PM on August 9


the first time i remember hearing the word "electability" weaponized against a candidate was when howard dean momentarily took the lead back in late '03 - early '04. his campaign is remembered now for the media-manufactured dean scream debacle, but the media assassination commenced long before the scream. the post-scream coverage was just the final knife in the heart after the first twenty or thirty stabs.

and then we got stuck with john kerry, who was allegedly electable even though he was basically a cursed ent.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:31 PM on August 9 [24 favorites]


continuing the trip down '04 nostalgia lane (oh god it's a crappy crappy road), people who think that august 2019 poll numbers grant any insight into what will happen in the 2020 primaries should note that kerry was polling at like 5% nationwide before he won the iowa caucuses.

like, for example, i'm not the hugest buttigieg fan, but i wouldn't be totally stunned if he took the nomination should the centrist powers that be decide that diamond joe is too inept to win.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:34 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


The general election question about Warren is the general election question about Sanders: do the Fortune 500, Wall Street and deca/centimillionaires dislike Trump enough to support a candidate who is overtly opposed to some of their core interests, in a way that no prior Democratic candidate, certainly including Obama, has been, and that Harris, Biden and Booker are not.

Hillary Clinton had the support of every industry and class of rich people except for energy, payday loans and for-profit colleges, touted a very mild tax and regulatory increase agenda, and still couldn't win.

A full fledged business sector commitment to Trump's re-election would probably secure it ... but at the same time, Trump is beyond toxic in social and media terms to corporate America and rich people who have to be remotely in the public eye. One struggles to see how the CEO of AT&T or Goldman Sachs could come out and say Trump is the lesser of two evils.
posted by MattD at 1:39 PM on August 9


CEO of AT&T or Goldman Sachs could come out and say Trump is the lesser of two evils.
The CEO of AT&T is a Trump supporter, and forced 'common sense townhalls' upon his employees in support of the Republican Tax Cuts a few years ago.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:45 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


> Trump is beyond toxic in social and media terms to corporate America and rich people who have to be remotely in the public eye. One struggles to see how the CEO of AT&T or Goldman Sachs could come out and say Trump is the lesser of two evils.

insert here a mention of how the 1930s german corporate class considered hitler distasteful, but supported him because he kept the commies down.

this line of argument — the argument that the corporate classes will support fascism against even mild dissent, and that electoral opposition to the corporate classes will always fail — is essentially an argument for revolution, even violent revolution. i am hopeful enough to believe that warren or sanders could overcome the opposition of the money men.

this might be naïve menshevik softheadedness on my part, though.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:46 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


Hillary Clinton had the support of every industry and class of rich people except for energy, payday loans and for-profit colleges, touted a very mild tax and regulatory increase agenda, and still couldn't win.

She did win.
posted by maxsparber at 1:46 PM on August 9 [35 favorites]


To expand: Clinton's problem was structural, rather than one of electability. I mean, at what point, when you get more votes than any other man in history but for Obama, and three million more than Trump, does this cease being a discussion of electability and start becoming a discussion of how vastly broken our system is.
posted by maxsparber at 1:48 PM on August 9 [41 favorites]


Elizabeth Warren was asked why she wrote her plans and replied it was so everything would be in black and white. There would be no arguing over policy goals. It sort of hit me then that she was talking not just about holding herself accountable, but also the Democratic party. I love that.

I have this fantasy ad in my head of a bunch of reporters asking different candidates questions, and then they come to her office but can't reach her. They can just see her in her office with her sleeves rolled up typing away - working. They're baffled. What is she doing?

She was also the only candidate, if not public person, who came out for impeaching the president the next morning after the Mueller report came out. She said she'd just finished reading the report and that Trump's guilt and congress's duty was clear. Just like that.

I also like that after the second debate the very first question they tackled was who won the debate. The first answer was "Warren". Reminder, she didn't even debate that night.
posted by xammerboy at 1:52 PM on August 9 [20 favorites]


when you get more votes than any other man in history but for Obama, and three million more than Trump, does this cease being a discussion of electability and start becoming a discussion of how vastly broken our system is.

When there's a FPP to talk about how broke the system is. This one's about a particular candidate. Though I do think "electability" is just a way for corporate media and other low-key status-quoers to create goalposts that most benefit them. That debate should be largely ignored imo.
posted by avalonian at 1:54 PM on August 9


Clinton's popular vote margin was an artifact of her terribly bad strategy and Trump's ordinarily competent strategy. Republicans properly made zero effort to gain popular votes in states Trump wasn't going to carry or would lose only in a landslide defeat, and Democrats made inexplicably substantial efforts to gain popular votes in states Clinton was unlikely to carry and was never going to need (like Arizona and Texas).
posted by MattD at 1:55 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Warren's the nominee I want, and I've been thinking about VP contenders to "balance the ticket" and counter this aggravatingly widespread electability belief.

What if she chose a running mate we didn't see in the debates? Someone like Florida's Wayne Messam (provided nothing horrible has cropped up about him since he threw his hat in the ring in March)? Mayor of Miramar (larger population than South Bend), Democrat, in his 40s, with a great bio (son of Jamaican immigrants; dad was a sugarcane worker, mom cooked for the workers; became a football star at Florida State; built successful construction company with his wife; etc.). Campaign video, "Your Champion."
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:09 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


It sort of hit me then that she was talking not just about holding herself accountable, but also the Democratic party. I love that.

I also liked that she took a risk while using her expertise to publicly predict a coming economic crisis and explain why. She is right to claim the mantle of the fearless, truth-teller candidate.

As for 1% supporters, I think she is banking on the fact that while these people hold the money, they don’t hold the votes. Again, she’s taking a risk—that she can attract voters from the lower to middle, and maybe upper middle class, across the political spectrum by arguing that she’ll put the country’s wealth to work for the 99%.
posted by sallybrown at 2:12 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Big Al 8000: Plus, she used to be a registered Republican and I think her journey from uninformed non-political Oklahoman to progressive academic politician (and the resulting growth to the forefront of the Democratic Party) could really resonate with unaffiliated voter if properly presented.

I think this is a good point. People who yammer "But Massachusetts!" with all its negative connotations don't get that Warren's roots are Oklahoman - flyover country, if you will, the kind of place that gets invoked when people talk about """real America.""" (and fuck those people, Californians and Massachusettsians are real Americans through and through.)

And Warren's being a former registered Republican is something that I think would, one, give her insight into what makes them tick, and what makes former Republicans convert to the Democrats. Two, it means she's not been cushioned in an exclusively Democratic bubble for much of her adult life, which broadens her understanding. I keep hearing how Biden is the one to bring back the much-vaunted "swing" voter or "heartland" voter or someone who is independent or unaffiliated, but I think Warren is far more likely to speak to those various people.

(Fuck anyone who thinks that Andrew Yang or Marianne Williamson is a better candidate than Kirsten Gillibrand or Jay Inslee. Just fuck 'em. Gillibrand and Inslee, for varying and different reasons, were robbed. Grr.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:29 PM on August 9 [13 favorites]


srsly though i feel bad for how often i forget about jay inslee. his sane calming presence was the main reason the debate without warren or sanders was even watchable.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:35 PM on August 9 [13 favorites]


and what makes former Republicans convert to the Democrats

Everybody jumping ship to vote Democratic has already done so, at least in terms of electoral significance. The 24% of Americans who still identify as Republican are ride-or-die. Let them go.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:37 PM on August 9 [10 favorites]


Downtown Chicago rally for Global Warming with Inslee Monday night 5-6:30 pm! See you there!
posted by xammerboy at 2:38 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Everybody jumping ship to vote Democratic has already done so, at least in terms of electoral significance. The 24% of Americans who still identify as Republican are ride-or-die. Let them go.

I think this is true, and trying to coax Republicans into the Democratic fold won't work, as all the Reagan Democrats are now Republicans. What I meant was that Warren would have an insight into the mind of the current converts. How are people who switched from being Republicans to being Democrats well into adulthood - like Warren - different from lifelong Democrats, and what can someone like Warren offer them that maybe another person couldn't?

One of the many things I love about Warren is that she knows Americans aren't going broke over avocado toast and lattes - there are structural issues as to why most of us can't get ahead, and performative frugality won't touch that. Waaaay back in 2003, Elizabeth Warren was interviewed for Salon and that is what she said - Americans are not going broke over lattes! (Original article has disappeared from Salon, but that message board has a copy.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:49 PM on August 9 [15 favorites]


Even if I 100% agreed with Yang or Williamson (I certainly don't), I don't think I could ever support a non-politician. Beyond the thousands of problems with Trump's beliefs, speech, etc there are also plenty of obvious problems stemming from his complete inexperience in government.

I suppose a smart person who cared about the country could at least deputize someone to handle all the "how to govern" stuff (Trump obviously thinks, despite the evidence, that he is smarter than everyone else and thus doesn't do this), but since we have a plethora of people with governing/political experience there is no need to even consider an "outsider".

Going into the summer I was on Team Harris, but I think I've now moved to preferring Warren (although I still like Harris and a few others). There are several good candidates in the race, and among the top tier (Biden/Warren/Sanders/Harris/maybe Buttigieg depending on the poll) the only "oh please please don't nominate that person" is Biden.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:04 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Downtown Chicago rally for Global Warming with Inslee Monday night 5-6:30 pm! See you there!

I went to an Inslee fundraiser a few months ago. He gave solid, thoughtful answers to some tough questions from the audience. I sure hope he qualifies for the next round, because the more noise that’s made about climate change, the better. I was super disappointed that the DNC didn’t agree to a climate debate. Fun fact: he is startlingly tall in person.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:05 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: "Original article has disappeared from Salon"

Salon still has a copy here. Great piece, thanks for sharing. I heard a recent interview with her on Embedded about the creation of the CFPB where she used the same toaster comparison.
posted by crazy with stars at 3:09 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I have important new polling information:

One of my neighbors plasters their car with Democratic bumper stickers, including stickers for Beto, Kamala, and Mayor Pete. However, up until a week ago they did not have a Warren sticker. One of my friends has plenty of extra Warren stickers, and so I asked her for one so that I could offer it to my neighbor to add to their collection. However! When I went to my neighbor, they had already bought and applied a Warren sticker. In that ~5 day window of time, Warren's visible support in my neighborhood has doubled!

Anyway, I now have an extra Warren bumper sticker (my car already has one). If anyone would like me to mail the bumper sticker to you, just PM me the address.
posted by Balna Watya at 3:15 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


im a bernie guy (i'll vote as far left as i can) but i could be about 98% as happy voting for warren. if biden gets the nom, i'll vote for him, but i guarantee you we'll end up with 4 (or more) years of trump because he is only slightly less inspiring than soggy corn flakes
posted by entropicamericana at 3:21 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


When Warren made her "I am TOO really Native American" announcement it broke my heart a little bit because of how incredibly stupid it was. Not just because of the ignorance, but because it REALLY alarmed me that she thought this was the way to deal with Trump's bullying. Because if that's how she was going to handle him, she was going to lose.

She seems to have turned that around. Like she obviously is a fighter, and maybe she's gotten smarter about it. And her platform...oh man, that platform. I want her to be President so, so badly.

I will fight for a Warren presidency like a motherfucker.

we gotta stop biden, y'all.

I breathed such a sigh of relief when Beto announced because I thought he would be a simultaneous Bernie+Biden killer, which is really a kind of unicorn, when you think about it. Given the way the polls are shaking out, he still might be -- he only needs to peal off so much from each.

Run, my little unicorn. Run!
posted by schadenfrau at 3:24 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


> if biden gets the nom, i'll vote for him, but i guarantee you we'll end up with 4 (or more) years of trump because he is only slightly less inspiring than soggy corn flakes

soggy cornflakes are delicious. biden tastes like stale cigars and fake leather.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:31 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Yes, run Beto. Run all the way back to Texas and announce you'll be running to unseat John Cornyn from the U.S. Senate.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:33 PM on August 9 [27 favorites]


i mean i'll defer to any texans who disagree, but i really do think that his fiery new "holy shit white supremacist trump-lovers are gunning down texans we got to fucking stop them y'all" platform might actually win him that senate seat, given that texas is gradually sliding from red to purple.

he is definitely not ready for the presidency, though. he looked like a lost little boy in the debates — less like the guy who drove to every county in texas eating whataburgers, and more like, i dunno, the second coming of lincoln chaffee.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:37 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Warren seems alright.

I hate the way she says what she does about capitalism, how she talks it up, reifies markets, her idea of how value is created, her belief that there was a fair golden age we can return to, pretty much all of that turns my stomach, but as far as policies go, it's about as close to a transitional platform as I can imagine any American actually being able to run on.

So why all the talk that seems designed to turn ardent socialists away?
Like, we spend a lot of time worrying about a left/liberal split in the Democratic party on here, and I can't see how being known as Liz "capitalist to my bones" Warren does anything to resolve that tension.
posted by Acid Communist at 3:42 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


> So why all the talk that seems designed to turn ardent socialists away?

she's hiding her power level. even the bolsheviks hid their power level at times.

warren fronts as a social liberal. she's actually a social democrat. sanders fronts as a democratic socialist. he's actually a social democrat.

i too wish she'd at the very least get squirrely when asked about socialism, instead of straight-up claiming to be a capitalist (which, lol. if you're a capitalist where's your capital? why did you have to spend most of your life working for a living?)

nevertheless, i've made my peace with it. in 2024, provided bourgeois electoral democracy still exists, it will probably be smart for social democrats to embrace the socialist label. in 2020 it might be a good idea, or it might not be. shrug!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:50 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


The DNA test was a mild and forgivable example of poor judgement. Contrast this to being a registered Republican throughout the Reagan-Bush reign of terror and all the way to 1996 - now that is something I simply can’t fathom from an educated person with halfway decent morals.
posted by moorooka at 3:53 PM on August 9


I think Warren is genuinely a capitalist, one who believes in taking the wealth generated through capitalism and returning it to the people via federal government programs. A classic Democrat. To many people that’s beyond wrong, even nonsensical. And it clearly divides her from Bernie. But it makes sense given her background and expertise.
posted by sallybrown at 3:55 PM on August 9 [10 favorites]


So why all the talk that seems designed to turn ardent socialists away?
Like, we spend a lot of time worrying about a left/liberal split in the Democratic party on here, and I can't see how being known as Liz "capitalist to my bones" Warren does anything to resolve that tension.
posted by Acid Communist


what are you, some kind of acid communist?
posted by philip-random at 3:57 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


Contrast this to being a registered Republican throughout the Reagan-Bush reign of terror and all the way to 1996 - now that is something I simply can’t fathom from an educated person with halfway decent morals.

Warren’s Republican registration/voting record, which I was able to find because it came up the last time we discussed her: from explosion’s comment linking an article from The Intercept:

“Elizabeth Warren did vote for Ford in 1976, but she voted for Carter in 1980. She voted for Dukakis in 1988.

She registered Republican in Pennsylvania very likely (she admits she doesn't recall why) because she supported Arlen Specter. He later (2009) became a Democrat.

She voted for Bill Clinton in 1992.”
posted by sallybrown at 4:04 PM on August 9 [19 favorites]


Back when one could credibly not-all-Republicans, Arlen Specter was a go-to example (see also pre-2001 John McCain and pre-something Susan Collins). Learning that Warren might’ve kinda liked the guy in the ‘90s doesn’t win her any points with me, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
posted by box at 4:16 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


the parties weren't fully split on ideological lines until the 90s. especially in the northeast (see, for example, the fundamentally decent liberal republican lowell weicker vs. the despicable reactionary democrat joe lieberman in 1988).

if she voted for reagan in '84 (did she?) that indicates that she lacked sense and judgement 35 years ago, but this commie right here is willing to forgive 2019 warren for it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:26 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


> (see also pre-2001 John McCain and pre-something Susan Collins).

olympia snowe was decent at times. collins is and always was reprehensible — she got her reputation for moderation solely due to her habit of standing next to olympia snowe sometimes.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:27 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


if you're a capitalist where's your capital? why did you have to spend most of your life working for a living?

Isn't that a non sequitur? You can be a ideological capitalist in the sense that you think capitalism is a good way to allocate resources without having any particular amount of capital. Also, she is a multi-millionaire.
posted by value of information at 4:59 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Based on The Intercept article (sourced from Warren’s memory) and this Politico one, her known voting and registration record is:

1972: McGovern (“she disliked [Nixon] passionately”)
1976: Ford (“Ford was a decent man” and Carter also “was a decent man”)
1980: Carter (she was a registered independent in TX and when Reagan won, “I was disappointed and didn’t like him”)
1984: Mondale? (Politico article says Ford was the only Republican presidential candidate she ever voted for, so although no one says it explicitly, we can assume)
1988: Dukakis
1991: Warren registers as a Republican in PA
1992: Clinton for POTUS, Arlen Specter for Senate (R-PA) (“he was a decent man”)
1996: Warren registers as a Democrat in MA
posted by sallybrown at 5:05 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


[Try to keep the thread about Warren on the topic of Warren!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:09 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


So, it looks to me like "O noez, Warren was a REPUBLICAN!/clutches pearls" is greatly exaggerated. She voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate for everyone except Gerald Ford. She voted R for one of the last "Rockefeller Republican" New England senators. In other words, she was a ticket-splitter, as was once very prevalent across Democrats and Republicans alike. People rarely split tickets any more because both "Rockefeller Republicans" and "Blue Dog Democrats" are rare to extinct.

If we look at blue senators in red states - I am guessing there were a lot of Trump/Klobuchar and Trump/Tester voters. Likewise, there must be a lot of Joe Manchin/Republican Everyone Else voters in West Virginia. Ticket splitting is becoming rare, but it still exists when it comes to popular Senators and Representatives.

"Elizabeth Warren was a REPUBLICAN ermagherd O NOEZ" is a big old nothingburger as far as I am concerned.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:38 PM on August 9 [21 favorites]


I don't think Warren knows what capitalism is. "I am a capitalist" means anything, really.
People who say they are capitalists do not know what they're talking about, capitalism is a term like how ornithologists name bird species; a bird cannot magically access the scientific understanding of itself, either.
It's also like the absurdity of a racist identifying as a racist.
By taking a critical term (Louis Blanc 1850) and rhetorically reappropriating it as an apparently self-conscious identity it shows their ignorance of where the modern term came from.
posted by polymodus at 5:40 PM on August 9


"Elizabeth Warren was a REPUBLICAN ermagherd O NOEZ" is a big old nothingburger as far as I am concerned.

So much this. Look at her detailed policies available now and the positions she's taken since getting to the Senate and how does any of that make it look like she's going to, I dunno, tear off her mask to reveal Barry Goldwater? She's very clearly not in the same ballpark or even game as a Republican anymore, soo...
posted by jason_steakums at 5:47 PM on August 9 [12 favorites]


I don't think Warren knows what capitalism is.

She was a law professor and part of the early days of the law and economics movement (she literally met her husband at a law and econ retreat), did extensive work on utility regulation, did years of research on bankruptcy cases, served on a federal commission to rewrite the bankruptcy code, and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Yes, she knows what capitalism is and she knows what it means to call herself a capitalist.
posted by sallybrown at 5:49 PM on August 9 [65 favorites]


This is a topical US politics thread focusing on Elizabeth Warren.

You must have known my birthday is less than a week away. This thread is just what I wanted!


I love Elizabeth Warren, and I am so excited about the possibility that she may be the next American president. I see first Biden, and then a hacked election as the two big hurdles Warren faces. I hope American voters and those in a position to help safeguard the electoral process don't leave it too much up to her to clear those hurdles.
posted by orange swan at 5:59 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Maybe being a registered Republican until 1996 is not evidence of having held strong right-wing beliefs but it is evidence of an absence of any left-wing beliefs, in marked constrast to the other ‘left’ candidate who has been nothing if not philosophically consistent; the one who doesn’t describe themselves as capitalist to their bones.
posted by moorooka at 6:01 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


how does any of that make it look like she's going to, I dunno, tear off her mask to reveal Barry Goldwater?

Hmm, now that you mention it, Warren is the one candidate I'd think capable of actually planning out that kind of 11 dimensional chess move, so maybe I should be more concerned...

nah, I'm good with it.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:01 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


> Maybe being a registered Republican until 1996 is not evidence of having held strong right-wing beliefs but it is evidence of an absence of any left-wing beliefs, in marked constrast to the other ‘left’ candidate who has been nothing if not philosophically consistent; the one who doesn’t describe themselves as capitalist to their bones.

praxis, comrade. not philosophy. praxis.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:07 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


She was a law professor and part of the early days of the law and economics movement (she literally met her husband at a law and econ retreat), did extensive work on utility regulation, did years of research on bankruptcy cases, served on a federal commission to rewrite the bankruptcy code, and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Yes, she knows what capitalism is and she knows what it means to call herself a capitalist.


Actually, that's an ad hominem. Second, I gave several reasons for why she doesn't understand pertaining to the concept, not pertaining to anyone's pedigree or argument to authority. This just goes to show why my argument is the better informed one: note that your argument does not address my stated points at all.

You're also assuming people on here are somehow less qualified to critique Warren's understanding of issues. In fact, law and economics are pretty much not legitimate at knowing what capitalism is.
posted by polymodus at 6:21 PM on August 9


I follow a lot of indigenous scholars, writers and activists on Twitter, and there is a boiling frustration that Warren has never meaningfully engaged with her Native American critics. I really like Warren, but I think it's worthwhile to think about how she effed up. This is from March in Indian Country News.
During the summer of 2012, in the company of fellow Cherokee women united by a desire to educate and invest tribal perspectives into the contemporary discourse, I traveled to Massachusetts to seek an audience with Warren’s team. The campaign agreed to the meeting via the Boston press only to renege upon our arrival and falsely malign us as the pawns of “right-wing extremists.” It stonewalled Indian Country Today, the largest Indigenous news platform in the country.[15] It ignored Cherokee protestors at the state nominating event.[16] It rebuffed overtures from Indigenous delegates at the Democratic National Convention.[17]

In summary: when confronted with Indigenous perspectives that posed an obstacle to her personal advancement, Warren’s carefully calculated response was to pretend that we didn’t exist.

Eventually, of course, the DNA debacle of her own making forced Warren to deliver a qualified mea culpa. But she has never acknowledged – much less apologized for – her active hostility toward the Indigenous critics who first tried to reach out to her and then strived to hold her to account. She has unequivocally failed in the most foundational moral duties of her position: to listen, to engage, and to represent. For almost six years, she intentionally did what colonialism has always done to people of Indigenous origin: she has erased us from our own story.

And the fallout is real and concrete. Right now, left-leaning media reeks with the condescension of nominal white progressives – numerous prominent pundits and reporters among them – all too willing to dismiss and demean the insights of their Indigenous counterparts. Because of their Twitter commentary on the subject, Ryan Grim, DC bureau chief of The Intercept, accused Cherokees of “doing Trump’s work” and “enabling his abject racism.”[20] Reporter Thor Benson of The Rolling Stone and The Daily Beast sneered at the “virtue signaling” of critiques about Warren by a Dine/Inhanktowan Dakota author.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:22 PM on August 9 [8 favorites]


To truly grok capitalism is to also grok its limits. That’s why I like Warren — she understands that fairly regulated markets are central to long-term US strength. And that those same markets are incapable of addressing major imbalances and externalities in society. That’s why Medicare for all and other strong social safety net programs are central to her political worldview.

She’s not a socialist, she’s a social democrat. That’s an important distinction.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:25 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


praxis, comrade. not philosophy. praxis.

Well okay, “praxis” then. Unlike any of the other candidates Bernie can point to a lifetime of relatively solid “praxis”, one with the unexpected payoff being the very sudden transformation of the Democratic Party into something that is at least faintly centre-left; writing the song book from which Warren is belatedly singing.

Now I sure most liberals would not consider it a big problem that somebody identifies as a “capitalist to their very bones”. But i fear that if by 2019 you haven’t figured out that capitalism is “the problem”, and if your theory of change centers around the merit of your technocratic plans rather than mass organization on antagonistic class lines, then you don’t really understand the obstacles that you’re going to face.

Either a Warren or a Sanders administration will be a failure, but a failed Sanders administration will at least be able to point to he culprit - capitalism - and sow the ideological seeds for a genuine alternative.
posted by moorooka at 6:25 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Maybe being a registered Republican until 1996 is not evidence of having held strong right-wing beliefs but it is evidence of an absence of any left-wing beliefs, in marked constrast to the other ‘left’ candidate who has been nothing if not philosophically consistent; the one who doesn’t describe themselves as capitalist to their bones.

Actions speak louder than abstract principles, and Warren has plenty of actions and plans to back them up. She's proven herself to be a solid progressive. Unless something else about her is bothersome to some people. And I think I know what that is. I do know what bothers me about Bernie - his AGE. Good god, who wants an over 75 year old in the White House? That's a catastrophe waiting to happen. Look at Reagan. For that matter, look at the present occupant.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:25 PM on August 9 [9 favorites]


By taking a critical term (Louis Blanc 1850) and rhetorically reappropriating it as an apparently self-conscious identity it shows their ignorance of where the modern term came from

This is unnecessarily prescriptivist. The term capitalism as defined in modern times has a meaning that has evolved considerably since Blanc's writing. A dictionary definition today would be unrecognizable to him.

I suppose she could go into a detailed lecture about the history of the term and its evolution into modern usage (I bet she'd be good at that actually) but it's not meaningful or important in today's political world.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:29 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


I never said that. I said that capitalism is a critical term. And I accused her of rhetorical appropriation. To spin this into an issue about descriptivism enables capitalists to abuse critical language.
posted by polymodus at 6:34 PM on August 9


> Well okay, “praxis” then. Unlike any of the other candidates Bernie can point to a lifetime of relatively solid “praxis”, one with the unexpected payoff being the very sudden transformation of the Democratic Party into something that is at least faintly centre-left; writing the song book from which Warren is belatedly singing.

i wasn't talking about warren's praxis or sanders's praxis. I was talking about our praxis. that's the only thing we can control. if social democrat mom gets the nomination, we'll both vote for her and we'll both enjoy voting for her. yeah, sure, she calls herself a capitalist and that is kind of obnoxious. but the last time we had a president like her, that president was fdr and he beat all the nazis. it's popular front time; we're beset by nazis on every side and if we can make real alliances with the social democrats and social liberals, we should.

and on the other hand if social democrat dad gets the nomination, we'll both vote for him and love it. we're deep in warren territory here. should sanders get the nomination, we want our social democrat friends — and here i gesture toward all the badass warren-supporting social democrats here who i would love to get drinks with — thinking about how awesome it is to vote for a social democrat, not about how fighty the mefi democratic socialists were back in august '19.

i'm going to step out because i have spent way too many words in this thread, but let it be known that there is at least one cranky democratic socialist here who will not countenance anyone putting down either social democrat mom or social democrat dad. they are both better than any democratic party nominee in my lifetime and i would love to vote for either of them in the general.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:36 PM on August 9 [36 favorites]


Where’d I put that “dog tilting its head in confusion” gif...
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:39 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


I had a longer comment essentially agreeing with this In fact, law and economics are pretty much not legitimate at knowing what capitalism is.

But since a bit has been said since, I'm going to say instead scroll up and make sure you read spamandkimchi's comment.
I think it's really important that people who like Warren not get defensive on this but accept that this issue is not yet resolved, and if we make it about undermining her electability, "doing Trump's work", then we only reinforce white supremacy, and I'll let you decide who that helps.
posted by Acid Communist at 6:45 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


So plug the name of the Indian Country News article author, Twila Barnes, into Twitter and what names do you see? Tucker Carlson, Dana Loesch, Laura Ingraham, Fox News...
posted by factory123 at 6:48 PM on August 9 [9 favorites]


Wow, y'all really do say 'praxis'. I thought that was just like a Twitter joke
posted by Think_Long at 6:50 PM on August 9 [5 favorites]


Yeah totally agree. If my words were unpalatable, hear it also from Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon's comment:

yeah, sure, she calls herself a capitalist and that is kind of obnoxious.

All I was saying was why a Marxist leftist communist, like myself, find capitalist-as-identity obnoxious and intellectually naive. I totally support Warren. But I do not support professor-politicians polluting, distorting leftist discourse to their ends when they literally aren't part of that community.
posted by polymodus at 7:00 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I gave several reasons for why she doesn't understand pertaining to the concept, not pertaining to anyone's pedigree or argument to authority. This just goes to show why my argument is the better informed one: note that your argument does not address my stated points at all.

Your stated points seem to be:

(a) the term capitalist is squirrelly enough that lots of systems of thinking can fit underneath it
(b) in the same way birds don't know how they're placed in a taxonomy, capitalists can't be aware of their relationship to a socioeconomic label
(c) capitalism was originally a critical term until Blanc helped reclaim it as a term of positive identity, and so... like anyone who reclaims a former pejorative as a gritty identity banner, someone using the term today must necessarily be ignorant of its roots and using it incorrectly

Point (a) is fair enough for any term that can have a colloquial and a technical meaning, maybe especially so for one that's ideologically adjacent to a cultural symbol, but it's not as if this is an intellectually or semiotically intractable problem; you can either have people define what they mean by a term for a domain of discussion or you can infer it from usage. For your argument that Warren doesn't know what a capitalist is to have purchase in this context, you'd have to be contending that if someone asked Warren what she means by capitalism, she couldn't offer an explanation, and also that there isn't an inferable working definition from how she conducts discourse.

Point (b) is garbage. People aren't fucking birds, language and taxonomy are native features of human understanding, and if anything far from being unable to access how they're labelled, the real problem is that they can actually participate in the game of how they're understood.

Point (c) more or less seems to be that in spite of the fact that capitalism *may* be understood any number of ways it *should* be understood one specific pre-Blanc way. While I can sympathize with the desire to tame conceptual undergrowth, this just isn't how language works. You can negotiate a working definition within some cooperating field, but beyond that, you go to speech with the semantics you have, not the semantics you wish you had.

All taken, these stated points don't make a particular impression on me as being either unusually well-informed or well-reasoned case to support the idea that Elizabeth Warren has no idea what a capitalist is, but maybe there's more work behind them to show.
posted by wildblueyonder at 7:00 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


It’s valid to argue that Warren is wrong that capitalism is beneficial/good (and similarly, valid to argue that law and economics as a movement is exploitative of capitalism or is malicious), but to say that Warren doesn’t understand capitalism as a concept or doesn’t know enough about it to label herself a capitalist just does not make good sense. Capitalism has a commonly understood meaning far broader than whatever you seem to define it as.
posted by sallybrown at 7:09 PM on August 9 [6 favorites]


[A. This has gotten a little bit repetitive; B. please, please don't compare Elizabeth Warren's economic attitudes to racism or ableism or sexism, that just is not going to go anywhere good.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:25 PM on August 9 [11 favorites]


For decades, the right has been force-feeding Americans the idea that there is but One True Capitalism, and it is an orgy of laissez-faire libertarian FREEEEEDOM. Try to reign it in a bit with regulations and taxes, and you might as well be Stalin, comrade.

So when I hear Elizabeth Warren say she's a capitalist right before she explains how we're going to seize power back from the capitalists, what I think she's doing is trying to comfort the people who bought into the brainwashing: Don't worry, folks, this is still very capitalist, just like bowling with bumper lanes is still bowling. The Marxists in the audience will probably bang their shoes on the table at this idea, but I think that's why she's saying it.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:40 PM on August 9 [28 favorites]


Certainly, I can't imagine us accepting someone staking out their position saying "I'm an ableist, I believe that ableism has served well, it has been implemented badly, but there is an inclusive ableism that we can and will aim for".

I think this is the crux of the discussion. If you feel that capitalism itself is immoral, then you're uncomfortable with someone describing themselves that way, I get that.

At the same time, when Obama said he was against gays marrying but for giving them equal marriage rights, I had the strong feeling that this was the fastest political path towards gay marriage eventually becoming the law of the land.
posted by xammerboy at 7:41 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


Honestly - I don't think most (almost all?) voters, including me, really want or care to go deeply into the weeds with a philosophical discussion of what capitalism is or isn't, or whether Warren is really-truly one or not. We want plans. We want a roadmap to results. We want someone who is willing to work hard to get shit done. We want someone who isn't too old to do the job of President. And that person, as far as I am concerned, is Elizabeth Warren.

I've been a fan of hers ever since she and her daughter Amelia Tyagi co-authored The Two Income Trap. Warren, of all the candidates, understands how economically insecure most Americans, of all races, creeds, genders and ages, feel. And of course she has a plan for that! She is, as we have seen on the campaign trail, a tireless hard worker who has hired a great staff who also work hard.

I flat-out refuse to vote for a man in the primary. There is no man running now, except maybe Cory Booker or Jay Inslee, who I think would make a really great President. My choices are Harris, Gillibrand, and Warren, and so far, Warren is the one who has made the best, the greatest, impression on me.

And frankly, all this philosophical natter goes *whoosh* in one ear and out the other for me. Splitting hairs, angels dancing on heads of pins, etc. Actions speak louder. Warren's actions speak loud and clear.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:48 PM on August 9 [33 favorites]


The general election question about Warren is the general election question about Sanders: do the Fortune 500, Wall Street and deca/centimillionaires dislike Trump enough to support a candidate who is overtly opposed to some of their core interests, in a way that no prior Democratic candidate, certainly including Obama, has been, and that Harris, Biden and Booker are not.

If the Corporatist ghouls of “Third Way” are any indication, these ultra-elites have already warmed to the idea of Warren as a safe alternative to the genuinely overt opposition they face from the Sanders campaign: Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee (Politico June 19)

I think it is quite likely that Warren will be the nominee, not because she comes away with the first or even the second-largest number of delegates, but because every candidate to the right of her will throw their support to her in order to prevent a Sanders nomination.
posted by moorooka at 7:48 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


The Marxists in the audience will probably bang their shoes on the table at this idea

I mean yes, but also, what I'm reading here is that most are, if not a little happy that this is able to be discussed now, at least aware that no-one gets elected as US president promising Marxists what they want.

If you feel that capitalism itself is immoral, then you're uncomfortable with someone describing themselves that way, I get that.

Yeah. Sorry if my illustration is perhaps not as well chosen as it could have been, but while I certainly know everyone doesn't feel the same way, I hope that they can at least recognise that for some, avowing support for capitalism, even if politically expedient, will always be distasteful at best.
posted by Acid Communist at 8:09 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


So plug the name of the Indian Country News article author, Twila Barnes, into Twitter and what names do you see? Tucker Carlson, Dana Loesch, Laura Ingraham, Fox News...

That doesn't mean that anything she says is less valid. It just means that they find what she's saying to be useful enough to give her a signal boost.
posted by Jpfed at 8:11 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Twila Barnes actually appeared on Fox News being interviewed by Tucker Carlson. Make of that what you will. I'm 100% sure Fox loves to signal-boost what Barnes is saying, but I doubt that going on Fox News will do more than preach to the already converted.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:17 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Republicans aren't all completely stupid. They can tell when cracks open up, and the contradiction created by a campaign that rightly focuses on Trump and Republicans as the party of white supremacy but attempts to skirt the inconvenience of examining how centuries of bipartisan support for colony has created widespread, pernicious, genocidal myths which even many of the "wokest" are going to be caught up in, that sort of contradiction is going to cause some cracks.
posted by Acid Communist at 8:30 PM on August 9


Elizabeth Warren was asked if Trump was a white supremacist and simply said yes. Shouldn't the candidate we vote for be able to do that? Easily and reflexively, without thinking about it?
posted by xammerboy at 8:33 PM on August 9 [11 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon: "i would not drink a beer with joe biden. i would not go near joe biden, especially not if he's drinking. some of the worst experiences of my life have involved being around entitled old white men with a drink or two in 'em."

Biden doesn't drink, there's a history of alcoholism in his family.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:36 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


And frankly, all this philosophical natter goes *whoosh* in one ear and out the other for me. Splitting hairs, angels dancing on heads of pins, etc. Actions speak louder. Warren's actions speak loud and clear.

What we are talking about here is whether this existing system of liberal capitalist democracy is one that we should keep or change. This is a conversation that civilization needs to have this century. When the opportunity comes up, embrace it.
posted by moorooka at 8:42 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Xammerboy, sorry, is that in response to me? Yes, of course.

And the next words could have been something like "White supremacy is in the lifeblood of this nation, and Trump does not understand it even as he practices it, but I hope to, so I must redress this not on my terms, but on the terms of those affected."

Or you know, something similar, and then the praxis to back it up.

I don't know that it's going out on a limb to suggest that the experts who are making detailed criticisms here are also aware of differences between Democrats and Republicans, probably have preferences and hopes of their own, but are also all too aware that pretty much everyone else is happy to bury this if they don't push hard.

Maybe that means going on Fox, and yes, judging by Twitter, reactionaries really are the bulk of discussion, but that reflects badly on the left, not on the those doing what they can to be heard.
posted by Acid Communist at 8:46 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Here's where I confess what really turned me off of Clinton in 2016. It's a small thing, and of course it didn't stop me from voting for her in the general, but it made an impact on me and it wasn't good: she was debating against Trump, and she scored some rhetorical point, and she did this little shoulder-shimmy thing in triumph. It looked smug, and I don't want a candidate who is smug, who thinks their victory is some sort of foregone conclusion.

Pretty upthread at this point but I do want to point out that this isn't exactly what happened.
Trump went on a weird tantrumy screed about how he didn't have a temperament problem, his temperament is GREAT and he will PROVE IT BY YELLING and Clinton was silent until prompted for a response, said "Whew" and did the shimmy, and the shoulder shimmy was (I think) generally perceived as "wow wtf did we all just hear."
It's possible to still see that as smug, but also important to say she was not reacting to her own wow-I'm-great rhetoric. She was reacting to him acting a fool.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:00 PM on August 9 [41 favorites]


What the debates showcased is Warren (and Sanders) are brilliant communicators. They understand how to tell a story: ‘here’s why the economy is the way it is. Here’s why politics is directly relevant to your personal life. You’ve been ripped off by the powerful, and we need to exercise our power to fix it. Here’s the history, here’s the problem, here’s the solution. the republicans will hurt you. The democrats will help you.’
It’s direct, its simple but allows space for complex explanations, it has clarity: we know why you’re upset and we will help you. She speaks with a conviction and sincerity that can’t be faked.

All politicians are supposed to be professional communicators- I was shocked how bad at it most of the folks on stage were. Just, awful at public speaking. Ideology aside, you could tell who put in the effort to prep and who didn’t.
posted by cricketcello at 9:01 PM on August 9 [5 favorites]


Twila Barnes actually appeared on Fox News being interviewed by Tucker Carlson.

That's true. And from Warren's perspective, it probably looks like Twila Barnes is a hack, because unless you filter out search results after May of 2012, when you look her up you see a lot of conservatives promoting what she says. With the help of Wayback Machine, though, you can see that Cherokee geneology is Twila Barnes' Thing. This is what she was doing before she ever looked up Warren.

As for why she appeared on Fox, I can only guess. This is Her Thing, what she does, and so it's going to take up way more of her headspace than it would for people for whom this is not Their Thing. And that changes the cost/benefit calculations for her. Maybe I'm naive but I trust that she's acting in good faith.
posted by Jpfed at 9:11 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Xammerboy, sorry, is that in response to me? Yes, of course.

It wasn't. I posted without previewing. I did a double take when I saw your previous comment. It looked to me like I was responding to you as well.
posted by xammerboy at 9:16 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


She's a blogger, though, not an academic or journalist. And she has a long history of appearing on and affiliating with right wing media. Breitbart, Legal Insurrection, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson. She's been on that circuit since 2012.
posted by factory123 at 9:20 PM on August 9 [5 favorites]


Wow, y'all really do say 'praxis'. I thought that was just like a Twitter joke

If you’re fat........you’re a capitalist
posted by sideshow at 10:04 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I'm having trouble turning up any of her work for Breitbart or Legal Insurrection, or for that matter any media which isn't about the Warren stuff, none of which that I can see is the content typical of a right-wing grifter, such as arguing that this implicates Democrats and exonerated Republicans in some way.

In the Fox interview, I won't necessarily go so far as to say she seems uncomfortable, but she is answering clearly put questions succinctly and without malice or attempt to capitalise on the opportunity. As much as I think smiling at Tucker should be socially censurable, in the awkwardness of a TV interview, I might default to basic manners as well.

Perhaps you could link some of this Milo-like career of right-wing media she's allegedly been dining on? I miss things easily, alas.
posted by Acid Communist at 10:58 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


And frankly, all this philosophical natter goes *whoosh* in one ear and out the other for me. Splitting hairs, angels dancing on heads of pins, etc. Actions speak louder. Warren's actions speak loud and clear.

It's funny how people make philosophical arguments, flawed ones, without realizing it. Hypocritical, even.
posted by polymodus at 11:42 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Invalidating indigenous criticism because it could or does give succor to the rightwing is more than a bit not good in my view. It's just reenacting the erasure, as Barnes argues in the last paragraph I excerpted.

A lot of people, including scholars, not just one blogger* are on this. Three scholars who are members of the Cherokee Nation, Adrienne Keene (@nativeapprops), Rebecca Nagle (@rebeccanagle), and Joseph M. Pierce (@pepepierce) created a syllabus of readings to make the point that this issue is way bigger than just Warren, but also that Warren is part of the problem.
The goal of this syllabus is to frame the recent claims to Cherokee ancestry by US Senator Elizabeth Warren as part of a longer history of cultural appropriation, erasure, and settler colonialism. Warren’s claims reveal the pervasive influence of biological essentialism... At stake is the ability of sovereign Indigenous nations to determine citizenship and belonging according to their own cultural beliefs and historical understandings of community. In compiling this syllabus, we underscore the work of Indigenous writers, scholars, and activists, and we have focused primarily on the historical position of the Cherokee Nation in these debates. We hope that this syllabus can serve as a practical guide, but also to alleviate some of the emotional and intellectual labor that we, as Indigenous peoples, are often forced to produce in such a moment as this.
* I am perturbed at the rush to dismiss Barnes because she's not a legitimate expert. Do we know more? Would a random journalist know more? These scholars might know more, but they are also in support of Barnes' critiques.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:42 PM on August 9 [10 favorites]


I was debating whether or not to link their twitter accounts, lest I open them up to even more angry yelling about "how could you" and then the edit window closed. Also wanted to correct that Nagle is a journalist, not an academic like Keene and Pierce.

Mostly I wanted to say I appreciate Jpfed's point about when something is Your Thing, you might make the calculus that even asshat coverage of Your View on Your Thing is better than being told to be shut up and be quiet because you are just virtue signaling or don't understand politics.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:52 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


All taken, these stated points don't make a particular impression on me as being either unusually well-informed or well-reasoned case to support the idea that Elizabeth Warren has no idea what a capitalist

That's just moving the goalpost. I was quite specific, did I say Warren has no idea? No; I would say she problematically inhabits false consciousness, given that specific remark in its context. Look, I'm am just commenting here, not writing my thesis. I'm not going to refine or unpack or rebut for everything I said. The fact was that sallybrown's comment directed at me, was rude. Wielding an ad hominem recreates the kind of dynamic that made leftists become leftists, and nonleftists don't seem to clue into that. And then nitpicking at my reply to that in turn, is kind of ignoring that dynamic.
posted by polymodus at 12:10 AM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Sorry because I am not nearly as plugged in to what is going on, but my hot take about Warren's problem with Cherokee ancestry / nation:

1. No matter what she does, this will be what Trump and Republicans will hammer on, completely hypocritically and with their typical "gotcha" disdain for "PC" issues. She will be portrayed both as "Pocohantas" by the crass racist types, and as a "fake Indian colonial oppressor" by the opportunists. There will be Native groups and individuals exploited by the Republicans to push and amplify this message.

2. Whatever the deeper analysis, the fact that Warren at some point claimed ancestry, based on family oral history, suggests to me she is largely sympathetic to Native culture, the sad history, the need to right historical wrongs, etc. Agreed she did it wrong.

3. So, she needs to get way out in front of this and push her narrative (my guess is she has already taken many of these steps but the media is choosing to ignore it). What social / economic justice issues is she already promoting which can be tweaked and tailored to suit the needs of native Americans? How can she get their widespread endorsement and support? What needs to be done / said to put the issue to bed at least for the vast majority of Native Americans?
posted by Meatbomb at 3:36 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


(not to abuse edit)

Is there some way she could actually apply to become Cherokee? Is her family history and the distance of her potential connection too small to make that conceivable?
posted by Meatbomb at 3:40 AM on August 10


Oi, oi, and sorry I promise this is the last one!

I know I am a white guy and not American, just interested observer without any big stake in this issue, and that we have respected and valued Mefi members here who are First Nations and Native Americans and other indigenous people. I do not in any way intend offense, and pre-apologise if anything I have said comes off as insensitive.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:43 AM on August 10


> Is there some way she could actually apply to become Cherokee?

No, she can't. It's complicated, but the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has it's own rules about membership (as do other tribes) and she doesn't qualify. She's acknowledged this. (This paper that spamandkimchi linked to upthread has a bunch of links that go into more detail about this.)
posted by nangar at 4:46 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


The Native thing was a profound fuck up. It’s one she actually can’t make amends for, because if she’s to be the candidate, it’s going to bring with it a massive pile-on of mocking anti-Native commentary from the right. It’s already happened, it has been indescribably painful to my Native friends, and it will become an order of magnitude worse.

And she may not be responsible for the racism of the right, but she built the house they are being racist in and she created the target. She refused to engage with Native critics for years — maybe a decade! — and did the one thing they absolutely told her not to do, the DNA test, which beyond the right’s racism both racializes Native identity and legitimizes claims based on DNA in a way that Natives have been fighting since DNA ethnic profiles first became a thing. It’s not how Natives assess Native-ness, but it has given rise to an infinite number of white “pretendians” who discover fractional Native DNA and start declaring themselves to be Native and speaking over Natives — and Warren was already an earlier iteration of this phenomenon, the blood myth self-declared Native.

I like her and wish she hadn’t fucked this up, but she did, and badly, and for years, and made it worse, and it does raise valid concern about how she will address the needs of minorities once she’s president, because, oof, it’s hard to imagine how she could have fucked this up more.

And I know Natives are a pretty small minority, but they’re not that small. Not small enough to be ignored and dismissed like this, not to small that someone can stumble and bumble for so long due to never encountering a Native. There are more Natives in the US than Jews, they’ve reached out to her continuously, and she still ran roughshod over them.
posted by maxsparber at 5:09 AM on August 10 [15 favorites]


Warren addressed the National Congress of American Indians in Winter 2018 addressing all these issues as deftly as you might imagine:
WASHINGTON, D.C. | Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) took the stage today to share remarks at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 2018 Executive Council Winter Session (ECWS) addressing her heritage, recognizing tribal sovereignty, and committing to uplifting the stories of tribal communities.

Warren addressed the over 500 Tribal delegates about her heritage and made her family history clear – that her family members are not on any rolls, and that she is not an enrolled member or citizen of a tribe – but a descendant of a tribal community.

“And I want to make something clear. I respect that distinction,” said Warren. “I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes — and only by tribes. I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career.”

Then, she made a promise.

“I’m here today to make a promise: Every time someone brings up my family’s story, I’m going to use it to lift up the story of your families and your communities,” said Senator Warren.

She went on to discuss stories she will uplift, including stories of missing and murdered Native women, the health care divide, tribal lands and natural resources, historic monuments like Bears Ears, access to capital and credit; and infrastructure and access to rural broadband.

“In addressing NCAI, Senator Warren addressed the world, and we are deeply honored by the courage she showed today,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel. “We appreciate her candor, humility, and honesty, and look forward to working with her as a champion for Indian Country.”

Following the Senator Warren’s remarks, the NCAI Board of Directors, and NCAI Tribal Delegation rose to a standing ovation.
This is not "run roughshod".

I think it's to be expected that not all Native Americans are unified in their positions on anything, including Elizabeth Warren, and I think the voices of people who take issue with her should be respected. We all know that the right wing are only too happy to elevate those voices, and only those voices.
posted by Sublimity at 5:46 AM on August 10 [30 favorites]


This is not "run roughshod".

It’s nice that you have decided that one statement unrings a decade of bell ringing, but I will defer to my Native friends.
posted by maxsparber at 5:49 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Also, my take is that Elizabeth Warren is probably 100%, completely, fully aware of how problematic the DNA testing stuff is. But the practical, political reality of it is that DNA testing exists and ancestry interpretation of those results exist. If she had not done it and gotten it out of the way, even knowing that it was incredibly culturally problematic, then the right wing assholes who are fixated on this issue would have raised it and raised it and raised it and it would have been a contentious, breathless, pressure-her-to-do-it, is-she-or-isn't-she media cliffhanger issue taking up all the media bandwidth when, evidently, she has several hundred other issues to address regarding governing the USA.

There's no perfect, elegant solution in this situation. However powerful and competent she is, Elizabeth Warren cannot single handedly erase the ugly history of how Native Americans have been and still are treated in this country. She did everything she could do to address this issue fully, as gracefully as she could, before she declared.
posted by Sublimity at 5:55 AM on August 10 [9 favorites]


It seems like this is going to be a thread where white people talk about how Warren has impacted people of color, including me as a white person, and that’s not the circumstance I wanted to create. I’m going to duck out of this discussion and out if the thread. But would ask that on the Native issue with amplify and privilege Native voices on this, and not decide for ourselves that the issue is resolved.
posted by maxsparber at 5:56 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]




Silly me for assuming that directly linking/quoting the National Congress of American Indians was, in fact, amplifying and privileging Native voices.
posted by Sublimity at 6:00 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


For what it's worth, Deb Haaland (D-NM), who is Laguna Pueblo, endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President.

Fox Delenda Est, in any case. We would be a better country without it.

And now stepping away from that topic, I wonder if a male Presidential candidate would attract all the hair splitting and microscope examination that Warren is getting in this thread about whether she is a Reel Troo Social Democrat or just a capitalist, and what that means, yakety yammer blah? Or would we be focusing on a male candidate's policies and past actions? Probably the latter. I really do not care about philosophical hair-splitting; I care about her plans and what she intends to do once elected. Presidents run countries, they don't hold salons or teach graduate level classes. What are her plans? How will she carry them out, especially if we can't flip the Senate?
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:24 AM on August 10 [6 favorites]


Polymodus, you said: “I don't think Warren knows what capitalism is.”

And this was my response in full:
She was a law professor and part of the early days of the law and economics movement (she literally met her husband at a law and econ retreat), did extensive work on utility regulation, did years of research on bankruptcy cases, served on a federal commission to rewrite the bankruptcy code, and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Yes, she knows what capitalism is and she knows what it means to call herself a capitalist.
I don’t see how that is “rude” in any way, nor was it a personal attack on you. I simply disagree.
posted by sallybrown at 6:25 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


If you’re fat........you’re a capitalist

Revising my "can we not with this shit?" stance, because you know what? Sometimes it's the Cool Girl-mediated misogyny that comes for Warren.

There is a hell of a lot of misogyny on the Left (as per this paper), and it is coming for Warren in a lot of the ways it came for Clinton -- she's really a Republican, she's not ideologically pure enough, etc etc etc. The issue, as ever, is not that a candidate is imperfect, it's the double standards.

Remember when Warren was the example of the woman "real progressives" would vote for, if only she were running? Remember when she was the hypothetical proof that it wasn't misogyny?
posted by schadenfrau at 6:27 AM on August 10 [24 favorites]


Errr, yes, I remember? That's like 10% of the reason I like Warren, so that I can now turn around and go "neener, neener" at people who thought that any 2016 primary vote for Bernie was because of misogyny. :D
posted by Balna Watya at 7:14 AM on August 10


Google "legal insurrection twila barnes 2012" for a start, but also Reason wrote her up in 2012 and alluded to Barnes' storied reputation in genealogy circles with links that are now dead. Legal Insurrection also arranged for Barnes to visit Massachusetts visit in 2012. Here's a partial transcript of her 2012 interview on Laura Ingraham.

And if you Google "Twila Barnes Andrea Smith" you can read about her involvement in trying to take down *another* politically minded progressive professor.
posted by factory123 at 7:44 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


And, briefly, while it's true that Barnes isn't the only Native American voice raising an issue with Warren, there are also plenty of Native Americans who don't share Barnes' perspective. You don't hear those voices amplified in right wing media or here on Metafilter.
posted by factory123 at 8:07 AM on August 10 [11 favorites]


I don't know if having me post a link to one critique and a syllabus about the topic, and having a few MeFites including me say "hey, I really like Warren but let's not dismiss this please" is amplifying.

Just briefly, because this is about Warren and not Barnes, her take down of another "politically minded professor" is again, much bigger than one person's weird tilting at convenient targets. Please please believe me that I have read many many discussions about both Elizabeth Warren and Andrea Smith (the professor that factory123 mentions above and who has claimed indigeneity in problematic ways and done amazing work as a scholar) from indigenous scholars who I respect deeply, and whose scholarship is incisive on a broad range of issues, especially water rights, native resurgence, decolonization, and more.

You can decide that this issue is not important to you, and take comfort that there are thoughtful Native American politicians and leaders who feel satisfied with Warren's responses of late. But don't say that the issue is not important to anyone. I like Warren more than I like any other candidate, and I really don't know what to do with the argument "would a male candidate get this kind of criticism about his past" because I for sure side-eye the hell out of Mayor Pete for his fond memories of being a McKinsey consultant. And Biden for his racist buddies. I don't raise the issue because I want her to fail, far from it.

I hate seeing what looks like to me as the "whose Indian is more legitimate Indian" line of argument, and I really hate seeing the automatic dismissal of the criticism. I'm a woman of color raised in the U.S, the perpetual alien thanks to my Asian face, and this is feeling way reminiscent of the shittiness of the "why are you so offended when people ask where you are from, can't you tell that I'm just curious and my friend who is Asian says he doesn't mind anyway" conversation that happened on the Blue a while ago.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:48 AM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I'd like to see Warren win, but I don't have a horse in this race and my country just went through an election that devastated me - the party with no policies and some ugly smears won.

But my question for the thread is: do you genuinely have the ability to tell the difference between people who have fucked up, realised their mistake, and evolved, and people who have fucked up, and worked out how to get people to stop yelling at them?

If so, could you teach everyone else? I can't, and as far as I can tell most of the Left can't either.
posted by Merus at 9:17 AM on August 10 [13 favorites]


i would not drink a beer with joe biden. i would not go near joe biden, especially not if he's drinking.

Biden doesn't drink. He has stated he chose to abstain due to family issues with alcohol. Biden has also linked his choice to the death of his daughter and first wife in a car accident but alcohol wasn't involved in that one.

As for Warren, I was sure her campaign was DOA in January so seeing her claw her way to 2nd place in the polls is impressive. That's electability. I think she might win Iowa and if she does that will turn the race upside down.
posted by asteria at 9:41 AM on August 10 [7 favorites]


“How does Elizabeth Warren avoid a Clinton redux—written off as too unlikeable before her campaign gets off the ground,” tweeted Politico.

She doesn't have a national radio show host pointing out issues for decades, isn't on record gloating over the collapse of the government of a nation which went from having a leading postion in women's health to almost dead last, visibly wearing the glasses people with strokes wear, and benefitting from people in the DNC being shown via leaked emails what was claimed there.

She also didn't vote for the Iraq war as an elected rep.

I'm sure someone can find something to not like about Warren but to reduce the 2 people to "old white woman" and then draw a comparison is to gloss over the negatives that exist.

As noted:

I will admit I wrote her off after her godawful handling of the Native American heritage controversy but everything I've seen from her the past couple months of her campaign leads me to believe that was an anomaly and likely the result of her listening to bad advisors.

I'd take that as someone who's able to change and act on the advice of who she has working under her VS the slow to change/take advice Biden.

Trump has a limited set of scriprs he runs. If the title of this FFP is reflecting her ability to not rise to his bait then she's able to be seen as actualling ACTING PRESIDENTIAL.

I don't remember which youtube taking head suggested have the POTUS and VP act as co-presidents but Obama and Trump were both "lets do something different". Lean into the idea of 'do something different'.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:49 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


I also think there’s a broader discussion about how we deal with people (or organizations, or newspapers) who do something we find problematic. There’s a lot of handwringing over cancel culture and the social media fueled tendency to write off once beloved public figures for their misdeeds.

I have dealbreakers from which there is no return to my good graces. For example, I have never forgiven Tulsi Gabbard for pushing for criminalization of homeless people during her time on Honolulu City Council (Do I get a medal if I’ve hated her the longest? My friends in Hawaii tried to comfort me when she got elected to Congress by telling me at least she can’t direct city workers to throw away the personal belongings of houseless people anymore). On the other hand, I’ve never quite understood the periodic calls to #CancelNYT because a newspaper can run terrible headlines, hire racist columnists, but also be an essential part of the media. I mean, I even subscribed to the sole remaining daily newspaper in Honolulu even though their coverage of homelessness was all “they are dirty! Let’s hide them from the tourists!” Does that make me a pragmatist? Naive?

I guess what I am saying is that I don’t know how to navigate politics given everyone has different compass settings. And so much of our decision making is based on gut feelings, which can be shaped by societal racism and misogyny and other pernicious structures of violence. What does it mean if I decide a specific person’s past actions or current statements is an unforgivable dealbreaker, or if I decide the reverse, and that despite someone’s misdeeds I still on the balance appreciate their work? Again, to pick on Mayor Pete, I cannot forgive his fondness for McKinsey, mechanism of extractive financialized capitalism. It makes me mistrust his instincts on everything, to be honest. Do I then decide that anyone who likes him is automatically also suspect? That seems incorrect. Do I try to argue anyone who likes him into agreeing with? That seems like an exhausting and ineffective endeavor.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:54 AM on August 10 [8 favorites]


Last thing and I really will stop. I don’t fault the indigenous scholars who decide that Warren’s actions/statements on Cherokee heritage are dealbreakers. Being pissed at someone for eff-ing up Your Thing (again, thank you Jpfed for that point) is real.

This is different than purity politics (or what I am calling purity politics right now), in which you dredge up any and all muck, nevermind that we are all bottom dwellers. The universe knows I have done and said ignorant, racist, ableist* things, and I hope (like all of us including Warren) that on balance people will judge me and see me for how I am trying to learn and evolve. But as Merus points out, someone might decide that I’m just talking the talk instead of walking the walk. I hate being in trouble, I hate people being mad at me, and I have and I’m sure I will again try to squirm out of taking responsibility.

I guess, let’s be mad, let other people be mad, question why and challenge problematic takes. But!
Let's not engage in epistemic injustice? Sorry not sorry for using academic terminology, but epistemic injustice (both testimonial** and hermeneutical) a super helpful concept (even more than praxis which I admit I also like to use).

* My shameful realization in my first semester as a full time lecturer is that I have been grossly negligent to disability justice in how I practice and teach urban planning.

** Testimonial injustice occurs when others fail to treat you seriously as a source of knowledge. Hermeneutical injustice occurs when someone's experience is not understood (by them or by others) because there are no concepts available that can adequately identify or explain that experience. (cites from above linked urls)
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:35 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


So Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell this morning. My blood thirst for billionaires has intensified considerably from already historic thirst levels.

It reminded me that one of the things I like about Warren is that she seems to have that fire and fight. She wants to nail the assholes, and she has the relevant knowledge and experience to do it.

I would like to see them all prosecuted for every crime we can hang on them. But it’s possible that for that to happen we first have to break the stranglehold they have on society. And I think she wants to break them as badly as I want her to.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:43 AM on August 10 [15 favorites]


visibly wearing the glasses people with strokes wear

There are a lot of normal everyday vision issues that people wear prisms in their glasses for, don't jump to casting aspersions about her health. My SO wears them just to gradually recenter her vision relative to the turn of her head, they're no big deal.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:27 AM on August 10 [10 favorites]


I think the electability question has to go back to Dukakis and it is strange just how traumatized the Democratic Party remains decades later. Here was a man who was pretty clearly more qualified and more in line with the electorate than Bush I, and all anyone can think of is that video of his stupid head poking out of the tank. And Willie Horton. Anyone remember that SNL campaign? “Bush: He’s whiter” And 35 years later, the Democrats are *still* worried they are going to get bullied for not being a big strong white guy who protects big strong white guys. And sure enough, Obama’s scandal-free competent 8 years he was bullied incessantly for not being that big strong white guy. Fuck that shit, that’s not how you respond to bullies and that’s not presidential.

Warren is a capitalist in the sense that she understands how markets work, that they are important, and that they have limitations. You ignore the market consequences of social programs at your peril. The fact that she, above all other candidates, knows what needs to be done to restore democracy and can think through and respond to the economic consequences of her policies ought to make her the most electable candidate we’ve ever seen in the US. Possibly even a unifier.

Plus, more than anyone else in the field, she speaks most consistently with the voice of leadership.

I wrote her off for months because of the Native American thing as well. It was a mistake but she accepted the mistake and unlike most political apologies she has conveyed some personal understanding of why it was harmful and to whom it was harmful. Whether it has been enough or not is not for me to say, but it’s more than you get from 98% of public figures. Besides, how many Oklahomans have grown up being told “There’s Cherokee blood in our family?” I think it highlights an important issue and ironically may resonate with a whole lot of people who grew up believing without evidence the exact same thing about their ancestry.

My biggest fear is splitting the vote by picking the dumber more palatable candidate and Trump wins again and genocide follows. I’m here to say now, I think Biden is probably the worst choice in the field right now but he’ll yes I will hold my nose and vote for him without hesitation in the general. Til then I’m Warren all the way.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:56 AM on August 10 [22 favorites]


I would love for Warren to be POTUS, but I'm annoyed at folks condoning or downplaying her appropriation of Native identity and the DNA test. Every single indigenous American I've heard talk about this has pointed out it was racist as heck, and the only reason it hasn't been politically more damaging is that, politically speaking, indigenous people just don't seem to matter.
posted by splitpeasoup at 2:07 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I think that most people who are not themselves Native American or have close ties with a Native community have very much understanding of Native issues. It probably also contributes that most of the Native voices on the topic are academics, and many times, academic voices aren't heard much outside of, well, academia, and people who might share their interest.

I remember being completely wrong about Kirsten Gillibrand and how the Franken incident would affect her presidential bid. Potential voters seem to have forgiven Warren, but not Gillibrand. The kicker is that it was Schumer, not Gillibrand, who was responsible for pressuring Franken to resign.

Native scholars have argued that Warren was wrong (and that is their call); nobody credible can say that Gillibrand was wrong. And yet, Warren is defended and Gillibrand vilified. People care more about handsy celebrities than Native issues, I guess...?

Anyway, I think that no matter what, Warren is a great candidate and will make a great President. I could say the same about Kamala Harris, and I think Kirsten Gillibrand coulda been a contendah and would have made a great President as well. Damn the Frankenstans and Alpologists. I think the time will come when Gillibrand will be seen as a wronged Cassandra figure.

Being spoiled for choice with several terrific women candidates is a new, terrific feeling.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:32 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


> My biggest fear is splitting the vote by picking the dumber more palatable candidate and Trump wins again and genocide follows.

i promise that every time anyone says “splitting the vote” i will observe that the democrats allocate delegates by proportional representation, that as long as both warren and sanders stay above 15% (totally reasonable, especially once the nobodies leave the race) there is no such thing as “vote splitting,” and that despite the fundamental similarity of their platforms warren and sanders draw from different voter bases (the #2 choice for most warren supporters is harris. the #2 choice for most sanders supporters is biden).

mom and dad are in this together. they’re gonna lift each other up, not split each others’ votes.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 2:56 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


if warren is polling close to the threshold when the primaries get around to my state, i’m voting for warren. if sanders is polling close to the threshold i’m voting for sanders. if either of them has stalled and isn’t going to meet the threshold, i’m voting for the other one.

i am going to go to the mat for this voting strategy. i am going to weird out everyone by canvassing for both warren and sanders. and i’ll carry harris lit too, because she is still an existential threat to the biden campaign, despite her not ripping his face off at the last debate.

i hope everyone on the left and center-left follows this strategy. it’s how we stop biden and win the presidency.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:03 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]




the #2 choice for most warren supporters is harris

the #2 choice for most sanders supporters is biden


wait what

that's...wow.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:19 PM on August 10 [12 favorites]


policy doesnt win elections
posted by Justinian at 3:25 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


>> the #2 choice for most sanders supporters is biden

> wait what

that's...wow.


yeah there’s this big demographic that’s politically unengaged and ideologically all over the map and doesn’t know what they want, other than wanting a weird old white dude. sanders is basically a pied piper who leads ‘em to the left. it’s his superpower. that’s why he does stuff like going on joe rogan’s show and showing up at fox news townhalls.

meanwhile warren gets relatively informed centrists to look at center-left policy proposals and say “wait, that’s a really good idea.”

tl:dr; warren and sanders are not cannibalizing each others’ votes.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:30 PM on August 10 [13 favorites]


I've only seen articles about wealthy fundraisers blaming Gillibrand for Franken and was under the impression that the rank and file voters were over it. Can her failure to launch be attributed largely to that?
posted by Selena777 at 3:57 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


going on joe rogan’s show

well i guess he doesn't do anything that will alienate rogan, like stand up to white dudes on behalf of not white dudes

christ, rogan? seriously? that is really fucking gross. i am having a strong reaction to this because i just had to encounter someone who has been HEAVILY influenced by rogan's podcast, and let me tell you, that is not a good thing if you're not a cisdude.

is there some reason that the ever-present drum beat on the left of "you can't win over republicans" doesn't apply to sanders? like some reason it's a fool's game whenever any other candidate tries to do it, but when sanders talks economic policy to bigots while dismissing or ignoring "identity politics" it's ok?
posted by schadenfrau at 4:13 PM on August 10 [10 favorites]


there is a clear difference between appearing alongside a right-leaning host in order to agree with their right-leaning views and doing so with the goal of persuading their audience
posted by entropicamericana at 4:35 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


her appropriation of Native identity and the DNA test. Every single indigenous American I've heard talk about this has pointed out it was racist as heck,

It was problematic - what's the way to get past it? Or does she just whistle past that graveyard?
posted by rough ashlar at 4:51 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


> christ, rogan? seriously? that is really fucking gross. i am having a strong reaction to this because i just had to encounter someone who has been HEAVILY influenced by rogan's podcast, and let me tell you, that is not a good thing if you're not a cisdude.

insert here that one adlai stevenson quote where he responds to a supporter who tells him that all the smart people are voting for him by noting that he needs more than that to win.

i kind of think of what sanders does as being roughly analogous to what contrapoints does — he sees the fascists, understands the fascists, and uses that understanding to drag 'em left. though tbf he doesn't have one one-hundredth of the style that natalie has.

it's less that he wins over republicans and more that he wins over totally disengaged people with incoherent views (not all of whom are white men). for some reason he's good at giving people a storyline — an uncompromisingly left storyline — that makes sense to them.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:55 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


he sees the fascists, understands the fascists, and uses that understanding to drag 'em left

This is only true if you think you can abandon “identity politics” and still be left
posted by schadenfrau at 5:00 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


I've never heard that Bernie *understands* fascists before... any examples?
posted by Selena777 at 5:06 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


honestly mostly I'm going off of the responses to the two forays into right-wing media I mentioned. i did regret that i said he "gets" fascists, though; that's natalie's deal, not his. i stand by how he's good at providing a left storyline for people with all over the map politics, though.

for the record, i am not a sanders tr00 stan; he kind of lost me at the 2015 netroots, when he treated the blm protest there as a disturbance rather than an opportunity. i can say with confidence that the protestors were entirely ready to be 100% on sanders's side, especially after martin o'malley trotted out his "all lives matter" nonsense, and sanders completely squandered that opportunity by being a cranky old man about getting interrupted. after the fact he realized what he had done and he and his his team recovered — his platform was solid by the time the primary rolled around, and he had won back the trust of a lot of poc on the left and center-left — but i no longer trusted his political instincts. and well it's unfair to say he's "abandoned identity politics" — he's not the dsa bread & roses caucus (which thankfully came out of the dsa convention greatly weakened).

here's the deal, though: i don't see any of the candidates having a path to 50% + 1 of the delegates. sanders's ceiling is well below that. warren's ceiling might crest 50%, but i remind you that we're on warren turf right now, and can't assess her potential clearly from within our bubble. harris might break to the top of the centrist lane if biden goes down fast instead of slow — if he fucks up the next six months so badly that he can't pull any delegates out of iowa, new hampshire, or nevada — but i don't see harris with a clear path to 50% + 1 either. and (with apologies to booker and castro and no apologies whatsoever to o'rourke) everyone else is either an also-ran or not really running for president.

if biden gets the nomination, we lose lose lose. he's not going to get any less doddering in the next year and a half, and he's not going to get any less racist, and he's not going to get any more inspiring. i encourage everyone reading this to canvas for, and give money to, one or more of warren, sanders, and harris. if sanders loses support, a bunch of the politically disengaged people in his base either go to biden or slide straight back into trump's hands. in that case, we're screwed. if warren loses support, we're stuck with the problem of sanders's relatively low ceiling. we're screwed. if harris loses support, every last one of those former harris supporters has to go to warren or biden pulls away from the pack and we're screwed.

sniping about sanders and identity politics — jeezus christ, he's not a trotskyist, he understands that race-based oppression in america is something different from class-based oppression — or feeling gross about sanders's raids into enemy territory, or feeling icky about the dumbest sanders voters, is all precisely as useful as debating over whether or not warren has a proper historical analysis of the term "capitalism." i work hard to collect my side — i am fanatical about going after socialists who disrespect warren, both here and out in meatspace. the liberals need to collect their side as well.

we are in uncharted fucking territory and we have been since 2016. we're beset by nazis on every side and we need to get done with all of our weimar-throwback spd vs. kpd squabbling yesterday. if you think you can get warren over 50%, please give warren money and canvas for her and make phone calls and write postcards. i thank you in advance and i hope you're right. but attacking sanders doesn't get warren over 50%. his base on the whole isn't warren's base, and his voters on the whole aren't warren's voters. stay on target y'all.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:24 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


, is all precisely as useful as debating over whether or not warren has a proper historical analysis of the term "capitalism." i

For the record I never, ever raised that as the concern. People took my remark and twisted it into a thing that looks totally pendantic. Why would anyone on here have a beef about pendantic definitions? I don't assume people on here make irrelevant arguments, why is it okay to make that assumption about me? It is unjust.

Framing it as pendantic triviality is a neoliberal construction used to shut down leftists, by changing the substance of issue so it looks trivial. All I that was on my mind when I wrote that one sentence was, Warren has not kept up with new, not historical understandings of the term. A passing familiarity with David Harvey, Chomsky, and Slavoj Zizek can update anyone. What happened was someone interpreted, in that sentence, my parenthesized reference to 1850 in a particular way and then aggressively decided not to ask me clarify for them any of this and made it look like Warren knowing how to give a lecture on the etymology of the word, or some silly shit. That is different from my understanding which is that theory of capitalism has changed and a practioner like Warren probably does not know that, because that is not her area. Things not being her area of understanding seems to be a theme, paralleling the Indian issue. Sometimes talking on here to people who aren't your politics is like a game of telephone. This is very frustrating.

The power move is to frame the "debate" so your enemy looks silly. That's what happened here.

The other thought that I'll voice is that critique of Warren is not instigating squabbling, it essential to the leftist value of inquiry. If people want leftists on this boat, some understanding of this value would go a long way. Other fora I've been to call Warren's project Capitalism With A Friendly Face. Which translated leftists who are not me, are really very dismayed. If my remarks are barely tolerated in this space, good luck with recruiting them.
posted by polymodus at 9:00 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


^ Typo, the well-known leftist critique is "Capitalism with a Human Face" in case, anyone not familiar needs to search for it.
posted by polymodus at 10:59 PM on August 10


Elizabeth Warren on firearms regulation:

Protecting Our Communities from Gun Violence, My Plan for Gun Violence Prevention, Medium, Aug. 10
And while the majority of Americans — including a majority of gun owners — support sensible gun legislation, even the most basic proposals, like universal background checks, are consistently blocked by far-right ideologues in Congress who are bought and paid for by the gun industry, their NRA partners, and a supporting army of lobbyists and lawyers.

Faced with a complex and entrenched public health crisis, made worse by the ongoing inability of a corrupt government to do anything about it, it’s easy to despair. But we are not incapable of solving big problems. We’ve done it before.

...

In 2017, almost 40,000 people died from guns in the United States. My goal as President, and our goal as a society, will be to reduce that number by 80%. We might not know how to get all the way there yet. But we’ll start by implementing solutions that we believe will work.
The article goes into a good bit of detail. She distinguishes what she hopes to accomplish through executive action and what will require Congress to pass legislation, and she discusses combating the influence of the NRA. Some of the proposals are standard stuff, others are things I haven't heard other Democrats talking about. Most of the legislation she's proposing are based on laws that have been implemented at the state level, and have reduced the levels of gun violence in the states that implemented them. This includes creating a federal firearms licensing system. (Her own state has one.) She also wants the DOJ to go after white nationalist domestic terrorism.

It's worth reading whole article.
posted by nangar at 3:19 AM on August 11 [17 favorites]


Warren just overtook Biden on the PredictIt.com market for the first time. The current numbers:

Warren 28%
Biden 27%
Sanders 14%
Harris 14%
Yang 9%
Buttigieg 9%
Gabbard 5%
Booker 3%

(NB: There's a bit of a techbro lean to the userbase, as seen in the numbers for Yang and to a lesser extent Gabbard, but hey, easy money there.)
posted by Rhaomi at 6:08 AM on August 11 [13 favorites]


he's not a trotskyist

(Not to do a derail, but I don't know what this means! I've heard it used as an insult or criticism a few trillion times on the various socialist/communist subreddits but whenever someone asks for a definition the thread has like two lines of biography and history before it takes a dark and vituperative turn that makes it hard to read and follow, so I figured I would ask here since now I really don't understand what's being implied--or rather, not implied--about Bernie in that sentence.) (Maybe this would be better for an AskMe, I dunno.)
posted by mittens at 6:18 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Interesting article this morning about campaign donations here in Western PA. You'd think that this would be prime Biden territory but the top recipients of donations from here are Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg with Bernie way out in front. Sanders has more than twice as many individual donors than Biden.
posted by octothorpe at 7:38 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Question about these donation figures (because I keep seeing them everywhere as proof that all the opinion polls are #fakenews by the #lamestreammedia). He's had a fundraising operation for almost 5 years now. He wasn't actively running for president that entire time but there was Our Revolution in the interim. Could some of these donation figures be recurring donations set up yonks ago and recently reactivated? Or is the fact that he's already got a donor list to solicit from a significant factor here?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:48 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


This includes creating a federal firearms licensing system. (Her own state has one.) She also wants the DOJ to go after white nationalist domestic terrorism.

I've long held that the low-hanging fruit is "License, Registration, and Insurance".

EVERY lawful firearm owner MUST pass a licensing exam.

EVERY firearm owned by a licensed owner MUST be registered, and stored in a secure manner.

EVERY firearm owned by a licensed owner MUST be covered by an insurance policy, whose underwriters will ensure compliance with secure storage requirements.

That way, for every legally owned firearm, there's a traceable chain-of-custody. From Manufacturer to Distributor, to Local Gun Shop, to Retail Purchaser to EVERY OTHER OWNER DOWN THE LINE.

And I think that life in prison for transferring a registered firearm to an unlicensed person -- or negligence which results in your firearm being 'lost' handily solves the major source of guns that are used in crimes.
posted by mikelieman at 8:05 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Or is the fact that he's already got a donor list to solicit from a significant factor here?

IME this is a massively significant factor any time you're trying to extract money from the world in any way, shape, or form. Like it's roughly analogous to initial starting conditions in a differential system. Not totally analogous, because people can catch up with their email lists, but like... without disclosing personal details, this is how I've made my living for a long time. I don't do any of the other things writers are supposed to do; I just have an email list. A large, healthy email list is the kaiju of marketing.

IMO comparing individual donations for someone with a couple of million strong email list from a previous run to someone building theirs out in the current run doesn't tell you much unless you handicap it, and we don't have the data to do that.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:07 AM on August 11 [3 favorites]


sniping about sanders and identity politics — jeezus christ, he's not a trotskyist

In this context it means he's not a form of traditional Marxist-Leninist whose theory demands that class make gender or race irrelevant. He's not quoting Engels on gender. Which, well, I work with some Trots a fair bit, they're integral to activism here, but yeah I tend more to #YesAllTrots.
posted by Acid Communist at 9:35 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Somewhat reassuringly (and, admittedly, OT) all that #TrumpBodyCount vs. #ClintonBodyCount nonesense on Twitter makes me hope that in their fixation with Hillary, Trumpets will continue to campaign against Clinton and forget to campaign against Warren.

I also hope: Warren has a fantastic sense of humour, and is so tenacious in her response to Trump, including his bullying... Could he be terrified of her already?
posted by ipsative at 11:43 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


mikelieman: That way, for every legally owned firearm, there's a traceable chain-of-custody. From Manufacturer to Distributor, to Local Gun Shop, to Retail Purchaser to EVERY OTHER OWNER DOWN THE LINE.

Maybe every gun has to be custom-made and contain in its material composition some organic material with the DNA of its owner. As would gunpowder* and bullets.
Also, yes, I just realized this is a huge derail. Mods, pls delete if deemed necessary!

*do guns use gunpowder? I know nothing...
posted by ipsative at 11:49 AM on August 11


polymodus: "All I that was on my mind when I wrote that one sentence was, Warren has not kept up with new, not historical understandings of the term."

Interesting -- can you fill this out a little bit more? What are these new and historical understandings of the term, and what makes Warren's use historical?
posted by crazy with stars at 12:21 PM on August 11


Maybe every gun has to be custom-made and contain in its material composition some organic material with the DNA of its owner. As would gunpowder* and bullets.

Something like this exists called taggants, microscopic color coded material. Switzerland requires these be used in explosives, so they can be traced back to where they were purchased. I don't see any reason they couldn't be put into gun powder as well. Taggants were developed in the U.S. and used for a brief period time, and were even instrumental in solving a bombing case. They stopped being used in the U.S. because they make explosives more expensive. If I ever get a chance to meet Elizabeth Warren I plan to mention them.
posted by xammerboy at 8:18 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Not to do a derail, but I don't know what Trotskyist means!

I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that Trotsky believed that even countries where capitalism was not firmly established could become communist through a sustained, permanent state of revolution. I generally take it to mean advocating taking the upper class's riches by force and redistributing them to the poor.
posted by xammerboy at 8:25 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


In the context of comparing communist movements that's pretty accurate, but in the context of the activist left in the US, the trots are the big example of socially conservative leftists who are dismissive about lgbtqa rights.
posted by idiopath at 9:41 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


I will happily vote for Elizabeth Warren and don't care whatsoever if she's electable, because that is not in fact a thing until someone is in fact elected.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:11 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


I will happily vote for Elizabeth Warren and don't care whatsoever if she's electable, because that is not in fact a thing until someone is in fact elected.

Also, Elizabeth Warren is hella electable. It's hard for me to think of a more electable character and I didn't even question that until someone brought it up. So in a way, it is an empty signifier, but the way we make our votes count is by filling it with our conviction.

Not by gauging, hedging, or by trying to pinpoint what it is before making a decision. A bit like an iodine supplement against radioactive discourses in the media.
posted by ipsative at 11:33 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Agreed. Regarding 'electability,' I think that's only meaningfully an a posteriori label. At this point, as a high-information voter, I'm not as worried about everyone else's vote as I am my own. Once I believe I've made a good choice (as with supporting Warren), I'll do what I'm able to help that campaign.

It's kind of a tautology, but getting elected is what makes a candidate "electable": some critical mass of support who've decided a candidate is intrinsically worth electing, who then start working to further that campaign, which is the lever that persuades much larger numbers of people to vote for that person, which makes them win the election, which makes them electable. Otherwise, it seems like we're just putting fancy commentator words on speculation about whether a candidate may or may not appeal to potential voters; you know, bullshit that doesn't make talking heads do any research or really need to know too much about what they're talking about. I try not to let their bullshit infect my thinking and conversation, so I've never found much value in the idea of 'electability,' from an individual voter's point-of-view.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:58 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Regarding "electability": you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Joe Biden: lost in the Democratic primaries in 1988 and 2008
Cory Booker: lost election for mayor of Newark in 2002.
Pete Buttigieg: lost election for state treasurer of Indiana in 2010.
Kamala Harris: has never lost an election
Bernie Sanders: lost election for US Senate in Vermont in 1972 and 1974; lost gubernatorial elections in Vermont in 1972, 1976, and 1986; lost election for US House of Representatives in 1988; lost in the Democratic primary in 2016
Elizabeth Warren: has never lost an election
posted by kirkaracha at 12:21 PM on August 12 [28 favorites]


LooseFilter: It's kind of a tautology, but getting elected is what makes a candidate "electable": some critical mass of support who've decided a candidate is intrinsically worth electing, who then start working to further that campaign, which is the lever that persuades much larger numbers of people to vote for that person, which makes them win the election, which makes them electable. Otherwise, it seems like we're just putting fancy commentator words on speculation about whether a candidate may or may not appeal to potential voters;

Electability is a tautology. It's not something you can just determine in advance, because, among other things, "the electorate" is hard to predict. Nobody thought Trump was "electable," remember? Yet, to our misfortune, there he sits.

In 2004, I remember John Kerry being touted as the very quintessence of electability - a white, male, war hero with impeccable experience and credentials was sure to beat that doofus Bush! And yet, no President Kerry entered the White House. In retrospect, Kerry did a good job, but he couldn't beat a reasonably popular wartime incumbent. (Yes, Bush was polling in the 60s or so in late 2004. His ratings didn't start nosediving until his second term.)

And on the other hand, I remember the handwringing and caterwauling when Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination because he was "unelectable." ("This is good news for John McCain" became something of a catchphrase!) And...come November 2008, welcome, President Obama. In 2012, welcome to a second term, President Obama.

If nothing else, anyone who is tempted to break out the old crocodile tears routine of "I'd vote for Elizabeth Warren. I think she's great. But you see, those OTHER PEOPLE won't. It's not me, pinkie swear! But I'm concerned about OTHER PEOPLE. Very concerned, because, you see, my hairdresser's cousin's neighbor said she wouldn't vote for Warren." Really, fuck off with concern-trolling and work to get your candidate elected. This is why there are primaries.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:12 PM on August 12 [21 favorites]


I remember John Kerry being touted as the very quintessence of electability

Yes, and I never understood it, even at the time. Like, who related to that dude? (Answer: not many voters, but lots of $$donors$$, I guess?) My dad is swimming through his own (not really bad at all, all things considered) sexism in his resistance to my support/advocacy of Warren, but I just keep saying 'the more people hear her speak, the more her support in polls goes up--give her just 4-5 minutes, pick any random Warren clip from Youtube, and tell me what you think'.

Like with great music of all kinds, "persuading" people is usually mostly persuading them to just pay attention and listen. Beethoven doesn't need me to explain his music and I can't do it any better than the experience of the music itself does anyway, and Elizabeth Warren (or any other candidate) certainly doesn't need me or anyone else to speak for her--but we sure can help to get folks listening.

Really, fuck off with concern-trolling and work to get your candidate elected. This is why there are primaries.

I want to favorite this comment one million times.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:53 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Oh, I am bummed about this story.
I was not aware of the details in this story about the Michael Brown shooting. I suspect many aren't. On the other hand, even if this is part of the story, I don't believe it is the whole story. And I don't meant to post this as fact or to offend anyone who believes this version of the story is false. I have often wondered how hamstrung Obama was beneath the power of the oligarchs. (Alternatively, there is no cabal of oligarchs of the sort I am imagining. It's hard to tell nowadays amirite.)
posted by Glinn at 3:40 PM on August 12


That article is annoying as hell because it asserts Warren "got the details wrong" but then doesn't seem to actually show that the eyewitnesses who saw the victim's hands up were discredited, only that the shooting was, "legally justified." Well. So the fuck what. Police and justice departments have been finding these shootings "legally justified" since forever and we all know it.
posted by agregoli at 4:34 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


Murder is still murder when it is legally justified. It's not like it didn't happen, it just happened in a way that the legal system in place does not consider punishable.

It is in no way wrong to say that Michael Brown was murdered by a police officer. A police officer shot him dead, and that fact is not now and has never been in dispute.
posted by wierdo at 4:47 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


Yeah put those tweets in the “pro” column
posted by schadenfrau at 4:56 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


Inslee is still short just thousands of donations to be able to participate in the second Democratic election. Time is short. Please donate $1 to Inslee to keep global warming a front and center topic in the Democratic debates. This is a good thing no matter what candidate you ultimately vote for!
posted by xammerboy at 7:16 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Kerry's strategy was to run a very civil campaign based on the notion that Americans wanted a president who would rise above petty partisan politics. He avoided calling Bush out on his terrible decisions and lies. It was excruciating to watch, and it didn't work. Now Biden is arguing Americans want that same campaign all over again.
posted by xammerboy at 7:21 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


That doesn't seem right to me. Biden's gonna Biden which means, yeah, he's not usually going to use exactly the same rhetoric as Warren but he's certainly been calling out Trump in a way that Kerry often refrained from doing with Bush. Biden has stated flat-out that Trump's rhetoric enables white supremacists and that Trump is all about the abuse of power and so on.
posted by Justinian at 10:36 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


politico is my least favorite place, but they’ve got an argument based on polling data that warren and sanders voters have astonishingly little in common.

the tl;dr, if you don’t want to give politico a click, is that sanders voters skew toward having many of the following features: male/poc/working class/younger/poorer/high school diploma holders/previously nonvoters, while warren voters tend toward having many of these features: female/white/older/richer/professional class/postgraduate degree holders/frequent voters.

the two have different bases. warren/sanders or sanders/warren are balanced tickets.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:55 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


re: trotskyists, most american trotskyist parties/organizations tend to trace their intellectual lineage to the uk. this is because mccarthyism worker — communism in the us was pretty much killed off in the 1950s, and so when communist organizations l (sort of) recovered they ended up importing most of their leadership from england. beyond that, they have pretty boneheaded analyses of how race works in america. they’re invested in (what i consider) a clumsy interpretation of marx that sets up class as the sole important thing, with the distinct types of hyperexploitation experienced specifically by women and poc as subordinate to and less significant that the types of exploitation that all workers (including men) are subject to. if you hear a socialist denouncing “identity politics,” you are most likely talking to a trotskyist.

generally when i’m arguing with trotskyists i find myself citing rosa luxemberg a lot. she picks up the concept of “primitive accumulation” from marx, which he defines as the hyperexploitation required to set up a capitalist system — the imperialist looting and murder associated with colonialism, the enclosure of the commons, etc. luxemberg argues that primitive accumulation is ongoing, rather than something that happened in the past, and is just as crucial to the operation of capitalism as the exploitation that happens through the nominally “free market” sale and purchase of labor by workers and the bourgeoisie.

american capitalism, being a settler/colonialist form of capitalism, relies more heavily on primitive exploitation than does capitalism in europe.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:08 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Joe Biden: lost in the Democratic primaries in 1988 and 2008
Cory Booker: lost election for mayor of Newark in 2002.
Pete Buttigieg: lost election for state treasurer of Indiana in 2010.
Kamala Harris: has never lost an election
Bernie Sanders: lost election for US Senate in Vermont in 1972 and 1974; lost gubernatorial elections in Vermont in 1972, 1976, and 1986; lost election for US House of Representatives in 1988; lost in the Democratic primary in 2016
Elizabeth Warren: has never lost an election


Merely counting up their losses isn't a good way to assess their electoral records, especially with regards to 'electability.' When assessing a candidate's performance in a race, it seems helpful to look at things like: the strength of the opposing candidate, voters' prior disposition towards the party the candidate is running for, the level of institutional backing both the candidate and their opponent received, the total amount (and sources) of funding that the candidate and their opponent received, details of the electoral structure relevant to that race--e.g. how a national primary plays out is much different than a state-level general election, or how a 3 way race in a FPTP system plays out is much different than one with only the two major parties as credible candidates), etc. etc.

If you don't account for these other factors, it's unclear whether (or to what extent) any given win or loss is attributable to the candidate themselves or those other factors.

At the very, very least, one should judge their record by their win-rate rather than just the raw number of losses. Otherwise it makes it easy for people who haven't been in politics for long to have good, if not flawless records. And even then, I don't think you could draw useful conclusions from there. It would still favor candidates who avoid challenging races, for example.

Even if you did the work of making detailed comparisons, it's not entirely clear what their past performance would plausibly entail for 2020. How is a candidate's electoral performance from decades ago , or even just the pre-Trump period, related to their likelihood of success now? Have they gotten better or worse at campaigning over their political career? How does success in a state-level race (esp. considering, say, the state's demographics) relate to their plausible success in a national presidential election? And so on, and so on.

I know I'm belaboring the point, but the post I'm replying to began with:

Regarding "electability": you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

And then put forward a good example of why electability arguments are typically bad, and probably not worth engaging in whatsoever. They're almost always a way to covertly boost a candidate the arguer likes, or pre-emptively dismiss those they dislike. They function as arguments, but have the appearance of merely stating the facts, or being an evenhanded analysis, or whatever. Rarely are they actually an attempt at assessing whatever it is people mean by 'electability.'

Such arguments tend to be used most effectively against candidates that break from the status quo. In Warren's case, as others have stated, both her policies and the fact that she's a woman make her an obvious target.
posted by davedave at 1:07 AM on August 13


They're almost always a way to covertly boost a candidate the arguer likes, or pre-emptively dismiss those they dislike.

It is surely coincidence that the great majority of people argue that the person they agree with ideologically is also the electable candidate. Surely.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


It is surely a coincidence that the great majority of people considered electable are cis hetero Christian white men.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:12 AM on August 13 [9 favorites]


hydropsyche’s correct. note that many people who despise biden consider him “electable.” even though his cognitive faculties are slipping. the only reasons to consider him “electable” — he’s not — are that he’s male, he’s cis, he’s hetero, he’s christian, and his jackass behavior is very stereotypically cis-male-hetero.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:52 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


note that many people who despise biden consider him “electable.” even though his cognitive faculties are slipping. the only reasons to consider him “electable” — he’s not — are that he’s male, he’s cis, he’s hetero, he’s christian, and his jackass behavior is very stereotypically cis-male-hetero.

Why not something more base and primal - people recognize the name. A 1st step to being "trusted" and "part of your tribe."

Arnold Shwartzenegger, Jessie Ventura, and that other guy (see? Not using a Republican talking thing) being examples.


Oh and the youtube video pointing out Sanders wanting Warren to run/her as a VP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75KlQ2Xm6I
posted by rough ashlar at 6:26 AM on August 13


but also the people you named are white. and jesse ventura presents as hard cis-male-hetero. likewise, even though in his bodybuilder days schwartzenegger had sex with men sometimes, he presents as archetypical cis-male-hetero.

famous women, queer people, and trans people don’t get quite the same pass. if oprah or ellen ran for president i don’t think they’d get as much traction as white-male-hetero celebrities do, even though the world is on a first-name basis with both of them.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:35 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


they’ve got an argument based on polling data that warren and sanders voters have astonishingly little in common.

I'm having a small identity crisis over here, then...HOW CAN I BE THE SAME PERSON I LIKE THEM BOTH BUT FOR DIFFERENT REASONS but some the same...

Maybe it's Politico that's full of shit.*

It's worth considering that people who have been able to vote for Warren in the past are a pretty small group, this is her first national campaign. Sanders, however, has already run a high-visibility national campaign, so far more have heard him/his ideas, for longer. It's worth revisiting this kind of data once Warren has a much higher national presence, and people have been able to argue about her in their living rooms or on their porches, or wherever people argue nowadays, for a bit.

*I think that Sanders support could be a path for many men to support Warren also, like, first it's OK to like a liberal/progressive candidate, this dude is talking about your problems and he's a white dude so it's OK, and then, later, it's OK to like a woman who says many of the same sorts of things. He's a political gateway drug to make it culturally acceptable for working class men to eventually support a progressive woman candidate or something? I don't see them sharing a ticket, though.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:49 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


box: Democrats Give Cold Shoulder to Warren Wealth Tax

For your consideration: The World’s Wealthiest Family Gets $4 Million Richer Every Hour -- The 25 wealthiest dynasties on the planet control $1.4 trillion (Bloomberg, August 10, 2019)
The numbers are mind-boggling: $70,000 per minute, $4 million per hour, $100 million per day.

That’s how quickly the fortune of the Waltons, the clan behind Walmart Inc., has been growing since last year’s Bloomberg ranking of the world’s richest families.

At that rate, their wealth would’ve expanded about $23,000 since you began reading this. A new Walmart associate in the U.S. would’ve made about 6 cents in that time, on the way to an $11 hourly minimum.
Tell me again, dear Democrats, why a Wealth Tax is a bad idea.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 AM on August 13 [16 favorites]


> I don't see them sharing a ticket, though.

this is why i am straight-up obsessed with the plausible-seeming idea that no candidate will get a majority of the delegates, but that warren delegates + sanders delegates will sum to a majority.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:57 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Maybe (in fantasyland!) one of them will drop out and support the other before the primary! In the interests of fielding a candidate who should be fighting hard and electable for TWO terms.
Bernie will be 78 in September.
Biden will be 77 in November.
Warren turned 70 in June.

OR, maybe on the split ticket Bernie is Pres for one term with Warren VP, then Warren Pres for two terms with Castro or Harris as VP.
posted by Glinn at 12:02 PM on August 13


> Maybe (in fantasyland!) one of them will drop out and support the other before the primary!

if either of them drops out they'll lose some of their supporters to harris and biden, thereby ensuring a biden nomination. even if the one who drops out campaigns for the other.

(the only way out of this is if warren really takes off before iowa, new hampshire, and nevada. i don't think sanders has a high enough ceiling to get above 50% by himself in any situation, though.)

> [...] in the interests of fielding a candidate who should be fighting hard and electable for TWO terms.

aoc will be just barely old enough to run for president or vp in 2024. i could see sanders passing the baton.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:12 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


okay also the idea of aoc running for president makes me want to happy-cry. electing president ocasio-cortez is how we get the united states on the path to actual democratic socialism.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:18 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Who was the last US President to serve one term and decline to pursue a second? Rutherford B. Hayes? Sanders isn't even making a one term pledge. The idea that he'd voluntarily step away is at odds with like 150 years of American History and everything we know about the man.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:35 PM on August 13


The numbers are mind-boggling: $70,000 per minute, $4 million per hour, $100 million per day.

Oh boy does walmart need a union. To put this in perspective, that's $10000, 5 million times a year. They could give a $10,000 raise to all 2 million or so employees of walmart and still be making $10,000, 3 million times a year.
posted by dis_integration at 12:38 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


honestly, i think his whole deal really is promoting socialism rather than personal aggrandizement per se. back last cycle a lot of people joked about how he ran the whole campaign just so he could deliver that one "what is democratic socialism?" speech where he talked about fdr and the four freedoms. i think there was some element of truth to that joke.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:40 PM on August 13


tonycpsu: "Who was the last US President to serve one term and decline to pursue a second? Rutherford B. Hayes? Sanders isn't even making a one term pledge. The idea that he'd voluntarily step away is at odds with like 150 years of American History and everything we know about the man."

Well sort of Johnson. He could have run for a second full term in 1968 but declined. "I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."
posted by octothorpe at 1:15 PM on August 13


Eh, I should have said "full term" to eliminate the exception that proves the rule. My point is that most people who get involved in politics to the point where they could run for and win the Presidency aren't the types who are willing to walk away after four years, and I've seen nothing from Sanders (or Biden for that matter) suggesting they'd step aside.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:59 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


NBC: Inside Warren's early-state sleeper campaign -- The working idea: to mobilize a force not only on election days, but also to move Congress on issues for which there is broad existing public support.
It’s a bit unusual for a presidential campaign’s staff to invest time in events that aren’t directly related to the candidate’s election. But for Warren’s team, it’s all part of the plan: A small army of her organizers has deployed to early-voting states and embedded into local communities.

Said one prominent Nevada Democrat: “She is generating buzz because her campaign shows up everywhere. Every time there’s a community event, there is Warren representation there.”
posted by Chrysostom at 4:05 PM on August 13 [22 favorites]


The working idea: to mobilize a force not only on election days, but also to move Congress on issues for which there is broad existing public support.

Yes, please! This is where Bernie fell down for me after 2016, not continuing to mobilize his people to effect political change. Certainly there's overlap between Bernie's base and the DSA, who has been doing that work the past few years, as well as Indivisible, but going forward the Democrats need to nurture a core of activists to agitate for change between elections. Obama talked about it a lot but dismantled his 2008 operation instead of using it for that, and I think we'd be in a much better world now if the party continued his work motivating and directing that energy.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:30 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


> but going forward the Democrats need to nurture a core of activists to agitate for change between elections

i dunno that sounds like democratic socialism to me

jooin us yes join us my pretty we will slip the surly bonds of electoral politics together.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:44 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Biden has stated flat-out that Trump's rhetoric enables white supremacists and that Trump is all about the abuse of power and so on.

Yes, I think that's right, though Biden seems reluctant to paint the rest of the Republican party with the same brush. The Republicans won't vote for Democratic policy - period. I think all the candidates are having some trouble coming to terms with this new reality.
posted by xammerboy at 6:40 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Obama talked about it a lot but dismantled his 2008 operation instead of using it for that, and I think we'd be in a much better world now if the party continued his work motivating and directing that energy.

People talk a lot about how the Democrats couldn't win elections because of this, but not many people talk about using their operations to move public sentiment while Democrats are in office.
I remember that while Obama was negotiating health care policy I really felt like I should be out there protesting or doing something.
posted by xammerboy at 6:51 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I don't think the Democratic party wants an activist core constantly organizing and agitating. There's a very real divide in the party and on one side of it is an entrenched, professional political class that just does not want that kind of bottom up pressure.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:54 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


> I don't think the Democratic party wants an activist core constantly organizing and agitating. There's a very real divide in the party and on one side of it is an entrenched, professional political class that just does not want that kind of bottom up pressure.

oh no if that goes on too long the organizers and agitators might start constructing their own versions of the party apparatus and then work through those organizations rather than the mainline democratic party organizations. they might start doing terrible terrible things, like running a super charismatic socialist from the bronx against nancy pelosi's second in command and winning.

then they might construct a faction within the party that gets actually more news coverage than the mainline party apparatus, due to their ideas being more appealing to like everyone and due to their canny skill at using social media to promulgate their message. well and also due to their ability to get media outlets across the spectrum to repeat their message — even hard-right outlets like fox, who they might relentlessly (and effectively!) troll.

the electeds from that faction might go around calling themselves a gang or group or crowd or squad or something.

if that goes on the new organizations might totally obsolete the old ones. the dnc might become as irrelevant as the blue dog caucus.

that would be terrible.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:22 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


...and I think in Obama's case it might have made the difference in terms of getting universal healthcare. I sort of didn't understand why Obama seemed to fade away after being elected. I wanted to see him on TV all day stating his case to the people. Instead he spent a lot of time working with Republicans. I wouldn't even bother with that, just keep making your case to the people, especially when it's such a good one.
posted by xammerboy at 7:32 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I remember hearing the phrase "bully pulpit" about a million times during the push to the ACA but even when he did go that route it was nowhere near as effective as on the ground organizing, because Dems calling a press conference to advocate for anything means the next week of the news cycle is just pundit hot takes and false equivalency.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:54 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Ezra Klein wrote a piece entitled The political scientist Donald Trump should read that gives a partial explanation for why you might have experienced an Obama fade.

The basic gist is that in very closely divided government it is very difficult to get cooperation. Giving into the other side is gifting them a win whereas not cooperating denies them a win. When the margin is so tight, it is reasonable to think that the next election is going to swing the balance of power back to the side out of power so it is rational to deny wins to your adversaries even if you like the policies in question.

It further posits that if you want to get something accomplished, it can't look like you are gaining something significant. The article uses an Obama accomplishment as an example:
The landmark Every Student Succeeds Act that passed Congress in late 2015, for example, obviously wouldn’t have passed unless it incorporated a lot of education policy ideas that the Obama administration was on board with. But it was put together quietly, by negotiators from both parties, without a lot of presidential tweets and speechmaking.

The downside of this, from Obama’s point of view, was that signing it doesn’t count in the public imagination as an Obama achievement or a major win for his administration. But precisely because it didn’t count as a big “win” for Obama, congressional Republicans could sign on to it.
The article further goes on to propose ways Trump could get things accomplished but is ultimately fruitless because Trump would never go along with a plan that got things done without him receiving all the credit for it.
posted by mmascolino at 8:01 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]




New national poll showing Warren at 20% and Biden only one point ahead at %21.

That's great! But she's still trailing Biden in RealClearPolitics' composite 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination poll.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:26 AM on August 14


New national poll showing Warren at 20% and Biden only one point ahead at %21.

Same poll:
19. Democratic candidates considered
Which candidate or candidates are you considering voting for in the Democratic Presidential primary or caucus in your state in 2020? (Select all that apply)
Warren 50%
Biden 47%
Harris 39%
Sanders 38%
Buttigieg 31%
Booker 23%
O'Rourke 21%


whats that about electibility?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:29 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


if biden stays anywhere near 21% he loses the nomination, even if he gets more delegates than any other single candidate.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:38 AM on August 14


kirkaracha: "New national poll showing Warren at 20% and Biden only one point ahead at %21.

That's great! But she's still trailing Biden in RealClearPolitics' composite 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination poll.
"

Well sure. We'll have to wait to see if this is an outlier or a leading indicator. Hoping for the latter.
posted by octothorpe at 11:51 AM on August 14


Yes, keep in mind that we are 173 days until the Iowa Caucuses.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:23 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


whats that about electibility?

Isn't, so far as it is a thing at all, electability defined as the ability to win a general election? So primary data isn't very useful. Otherwise we'd have to conclude that Michael Dukakis and Walter Wondale are super electable.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Warren's been rising slowly and steadily in the polls for months. That seems to be continuing. Sample sizes for individual polls are usually fairly small, and the numbers jump around a lot.
posted by nangar at 2:49 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


the electability of potential democratic party nominees is in theory defined as the ability to win a general election. in practice the term electability when applied to potential democratic party nominees is determined by whether the candidate is a conservative white man who smells like a bowl full of milk that's been sitting out for three days. this standard was developed in response to the democratic party loss in 1972, after they nominated a white male candidate who was neither conservative nor smelled like a bowl full of milk that had been sitting out for three days.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:49 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


But even when he did go that route it was nowhere near as effective as on the ground organizing...

What I really wanted him to do was go onto Oprah and explain as slowly and clearly as possible that universal healthcare is cheaper and provides better health outcomes. I wanted the conservative party leaders of every other national country backing him up with soundbites. I wanted School House Rock for universal healthcare. I still don't get why we're not seeing this kind of national campaign. A three minute long answer on Healthcare rather than the 30 second soundbites we're getting would be long enough to make an almost unassailable argument.
posted by xammerboy at 7:08 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I thought this was an interesting exchange:
Aaron Blake (WaPo): In this new YouGov poll, 57% of Dems say Warren would "probably" beat Trump.

That's 2nd only to Biden (65%).

//

Jonathan Bernstein (Bloomberg): As expected, perceived "electability" is actually just a function of coming to like the candidate for other reasons. That is, liking the candidate -> thinking she's electable, not the other way around.

//

Will Jordan (Dem pollster): Yeah—

Since start of June, YouGov shows Democrats to be *more* likely to say they want a candidate who can win (was 58%, now 64%) vs. one who is better on issues.

Over same period, two other things happened: (1) Warren gained 14pts on “can win”; (2) Biden lead shrank +12 to +3
posted by Chrysostom at 7:32 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


That is, liking the candidate -> thinking she's electable, not the other way around.

Right, see my snark about how odd it is that the person a voter says is electable almost always happens to agree with that voters preferred policy positions. Straight-up motivated reasoning. Id say I've given up being annoyed at that sort of thing but that would be a lie.

I do find it refreshing if somebody acknowledges that the person they support isn't the most electable. I used to think that about Warren (immediately post DNA fiasco in my defense!) but her campaign has been so stellar since that big misstep that I've come around. Everybody gets one flub, it's how you recover from it that matters.
posted by Justinian at 11:23 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Li Zhou, Vox: Women candidates are constantly asked about their electability. Here are 5 reasons that’s misguided.
Other recent trends — including the sweeping victories by women candidates in House races in 2018 — further counter the idea that sexism is the deciding factor in women’s electoral success. During the 2018 midterms, women candidates didn’t just win key races; they drove the “blue wave” that ushered Democrats back into the House majority.

All of this is to say that the idea that a woman candidate is not as “electable” as a man isn’t grounded in actual data. Certainly, it’s possible voters may have concerns about how a candidate’s policy positions would hold up in a general election against Trump, but those questions are worth applying to candidates of any gender.
The more Lizmentum the better! #Warren2020
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:40 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]


Poll: Elizabeth Warren Jumps Out To Big Lead In The Iowa Caucus
A new Iowa Starting Line-Change Research poll shows the senator opening up a commanding lead in the Iowa Caucus. Warren was the top pick of 28% of likely Iowa Caucus-goers in the poll, an 11-point lead over the nearest competitor. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were both tied for second with 17% each. Pete Buttigieg came in fourth at 13% and Kamala Harris has the backing of 8%.

Both Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke garnered 3% of caucus-goers’ support, while Steve Bullock, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer got on the board at 2%. Julian Castro, Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang rounded out the field at 1%, while everyone else had less than that.
posted by Little Dawn at 1:09 PM on August 15 [12 favorites]


FWIW, Change Research is new-ish and online only, and they had some super nutty numbers in 2016 House races.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:27 PM on August 15 [4 favorites]




Huh. Interesting post and discussion thread. I didn’t see it until just now, because it wasn’t linked in the sidebar (as it’s not tagged with “POTUS45”). :(
posted by darkstar at 11:05 PM on August 16 [4 favorites]


the first time i remember hearing the word "electability" weaponized against a candidate was when howard dean momentarily took the lead back in late '03 - early '04. his campaign is remembered now for the media-manufactured dean scream debacle, but the media assassination commenced long before the scream.


Thank you. One of the frustrations I have with that whole election is that people recall the “Dean Scream” as costing him the primary, when the media had already been engaging in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts assault on him we’ll be fire that. The only reason the “scream” wasn’t just dismissed as a passionate shout with a hoarse voice is because the media had been nursing the narrative that Dean was some wild-eyed hothead long before that event occurred.

As I wrote to a Kerry supporter at the time, “Congratulations. We now have a perfect Bob Dole clone as our standard bearer: a thoroughly uncharismatic and uninspiring resumé candidate that will valiantly and spectacularly fail to mobilize the base, and thus guarantee four more years of George W. Bush.”
posted by darkstar at 11:36 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


RE the Warren DNA test and her relationship with Native Americans, from the Huffpo article linked above:
HuffPost talked to a dozen tribal chiefs, Native politicians, researchers and influencers to get a sense of why this narrative that has taken off in the media ― that Warren, who has been a strong ally to tribes, is suddenly on the ropes with them because of her DNA test ― seems off. Some spoke on record; others spoke only anonymously, given their close work with tribes whose privacy they wanted to respect.

The consensus was clear: This narrative is incredibly overblown...

...Richard Sneed, the principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, said he’s not upset at all by Warren’s DNA test. He hasn’t heard from any tribal leaders who are mad either. His tribe is different from the Cherokee Nation and is based in North Carolina.

“It’s media fodder. It’s sensationalism. That’s what it is,” he said. “All it takes is for one person to say they’re offended, and then everybody does a dog pile. But to me, it’s ‘Wait a second. Let’s get to some of the facts here.’ Sen. Warren has always been a friend to tribes. And we need all the allies we can get.”

...To date [January 2019], Sneed is the only principal chief of a federally recognized tribe ― there are 573 of them ― who has publicly said anything about Warren’s DNA test.
The rest of that article is truly eye-opening in how the media basically took one official’s critical comments and ginned them up into a frenzy. The principle chief of the Cherokee Nation also did not criticize Warren. To date, NO principle chief of ANY tribe has criticized Warren for her ancestry claims or DNA test.

That’s not to say that she handled the DNA test issue well: she didn’t. Nor that there aren’t Native Americans that are angry at her for the way she handled it. Obviously there are.

But the idea that there is a widespread upwelling of anger at Warren from the tribes is not supported by the evidence, and what anger that does exist is being amplified by right wingers for their own purposes, to try to destroy a politician who is — to use tribal leaders’ own words — a friend to the tribes.
posted by darkstar at 12:44 AM on August 17 [15 favorites]


The rest of that article is truly eye-opening in how the media basically took one official’s critical comments and ginned them up into a frenzy.

As has been shown for decades by the Washington NFL team’s PR department, you can find someone from any community to advance any narrative. Putting them in the newspaper as though they are representative is malpractice.
posted by Etrigan at 3:41 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


when the media had already been engaging in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts assault on him we’ll be fire that.


Thank you autocorrect! >:-|
Of course, those last few words should be “well before that.”

posted by darkstar at 4:52 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Is it wrong of me to start feeling a tiny bit hopeful about 2020?
posted by octothorpe at 6:17 AM on August 17 [2 favorites]






Is it wrong of me to start feeling a tiny bit hopeful about 2020?


I am definitely hopeful!

I mean, I’m aware that here in this thread, on MeFi, on the Internet, I’m wrapped in a bubble, within an echo chamber, within an enigma. So a lot of the data I’m seeing is definitely skewed to favor my confirmation bias.

But I also recall what happened in the 2018 elections, which is pretty damn encouraging!
posted by darkstar at 12:54 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


Thank you for the HuffPost link, DarkStar.
On Friday, she and Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, one of the first Native American women in Congress and a supporter of Warren’s presidential campaign, released a legislative proposal on the matter that will be open for input from tribal stakeholders.
She is partnering with Deb Haaland (who is Laguna Pueblo) and asking for input from Native stakeholders - all very, very good. If Fox and the like want to amplify right-wing smears against Warren, I doubt they are doing much more than preaching to the converted, quite frankly. (It's when the New York Times and Washington Post do stuff like that, which is bad for a candidate; those are the sources Democrats turn to, not Fox.)

And I think that if we Democrats can muster up our enthusiasm - as in vote blue no matter who - and keep up the blue wave downballot, we can win again. We won in 2018 because we turned out to vote. That's also how we won in 2008. I am hopeful.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:03 PM on August 17 [6 favorites]


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