US Politics Filter: DNC Edition
August 18, 2020 7:54 PM   Subscribe

The Democratic National Convention has begun and all eyes are on the Vice-Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, the first black woman and south asian to be in that role.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (684 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
Roll call was great tonight 👍🏻
posted by Chickenring at 8:04 PM on August 18 [18 favorites]


I dug the “big tent” energy (...sorry) of Night 1, and was pleased to hear viewership was so high.

I admit, Cuomo’s attempt to coin the slogan “America Tough” hit me like a “fetch” that’s not going to “happen,” but if some guy out there had to hear it to get on board, then OK. Everyone else was damn impressive, and production was smooth enough not to call too much attention to the weirdness of the medium.

Haven’t caught up with tonight’s webcast yet (thanks, long-running Zoom meeting!) but I’m looking forward to it.

I’m excited about Harris. I was hoping Biden would pick her. She’s the perfect foil for him, and the GOP has gone deliciously cross-eyed trying to figure out an angle of attack.
posted by armeowda at 8:20 PM on August 18 [8 favorites]


The video roll-call was much better than the traditional kind.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:33 PM on August 18 [18 favorites]


Harris wasn't my first pick for VP (like it was up to me), primarily because (a) I don't want to give up ANY Senate seats, even if they're really safe Senate seats (so for the same reason, I wouldn't have wanted Warren to be picked for VP, even though I think she's GREAT), and (b) I thought Harris would make an outstanding Attorney General.

But now that she's the official VP nominee (well, she's not officially official yet, is she? for another day or two? I am so ignorant about these things), I can't remember anyone else I would have wanted Biden to pick.

I was especially intrigued to learn about her friendship with Beau Biden when they were both Attorneys General.

I had a brief conversation with a not-very-political senior citizen swing state friend over the weekend, and I asked her what she thought of Harris, and the main thing she seemed to know about Harris was how smart and accomplished Harris's parents are (an oncologist and a Stanford economics professor), so it was interesting to me that that's the narrative that reached my friend.

Honestly, I would have voted for Biden and a sack of groceries in November, but I've been very happy to vote for Harris for Senator, and I will be delighted to vote for her for Vice-President. I would LOVE to see her running things with Biden.

Thanks for the thread, Brandon Blatcher!
posted by kristi at 8:36 PM on August 18 [25 favorites]


The Jill Biden intro video was excellent. And doing it from the now-empty classroom where she taught? Loved it.
posted by Wulfhere at 8:39 PM on August 18 [7 favorites]


[Comment and a brief reply removed. If your main take is something along the lines of "I thought it was bad" you need to make the effort to actually contribute some interesting and substantial thoughts along those lines to the thread.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 PM on August 18 [20 favorites]


Survey for 18-34 year old voters: How did you feel about seeing John Kasich, Colin Powell, and the CEO of Quibi at the DNC this year?

A) Hype
B) Lit
C) Stoked
D) All of the above
posted by windbox at 9:04 PM on August 18 [80 favorites]


I was pretty anxious for night one, but then Michelle Obama's speech gave me the boost that I needed. Holy shit that was a great convention speech.
posted by ishmael at 9:06 PM on August 18 [22 favorites]


I have a lot of fear and dread and mixed emotions, so it's nice to let something move me, even if it is trying as hard to do so as the convention is. I know this is everything that Rose Twitter hates, but it's what we've got. Some of their Zoom moments haven't worked so well, but some really have, like the national anthem and tonight's roll call. That should be shot on location in the future, too.

My favorite was when Rhode Island's folks presented a plate of fried calamari with all the dignity of a fellow delegate. My least favorite was when the Mississippi delegation couldn't find a better place to shoot than in front of a wall of cinderblocks. If nothing else, we have pretty country out here.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:08 PM on August 18 [13 favorites]


Thank you for giving me a place to unload my pent-up memes where they might be more appreciated:

Live look at political junkie Twitter the day of the VP announcement

Schrödinger's Ideologue

TFW the DNC lets you use the word "blizzard" in your primetime speech but doesn't let you tell The Joke

six seasons and a movie

How the mighty have fallen

All these are from that subreddit that had been heavily gamed and that I was tapped to take over a couple months ago. It's been a hard slog against trolls and fringe astroturfing (apparently I'm a corrupt neoliberal shill), but I did find some mirth in finding all the folks who had (mostly jadedly) predicted Harris would be the nominee, awarding them the prestigious "Kamala Supporter" tag, and installing them in the KAMALA HARRIS SUPPORTER HALL OF HEROES. #inspiring
posted by Rhaomi at 9:13 PM on August 18 [11 favorites]


I thought that the Roll Call was fantastic and did a fantastic job showcasing the beauty and diversity of the US and territories. So much more memorable for me than previous conventions when they just pan to different people in the arena. The woman from North Carolina was my absolute favorite, closely followed by the gay Black farmer/BnB owner in Maine and the cheery group from the Northern Mariana Islands. As someone said on Twitter, it was like the Olympic Parade of Nations we didn't get to see this summer.
posted by TwoStride at 9:20 PM on August 18 [31 favorites]


Yeah, per Windbox's snark, the impression I got was that the press is to pick up Republican moderates and senior citizens, not focusing on younger persons or progressives.

Which, fair enough, they didn't turn out in enough numbers to make a difference in the primaries.

It also fits my thesis that the Democrats will be the new centrist party, have a good decade to reign after the GOP downfall, before fissuring themselves (as happened to the Republicans a century ago).

I'm cautiously hoping that there will at least be minor reforms to prevent a smarter, more energetic fascist in the future, but who am I kidding- Joe Biden's going to make Friedrich Ebert look like a reformer.

Still voting for Biden, because a pause before full fascism is still preferable to an unmitigated dive into fascism. But I'm only backing Biden today so I can protest him tomorrow.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 9:43 PM on August 18 [22 favorites]


Very excited that the VP nominee is in Gen X.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:55 PM on August 18 [19 favorites]


It all felt very wholesome and normal, and made me realize how much I've been craving that.
posted by xammerboy at 10:05 PM on August 18 [10 favorites]


I read Michelle Obama's speech (link from the Covid thread) and it was quite good.
posted by Marticus at 10:09 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


John Kasich, Colin Powell, and the CEO of Quibi at the DNC

The only one out of those three I have any respect for is Powell, though it amuses me to think of how pissed off Trump might be at Kasich.
posted by pwnguin at 10:10 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Survey for 18-34 year old voters: How did you feel about seeing John Kasich, Colin Powell, and the CEO of Quibi at the DNC this year?

The median voter is not the median Democratic voter, and not even the median Democratic voter is an 18-34 year old. Focusing on 18-34 year olds is a mug's game!

Democrats are already going to vote for Biden/Harris, so now the job is to peel away as many votes as possible from the squishy center.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 PM on August 18 [15 favorites]


Yeah, per Windbox's snark, the impression I got was that the press is to pick up Republican moderates and senior citizens, not focusing on younger persons or progressives.

I also got this vibe, but maybe more in the sense that watching conventions on TV is how to reach seniors, so the message matched the audience. It felt very Telethon-esque. My hope (and it may just be hope) is that other methods are being used for other audiences.
posted by feckless at 10:12 PM on August 18 [5 favorites]


What's the deal with AOC's 60 second procedural symbolic nomination of Sanders for president? It's on the NYTimes front page right now but the terrible article doesn't explain what that actually means as if everyone is in the know of how these things work. What does symbolic mean here, etc.
posted by polymodus at 10:14 PM on August 18


It's nothing out of the ordinary; from the Wiki page on the 2008 DNC:
Along with presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama, former opponent Hillary Clinton's name was also placed in nomination for president.[14] The Los Angeles Times noted that this has occurred before: Jerry Brown's name was entered into the roll call after losing to Bill Clinton in 1992; Jesse Jackson and Gary Hart also had their names added after losing to Walter F. Mondale in 1984;[15] while Jackson's name was also entered into the roll call after losing to Michael Dukakis in 1988.[16] In 1980, Senator Ted Kennedy's name was entered into the roll call after losing to Jimmy Carter.[17] In addition, Clinton became only the fourth woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major party convention. (U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was placed in nomination at the 1964 Republican National Convention, and U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm of New York was placed in nomination at the 1972 Democratic National Convention.[14] In 1976, anti-abortionist Ellen McCormack had her name placed in nomination along with Mo Udall, Jimmy Carter and Jerry Brown.)[18] Clinton would have her name placed in nomination for president once more, in 2016, along with Bernie Sanders.
Dolores Huerta nominated Clinton in 2008, and Tulsi Gabbard nominated Sanders in 2016. It's a nod of respect to the runner-up in a close-ish primary.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:18 PM on August 18 [12 favorites]


Convention rules call for roll call & nomination for every candidate who passes the delegate threshold.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:26 PM on August 18 [8 favorites]


What's the deal with AOC's 60 second procedural symbolic nomination of Sanders for president? It's on the NYTimes front page right now but the terrible article doesn't explain what that actually means as if everyone is in the know of how these things work. What does symbolic mean here, etc.

It means nothing unless you're trying to smear AOC.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:27 PM on August 18 [23 favorites]


Joshua Keating at Slate: “Conventions Should Always Be Virtual”
[A]fter two nights, the Zoom-style convention has been a pleasant surprise: It’s remarkably watchable and more appropriate for this moment in history.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:27 PM on August 18 [7 favorites]


I would not vote for Trump under any circumstance I can imagine. Having stated the obvious, I find it hard to vote for Biden too. I also find the narrative that to vote for Biden is a vote for Harris bc he will either not make it 4 years or some other reason she will ascend to the Presidency. I am not comfortable betting against anyone's life or continued mental health.

I do not know who would have been a better pick, perhaps someone who was not in the primaries(?), but I am not energized by Harris. The primary voters did not seem enthused by her either. I never understood picking one of the losing candidates as a running mate. Maybe if he picked Warren, she would have energized the far left wing of the party. Again, Trump is a bad person and Pence is a wolf who cloaks himself in religious sheep's clothing.

My point is that we as Americans need a strong leader to take this country in a new direction and we have 4 people, two tickets, who are so uninspiring that I am almost ready to put my tin foil hat on and believe it is some sort of conspiracy by the people who are supposedly interfering in the election or the tech CEOs who are manipulating things for theri own gain. Almost. .

The good thing is that Harris is smart and ambitious. She is also the youngest of the four. That is a good thing, right? I am grasping here because I am saddened by the state of politics here in the USA. Make America Great Again? Who is going to do that? Kanye?

It is interesting how they are running a virtual convention. I think it is portending the death of the traditional convention over 4 days. Going forward, they will have a final night and fill a stadium and cheer for the candidate of choice, but 3 days prior of speeches and floor maneuvers to get your special interest into the platform is gone.

I guess Biden's strategy of "I am not Trump so vote for me" is not hurt by the safe pick of Harris. It now comes down to the Post Office doing its job. The scary part is that my postal delivery worker who is a nice person to talk to, is absolutely incapable of handling high volume. They cannot even deliver the Amazon packages to the right door. Around 6pm many nights, my neighbors and I will exchange boxes. We are in a condo complex, but still, every door is clearly marked.

I am in NY so my vote will really not matter, but I guess I have no choice but to hold my nose and pull the lever for Biden and Harris.

As for AOC, what was noteworthy to me was not her nominating Sanders, it was her not saying anything, anything at all about Biden. Even if she and many others do not think Biden is progressive enough, how can they not support him when the alternative is pretty much the opposite of progressive.
posted by AugustWest at 10:27 PM on August 18 [8 favorites]


Honestly, speaking specifically about the convention solely as an event itself, I think it's fine that they didn't appeal to 18-34 year olds. Because the only thing worse than old people not trying to appeal to young people is for old people to try to appeal to young people.

I mean, have we all already forgotten the Bloomberg campaign?
posted by FJT at 10:35 PM on August 18 [14 favorites]


Do you really need to be externally "energized" to vote against the imposition of fascism and destruction of the American Experiment, AugustWest?

Though I'll admit I've never understood why people feel like they need to be excited to do their civic duty. I'm not excited for jury duty but I still do it. Same with grocery shopping. You do it because it must be done.
posted by Justinian at 10:37 PM on August 18 [138 favorites]


Inasmuch as 'energizing' voters means turnout, I think it matters. On the other hand, anyone not going to the polls (or more accurately, mailing their ballot in) after 4 years of Trump probably can't be reached by a speech at the DNC. They're not watching it anyhow.

At this point railing against a lack of a better choice (by which I mean, someone who more closely hews to your desires) is a bit silly. That's what primaries are for, and moreover, that's never how candidates work. No candidate ever matches up with everything any one voter wants, all you can do is cast your vote for the best fit available each time you have the opportunity to vote. Or run yourself, I guess.
posted by axiom at 10:52 PM on August 18 [19 favorites]


quoting my 89 year old mom (a Canadian) --

"Just don't fucking blow it this time, America."







ok, she didn't say exactly that, but that's what she meant
posted by philip-random at 11:00 PM on August 18 [22 favorites]


I agree with people predicting that the traditional nominating convention is never coming back. This video roll call is the only convention roll call I've ever actually watched all the way through. I guess I haven't been out of my house in a long time and that's a lot of it, but getting a video tour of the US states and territories with smiling strangers acting excited about the future felt really great. Not a whole lot of that sentiment in the air these days.

I'm not that excited about Biden qua Biden or his running mate either, but I literally could not be more excited to kick the current bums out. I'd vote for a baby. I'd vote for a dog, a rock, a blancmange. None of them would bear me or the people in my state active malice, and it's clear from both word and deed that the current president does. Almost anyone would be a step up.
posted by potrzebie at 11:07 PM on August 18 [18 favorites]


If the DNC does blow it again, I wonder if they will try tacking a bit to the left, or if it will just be doubling down on blaming the mean Bernie Sanders.
posted by Iax at 11:10 PM on August 18 [8 favorites]


Conversely, if Biden wins will people re-evaluate their priors as to what kind of Democratic candidate is most viable nationally?
posted by Justinian at 11:17 PM on August 18 [9 favorites]


For people worried about the USPS in its current state being unable to handle the volume of mail-in ballots:

I’ve seen a bunch of sources online recommend sending your ballot in by mid-October.

You can also personally drop off your mail-in ballot and bypass the actual mail. Contact your local Board of Elections to find out where.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:23 PM on August 18 [7 favorites]


Yes, the most important thing by far is for people to vote in whatever way gets them to vote and to do so as early as possible. We may be acting counterproductively if we scare people about the mail and reduce turnout. You can always try to get ballots counted after they are cast but if somebody doesn't even try to cast a ballot nothing you can do later can produce a vote.

Job one is to get as many people to vote as possible, as early as possible, by whatever method gets them to do it. Job two is to make sure those votes are counted. But we can't let job two interfere with job one.
posted by Justinian at 11:27 PM on August 18 [13 favorites]


METAFILTER: the most important thing by far is
posted by philip-random at 11:30 PM on August 18 [10 favorites]


I caught the last half hour or so, and they presented a pretty strong case that the Bidens are likeable people with human souls. I wonder how Trump's goons will answer that, at the Republican convention? Like, how do you portray the Trumps as non-monsters? Even Trump's fans know he's a hateful sack of shit. I'm guessing that instead of hearing about how much he loves his family we'll hear lots and lots about all the winning.

I like AOC, but I like her a lot less when she does things that will put a big smile on Putin's lipless Naked Lunch mugwump face.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:36 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Do you mean her nomination of Sanders? That's standard procedure and tradition. She wasn't going rogue it was literally why she was there.
posted by Justinian at 11:43 PM on August 18 [42 favorites]


I mean, have we all already forgotten the Bloomberg campaign?

Mostly yeah
posted by StarkRoads at 11:45 PM on August 18 [14 favorites]


Seeing my kids, all thinking biden is a useless old guy, and VP being a Prosecutor... Not great
posted by Windopaene at 11:48 PM on August 18 [9 favorites]


Conversely, if Biden wins will people re-evaluate their priors as to what kind of Democratic candidate is most viable nationally?

Nah, there isn’t any need. It’s pretty well understood that the most viable Democratic candidate is a Republican.
posted by MrBadExample at 11:50 PM on August 18 [12 favorites]


The reason we've heard so little from Bloomberg is that his campaign never actually ended - he just kept scaling it up until it reached the point it could be longer be apprehended by something as small as a planetary civilization. Still, he keeps adding zeroes to the budget. One day we'll find his name in the digits of pi.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:51 PM on August 18 [14 favorites]


I don't think the Democratic Party has learnt a single thing from last time around. Putting yourself up as the centrist establishment is a surefire way to lose when the US is experiencing absolutely wicked problems, all exacerbated by corporation-loving govts.

America is stuck, people want a way out of the mess, some of those people thought Trump would be it. They won't vote for Biden because he's functionally the same as Clinton.

Votes won't cross back over from Trump for Biden, and and 18-34 yr old voters won't turn out for Biden, because they know that their lives won't change either way - no matter who wins life will still suck.

Colin Powell and John Kasich will not get anyone across the line for Biden. The Dems have fucked this up. Trump will win this - it will be tight, and all sorts of heinous shit will go down.
posted by awfurby at 12:03 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Before the convention even started Trump mocked it and declared that it would be a snoozefest. But, as usual, he was wrong. It hasn’t been without a few glitches but I think it’s been effective, powerful, entertaining, and moving. I canvassed for Warren so I was disappointed with the selection of Biden, but the DNC production is helping him to come across as infinitely relatable – he’s the average Joe compared to the pompous buffoon that is trump.

Anywho, I don’t usually chime in on the Blue but I wanted to share that the recent post on the USPS crisis helped me to see that others were upset about it (validation!) plus it provided me with ideas to actively do something about it (I wrote to the Board of Governors using the email addresses provided in the thread and today I danced a little jig when I heard DeJoy would be taking back some of his decisions). For those same reasons (validation and action plans) I’ve been on the lookout for a post on the election. I’m hoping ya’ll can help me to stay positive and that you’ll share your ideas and inspirations for getting through the next few months. (sigh . . . on preview, Awfurby, you're bringing me down)
posted by kbar1 at 12:07 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


I like AOC, but I like her a lot less when she does things that will put a big smile on Putin's lipless Naked Lunch mugwump face.

This comment makes zero sense to me.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:13 AM on August 19 [32 favorites]


and 18-34 yr old voters won't turn out for Biden

Judging from the primary 18-34 year olds won't turn out for anybody, including Sanders. Focusing your efforts on people who won't vote is a surefire way to lose. Say what you will about old people - and I've said a lot - but they vote. Energized? They vote. Depressed? They vote. Raining? Vote. Sunny? Vote. Deadly Pandemic? Yep, they vote. And so on.

Parties will cater to 18-34 year olds when 18-34 year olds display a willingness to show up.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 AM on August 19 [97 favorites]


When we in Australia had a postal vote for the plebiscite on Gay Marriage, there were a lot of videos and explainers about how to lodge your ballot for young people, many who had not posted a letter in a long time, if ever. What's the 18-34 relationship with mailing things in the USA?

If postal voting is normalised, it's possibly a great way to get people, who normally have the kind of jobs that make it hard to get to the polls, to vote.
posted by freethefeet at 12:25 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Judging from the primary 18-34 year olds won't turn out for anybody

Oh I agree - my point is that there just aren't enough votes for Biden to win it. He won't pick up enough from 18-34 for the reason you outlined, and Republicans aren't going to cross back over from Trump.
posted by awfurby at 12:27 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I don't think the Democratic Party has learnt a single thing from last time around. Putting yourself up as the centrist establishment is a surefire way to lose when the US is experiencing absolutely wicked problems, all exacerbated by corporation-loving govts.

I would not characterize the mood right now as, "We're experiencing absolutely wicked problems — just like we did back in 2016".

I have to eat a little crow here: I sincerely believed that we needed a transformational candidate to address all our quite serious problems. But for people like my parents, both of whom have been lifelong Republicans and one of whom voted for Trump, Biden is I think likely to get one of their votes, and has an outside shot at getting the other vote.

To be fair to me: we settled on Joe before Covid and before mass civil unrest. I think both of those things make a less adventurous candidate more appealing. Better the devil you know, after all.

And as far as energy goes... how much do I personally want Joe Biden to be President? Like water in the desert I crave a competent government. It won't solve all our problems, but lord, can we stop the bleeding...
posted by billjings at 12:27 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


On AOC, just so we can stop spreading false news, here's a twitter thread from NBC walking back their earlier misleading reportage of her appearance. "Ocasio-Cortez was asked by the DNC to second Sanders' nomination. The nomination is a procedural requirement of the convention. ... Ocasio-Cortez has previously endorsed Biden, & her speech was similar in length to other nominating speeches."

Here's her tweet:
"If you were confused, no worries!

Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold.

I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call.

I extend my deepest congratulations to @JoeBiden - let’s go win in November. 🇺🇸"
NBC is just one of many sources trying to sow confusion this way, unfortunately. I suggest we not spread further disinformation here.
posted by taz at 12:31 AM on August 19 [108 favorites]


Focusing your energy on a class of doddering reactionaries is a surefire way to justify a politics that has a bodycount.

You said earlier, Justinian, that Trump represents the destruction of the American experiment. If this were the case, I'd vote for him without reservation. Unfortunately, he represents something more like the results section of that experiment, and I'm not convinced further research is needed.

Personally, I've seen the poll numbers, and I don't doubt that Biden's the favorite to win. I've also seen the Democratic party, what their priorities and methods are, and I don't doubt that they'll spit on me whether I vote for them or not. The only rational response to that, when someone mentions them and invokes some kind of "civic duty," is to spit back.
posted by jy4m at 12:36 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


awfurby: "They won't vote for Biden because he's functionally the same as Clinton."

No, because he's a he. Sadly and fortunately, that probably gets him a million more votes.
posted by team lowkey at 12:43 AM on August 19 [43 favorites]


It won't solve all our problems, but lord, can we stop the bleeding...

Exactly. We have veered so far into extreme right-wing hell that the most the next administration can realistically hope to do is to start correcting course. Especially if we can’t significantly flip Congress. The only way any administration could transform the USA into the socialist utopia people are craving within four or even eight years would be to equip them with magic wands. There is four years’ worth of just undoing to accomplish here.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:51 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


If the DNC does blow it again, I wonder if they will try tacking a bit to the left, or if it will just be doubling down on blaming the mean Bernie Sanders.

The DNC didn't nominate Biden, Biden's voters gave him the plurality that secured the nomination. I wasn't one of them but that's the game and there's only two potential pluralities that matter now.

Next primary cycle I hope there's a candidate with strong enough game to tack left AND bring more primary voters than anyone else along with them.

Also I hope state/local orgs are using ranked choice or something along with proven methods for casting votes. And if they're not, people know better than to blame "the DNC."
posted by wildblueyonder at 12:52 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Doesn't change your point (and in fact reinforces it) but note that Biden didn't get a plurality, he got a straight majority.
posted by Justinian at 12:59 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Doesn't change your point (and in fact reinforces it) but note that Biden didn't get a plurality, he got a straight majority.

Convention rules require that for both parties. It’s strictly majority, not first-past-post like a general election.

They actually keep revoting until someone gets a majority of the delegates. It hasn’t happened for either party since the Democrats did 3 rounds in 1952, because the conventions have become extended infomercials. And you don’t want that sort of event on TV, it looks bad to everyone but political junkies who tend not to be swing voters.
posted by jmauro at 1:08 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Yes, I meant he got a straight majority on the first ballot which happened because he also got a straight majority of the votes cast.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Someone once said, I believe it was here, that the conventions are for the died-in-wool party loyalists. It isn't for the mainstream or anyone who isn't a bit of a political wonk. Whether or not that still holds true, the news media has turned it into the de facto kick off of the election season. FoxNews and the conservative media are already floating the AOC didn't mention Biden narrative, so in the future it would be helpful to be more cognizant of the party to realize the majority of people watching the conventions have no idea of procedures. I would consider myself way more informed than the average voter and her endorsement seemed odd. I feel as if the analysis of these events has turned into like watching Minority Report: stop, zoom, reverse, zoom, enhance, see that? In the mirror? AOC blinked 3 times but then here, on the second replay she only blinks twice. The original is different!

Biden's handlers need to stop putting him in front of Cardi B or really anyone that makes him look old. Celebrity interviews are already awkward with politicians, only Obama and Clinton-in-his-prime could really handle it with aplomb. I'm sure Cardi B was coached, but it doesn't come off like I'm sure it was intentioned. This is a political convention, it is inherently nerdy. Embrace it, don't put well polished, attractive and young Hollywood types in front of aging politicians. Whatever demographic you're trying to court, they aren't watching.

What's the 18-34 relationship with mailing things in the USA?

I'm 35, so I guess I'm technically out of this, but I feel young at heart. In any case, for at least the last 5-7 years I've not expected nor received any mail. To the point where I did not file change of address with the post office while living a digital nomad life. As an aside I had some unknown to me tax issues and didn't realize the IRS only communicates via mail so that was a fun visit by a sheriff. That said, I do know how FedEx and UPS works as I've had to ship laptops, the USPS is kinda like a time warp version of those places, it isn't difficult. Last time I remember having to mail something I always went to the receptionist at the office or the mailroom to bum a stamp. To be honest I don't remember the last time I had to do that.
posted by geoff. at 1:12 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Biden's handlers need to stop putting him in front of Cardi B or really anyone that makes him look old

The man is nearly 80 years old (78 in November), I think anyone would be hard pressed to fulfill this prescription.

You're right, however, that most demos aren't watching the conventions. There's a tension inherent with them, because on one hand they're the big political kickoff, but also most people aren't very interested. Network executives would probably love it if a huge crowd of cheering delegates could somehow be coerced into producing B-roll footage for an 8 minute news segment, but of course that's infeasible. The wonks and political nerds, on the other hand, would love it if the conventions were a week-long political policy position exposition that Americans were forced to watch Clockwork Orange style. Therefore we end up with something in the middle, with a just enough red meat thrown to the political geeks to get the networks the footage they require with otherwise only a modicum of attention paid by television.

Putting Cardi B next to Biden now starts to look like a somewhat shrewd move, if only because it extends the news coverage by 15 seconds. I'm pretty sure that his handlers know there won't be much chemistry there and are really looking for unpaid airtime while damning the torpedoes.
posted by axiom at 1:32 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


In some places you don't even need a stamp. I know California ballots are now postage-paid. So there's no excuse. Drop it in, done. Voting is, and should be, free.
posted by Justinian at 1:33 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


It was a DNC mistake™ to make Ocasio-Cortez an offer she couldn't refuse; that clip will be a cudgel.

While I, too, would've voted for Wound/Salt this year, here are a few Harris-related articles from days of yore:

San Francisco D.A. creates environmental unit, 3-staff team takes on crime mostly affecting the poor (SF Gate, June 1, 2005)

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Creation of eCrime Unit Targeting Technology Crimes (oag.ca.gov, December 13, 2011)

CA Attorney General Kamala Harris establishes Cyber Exploitation Task Force (oag.ca.gov, October 13, 2015)

California Attorney General Kamala Harris wants people to stop saying "revenge porn." (Buzzfeed, Nov. 19, 2014) The term — often used when an ex spreads nude photos or video after a breakup — totally gets it wrong, Harris says. She argues the word "revenge" suggests that someone is justified in sharing a consensual photo, and the word "porn" suggests the victim did something morally wrong.

"We have unfortunately a history around criminal justice policy on crimes against women and children of — especially when it involves sex — blaming the victim, frankly," she told BuzzFeed News on Monday in a wide-ranging interview...

[Harris's] office has been the country's leader in efforts to combat all forms of online abuse. Her office was the first and only AG's office to prosecute revenge porn operators for extortion because they called for users to post nude photos and then charged victims for the removal of those photos. [...] Privacy advocates roundly agree: AG Kamala Harris has done more for privacy than any other AG in the country. (Forbes opinion piece, Dec. 3, 2014)

Harris guts Barr like a fish, leaves him flopping on the deck (Vanity Fair, May 1, 2020) It took just eight minutes for Harris to destroy the attorney general’s “no obstruction” story.

Kamala Harris has a new plan to limit state-level abortion restrictions, and it’s modeled after the Voting Rights Act. (Vox, May 28, 2019) Under Harris’s proposal, states whose abortion-related laws have recently been struck down by courts for violating Roe v. Wade would have to obtain federal approval from the Justice Department before they’re able to implement any new abortion laws.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:49 AM on August 19 [36 favorites]


It was a DNC mistake™ to make Ocasio-Cortez an offer she couldn't refuse; that clip will be a cudgel.

I probably need to preface my comment to state that I voted for Clinton in 2016 and will vote for Biden in 2020.

I wonder if it was a mistake for AOC to agree to second Sanders' nomination, rather than give the job to some lesser-known politician who isn't a convenient target of both FOX News and their own party, simultaneously.

When Democrats do not succeed in elections, rather than questioning corporatist policies that alienate voters, the party elite instead seem to prefer scapegoating Sanders (and democratic socialist policies, generally, such as the Green New Deal, for example, which we'll need in some form to deal with the immediate existential crises at hand).

I'm convinced that AOC is one of the main faces of the future of left-wing US politics, and I've said here before that I look forward to voting for her as president — but in the short-term, I can't help but think that her agreeing to speak earlier tonight only helps her party continue to marginalize her publicly.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:37 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


When we in Australia had a postal vote for the plebiscite on Gay Marriage, there were a lot of videos and explainers about how to lodge your ballot for young people, many who had not posted a letter in a long time, if ever.

This is a great point, thanks freethefeet. So far I've seen explainers either as plain text or infographics--and frankly I hate having to watch a video when I could be reading the info instead--but video tutorials would probably be a massive help, especially for expanding outside platforms like FB which Zoomers in particular are not using anyways.
posted by peakes at 2:39 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


When Democrats do not succeed in elections, rather than questioning corporatist policies that alienate voters,

I think the biggest mistake that Democrats in general, and leftists in particular, make is thinking that policy qua policy wins elections. We should question bad policies because they're bad policies, of course, but Democrats didn't lose in 2016 on policy grounds. They lost because of racism and misogyny and more racism.

Thinking if we only policied harder it would trump the racism and misogyny issue is a mistake.
posted by Justinian at 3:11 AM on August 19 [64 favorites]


I won't deny that racism and sexism motivate Trump voters, but I think it's pretty obvious that Democrats did not make a good case to their voters. Triangulation did not convince enough voters in states where it mattered. Again, I'm a Clinton voter, just to make my position clear.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:31 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


[Let's not start again with rearguing 2016, please? This was one thing that made the megathreads so untenable, and it's not the topic of this thread.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:38 AM on August 19 [27 favorites]


Maybe if he picked Warren, she would have energized the far left wing of the party.

Warren would have energised the "extremely liberal" wing of the party but probably not the socialist left of the party.

I don't think the Democratic Party has learnt a single thing from last time around. Putting yourself up as the centrist establishment is a surefire way to lose when the US is experiencing absolutely wicked problems, all exacerbated by corporation-loving govts.

I'm not so sure. In 2016 the problems were that the system seemed like it was being run by a boring, technocratic elite who somewhat competently managed a system that mostly enriched themselves and didn't do much for the "little guy". Running on a platform of competent normality didn't work then (and surely even many Trump voters did not believe that he would be a more effective manager than Hillary Clinton).

I think "make America normal again" will actually be a pretty effective message for Biden this time around. People are in the mood for competence.
posted by atrazine at 3:49 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I thought that the Roll Call was fantastic and did a fantastic job showcasing the beauty and diversity of the US and territories.

I'm listening to NPR this morning, and they had a GOP staffer on to discuss their reaction to the DNC convention so far. He said almost exactly this, verbatim.

I would not vote for Trump under any circumstance I can imagine. Having stated the obvious, I find it hard to vote for Biden too. I also find the narrative that to vote for Biden is a vote for Harris bc he will either not make it 4 years or some other reason she will ascend to the Presidency. I am not comfortable betting against anyone's life or continued mental health.

I mean...I'm not all that jazzed by Biden either, but to be honest, I think there's only been two times in my entire adult life that I've ever cast a presidential vote for someone as opposed to against someone else. But there's a meme I saw that put my position well - politicians aren't supposed to be like spouses, where you find the person who is best for you. They're supposed to be like buses or subways - you're probably not going to find one that takes you directly to your destination, so you pick the one that takes you closest to where you're trying to get to.

I also vote in the primaries, and I have never had the person I voted for in the primary make it through to the candidacy. (I didn't even vote for Obama in the 2008 DNC Primary.) But I still cast my vote in the elections for the option that got me closer to where I wanted to go, or who'd start me moving further away from where I didn't want to be.

Biden may not be the ideal option, and I'm still uneasy about some bits of his record, but he's definitely better than Trump and so he already had my vote. (Granted, I'd have voted for a baked potato if that was who got the DNC nomination, but hey.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on August 19 [53 favorites]


AugustWest, I agreed with your comment until "Even if [AOC] and many others do not think Biden is progressive enough, how can they not support him when the alternative is pretty much the opposite of progressive." First of all, she does support the nominee. Second, see Chomsky from a recent interview:
At this moment, the difference between the candidates is a chasm. There has never been a greater difference. It should be obvious to anyone who's not living under a rock. So the traditional left position says, "Take the 15 minutes, push the lever, go back to work."

Now, the activist left has not been making the choice ["be quiet about a lot of the usual issues and just focus on getting rid of Trump. Or, on the other side of the argument, that this is exactly the time to raise all those other types of issues and to be tough on Biden"]. It's been doing both.

Take Biden's campaign positions. Farther to the left than any Democratic candidate in memory on things like climate. It's far better than anything that preceded it. Not because Biden had a personal conversion or the DNC had some great insight, but because they're being hammered on by activists coming out of the Sanders movement and others. The climate program, a $2 trillion commitment to dealing with the extreme threat of environmental catastrophe, was largely written by the Sunrise Movement and strongly endorsed by the leading activists on climate change, the ones who managed to get the Green New Deal on the legislative agenda. That's real politics.
We change policy because it matters. Progressive policies are also popular, and the reason we don't see Biden or established Democrats take on those popular policies is because the party is ruled by its regulatory-capture-friendly corporate wing. Sure, vote Biden, whatever. But Dems have to *do something* with power once they achieve it, and people who care about people's suffering, or civilization existing a century from now, need the exercise of power to go towards climate action and health care.
posted by daveliepmann at 4:08 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


Maybe if he picked Warren, she would have energized the far left wing of the party.

Why would Warren energise the far left of the party but not Kamala Harris, who ranks as a more progressive Senator than her?
posted by PenDevil at 4:13 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


Democrats Drop Demand To End Fossil Fuel Subsidies From Party Platform
On July 27, officials added an amendment to the Manager’s Mark, a ledger of party demands voted on as one omnibus package, stating: “Democrats support eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels, and will fight to defend and extend tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”

The amendment was approved. But the statement ― which reflects pledges presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, each made on the campaign trail ― disappeared from the final draft of the party platform circulated Monday.

In an emailed statement, a DNC spokesperson said the amendment was “incorrectly included in the Manager’s Mark” and taken out “after the error was discovered.”

Activists accused the DNC of retroactively removing the amendment from the final draft of the platform.

“This is ridiculous,” Collin Rees, a campaigner with the nonprofit Oil Change U.S., said by phone. “This is a commonsense position held by both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. … The DNC should immediately include it in the platform.”
...
Democrats remain split on fossil fuels even as scientists say keeping the Earth’s climate from changing beyond recognition depends on rapidly reducing the use of oil, gas and coal over the next decade. The party depicts itself as champions against global warming, drawing contrasts with Republicans who question the very nature of climate science. But party officials have long feared that a hard-line stance against the industry jeopardized both donations and votes in fossil fuel-producing states such as Pennsylvania and Texas.

The DNC last year battled with activists and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who ran for president on a climate-centered platform, over whether to host a debate focused on global warming. The party leadership ultimately voted against the proposal.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 4:20 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


You know what is energizing? VOTING TRUMP THE FUCK OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE.

Get it together people. Seriously.

Yes, the systems suck and we all wish it were someone else.

WE HAVE ONE OPTION TO GET TRUMP OUT AND IT'S BIDEN. GET OVER IT.

jfc i cannot even believe this needs to be a discussion.
posted by affectionateborg at 4:20 AM on August 19 [125 favorites]


Maybe if he picked Warren, she would have energized the far left wing of the party.

I’m sorry to say, but the far left wing of the party doesn’t win national elections. There simply aren’t enough of you in the states that matter.

The goal here is to get the votes of those who went Obama-Trump and are looking for a return to normalcy. This ticket is about as good as you can get with that goal in mind. And as Chomsky says, get them in office and then get back to the work of shoving them further left.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:41 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


Democrats remain split on fossil fuels

Again, I'll state I'm voting for Biden, because some people seem to need to hear that to give others the right to be heard, and because stakes are high, etc., but how Dems can still somehow "both-sides" human-caused climate change and similar issues is madness.

Especially so, if this convention is about trying to make a case that Biden will listen to scientists on coronavirus — but not this, for some reason? We're running out of time on this issue, and the elite who are in a real position to affect change simply need to be better leaders on this, period.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:41 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Yeah I'll just go tell my fellow leftists to get over their alienation, it will surely energize them.

I do think it's very unfortunate that some vocal leftists are basically some new variation of accelerationism, to the extent that they've recently criticized Chomsky as a crypto liberal for advocating lesser evil theory. It's there but I don't know how substantial such groups are, compared to leftists who are closer to AOC's kind of left.
posted by polymodus at 4:42 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Yeah I'll just go tell my fellow leftists to get over their alienation, it will surely energize them.


so they're going to not vote or vote 3rd party to do what exactly? show they feel alienated by allowing a fascist quickly-becoming-a-dictator to remain in office?
posted by affectionateborg at 4:44 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Seconding affectionateborg: this is a pivotal election for the future of the country - and with climate change, likely the world - and showing up to vote for Biden is the only choice which isn’t telling Trump he’s doing a great job and should do it even harder in his second term. Whether or not you think that, it’s how he’ll interpret even the narrowest win.
posted by adamsc at 4:48 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


I can definitely see why people are upset at their choice being Biden and Trump, but you're not dealing with a choice between dry chicken and a shit sandwich. You're dealing with a choice between dry chicken and a bullet to the head.

If there's one lesson to draw from the fall of the Weimar Republic, it's to not try to use the threat of a fascist takeover to extract concessions. (There are many lessons America should be taking from the Weimar Republic!) It should be clear, at this point, that Trump is a fascist, and the only reason America has managed to hold it together until three months out from the election is because he's also a fuckwit (even by the standards of fascists, who are not known for their insight or wisdom). The special secret police are already in the streets.

Biden can't begin to fix the problems that plague America - the problems run very, very deep - but there's a strong chance that there won't be an America to fix if Trump wins again. Most of the people you're counting on to rebuild the country the way you want it won't survive the next four years - hell, the people who organised Ferguson didn't survive until now.
posted by Merus at 4:51 AM on August 19 [80 favorites]


This is the future Joe Biden wants. But can he break from his past to get there?
For all of the avowed boldness of an agenda shaped by Covid-19, the man pitching it remains … Joe Biden. He is a creature of the establishment, a product of a Democratic Party built for the (relative) boom times of the 1980s and ’90s, a Senate from a less polarized era, and an Obama administration that believed it could transcend Washington (it could not).

When you talk to his campaign, you can see glimpses of that Biden. Yes, he’s proposing these multitrillion-dollar plans — but his advisers insist he’s a deficit hawk at heart. “The vice president has said from the beginning of the campaign that he wants to show how he’s going to pay for all of the long-term costs of the investments that he makes,” senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan, who also served as a key policy staffer to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and was Biden’s national security adviser in 2013-14, says.
...
Ted Kaufman, who took Biden’s Delaware Senate seat in 2009 and has been a loyal aide to the former vice president for decades, remembers that the last time Biden entered the White House, Senate Republicans chose to block absolutely everything the Obama-Biden administration tried. My question, I told Kaufman, was what would Biden do if Senate Republicans do the exact same thing again?

We shouldn’t be too despondent, he said. Biden worked out deals with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, like the 2011 budget deal involving $1.2 trillion in brutal, across-the-board spending cuts. He’s willing to do the hard work to figure out “what is something everyone can agree on?” Kaufman sought to reassure me.

There are two visions of a Biden presidency. One involves sweeping investments in clean energy, new jobs, and a fast recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and recession.

The other involves McConnell forcing Biden into brutal, humiliating budget deals that usher in austerity and strangle the recovery in the crib.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 5:03 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Why would Warren energise the far left of the party but not Kamala Harris, who ranks as a more progressive Senator than her?
Because reducing someones "progressive rank" (?!) to which votes they made on bills decided by congressional leadership is not as robust as considering their policy positions and accomplishments?

Maybe I'm ignorant of Harris's amazing progressive goals. I know she was an anti-progressive prosecutor, that she implemented an absolutely boneheaded truancy program based on criminalization (precisely the opposite of BLM's correct idea that cops should do less social work), that she proposed a shockingly bad student loan forgiveness plan, and that she mocks progressives who want to build schools not jails. Her attempt to triangulate on health care told me nothing about her actual goals.

In contrast, while I'm not enamored with her cozying up to mainstream warmongering Democratic foreign policy, I'm quite impressed with Warren's record and ideas for economic policy. Across both her primary and her long-running fight with the Obama administration she has pushed for effective, forward-thinking proposals like corporate accountability, a wealth tax, consumer protection, anti-monopoly efforts...the list goes on.

If I'm missing something about Harris, please tell me.
posted by daveliepmann at 5:13 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


If I'm missing something about Harris, please tell me.

I'll let Kamala explain her truancy program and you can decide if it was boneheaded or not.
posted by PenDevil at 5:35 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Amidst the greatest mistrust of municipalities to do the right thing and defund the police, the Democratic establishment nominated, in her own words, a Top Cop, as Vice President.

To bring it back to Day 2 of the DNC convention, they had on Colin Powell, who lied about Iraq's offensive capabilities in order to bolster the case for invading Iraq and stealing their oil. Or so I would believe, having read Metafilter threads since before 9/11.
posted by Yowser at 5:46 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Survey for 18-34 year old voters: How did you feel about seeing John Kasich, Colin Powell, and the CEO of Quibi at the DNC this year?

Fiftyish voter here. What's Quibi?

Are 18-34 year olds actually watching the convention? I never watched any of this stuff when I was 18-34, but I also don't watch now so I'm not the right meterstick.

[A]fter two nights, the Zoom-style convention has been a pleasant surprise: It’s remarkably watchable and more appropriate for this moment in history.

Conventions have never before been optimized for the viewing experience; they've been optimized for the experience of the attendees. This means that they're more about the social needs of the people physically present than about the presentation to remote viewers.
posted by Slothrup at 6:02 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


This article by Elie Mystal after the South Carolina primary is worth reading again now:
It goes to the core of what black people think white people are willing to do, plotted against what we know they are capable of. The Root’s politics editor, Dr. Jason Johnson, put it like this to me in one of our text debates on this crucial matter: “Voting for Bernie Sanders requires that black people believe that white people will do something they’ve never done: willingly and openly share the economic bounty of the United States.”

He’s not wrong, and what’s more, older black voters in South Carolina know he’s not wrong. Black people are ready for an economically progressive candidate. But they’ve tried that before and been rebuffed.
Maybe America finally has enough progressives to "willingly and openly share the economic bounty of the United States", but it's quite a gamble to take.
posted by clawsoon at 6:10 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


I have not watched the convention, mostly because I don't need persuading and I already know what matters:

1. Don't let Trump steal the election
2. Elect every Democrat we can in every office we can
3 Don't let lame duck Trump start a war or some shit between Nov and January
4. Once Joe is installed, and as many Dems as possible, nominate and install RBGs replacement and fill all the positions that Trump left vacant or put in his flunkies.
5. Carry out investigations and trials of said flunkies and otherwise clean house

The Republicans understood this. We need to learn from them. The Pres and VP are not what make the government run and if we put all our energy there we miss the fucking point.

In the long run, I'd hope for a world where the current Republican party ends, the current Democratic party is the conservative party, and we have a true Progressive party pulling things left.

But first we gotta stop Trump from stealing the fucking election.
posted by emjaybee at 6:14 AM on August 19 [58 favorites]


I have been Marie Kondo'ing all of the white people on my social feeds who still want to whine about how they wanted Warren and are making noises about not voting or otherwise displaying extreme levels of ambivalence about voting. As far as I'm concerned: you got us into this mess so quit complaining and do your job to get us out of it before COVID and attendant financial and medical crises wipes out Black and brown communities entirely.
posted by TwoStride at 6:30 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


The idea that its only white people on the left who are complaining about Biden and wanted bigger change and are ambivalent about voting erases a ton of leftist POC.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:34 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


A Bernie candidacy in 2020 would've made me nervous--is he known as particularly likable? He may have gained young voters, but there is a huge risk he would've turned off older voters, and it seems pretty clear Republicans are much more willing to vote for a candidate they don't like than Democrats.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:42 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


But Dems have to *do something* with power once they achieve it, and people who care about people's suffering, or civilization existing a century from now, need the exercise of power to go towards climate action and health care.

And this is why the real imperative to vote is to flip the Senate.

Biden is all but assured to approve most anything that comes to his desk from a Democratic Congress. But, if the Senate doesn't flip, it's also all but assured that Biden's administration will accomplish nothing, so long as there's a Mitch McConnell to stifle anything remotely progressive (or even moderate). And, I can't imagine the Dems will be eager to go down the the rule-by-executive-order route that Trump has been trailblazing, so flipping the Senate (and holding the House, of course) is far more important.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:46 AM on August 19 [38 favorites]


voting erases a ton of leftist POC.

I didn't say that, I said I'm only pissed at the white ones.
posted by TwoStride at 6:47 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


I'm truly sorry if this sounds petty or selfish, but I'm a pretty single-issue voter in this election: I will vote for the candidate who is least likely to deport my spouse, who is a permanent resident. The same spouse who got held up for two hours at the point of entry returning from a cruise during one of Trump's tantrums about foreigners and a botched executive order, because their country of origin sounded kind of like one of the countries on Trump's shit list that week. And that's just one of several stories of heightened "micro-aggressions" against them from government officials in the years since 2016.

I know it's something of a tautology to say "don't vote for third parties because they can never win because people never vote for third parties" and it sucks that the time just never happens to be "right" for voting third party in a big enough wave to actually make a difference. But this time, I'm actually, truly worried for what happens if I and enough of my friends and family don't vote for Biden. (That I perceive him as a passionate person, with flaws, who seems interested in doing what he thinks is right for the country and all of us, not just for himself and his cronies, is a nice bonus.) Fear sucks as a motivator and it's not the only one I have but it's pretty high up on the list of them.

Also on the list is Biden is the most likely to push for restored funding to Amtrak and press on with funding public transit, which I would really like to see again, especially in the wake of the COVID ravaging of transit funding.
posted by fireoyster at 6:52 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


538 launched their forecast model last week; as of today their odds are 73% for Biden, 27% for Trump.

For reference, Jeff McNeil of the Mets is currently batting .269.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:53 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Countess Elena: My favorite was when Rhode Island's folks presented a plate of fried calamari with all the dignity of a fellow delegate.

RHODE ISLAND HELL YEAH

This " video tour of the fifty states" shtick seems so obvious that I can't tell why they didn't do it before, even when the conventions were in a stadium: they could have had the local angle on the Jumbotron and a crowd of baying delegates on the floor.

I would love to have high school civics teachers and grade school social studies teachers use it as a model for projects this coming year: make your own 30-second "delegate video" about a state that explains why it's so valuable and unique.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:58 AM on August 19 [20 favorites]


Also if that roll call told us anything, it’s that Joe should’ve picked that plate of calamari for if not VP, some high executive position.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:58 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


My biggest concern with Biden is that he lets the gop give him a run around on covid relief and ends up with a half hearted response that sets the gop up to retake Senate/house in '22 on the basis of Dem falling to solve the covid depression.

They've already shown they're more than willing to blow up anything if it hurts a dem in office.
posted by Ferreous at 7:03 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


So I'm someone who always liked the roll call, but this year's was just a delight. Link is here if you missed it. My favorites were the delegate from North Carolina, the Mariana Islands delegates, the calamari guy from RI, the OH-IO shout-out, and the hat on the second guy on the right from the Virgin Islands .
posted by Mchelly at 7:03 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


This is mostly based on Biden appearing far too credulous about the potential of bipartisan cooperation. You can't negotiate with the gop, they are a disease that must be crushed and stripped of any power possible.
posted by Ferreous at 7:04 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


This " video tour of the fifty states" shtick seems so obvious that I can't tell why they didn't do it before, even when the conventions were in a stadium

I know, right? It's basically what the Eurovision Song Contest has done for years before each country's entry performs.

(Okay, sometimes the ESC vignettes are people from the entry country frolicking somewhere inside the host country, but you get the idea.)
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:09 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Perhaps people are working on restoring the ability to (obviously kick out the evils ones and) negotiate across the aisle. It's the only way the government can function, and it used to happen--remember that news clip of Newt Gingrich singing the praises of RBG at her confirmation hearing?
posted by Melismata at 7:12 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I don't think that the Dem leadership has any illusions about the GOP willingness to cooperate after what happened during Obama's tenure. It's a bunch of meaningless mouth-noises to appeal to radical centrists who think they're oh so sophisticated and can't we all just get along. Because "the GOP are a bunch of deplorables and we're gonna do whatever we want without input from those freaks" is not A+ campaign messaging. Even if I hope its true.
posted by Justinian at 7:19 AM on August 19 [20 favorites]


I don't see how you kick out the evil ones when that is what the GOP base votes for. There's no room for negotiation with a party that views power held by the democrats as fundamentally illegitimate and will use every single trick and procedural hurdle to prevent that use of power. In all honestly, I'm of the mind that if dems get statehouses they need to gerrymander as hard as possible. It balances out the heavily gerrymandered GOP strongholds and forces the scotus to actually view it as a problem.
posted by Ferreous at 7:29 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I worked for a defense law nonprofit for five years and if I had an actual option I would never, ever vote for a prosecutor for any elected office, no matter how liberal they were or appeared to be. I don’t have that choice this time around so don’t yell at me, I know what I have to do. But you don’t have to be a stupid rose twitter child or a Russian psyop to have reservations about the Democrats nominating a prosecutor in 2020. You just don’t.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:32 AM on August 19 [39 favorites]


538 launched their forecast model last week; as of today their odds are 73% for Biden, 27% for Trump.

And in 2016 their final prediction, frozen in perpetuity for you to see, was 71% Hillary, 28% Trump. Both 2016 and 2020 are essentially identical to the 2/3 Obama, 1/3 Romney prediction they gave in 2012. The fundamentals don't change much with unsurprising candidates; we're just rolling the dice over and over on the same odds. And if you roll the dice three times on 2/3 odds, you shouldn't be surprised when the 1/3 outcome comes up once. At least once.
posted by daveliepmann at 7:32 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I remember watching Hillary's convention and being pleased with the diversity and strategy until it felt a bit much. Perhaps it would not hurt to present a couple blue collar white workers on stage? I felt the same to a degree about Biden's convention. Yes, you are old and targeting older people, but is it smart to have your convention be so relentlessly old? Will younger leftists watching conclude this party is not interested in them?
posted by xammerboy at 7:33 AM on August 19


Maybe if he picked Warren, she would have energized the far left wing of the party.

You do remember that this is exactly what Bernie was going to do right?

The predicted surge of young, progressive Bernie voters failed to show up at polls.

Why would you expect different results for Warren as a VP candidate?
posted by Abacus Bean at 7:33 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Also a lot of Sanders supporters think Warren is too centrist. I think that’s ludicrous but both my roommates are in that camp for example.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:35 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Democrats remain split on fossil fuels
... but how Dems can still somehow "both-sides" human-caused climate change and similar issues is madness.


The Dems are split because the public is split. The so-called "climate candidate" Jay Inslee tried and failed to pass a carbon tax initiative in his state -- twice. And Washington is a blue state that went +16 for Clinton over Trump.

People say that are for protecting the climate but they are not prepared to do anything of substance about it the might actually require changing their lives ... yet. Much like gay marriage, climate policies will happen when a large majority of the public want it to happen. We aren't quite there yet but getting closer every day. Meanwhile Biden has a climate policy that is far left of any previous candidate and he can certainly nibble around the edges unilaterally.
posted by JackFlash at 7:39 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Maybe here's where I can drop a little love for the star they're using in the 2020 convention logo? Angling the star like that isn't something I've seen since the US Navy's Shenendoah airship in the 1920s.
posted by Rash at 7:40 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Warren's foreign policy is much more aligned with the mainstream Dem establishment than Sanders.

I hate Biden because he supported and agitated for the Iraq War. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead because of the Iraq War and Biden holds some responsibility for that. I'm not alone and I'm scratching my head as to why the DNC would have Colin Powell---a Republican warmonger who was probably the most effective at selling the Iraq War---speak at the convention.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:41 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


It's because the mainstream DNC doesn't care about foreigners?
Decorum is more important for some.
Bomb some brown people? No problem as long as you are not rude on twitter.
posted by Iax at 7:49 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Yeah I'll just go tell my fellow leftists to get over their alienation, it will surely energize them.

May I gently propose a middle path in this debate?

Before Election Day, let's focus on getting a candidate into the White House who stands a greater chance of giving a damn about progressive policies.

After Election Day, once that candidate has been elected, then we can start working on pushing at that particular candidate towards progressive policies - armed with the additional argument that "look, we voted for you and everything, now it's your turn to do something for us."

Again - Biden was not my ideal choice of candidate. But I'll tell you one thing - Biden is way more likely than Trump to take anyone's concerns about green energy and reducing fossil fuels seriously. So - maybe let's put a pin in those discussions temporarily, so we can be sure that we can first get someone into office who will even be willing to entertain those discussions in the first place.

Then, if we are successful in that endeavor, then we can go hog-wild on a person that we know actually might listen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:57 AM on August 19 [54 favorites]


And in 2016 their final prediction, frozen in perpetuity for you to see, was 71% Hillary, 28% Trump. Both 2016 and 2020 are essentially identical to the 2/3 Obama, 1/3 Romney prediction they gave in 2012.

You're comparing the final odds on election eve for Clinton to the odds two weeks before the election for Romney and the odds 2.5 months before the election for Biden. The final odds gave Obama 92% to win the electoral college in 2012. Silver has said that if the 2020 election were today instead of in 80 days the model would give Biden something in the mid-90s.

So saying all of Clinton, Obama, and Biden had the same chances because the candidates were unsurprising is rewriting history. It's true the models gave them all similar chances at some point in the election season but that's not really meaningful in any way.
posted by Justinian at 7:58 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


This is mostly based on Biden appearing far too credulous about the potential of bipartisan cooperation. You can't negotiate with the gop, they are a disease that must be crushed and stripped of any power possible.

Biden and the Democrats aren't signaling Republican politicians, they're signaling Republican voters that it's okay to support their ticket to get rid of Trump.

In 2016, Trump peeled away about 50,000 voters in three states to squeak out an Electoral College win despite losing the popular vote by nearly three million. If Biden peels those 50,000 or more Republicans back, Trump is history. Which means Trump will have to fight for what should be his own voters.

As we saw in 2018 and special elections before and since, Trump's base is not enough. He didn't win office with them and he won't keep it if that's all he has -- a fact he tacitly admits by trying to close off voting thru suppressing the mail.
posted by Gelatin at 7:59 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


It feels like I've been voting for the lesser evil my whole adult life, I'd like to vote for good someday.
posted by Blienmeis at 8:06 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Is it clear he “peeled away” voters, vs some non-voters deciding to vote and some voters deciding not to vote? Because those outcomes mean very different things.

And I reject the idea that the Dems can only grow by becoming nicer Republicans. That message is the reason young people are walking away and in my personal opinion it’s a poisonous and disastrous message.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:08 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


It feels like I've been voting for the lesser evil my whole adult life, I'd like to vote for good someday.

Yeah, I feel you. (I did get to do that in 2012, though.) If "the lesser of two evils" is all I got come November, though, I still like to make sure that it is indeed the lesser evil that we get.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Yeah I'll just go tell my fellow leftists to get over their alienation, it will surely energize them.

You probably know this, but for others who may not .... you can't take over the top of the party until you've built a great local and state base. Get energized about that. City council, school board, county clerks, state rep, water district ... all those offices are the folks who become delegates. The national party is not steered from the captain's chair, it is actually steered from all the unseen people in shabby local offices who are paddling along. Do that work first. Find a candidate to run in every single election you can find, give them a unified platform to work from, and go. Build a coalition of voters that you can bring along with you, and the party will listen.

And, FYI, one of the things that has turned me away from the local DSA chapter here is that their Twitter is actively (and harmfully) harshly critical of Biden in a way that (frankly) they are not of Trump.
posted by anastasiav at 8:10 AM on August 19 [44 favorites]


Yeah the reason a lot of young people are disillusioned is the democratic party has fundamentally failed them. The Obama recovery was about returning value to assets for people who already had them. For people who went in with nothing or school debts it's been a lost decade.

It's not hard to see why they aren't enthused.
posted by Ferreous at 8:12 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


He’s not wrong, and what’s more, older black voters in South Carolina know he’s not wrong. Black people are ready for an economically progressive candidate. But they’ve tried that before and been rebuffed.
Maybe America finally has enough progressives to "willingly and openly share the economic bounty of the United States", but it's quite a gamble to take.
This is a really important point which more people need to recognize: saying that the DNC picked Biden, that “the Democrats” ran a weak candidate, or talking like one of the most progressive DAs in California history is basically the same as Bull Connor, might seem like an easy way to score anti-establishment points but it’s also telling a bunch of people who actually showed up to vote that their choice was invalid rather than recognizing that they had a different but equally legitimate thought process.

That’s not a successful strategy for building a movement, especially when the strident rhetoric isn’t backed by any notable pool of voters. Anyone who isn’t trying to re-elect Trump should be focused on getting Biden a large majority and flipping the Senate, ensuring that in subsequent elections it’s safer for people to take a chance rather than feeling like the safest candidate is the only choice. In particular, getting electoral reform is critical so it’s not “vote safe or the guy who hates you wins”.
posted by adamsc at 8:15 AM on August 19 [35 favorites]


Yeah I’m 32 and I graduated in 2010 into the first of the two biggest depressions any of us here can remember, just lost my job to the second one, and my only viable retirement plan is American socialism, otherwise I WILL work until I die. Probably soon, of some easily treatable condition or other that I can’t afford to treat. Pardon me if my patience with perpetually moving right to appease theoretical maybe-voters frays.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:16 AM on August 19 [32 favorites]


(Citation proving Justinian right about final 2012 odds.)
posted by daveliepmann at 8:18 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


And I reject the idea that the Dems can only grow by becoming nicer Republicans.

With respect, once again: Absolutely no one is suggesting the Democrats become Republicans. What they're suggesting is that Republican voters who can't stand Trump -- and there are a lot of them -- can feel okay about supporting Biden this once, with the goal of getting Trump out of office. I'm 100% on board with that message.

That message is the reason young people are walking away and in my personal opinion it’s a poisonous and disastrous message.

No, it really isn't the reason. Young people didn't show up to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary. No one trusts young voters to be a decisive factor that will carry them to victory, and rightly so, because they've established a solid record of not showing up, regardless of the candidate, going back at least 50 years.

So the calculus seems to be possibly gaining some Republican votes in swing states versus maybe losing the votes of young people who weren't going to vote anyway.

Biden's message is that he's a safe choice. That means no, he is not an exciting choice. Trump is exciting, and the American people have had enough of it. That message 1) does not at all signal an ideological turn to the right and b) seems to be working, though if there's data to the contrary, I'd welcome seeing it.
posted by Gelatin at 8:19 AM on August 19 [33 favorites]


You probably know this, but for others who may not .... you can't take over the top of the party until you've built a great local and state base. Get energized about that. City council, school board, county clerks, state rep, water district ... all those offices are the folks who become delegates.

Those people will also steer local policy toward their ideological goals and in many cases go on to higher office. Republicans have been playing this game for a long time, and it's high time Democrats -- and leftmost Democrats in particular -- make up the slack.
posted by Gelatin at 8:25 AM on August 19 [20 favorites]


Salvador Hernandez, Amber Jamieson, Katherine Miller, Kadia Goba, and Olivia Niland at BuzzFeed News: ”Here Are The Beautiful, Powerful, And Funny Moments From The State Roll Call Nominating Joe Biden For President”
posted by Going To Maine at 8:25 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I think the convention has been extremely well produced all things considered. I think it's aim is largely wrong. 90 percent of Republicans still support Trump. The part of the electorate the Biden campaign seems to be targeting with the bipartisanship, good-republicans stuff is vanishingly small. This is a strategy for a close election, no matter what the wildly optimistic polling says. And Trump and his allies are overtly trying to suppress votes and steal the election. The response to that from the Democratic establishment is almost nil. It is what it is.

But, the convention has been good.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:35 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Pardon me if my patience with perpetually moving right to appease theoretical maybe-voters frays.

Obama ran to the left of Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton ran to the left of Obama. Biden is running to the left of Hillary Clinton. I don't see "perpetually moving right." Democrats have been moving steadily leftward, but I can understand impatience with not moving left fast enough. You can't go left faster than the public is willing to go.
posted by JackFlash at 8:35 AM on August 19 [55 favorites]


Was Henry Kissinger not available for the convention?
What line would be too far right? George W Bush?
posted by Iax at 8:50 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


and VP being a Prosecutor... Not great

Given the random criminality of the crowd ensconced in the White House of late (not to mention dominating the Senate) I can imagine a next four to eight years where having a prosecutor on the home team could be very useful.
posted by philip-random at 8:53 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


Was Henry Kissinger not available for the convention?

…….dude.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:55 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


You can't go left faster than the public is willing to go.

I think this is the root of the disagreement here. I just plain don’t believe this or think it’s the route to good policy. The Republicans didn’t take over the entire country by equivocation and focus grouping. They picked a message and then got people to believe it. That approach can also be used for non-evil ends. But for some reason the Democratic Party will often not take a “principled stand” even in favor of policies that the clear majority of Americans support, and frankly I find it baffling.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:55 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


After Election Day, once that candidate has been elected, then we can start working on pushing at that particular candidate towards progressive policies - armed with the additional argument that "look, we voted for you and everything, now it's your turn to do something for us."

Also, I think that establishment Dems are starting to see the ground shift under their feet. The primary threat is real, and the success of the progressive agenda as opposed to establishment efforts has to give them pause.

All anybody talks about is the Green New Deal. Nobody remembers "A Better Deal".
posted by ishmael at 8:55 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


If they could get George W. Bush to stand in a field and say “I disagree with Joe Biden on a bunch of things, but he’s a decent man and it’s your duty to vote for him to save the republic” then YES YOU HAVE HIM DO THAT.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:55 AM on August 19 [59 favorites]


Are 18-34 year olds actually watching the convention? I never watched any of this stuff when I was 18-34, but I also don't watch now so I'm not the right meterstick.

Maybe not directly. But they are watching youtube videos and sharing links about how the Democratic Convention is a big middle finger to them. They are getting that message loud and clear.

Biden has done nothing to signal that we are part of his constituency. I'm pretty pragmatic and even I still on an emotional level cannot tell you whether I will actually be able to bring myself to vote for Biden or not. I gladly voted for Clinton in 2012. For all the crap she got, she moved her platform left and tried to appeal to everyone in the party. Biden... isn't trying.

And please don't waste your time trying to convince me - that's not my point. My point is that if even I am having misgivings, Biden is going to lose a lot of votes, more than he thinks he is. And I don't think there's that many Republican "centrists" left who can't easily be scared out of voting for a democrat when the full rightwing propaganda machine gets going.

I hope to god I'm wrong.

But, either way, please, please focus less on trying to bully young progressives into voting Biden, and focus a lot more on getting them to get out there for the downticket races - the house and senate ones. They are going to be very important; Trump would have been kicked out years ago without a Republican controlled senate. And who knows? Maybe they will end up holding their nose and voting for Biden once they actually start filling out their ballot.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:02 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I think this thread is a great example of why the upcoming election will be tight (and Trump won in 2016), despite the Democrats advantages in population size.

While the President and his enablers in the RNC abandon any sentiment of responsible governance and adopt authoritarian policies and suppress voters; half of the the posters here use their energy and communications on gripes that the selected DNC candidates do not align 100% with their own beliefs; or fail to meet some arbitrary progressive purity test.

Republicans demonstrated that they can win presidential elections. I know plenty of Republicans and Trump supporters both online and IRL and they do not whine about not being energized because they disagree with Trump or the party on some particular policy issue. They use their energy and communication to loudly broadcast their support, which implies permission for others to do the same. They attack democratic candidates explain why the opposition is a bad choice for you. They vote in each and every election, even if they do not feel 'energized'.

Normally I would attribute this type of discussion to this being metafilter; however as anastasiav mentioned upthread is that local Dem and Progressive groups engage in these same behaviors on Twitter and Facebook. I'm sympathetic to people who feel that their voices are not being heard, but the answer is not to sit out or not support Biden and Harris because it is not your dream ticket.

The Republicans have succeeded in forging an emotional connection where voters will 1. show up to vote and 2. ignore that many policies do not improve or actually harm their lives. The Democrats have failed not only failed here, they are increasingly fractured on their messaging when the progressive wing of the party spends more time criticizing Kamala's record as a prosecutor than going after Trump.
posted by Abacus Bean at 9:04 AM on August 19 [55 favorites]


An AOC thing I hope some of you will enjoy as I did, from a fellow called Daniel Jubelirer on FB:

Tonight, after feeling pretty sad and adrift after watching the Dem convention, I tuned into Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's insta live Q&A and submitted a question, which I was delighted she answered!

If you didn't get enough of her tonight, read on. I asked, "What is giving you hope in these wild times"

I fucking LOVED her answer, and typed up as much of it live as I could. Here it is:

"Hope is a discipline. We are taught we have to find hope in things... we search for it. Oh, there's hope. I found it. But I don't think of hope that way.

Hope is a practice, a discipline. This is something Mariame Kaba, a prison abolitionist, has talked about. Hope is something each and every one of us has to create, to engender, through our actions. It builds on itself.

Maybe the thing we do to create hope is to make sure Biden wins in November so we stop this bleeding and this slide into fascism.

Or maybe, if electoral politics isn't what you wanna make your focus, hope is in the poetry that you write. Maybe you create hope in creating a pick up basketball league for kids in your neighborhood. Maybe hope is in your friendships. If you're a man, maybe creating hope is being a good, upright, decent man that stands up for women and LBGTQ people. Maybe hope is using your privilege to interrupt cycles of violence.

Instead of asking, 'where do we find hope' we should ask 'how can we BE hope' in how we show up and live our life. In how we drink our coffee at the bodega each morning.

So, that is all! Let's go win this, let's take back our democracy, this is a prerequisite for the society we are fighting for. Goodnight everyone."
posted by Glinn at 9:11 AM on August 19 [88 favorites]


>You can't go left faster than the public is willing to go.

>I think this is the root of the disagreement here. I just plain don’t believe this or think it’s the route to good policy.


You may believe this but Democrats had a primary with a very stark choice between two leading candidates and they overwhelmingly chose Biden. If you want to go left faster you are going to have to convince a majority of Democrats (let alone all voters) to go with you.
posted by JackFlash at 9:12 AM on August 19 [24 favorites]


You may believe this but Democrats had a primary with a very stark choice between two leading candidates and they overwhelmingly chose Biden.

Democrats also overwhelmingly support Medicare for all, and marijuana legalization, and a raft of other things that are not in the platform this year. Is that because the party are more interested in trying to peel off Republicans than fighting for what most Democrats want them to do? I reserve my right to think that's bad strategy. Not "not what I personally want," bad strategy.

To be clear, this is not specifically a Biden/Harris issue. It's been going on for decades.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:22 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


Bernie Sanders’ supporters reluctantly join Joe Biden’s camp
In June, former Vice President Joe Biden formally clinched the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination over his closest opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders officially endorsed Biden for president and since then, the two Democrats have formed a task force and released a report outlining policy recommendations and guidelines for Biden’s administration, should he win in November.

Nearly three months out from the presidential election, Biden holds support from Sanders' base, especially among those who would have preferred the Democratic nominee to be Sanders (i.e., Sanders supporters). In a trial heat among registered voters, Sanders supporters firmly say they would vote for Joe Biden (89%) over Donald Trump (3%) if the election for president were held now.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:22 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Democrats also overwhelmingly support Medicare for all

A majority of Democrats support M4A. That majority is smaller than the majority who support Biden's plan of a strong public option. So if the criteria is "the policy the largest share of Democrats support" then M4A loses out to strengthening Obamacare.

But really I think this is part of the "policy doesn't win elections" issue. Policy polling is terrible and a very bad way to figure out what policies voters actually support. People will say they support a policy, and maybe in some theoretical abstract they do, but then they go and vote for the opposite of that policy time and time again.

The best way to determine what policies people support is to look at what policies they vote for. We don't have a problem with applying this to Republicans: They almost all say they are anti-racism, but they vote for racists and racist policies. And so we conclude that no matter what they say, they actually support the racism. But we are reluctant to apply this to our own selves and allies because it means concluding that some of the policies we support aren't as popular as we want them to be.

Democrats don't support M4A particularly strongly. I know this because they don't vote for it. The policy polling supports this conclusion as well (see above) but like I said, policy polling sucks.
posted by Justinian at 9:27 AM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Biden is leader of a party that is about 40% progressives and 60% liberals. He needs to get as much of everyone on board as possible. And it's a real tough job, no doubt. I don't think it's an attack on him or Harris to point out when he's not doing that. I just need something, anything to counter with when people start posting leftwing anti-biden memes in the groups I'm in.

Right now I've got nothing. That scares me.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:29 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I'm already seeing some progressives turn on AOC because she, for example, didn't endorse Cori Bush. It's hard to imagine an equivalent Republican reaction, and it's hard to know how to appeal to people who think that way.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:30 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I just need something, anything to counter with when people start posting leftwing anti-biden memes in the groups I'm in.

Right now I've got nothing. That scares me.


At the risk of tooting my own horn - maybe ask who they think would be most likely to work with the left after Election Day - Biden or Trump?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I remain baffled at anyone planning to sit this election out. Maybe your life might be the same no matter what, but the lives of me and my loved ones may change drastically, and we'll never get to right the issues we all called Trump out for.

Removal of birthright citizenship - this has been a goal of the looniest, most racist Republicans forever, and if Stephen Miller gets to stay, you think he's not going to take the opportunity to ram it through?

ICE continues to separate and torture families.

Border Patrol is currently turning away refugees immediately at the border.

We never get to leave the US for anywhere because we'll never get a grip on the pandemic. Do you want to reach 1 million deaths from COVID? 2 million? Biden may not be perfect, but he would actually get a pandemic team in place.
posted by toastyk at 9:35 AM on August 19 [44 favorites]


I just need something, anything to counter with when people start posting leftwing anti-biden memes in the groups I'm in.

Gotta have them admit they believe their lives won't change no matter who is president. And ask them why they think that.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:38 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


half of the the posters here use their energy and communications on gripes that the selected DNC candidates do not align 100% with their own beliefs; or fail to meet some arbitrary progressive purity test.

A quick look at the most prolific posters on Metafilter shows that they overwhelmingly link to, discuss, and argue for supporting Biden. Like, it's not even close. The idea that the nefarious Bernie Brothers are somehow "us[ing] their energy and communications on gripes" here is a myth.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:42 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I'm pretty pragmatic and even I still on an emotional level cannot tell you whether I will actually be able to bring myself to vote for Biden or not.

If you live in a swing state then this effectively means you are supporting Trump's re-election. Decide if you can live with that and act accordingly.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:48 AM on August 19 [50 favorites]


I'd say the big problem with the Democrats having a Republican friendly convention where the keynote speakers were the man who told lies to the UN and US to start a war for oil, one of Newt Gingrich's top hatchetmen and infamous union buster and anti-choice zealot, and a bunch of right wing CEO's, while sidelining the single brightest rising star in the party and pushing her into a single sixty second speech that is hampered by a mandatory seconding of Sanders, is that it's doing nothing to build the Party.

People tend to basically get a Party ID stamped on their forehead somewhere between 18 and 25 and vote for that Party for the rest of their lives. Right this second we have a once in a century combination of factors that should make getting young people to identify as Democrats extremely easy, and from my POV it appears the Democratic Party elders have decided that it would be a very bad idea to try to appeal to those youngsters even when doing so would cost next to nothing.

Even if we accept the argument (which I don't) that it is possible to persuade Trump averse Republicans to vote Biden (or stay home) by having a Democratic Convention that centers on a lot of Republican speakers, that's a disaster for any election that doesn't have Trump on the ballot.

What happens in 2022 when Trump is out of office, Biden has been President for two years and not a lot has happened, and you need to turn out voters for the midterms? All those never Trump Republicans will forget the appeals to them at the 2020 Democratic convention and vote for any down ticket Republican they can find and unenthuzed, unengaged, younger potential Democratic voters will remain unenthuzed, unengaged, and not voting that's what.

In the longer term, if your political strategy is to depend on Boomers while making no effort at recruiting younger voters, it's guaranteed to fail because you're running out of Boomers. Sure, maybe right this second the younger cohort doesn't vote that much. Guess what? Boomers didn't either when they were that age. Outreach **NOW** is sowing the field for future voters.

Further, telling that younger cohort they aren't welcome (and the snub of AOC is hard to explain as anything but a deliberate upraised middle finger towards anyone younger than 60 and left of Biden) means that in 2022, 2024, 2026, etc those now aging younger voters will continue to not vote Democratic.

I'm not sure why even the tiniest of symbolic gestures towards the younger cohort are so repugnant to the Democratic establishment. It would have cost literally nothing to give AOC a 15 minute slot. But there seems to be a feeling among the Democratic establishment that making even the slightest concession is a bridge too far, and I just flatly don't get that. Even if you don't see them voting now, what's so bad about offering an invite for them in the future?

There also seems to be a sort of catch 22 situation here. Younger voters are told they aren't given anything because they don't vote, but why should they vote if they aren't given anything? "Vote reliably for people who have open contempt for you and mock and deride your policy goals, and if you do that long enough and are good little children some unspecified day in the far flung future you might, if you don't make any fuss, get a tiny bit of what you want" is not the amazing selling strategy that some DNC strategists seem to think it is.

Because, sure, it's easy to say that if you need to be enthuzed to vote against Trump there's something wrong with you. It isn't really true, but I can see the emotional appeal of that position. But Trump won't be on the ballot in 2022, or 2024, or any other year. And taking actions that are driving away future voters instead of actions to attract future voters seems extremely shortsighted.
posted by sotonohito at 9:54 AM on August 19 [33 favorites]


I generally agree we should be taking the long view when it comes to appealing to younger voters, sotonohito, but I think it breaks down in this particular election. If Biden doesn't win a lot of people are convinced, with some justification, that there is no long run. Sometimes you have to eat the seed corn to prevent immediate starvation even if it's gonna be a problem down the road.
posted by Justinian at 9:57 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


> I fucking LOVED her answer, and typed up as much of it live as I could. Here it is:

Please do not use these Unicode “bold fonts”. They may look like the same text with a different font, but they are fundamentally different. They are quite difficult for MeFites to read with (for example) screen readers.
posted by Monochrome at 10:00 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


I'd say the big problem with the Democrats having a Republican friendly convention where the keynote speakers were the man who told lies to the UN and US to start a war for oil, one of Newt Gingrich's top hatchetmen and infamous union buster and anti-choice zealot, and a bunch of right wing CEO's, while sidelining the single brightest rising star in the party and pushing her into a single sixty second speech that is hampered by a mandatory seconding of Sanders, is that it's doing nothing to build the Party.

Delicious, delicious seed corn.
posted by CrystalDave at 10:00 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Sometimes you have to eat the seed corn to prevent immediate starvation even if it's gonna be a problem down the road.

Wonder if I'll die of old age before we get around to planting any of that corn. Wonder if my five year old nephew will. Oh well, I'm sure we'll get around to it someday.

(Obligatory yes-I-will-vote-for-Biden-so-don't-ask-even-though-I-live-in-NYC-and-my-vote-cannot-matter)
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:03 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


It should be noted for accuracy that none of those GOP people were keynote speakers. A keynote speaker isn't just any person who speaks at the convention.
posted by Justinian at 10:05 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Because, sure, it's easy to say that if you need to be enthuzed to vote against Trump there's something wrong with you. It isn't really true,

How, how, how in the name of anything decent can that not be true?
posted by tiny frying pan at 10:05 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Yeah the slate of gop and businesses speakers while excluding leftists is telling people "don't worry, your capital is safe under us!"
posted by Ferreous at 10:05 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I agree about the optics of using more centrist speakers, with one exception -

I'd say the big problem with the Democrats having a Republican friendly convention where the keynote speakers were the man who told lies to the UN and US to start a war for oil....

I believe he has since acknowledged this was a mistake.

Wonder if I'll die of old age before we get around to planting any of that corn. Wonder if my five year old nephew will. Oh well, I'm sure we'll get around to it someday.

If Biden gets into office, then we'll have a much greater chance of leaning on him to get going on the seed corn production this year than we would have with Trump in office.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


As far as I can tell the keynote speakers this year are/were: Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, Barack Obama, and then a group of like 17 younger "rising stars" who spoke briefly. I'm not sure a group of 17 people can reasonably be said to be a "keynote address" but hey 2020.
posted by Justinian at 10:07 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


If Biden gets into office, then we'll have a much greater chance of leaning on him to get going on the seed corn production this year than we would have with Trump in office.

I agree, as I said right below the line you quoted. I'm looking forward to just being disappointed in my country rather than actively and constantly enraged.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:09 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The predicted surge of young, progressive Bernie voters failed to show up at polls.

I still remember my friend and I having a great laugh at all the people who thought Bernie’s “huge” rally in Prospect Park back in 2016 meant something before the primary... after which almost all of Brooklyn went for Hill-dawg, especially in Brooklyn Heights/Park Slope. Let’s have yet another slow clap for the veritable deluge of wide-spread demographically diverse Bern support. Or... wait...
posted by Chickenring at 10:17 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I agree, as I said right below the line you quoted. I'm looking forward to just being disappointed in my country rather than actively and constantly enraged.

Fair enough; I'm actually going to instead turn to being more of an active citizen participant, and hopefully shift the overton window once there's a hope that such a shift is possible.

….Actually - and this is literally a thought that's entered my head just now - I wonder if one of the reasons why Trump might be afraid of mail-in voting is because it would lead to more educated voters. What I mean is: in the primaries, New York provided mail-in votes to all who requested. I requested one such ballot and set out to fill it out one afternoon.

But one advantage to having a mail-in ballot, as I realized instantly, was that I had the time and the opportunity to research the various candidates for the smaller local races on the fly, which is something I'd not ever had before. Usually the mailings and the promotions I see are all for the bigger races - so my mind was made up on things like the presidential candidate and the various House seats, but for things like Board of Elections Representative? Not so much. Their "campaigns", if they even did any, usually got lost in the shuffle. So in years past, I'd just get to the polls and see a list of eight names for a given council seat and would be asked to "choose any five". In a voting booth, I would have no opportunity to look up what any of these eight strangers may have said or done, and so I'd usually pick names at random, or sometimes go for the incumbent on the grounds that "at least they have had some experience".

However, sitting in my bedroom, filing out the mail-in ballot, I was able to do that research, and that kind of research absolutely affected my vote. In many cases, I selected someone far more progressive than the incumbent.

In short - the mail-in ballot lead to me being a much more engaged and much more informed voter. And I wonder if this is one reason why Trump is so afraid of that route.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:19 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


Gotta have them admit they believe their lives won't change no matter who is president. And ask them why they think that.

These aren't spoiled rich kids in blue states, think more broke trans kids in red/swing states. Believe me, they know how bad Trump is. But the more Biden tacks to the center, the easier it is to see the choices not as life and death but death and death - either a slower death being gaslit by allies under a Biden government who won't take steps to really reign in the fascists in order to keep the peace, or a faster death under Trump with at least maybe more people willing to fight alongside them.

Enough with the fear. People are fatigued by fear. You can see it with the pandemic - even people who firmly believe in and understand the dangers of Covid eventually go out and see their friends just once, take their masks off in public a little more because it's too uncomfortable. It's not logical, but it's human.

People need hope. People need to feel listened to.

It's not impossible for Biden to do this. His campaign needs to thread the needle and reach out to both left wingers and Republican center right would be defectors. I know it's hard. I know the media environment is actively hostile and dismissive to anyone isn't a conservative and tha makes it really hard for democratic campaigns to actually get out the messaging they want to - and for all I know they are trying to do outreach to the more left-wing elements of the party. I'd just feel a lot more safe if a message of "we got your back" from them made it out to the social bubbles I'm in.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:24 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Personally I've decided to take the lead of a local progressive woman I know. She has an older child with a disability who uses a wheelchair. She has a job, runs for office, hosts protests, signs petitions. She is singularly focused on electing progressive people to office and holding our local elected officials accountable. She's always enthusiastic. And there have been many failures but she always gets right back up and does it all over again.

But there are other progressives I know who seem to devote most of their time to complaining online about presidential candidates. They seem uninterested in local races, local issues. My city has issues with violence and racism and I so rarely see these people even mention those things. Even if I largely share their sentiments, it feels more performative than useful to me.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:24 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Oh, hey, neat - I just realized that there was one particular candidate from the NY Democratic Primary that I'd switched my vote to, and realized I never heard what happened. And I just looked it up and yay, he's beaten the incumbent and he's won his State Senate seat!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


I just need something, anything to counter with when people start posting leftwing anti-biden memes in the groups I'm in.

Right now I've got nothing. That scares me.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87 years old and Mike Pence is saying stuff like this about the Supreme Court.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 10:25 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


I just need something, anything to counter with when people start posting leftwing anti-biden memes in the groups I'm in.

Why? Biden isn't a leftist, doesn't want to be a leftist or even be thought of as one, and Democratic party leadership clearly don't care about anyone who will be alive long enough to endure the ecological collapse already hitting poor people of color around the world.

After all, why would they bother appealing to leftists or young people when the other option is so plainly appalling in the very-short term? We're either going to vote for Democrats or not vote at all.

Maybe this time around their energy is actually better spent chasing after the polite white supremacist moderates/conservatives who live in suburbs.
posted by Ouverture at 10:28 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I believe she did work out great. After all the lies and smears, non-stop media coverage about her emails, non-stop free press for Trump, Comey’s letter, and on and on and on... she still had more votes than Trump. And don’t get it twisted, I gave Bernie my primary vote in NY because I knew Hill had it. My only point is simple... Bern did not have the support of the youth who would rather post about him on social media and get into fights with real Democrats than to actually vote.

I had real life friends in real life who really said to me, “I didn’t know I had to be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic Primary!”

I’m supposed to sympathize with that?
posted by Chickenring at 10:28 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


But the more Biden tacks to the center

But Biden has done nothing but tack left policy-wise. I can't think of a single issue he's moved towards the center on since announcing his candidacy. Can you?
posted by Justinian at 10:30 AM on August 19 [34 favorites]


You and I have different ideas of great
posted by Ferreous at 10:30 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I had real life friends in real life who really said to me, “I didn’t know I had to be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic Primary!”

Obviously your friends should know the rules of the state they live in, but for reference lots of places don’t require this. We don’t even have party registration in Tennessee; you go in on Election Day and they ask you which primary ballot you want.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:47 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I am pleasantly surprised(?) by how many people seemed to appreciate it. Parts of it really did look to me like a PBS telethon--something about the lighting made Gov. Whitmer's section in particular look kinda like an SNL cold open?--but hey. I mean I find normal conventions p much unwatchable, so combined with social distancing it could have been way, way worse than it was.

Also, Billy Porter.
posted by peakes at 10:48 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I just need something, anything to counter with when people start posting leftwing anti-biden memes in the groups I'm in.

Have them watch the Republican convention next week. That should speak for itself.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:50 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


But Biden has done nothing but tack left policy-wise.

This is true, and is partly the result of left-wing activists, Bernie Sanders and his supporters, the rising tide of support for leftist policies that helped get AOC, Jamal, and Omar into Congress. Biden's been around enough to know how to cater to his constituency and thats what he's doing.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:53 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


The Republicans didn’t take over the entire country by equivocation and focus grouping. They picked a message and then got people to believe it. That approach can also be used for non-evil ends. But for some reason the Democratic Party will often not take a “principled stand” even in favor of policies that the clear majority of Americans support

But there's a distinction between a party's message (which convinces voters to put them in office) and their policies (which they enact once they are in power). The Republicans have messages that appeal to many voters, but has little to do with the policies they actually push, save perhaps for "we will hurt the people our voters want to hurt."

The Democrats are running on liberal principles. Biden is likely to run on a more liberal platform than any Democratic presidential candidate before, including Hillary Clinton, whose platform was hardly conservative. And no one -- least of all the so-called "liberal media" -- will care; the latter will barely mention the fact, because reporting on policy is harrrrrrd and boorrrrring when they could be trading juicy campaign gossip. Feh.

But his message, as I said, is "I'm a safe candidate that Americans can unite on to get rid of Trump." That message appears to be working. Is there evidence it isn't?

Because if that message gets Biden into office with a Democratic House and Senate, then we stand a chance at getting the policies we want. And if his message doesn't work -- doesn't appeal to a majority of voters, not just the ideologues -- then it won't matter if his platform is the Communist Manifesto.

(Trump doesn't operate under the same constraints. He does appeal to his most rabid base, and it's left him stuck with a minority of support and majority disapproval. Which is a better place for him to be from the Democrars' perspective than if he were popular, because his base alone is not enough.)
posted by Gelatin at 10:57 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Important clarification on the Rhode Island video: the chef wasn't dressed in some kind of culinary gimp suit, he was wearing a cap from Iggy's Doughboys & Chowder House.

Iggy's is down on the southern seashore of Rhodey, and while some people prefer the older Aunt Carrie's, Iggy's is definitely an institution for fried beach food in the summer.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:58 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Huffy Puffy: We don’t even have party registration in Tennessee; you go in on Election Day and they ask you which primary ballot you want.

The last two partisan primaries we ran in Washington State, people were livid that they had to sign a statement (each party on the ballot provides its own statement) "swearing or affirming" that the person "had not voted in any other party's primary" and either "I am a Republican" or "my party preference is the Democratic Party."

Local TV and paper news carried, almost daily, complaints from people who were incredibly cheesed off that they felt disenfranchised. "I'm an independent so you're telling me I can't vote for [candidate]?!"

I suppose it's a good thing that people get outraged at even the slightest impediment to their ability to vote; wish more people would extend that energy towards impediments to anyone's ability to vote...
posted by fireoyster at 11:00 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


But Biden has done nothing but tack left policy-wise. I can't think of a single issue he's moved towards the center on since announcing his candidacy. Can you?

Then he needs to advertise that better. Part of what I'm trying to emphasize is that it's not about policies and logic; people vote their emotions. Other people have pointed this out and I agree with it wholeheartedly. Pretty much anyone wins against Trump on the grounds of reasoned thought.

What I'm saying right now is that Biden has a messaging issue. This convention, in trying to appeal to people on the fence about Trump has come across as "up yours, you don't matter" to people to the left of him, and to younger people especially. I think there's some damage control to be done that can very easily pick back up votes, and I think his campaign can manage that without alienating conservatives too much. But that damage control isn't "oh, but think how bad Trump is!" Believe me, we know.

My other concern is that getting center Republicans out to vote, even if they vote for him, isn't going to do any favors in the house and senate, which ultimately are just as important as the presidency.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:05 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


taz: “On AOC, just so we can stop spreading false news, here's a twitter thread from NBC walking back their earlier misleading reportage of her appearance. ”
We can only hope that Chuck Todd finally loses the job he should never have been given. He has been a disaster for American politics.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:07 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Christ.

Yeah I am sorry to see so many folks so sad and reluctant to vote for Biden/Harris. My heart bleeds for you, it really does.

By the way, it must be great to live in a world where this has somehow escaped your notice, but: people are *actually* bleeding. People are *actually* dying. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering, at risk, fearful for their lives and families, afraid for how bad things have become and how much worse they appear to be getting. While you dither about who's not left enough or doesn't spark joy or who you'd be more comfortable with or whatever the fuck, lives are being ruined every day under this administration.

America has an open wound and you have essentially two options. Option One is we give America a band-aid and a chance to make it to the hospital. Option Two is we watch as America is shoved to the ground and kicked to death.

If you're so overwhelmed in your sadness for not getting a magical healing miracle borne on seraphim wings instead of a band-aid that you can't summon any empathy for the people at risk of losing absolutely everything if our slide into fascism continues, please do the rest of the country a favor and at least vote as if you *were* somebody with the capability for empathy.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:08 AM on August 19 [76 favorites]


Todd has already just lost the daily hour of his Quixote-like search for the mythical middle ground at 5pm. Only Sundays left!
posted by Harry Caul at 11:09 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I know it's something of a tautology to say "don't vote for third parties because they can never win because people never vote for third parties

The thing is, I don’t think that really IS the reason third parties can never win the Presidency. The Electoral College would need to be a lot more straightforward than it actually is for that to be true.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:12 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


But Biden has done nothing but tack left policy-wise. I can't think of a single issue he's moved towards the center on since announcing his candidacy. Can you?

Then he needs to advertise that better.


I am having intense deja vu of Clinton's campaign, the same was said repeatedly about her progressive platform.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:13 AM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Yeah I am sorry to see so many folks so sad and reluctant to vote for Biden/Harris. My heart bleeds for you, it really does.

If I state for the fifth time that I am going to vote for Biden, will you consider dialing back the over-the-top rhetoric and sarcasm? I know the answer is no but I'm asking anyway.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:17 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


And I’m not sure that having Republicans speak at the convention was so that Democrats could say, “Look how similar we are to Republicans.” I think it was more to say, “Hey, folks, THIS is how dire the situation has gotten. Republicans are so committed to toeing their party line that they’d swear on a stack of Bibles that the moon is made of green cheese if their party leadership said it was true, and things are currently so bad that even these dyed-in-the-wool yes-men are willing to agree with us when four years ago they would have spit in our faces for existing.”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:17 AM on August 19 [28 favorites]


If you're so overwhelmed in your sadness for not getting a magical healing miracle borne on seraphim wings instead of a band-aid that you can't summon any empathy for the people at risk of losing absolutely everything if our slide into fascism continues, please do the rest of the country a favor and at least vote as if you *were* somebody with the capability for empathy.

I'm sure this is going to be the winning argument to bring in

These aren't spoiled rich kids in blue states, think more broke trans kids in red/swing states. Believe me, they know how bad Trump is. But the more Biden tacks to the center, the easier it is to see the choices not as life and death but death and death - either a slower death being gaslit by allies under a Biden government who won't take steps to really reign in the fascists in order to keep the peace, or a faster death under Trump with at least maybe more people willing to fight alongside them.

Y'know. Magical seraphim wing desires there.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:18 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


If you're so overwhelmed in your sadness for not getting a magical healing miracle borne on seraphim wings instead of a band-aid that you can't summon any empathy for the people at risk of losing absolutely everything if our slide into fascism continues

Why are you actively trying to discourage people to vote for Biden? Don't you know what is at stake?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:20 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


Well, this thread is... about what I expected, I guess.

As a Millennial (post?) anarchist thoroughly disenchanted with establishment Democrats but voting Biden (even though it doesn't really matter in my solidly blue state) because I recognize the threat of fascism and that we're already neck-deep in it... I don't even know what to say at this point. There are deep, fundamental differences in perspective between a lot of the userbase here. I don't think there's any way to overcome that. All I can do is add my own and hope that's of some value to somebody. If you can't deal with more pessimism right now, please just go ahead and skip this comment. I know we're supposed to avoid "doomsaying" here, but this is just reality, ya'll.

At this point, I am scared out of my mind and preparing for worst case scenarios. I have had neighbors snatched in the middle of the night by ICE and I still don't know where they are. Police (or ICE/DHS or unaffiliated but aligned white supremacists) are still coming into our neighborhood at night to fire extremely loud fireworks that sound like mortars and shake our houses. There are multiple climate change spurned disasters happening all over the world and many more much more severe ones to come in near future. I will probably be fleeing my own region sometime soon - again - due to one of those. Republicans are fascists, full stop. Authoritarian white supremacy is a mainstream political stance. The pandemic will not be over next year. Even if there is a vaccine (doubtful) or a successful treatment (more likely), large portions of the US populace will reject them. They will probably not be affordable, anyway. The economy is collapsing. Many local institutions are functionally collapsing. Trump is going to declare victory and/or outright suspend elections; there is no avoiding that, only fighting it head on.

Things are bad and getting worse. I am only waiting for the other shoe to drop. For many of us, life has already reverted to being a series of emergencies. It would be nice if a Biden presidency offered at least a chance to slow down enough to be able to begin addressing the numerous existential threats that are now here, but I can't afford to hold my breath.

I haven't had the spoons to keep up with the DNC stuff, but I am reading transcripts. Everyone comes across as oblivious and out of touch with reality except the younger, newer reps. Some of that is just having their hands tied - I mean, the media had an absolute field day with Clinton's calling Trump supporters a "basket of deplorables," and that was if anything far too mild a condemnation of what Trumpism actually represents. But a lot of it is a genuine failure to recognize the current historical moment. Yes, Biden's campaign has been dragged left by Sanders and Warner and AOC, and that's good, but they have put up considerable resistance and it's plain from how he talks about these issues that he neither fully recognizes their reality nor supports the responses that would be saner mitigations. The continual reaching across the aisles to Republicans is frankly disgusting at this point. They are fascists. They are no longer a legitimate political party. Colin Powell's presence here is odious.

None of this is surprising and I doubt any of my words will reach anyone not already living in my own reality bubble, though. I don't know, everything is terrifying, Biden/Harris would be a hard ticket to buy in a "normal" election year, but "normal" is gone for good - I expect nothing there except "not-fascism." Down ballot votes are more important to me, anyway, but Christ, I'm sincerely worried US democracy won't even survive this year. I see no signs of future stability on the horizon.
posted by Lonnrot at 11:21 AM on August 19 [41 favorites]


Christ, I'm sincerely worried US democracy won't even survive this year. I see no signs of future stability on the horizon.
So say we all.
posted by Harry Caul at 11:24 AM on August 19


Yeah, going to go ahead and check out of this thread. Must be fucking amazing to be someone for whom this is all an amusing intellectual exercise instead of a existential threat, I wish I knew what that felt like.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:28 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


By the way, it must be great to live in a world where this has somehow escaped your notice, but: people are *actually* bleeding. People are *actually* dying. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering, at risk, fearful for their lives and families, afraid for how bad things have become and how much worse they appear to be getting. While you dither about who's not left enough or doesn't spark joy or who you'd be more comfortable with or whatever the fuck, lives are being ruined every day under this administration.

This sort of ahistorical and provincial thinking terrifies me about what happens to liberal energy during a Biden/Harris administration.

Who built the concentration camps? Who built up the drone strike/SOCOM assassination complex? Who refused to prosecute CIA torturers and the people and institutions behind the 2008 crisis that we are still suffering the effects of? Who helped perpetuated a genocide in Yemen?

It must be comforting to be someone who thinks the "existential threat" only started in 2017 (and/or think that the lives of people of color don't matter if they exist outside of America's borders).
posted by Ouverture at 11:32 AM on August 19 [30 favorites]


If I state for the fifth time that I am going to vote for Biden, will you consider dialing back the over-the-top rhetoric and sarcasm?

If you're criticizing Biden but have already said you're nevertheless voting for him, you may not be the person that this critique is being directed towards.

And with that, I think I'm out of this thread too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:33 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


I am having intense deja vu of Clinton's campaign, the same was said repeatedly about her progressive platform.

Agreed. I think there's a sort of realization among people who don't pay super close attention to politics that the platform is just words, no one expected Clinton to govern as a progressive, regardless of the platform. She would have been the most competent president ever, amd pursued the kind of policies the mainstream Democrats are known for. That doesn't create enthusiasm among lefties, regardless of what's written in the platform.
posted by chaz at 11:35 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Reposting from a PM I sent, because I really want people to understand this perspective EVEN IF THEY DISAGREE:

For what it's worth, the only people I know who aren't planning to vote for Biden/Harris live in New York. And personally I have come around to thinking that it's a valid strategic move if you live in a state as blue as this, because clearly the Democrats will only ever move left in response to pressure. I would not support the same tactics in my home state of North Carolina.

Also as a New Yorker, I have a Democratic governor who spent two terms actively supporting the Republican takeover of our state legislature by the IDC and a Democratic mayor who has walked back every one of his campaign promises in favor of sucking up to the police union. But New York is currently at the beginning of a progressive wave that has already begun transforming our city and state, and it absolutely did not happen via traditional Democratic Party channels.

Everyone on MeFi loves AOC - well, she primaried out a do-nothing right-wing Democrat, and faced tons of opposition from the party during her primary campaign. That's what people like me, and to the left of me, see in this campaign: the same dinosaur of an organization that fought like hell against people like AOC because she was "too lefty."
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:38 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


Also, couple of tangential afterthoughts:

I expect Canada to boil over in the next few years as well, but man would I be sleeping a lot better if I were back in Ontario right now.

and

If you told me last year that I'd ever be getting out the vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, I would have laughed long and hard in your face, but once I lose my job due to the business I work for going under due to every other local business going under, I'll be out there doing what I can. I have little but contempt for either of them and anticipate that slow gaslit death alluded to above, but I'm also scared I will personally be on the inside of a concentration camp next year, so I am well aware of the larger existential threats, ta.
posted by Lonnrot at 11:38 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


The continual reaching across the aisles to Republicans is frankly disgusting at this point.

I get the reaching across the aisle, fishing for fence-sitting votes, but if John Kasich, Colin Powell, and the CEO of Quibi are the best they could do, they should have given that idea a rest. If you are going to fish, then it should have been a big fish like GWB.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:38 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


some theses
  1. even more than most political conventions, people aren’t watching this convention.
  2. the television shows built around the convention are advertisements for the party aimed at people who aren’t particularly politically informed or engaged
  3. anyone politically informed or engaged enough to identify as a leftist is not the target audience. most people in this category either ignore the convention, or at most hatewatch it.
  4. based on his record as the senator from mbna, as the guy who never really took responsibility for or made amends for his role in the smearing of anita hill, as the author of the 1994 crime bill, we can expect that (and this one deserves its own list entry)
  5. we can expect that the joe biden administration will do tangible damage to the livelihood and well-being of poor people, of black people, of women, etc. etc.
  6. i know a ton of people who will never be able to retire, specifically because of the sweeping damage that joe biden did in his term as the senator from mbna. damage that he has no intention of undoing.
  7. yes, of course donald trump will do much more damage. we know that. everyone knows that. calm down.
  8. the standard line for talking up biden to the left appears to be as follows: “donald trump will do so much worse and the stuff that joe biden did as a senator was a long time ago and not that bad anyway and the platform this year is super left and he’s better than trump think of rbg!”
  9. this line might be convincing to you, but it is not a good line and doesn’t really convince anyone who’s not already convinced.
  10. specifically — and i hesitate to use the italicized word i’m about to use, because it is incendiary — the rugsweeping about biden’s record and what we can expect from his administration feels like gaslighting. “no, no,” the person making the argument says, “you’re wrong, what you know about the world is wrong, biden is good, what you think is bad is good, he’s not just good in comparison to trump but he is good!”
  11. that line doesn’t persuade people. and it infuriates people.
  12. i am sufficiently far to the left that i believe that we must establish institutions of a genuine workers’ democracy and overthrow the bourgeois oligarchic state that the rich use as a tool to dominate everyone else. and that we must do this by any means necessary.
  13. i am voting for joe biden.
  14. the thing i have found most persuasive to get others to vote for joe biden is to acknowledge that his administration will be bad — that it will do tangible harm to the people living in this slice of the continent — and then instead of pivoting to talking about how trump is so much worse (sheesh everyone knows that)...
  15. ... to talk about ways to mitigate the damage that the biden administration will do.
  16. this is, obviously, not something that can be done at the convention, because the target audience for the convention is not politically informed or engaged people. it’s an advertisement for the party, pointed at people who aren’t paying attention. it is not a place for nuance or serious analysis and it shouldn’t be a place for nuance or serious analysis.
  17. political arguments on the Internet are not the convention. they are debates between people who are relatively politically engaged.
  18. in these debates, you can’t just give an advertisement for the party, and (again) if you try to minimize or rugsweep away uncomfortable facts, you’re just going to alienate people.
  19. as such, i recommend anyone trying to persuade the Internet left instead talk about what they are going to do to mitigate the harm the biden administration will cause. if necessary you can talk about how these harm mitigation strategies will be easier to deploy under a biden administration than a trump administration, but it’s probably not necessary. anyone who doesn’t already see that is probably someone who thinks it’s a good idea to further accelerate the acceleration we’re already in. this demographic is small enough to not worry about.
in conclusion: what are you (yes, you) going to do to mitigate the harm that the biden administration will cause? the more thoroughly, intelligently, and honestly you can talk about this, the better you’ll be at persuading the left.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:39 AM on August 19 [37 favorites]


Blithe sarcastic rants about theoretical bernie diehards aren't useful given that really no one here says they aren't voting dem
posted by Ferreous at 11:39 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I think there's a sort of realization among people who don't pay super close attention to politics that the platform is just words, no one expected Clinton to govern as a progressive, regardless of the platform.

I disagree. I think people don't bother to read the platform policies and think they've learned all they need to know from media coverage.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:40 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


even more than most political conventions, people aren’t watching this convention.

How do you square that with the huge viewership this time around?
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:42 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]




The logic that leftists should shut the fuck up and never speak ill of establishment candidates isn't equaled by the establishment Dems being expected not to continually tell leftists how awful and entitled they are.
posted by Ferreous at 11:45 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


> How do you square that with the huge viewership this time around?

viewership on television is down by 25% when compared to 2016’s viewership. digital viewership is up, but i believe (correct me if you’ve seen figures saying otherwise) not enough up to account for the plunge in tv viewership.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:48 AM on August 19


For me its not a "never speak ill" its "why speak ill NOW."
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:48 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Loving the roll call. Definitely something I needed to see.
posted by travertina at 11:50 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


It must be comforting to be someone who thinks the "existential threat" only started in 2017 (and/or think that the lives of people of color don't matter if they exist outside of America's borders).

Came back briefly just to say -- dude, what the fuck? Never said or implied the threat started in 2017. Never said or implied POC lives don't matter outside America. Where do you even get this shit? Stop fucking putting words in peoples mouths please.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:50 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I don’t care for Joe Biden and as I live in Washington state I tentatively plan to guiltlessly leave my presidential vote blank. I also avoid hearing politicians speak aloud almost completely, because that’s how they get you, so I won’t be tuning into the convention.
posted by silby at 11:51 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Biden's campaign says total with digital viewers edges out 2016 numbers. No way for me to prove that, but. Pretty impressive in these times.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:53 AM on August 19


Please don't leave your ballot blank. About 1.7 million people left the presidential choice blank in 2016, a thought that makes me feel quite ill.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:55 AM on August 19 [35 favorites]


I disagree. I think people don't bother to read the platform policies and think they've learned all they need to know from media coverage.

Which, as I noted earlier, is generally even worse when it comes to platform coverage than it is in accurately presenting politics in general.
posted by Gelatin at 11:55 AM on August 19


I would vote for my dad but write-in candidates must be preregistered in my state to actually be countable.
posted by silby at 11:56 AM on August 19


I'm with Lonnrot. It's pretty disconcerting to see this forum going after "18-34-year-olds" (which we all know is a dog whistle for "stupid fucking young kids") while the Democrats pull moronic moves like nominating a guy who helped create the carceral state, who then nominated a former DA as his VP who supported deporting immigrant youths for minor offenses, didn't support investigations into police shootings, and wanted ready-to-release prisoners to remain in prison for cheap prison labor. All of this, in the midst of the largest public uprising against the police? READ THE ROOM, DEMOCRATS!

And then at their convention they have the temerity to throw up a bunch of Republicans? Look, we get it, the Dems are the center-right party compared to the Republicans' fascist cult of personality party, but there are plenty of "progressives" that could be on that stage right now, pushing for the party to go further left.

People on here are saying "well if young people want progressive policies they have to go out and vote for them". That's so funny because even when we do the "powers that be" literally steamroll us! Even when we protest, the "powers that be" beat us, lock us up, traumatize us. Even when we come up with alternative measures, people tell us that that's not possible. Even when we go and vote, entrenched party systems "do politics" and beat us down, and then when they inevitably lose, they blame us! As if we didn't do enough! So fuck them.

The other part of this is that I can tell some of you are using the "18-34-year-olds" epithet to mean "Bernie bros". Just say the loud parts out loud, why dontcha? What's wrong about this is that Bernie was the one that was expecting mostly young people to go for him, to give him the momentum he needed to win. I have several criticisms of his campaign here and we don't need to get into that, but I have to mention that we had a field of candidates that all tried to gobble up young people. Bernie was campaigning against two people that also had a sizeable stake in that demographic. And here's what that shows: THAT THE YOUNG VOTING DEMOGRAPHICS ARE NOT HOMOGENEOUS. Fuck, even the "black people" demographic that the Democrats love to tokenize are not homogeneous, or even Latinos. The Democrats are a big tent party so to sit here and blame the youth vote for not being interested in a party that is filled with people in power that do not look like them, do not have their experiences, do not share their values, means that that party is FAILING to represent that voting bloc, not the other way around.

I hate that I have to vote against Trump by voting for Biden. It's the shit end of the stick. Most of my generation has not seen much material (pay attention to that word!) differences in their lives since we voted for Obama the first time, so don't fucking blame us for being pissy.

And big fucking ps. if you're upset about the youth vote I rly hope you're causing hell about the destruction of voting areas. I know people across the country that had to wait several hours, in inclement weather, to vote for Bernie. Some of them weren't able to vote. Guess why? They had to go to work, or else they'd be homeless. That's America for ya!
posted by gucci mane at 11:56 AM on August 19 [34 favorites]


I don't understand what you mean, Gelatin. My point is to not rely on the media for information about a person's platform. I believe many don't bother to get it from the source, then turn around and claim a candidate needs to get the message out better.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:56 AM on August 19


Trump is clownshoes, amateur hour hate policy that gets shot down >60% of the time because he's a moron, surrounded by morons, who don't know how to govern or handle the press through access journalism.

Biden is a professional who will have the Presidency the mid-2000's Aaron Sorkin wrote a 7 season paean to. A Biden White House will have a legion of veteran Hill staffers to limit the damage of say, a decriminalization bill dying or people dying of exposure at The Camps in the south.

It will be better than Trump and it's going to feel real dirty again when the left wing rags are the only places talking about government abuses. Fox news would but they'll be 24/7 coverage of Biden's health and Harris' eligibility by complexion.

The anger here is the hopelessness of lefties like me who realize, now, that we aren't going to ever get it right. The solutions to the many, many sources of preventable human suffering will not come from the Aaron Sorkin government.

But at least it won't get worse.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:57 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Well it’ll probably still get worse.
posted by silby at 11:58 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Everyone on MeFi loves AOC - well, she primaried out a do-nothing right-wing Democrat, and faced tons of opposition from the party during her primary campaign. That's what people like me, and to the left of me, see in this campaign: the same dinosaur of an organization that fought like hell against people like AOC because she was "too lefty."

I do not disagree with anything in this post. The fundamental issue however, is with the bolded statement. Despite what you read on Metafilter, the majority of Democrats, and especially those who vote, are to the right of you. Despite what you read on Metafilter, the voting majority of Democrats rejected the progressive platform by voting for Biden over Bernie. Despite what you read on Metafilter, there is a sizeable contingent of Democrats who find AOC "too lefty".

There are still people in this thread who claim the Dems need to pivot left to win, when there is recent evidence that this is not the case, as illustrated by Bernie's failure to secure the Democratic nomination.
posted by Abacus Bean at 11:59 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Look, we are all scared. We all have skin in this game. We all know Trump has to lose. Please be kind to one another.

I'm sorry I started a derail that ended up with this much recrimination. I just want something better to tell people who don't like Biden than just "But... Trump!"

But you know what, maybe there isn't anything. Maybe that's the only common ground and message we've got. Defeat Trump at all costs.

And if that's the message it's gotta be, then fine, I'll go all in.

To recenter things more on the actual convention, Justinian mentioned that they gave a whole bunch of younger democrats a chance to speak at the opening. Is anyone here one of their constituents? Or otherwise know and like one of them and want to talk about the good they're fighting for?
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:00 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Television viewership for opening night of the virtual Democratic National Convention was down from 2016, but online participation was up dramatically enough to offset the decline, according to network and campaign officials Tuesday. (USA Today, Aug. 18, 2020)

Yeah, I'd like more info on how these figures are tabulated, too. Article provides "CNN Digital reported nearly 31 million unique visitors and more than 9 million video starts on its desktop, mobile or other streaming device. Digital visitors were up 19% compared to the first day of the 2016 convention and digital streaming was up 28%, according to CNN Digital.;" Biden campaign's TJ Ducklo, on Twitter yesterday: NEWS: 28.9 million Americans tuned in to @DemConvention last night across TV & digital platforms, up from 2016 & shattering the previous record for digital streams, which totaled 10.2m even as numbers still come in. We are producing a digital convention, and people are watching.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:02 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I don't understand what you mean, Gelatin.

About coverage of political platforms, and people believing they understand the platforms thru media coverage? I mean the political media doesn't seem to want to do in-depth analysis, let alone comparisons, of the parties' platforms, and when they do talk about them, they seem more intent about singling out one aspect as "controversial." Hillary Clinton had a solidly progressive platform and hardly anyone talked about it; Elizabeth Warren famously had her plans, but while the media noted she had them, they didn't talk about them much.

The political media in 2016 was obsessed with Butter Emails and Trump's tweets, and (as always) the horse race. I doubt the media will get busy this year comparing Biden's platform to Trump's, or Trump's record.
posted by Gelatin at 12:04 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Tonight’s schedule: Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Tony Evers (WI), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), Kamala Harris, Barack Obama

Tomorrow’s schedule: Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Gavin Newsom, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth, Chris Coons, Andrew Yang, Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:05 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Once upon a time I worked for a nonprofit that had run smoothly and quietly for years, doing its thing. Maybe not doing as much as they could, but doing good where they could.

Then, the Board was taken over by a small group of donors who felt that the org needed to make "a big change" and they brought in a local businessman as the the new Exec Director who was allegedly focused on getting more big donors and more press for the organization.

Big Man ran the NPO into the ground, because he had no idea how to run a service organization, and, worse, he didn't care. He was much more about the donors feeling important than he was about actually doing the work the NPO was designed to do. Staff left. Services declined. Then they got audited. Shortly thereafter, the Big Man was fired, and most of the activist board left in a huff. New board members came in and hired an extremely boring guy with an accounting background to sort the place out.

Biden is the guy you hire after Big Man comes in and fucks up your org. He's not a guy with grand ideas, but he understands how to make sure everyone gets paid on time and that there are grant reporting requirements that must be met, and that its better to have 10 $10 donors than 1 $1000 donor. Biden is the guy who makes sure there is enough staff, and who watches to make sure everyone's taking their vacation days. Biden's the guy you hire to fix the mess the prior guy left behind.
posted by anastasiav at 12:06 PM on August 19 [39 favorites]


I find it helpful to remember that when voting in a presidential election, you're not just voting for a particular candidate. You're voting for an entire administration. The president nominates more than 1,300 individuals for positions in government and those people direct the 3 million federal employees. (In the past, we had checks and balances such that the senate had to confirm these nominees. But Trump has got around this by appointing "acting" directors and such.) So a good thought experiment is to look at the current policies of say, DHS/ICE, or the EPA, or the DHS/CDC, or BoLM, and think: Will those policies be continued with a Biden/Harris administration or not? Will they move in one direction or another? In the direction you want or the direction you abhor?
posted by gwint at 12:07 PM on August 19 [35 favorites]


I find it helpful to remember that when voting in a presidential election, you're not just voting for a particular candidate. You're voting for an entire administration.

And the people they will nominate to the Supreme Court.
posted by Gelatin at 12:08 PM on August 19 [23 favorites]


Right. Which is why I say people are lazy and don't read the platform. And then turn around and claim the person "Didn't get the mesaage out" as said in this thread. That's a bullshit cop out, to pin your non knowledge of a candidate on the media. Hated it with Clinton (which came with a heavy dose of sexism), hate it still now.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:08 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Andrew Yang

So, I know that there's been resistance against Yang here (and I don't entirely disagree with the criticisms), but he did engage new people into the 2020 Democratic Primary that wouldn't be normally reached, especially those that are younger.

I am actually a little surprised that he was allowed to speak at the DNC. Apparently, he was invited late after he lamented he was not invited.
posted by FJT at 12:20 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


People who hurl insults at others in order to shame them into changing their voting behavior treat politics as some abstract game and not a life and death situation. They don't take this seriously and I wish they would stop.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:28 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


People who hurl insults at others in order to shame them into changing their voting behavior treat politics as some abstract game and not a life and death situation.

Nah, it's the people going "I'm just gonna leave my presidential vote blank" who're treating it as a game.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:30 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


A "feel-good story" I have mixed feelings about: A Security Guard Who Met Joe Biden On An Elevator Was The First To Officially Nominate Him For President (Buzzfeed, Aug. 18, 2019) Jacquelyn Brittany, a New York Times security guard whose encounter with former vice president Joe Biden was captured in a viral video, was the first to officially nominate him for president at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday. Jacquelyn, who has declined to share her last name with the media (Brittany is her middle name), met Biden while escorting him to a New York Times editorial board meeting in December. [...]

Video of their exchange later went viral, and the Washington Post reported hours before Tuesday's convention that she would be playing a prominent role in his nomination, one that typically only elected officials are asked to do. [...] Jacquelyn told the Post that she was overwhelmed by the idea of being the one to nominate Biden. "I never thought I would be in a position to do this," she said. "I never thought I was worthy enough to do this."
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:30 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I have no fucking idea what you are talking about

I think we had a productive exchange over PM just now and I'm truly not trying to start shit here but they were probably talking about this?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:32 PM on August 19


[Several comments removed for violating both the Community Guidelines and Content Policy. It's totally OK if you have strong feelings about the topic, but do not use that anger against other members. ]
posted by loup (staff) at 12:33 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Right. Which is why I say people are lazy and don't read the platform. And then turn around and claim the person "Didn't get the mesaage out" as said in this thread. That's a bullshit cop out, to pin your non knowledge of a candidate on the media. Hated it with Clinton (which came with a heavy dose of sexism), hate it still now.

I agree that people should do their own research, but it's a political campaign, not a test... advertising, marketing and media manipulation (or whatever you want to call it) are a huge part of the game.

I don't think an acceptable response to large groups of people saying they didn't fully get "the message" of a campaign is to call them lazy and tell them to read the platform. No one governs from a platform. Most voters are busy, not lazy, and campaigns have to get their ideas into the mainstream and reach as many voters as they can. That's been an issue but this time I don't think it's an issue since the message is really "Dump Trump".
posted by chaz at 12:34 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I don't think an acceptable response to large groups of people saying they didn't fully get "the message" of a campaign is to call them lazy and tell them to read the platform.

Much depends on whether the people are saying they don't know what the platform is, or if they have strong opinions about it that aren't based in fact. Biden is going to be better on climate change than Trump, who claims it's all a hoax, so someone waxing wroth over some clickbait "Biden throws climate change under the bus" article or whatever are not going to come across as an informed voter.
posted by Gelatin at 12:40 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, the only people I know who aren't planning to vote for Biden/Harris live in New York. And personally I have come around to thinking that it's a valid strategic move if you live in a state as blue as this, because clearly the Democrats will only ever move left in response to pressure.

This will not put pressure on the Democrats. What this will do is give the Republicans an inflated sense of their own success. Remember when GWB had a teeny-tiny, contested majority and parlayed that into I HAVE A MANDATE FROM THE PEOPLE!! It was “protest” non-voters that handed him that ammunition on a silver platter.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:41 PM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Better than trump is such a low bar though. I think we have right to ask for better.
posted by Ferreous at 12:41 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Is asking for things we know we can’t have right at this moment really that productive, though?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:42 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


anastasiav and gwint, thank you for those comments - I think those were more along the lines of what I was hoping for in the "how to sell Biden" department.

tiny frying pan - I think I agree with you a lot more than it comes across. I was angry at the media in general for not giving Clinton anywhere near a fair shake. I don't think it should be Biden's job to have to fight around/past the media coverage in general to get an accurate depiction of his messaging out. It's... just the world we live in. It's frustrating.

I honestly felt the same way about how the media treated Harris in the primaries - she didn't really get nearly as much space to sell her platform as some of the more "exciting" candidates. Even ones who had way less actual support.

So when I made that comment, it's with the full understanding that it may well be a hard thing to do. I don't myself know how to do it. But I don't think that's a reason to avoid pointing out that it needs to get done.

But to some extent it's a fair criticism - if I want to go convincing people on policy, I can do the research myself and should. But if someone knows off the top of their head something along the lines of "here's the progressive position Biden adopted, here is what good it will do for you right now (or right when Biden assumes office) and here's a reason to believe they'll follow through" that would be really useful.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:44 PM on August 19


I think we can have "eliminate fossil fuel subsidies" in the policy platform. It's not a huge lift.
posted by Ferreous at 12:44 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


There are still people in this thread who claim the Dems need to pivot left to win, when there is recent evidence that this is not the case, as illustrated by Bernie's failure to secure the Democratic nomination.

Those who have power are not generally of a mind to share it. There were many, many factors involved in Bernie's failure to win the nomination; the nationwide disruption caused by COVID certainly had a major impact. But he faced a long and steadily uphill battle as an insurgent wing facing a well-entrenched machine, as his rapid collapse once the establishment firmly put its thumb on the scale around Super Tuesday demonstrated.

Whether Biden counts as "left" or not depends on which issues you hold dearest. As others have said, Biden's simply Not Being Trump would improve things in many ways in terms of appointments, general policy direction and willingness to be an even marginal caretaker of existing systems. I tend to ignore the party platform as a marker of such, because what is declared on the way in and what they actually attempt to do once they are in are often not even cousins. Established policy and voting history and behavior is a much better estimator of what you're actually going to get.

So if I am approaching this election hoping for a return to "normalcy," I would feel encouraged at this point. If I was approaching it hoping for meaningful economic reform, addressing racial issues/BLM/protests in productive ways, I would be far more suspicious of this ticket. And rightfully so; the American left will not be given a seat at the Democratic table unless they seize it, by beating centrists with leftists one election at a time, by accumulating numbers, by being able to demonstrate that centrists can no longer win elections without leftist support. And the people who view economic inequality / racism / closing down corporatocracy as their flagship issues have not managed that yet.

And perhaps this aggressive realpolitik viewpoint is the right one. Perhaps a raw and unforgiving voter calculus is the surest way to defeat Trump, and in an age where the wealthy and powerful control so much, a popular uprising will not happen unless things collapse so hard that it is unavoidable (i.e. Great Depression II). Full Luxury Gay Space Communism isn't a concept that will simply walk in the door here, and if people felt like 2020 was the year of "It's Bernie's turn" and that would win the day, they were fooling themselves.

But it swings both ways. And, in the horror of horrors, should Biden/Harris lose this fall (turn turn turn spit), I can easily predict the same kinds of fingerpointing that took place after Gore's and Hillary's losses. Centrists will scream bloody murder about how THE LEFT REFUSED TO VOTE FOR OUR CANDIDATE!, regardless of the actual numbers involved, and refuse to grapple with why leftists found their candidate of choice unacceptable.
posted by delfin at 12:47 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


And when you consider that trump won by the most slim margins why choose a speaker slate that is fairly exclusionary of leftist people while including people like kasich? Giving AOC a major speech would have meant a lot, but she got a minute and change. I get you want to peel off gop voters, but why not also throw some meat to the left of the party at the same time?
posted by Ferreous at 12:55 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


dont sweat it guys, biden is up one whole point in battleground states (COUGHmarginoferror5.4pointsCOUGH), im sure running a centrist establishment candidate against trump and courting the mythical "sane" republicans will work out fine this time
posted by entropicamericana at 1:08 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


why choose a speaker slate that is fairly exclusionary of leftist people

I was pretty sure I saw a speech by Bernie himself.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:10 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


There's a reason we use poll averages, entropicamericana. You picked the single worst major poll Biden has had in something like 4 months.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


the single worst major poll Biden has had in something like 4 months.

also one of the most recent!
posted by entropicamericana at 1:11 PM on August 19


I don't think an acceptable response to large groups of people saying they didn't fully get "the message" of a campaign is to call them lazy and tell them to read the platform

It wasn't a response to large groups of people. It was a response to someone in this thread. And hell yes in my book it's lazy to not read about what a candidate actually stands for and then claim well, I wasn't told about it.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:14 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


And I wasn't calling you lazy, Zalzidtrax. I get it. We all want good soundbites and things to easily point to in order to convince. But it's not always so simple. I feel in THIS election, it is shockingly simple but I sadly know plenty disagree.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:17 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


... having just visited youtube... and getting hit full in the face with Trump's cartoonish political ad about how Biden and Harris "lie to protect the radical left wing mob" I have broken down in giggling and might be losing it, because it's the best argument in favor the Biden campaign among leftists that I've seen yet.
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:18 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I was pretty sure I saw a speech by Bernie himself.

Wow they let the person with the second most delegates speak, how magnanimous.
posted by Ferreous at 1:18 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering, at risk, fearful for their lives and families, afraid for how bad things have become and how much worse they appear to be getting. While you dither about who's not left enough or doesn't spark joy or who you'd be more comfortable with or whatever the fuck, lives are being ruined every day under this administration.

People's lives have been ruined or been killed because of decisions that Joe Biden made as well. Thousands of families were separated because of decisions that Kamala Harris made as well.

I will be voting for these fuckers anyway, but I'm not gonna sit here and pretend like Trump has some kind of monopoly on "there are lives at stake" rhetoric. Like, let's be clear: This election is about choosing either established career politicians who know how to use anti-racist and inclusive rhetoric but have an actual history of administering violence and cruelty in a calm and civilized manner, and who probably know how to thwart a pandemic VERSUS utterly embarrassing, racist, fascist violence administered by scarily incompetent people who don't know shit nor care about public health. That's what is on the table and everyone from activists to "privileged" leftists to disillusioned working class non-voters are being told: Fuck you you fucking pig people, these are the options. Be lucky you even get to vote at all. If you sit out then it's your fault. "Ok thanks."

Democrats do not get to be the party of MeToo and keep inviting Bill Clinton to speak as the wise old emperor of the party. They don't get to say how Trump is an existential threat to hundreds of thousands of lives and then invite Colin Powell, who ushered a war that killed hundreds of thousands, to speak. They don't get to be all "BLM" then back a candidate who authored the crime bill and spoke at Strom Thurmond's funeral and called him a brave and good man, who ruined an assault victims life to get a conservative judge nominated. I don't give a fuck if Bernie or Warren didn't get enough votes, there is right and there is wrong. You either think that now is the time to draw STARK contrasts with Trump and the republican party or you think now is the time to really hype up how much Republicans can feel included in our big warm cozy ideologically diverse tent, and fuck the 30-40% of the left who's horse didn't win.

I'm one of those 30-40%. I am still voting for Biden. It is clear that there is less a chance of societal collapse under a Biden administration. But that's fucking it, that's how low the bar is. And I hate that. And I refuse to get my face shoved in that utter pile of dogshit and get told that it has to taste good. And I simply can not blame someone who is too disgusted to vote democrat at this point. I really can't. Scream about how privileged or purity testing they are, call them racist white DSA bros - do whatever makes you feel better, seriously. But I'll be over here blaming the party that failed to capture them. I disagree that this is a problem with individuals and the frustrating decisions that they make, it's a systemic problem, an organizational problem. The democrats are responsible for building an opposition party to all of this horrible bullshit, this descent into brutal right-wing corporatism and hatred, and they are failing at it, and even if we can manage to beat Trump - which I genuinely hope they do - nothing is going to get better until we can accept that they are still failing to help people.
posted by windbox at 1:19 PM on August 19 [52 favorites]


Wow they let the person with the second most delegates speak, how magnanimous.

If there really was some grand conspiracy to exclude all leftists, they wouldn’t have had to put him on.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:20 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I'm just saying that when you have success stories like Bowman Bush or AOC who clearly excite a real portion of the party giving them voice means something. I get the DNC is still sore from losing several long term incumbents but if you let the newcomers be part of the process it shows an openness to what matters to the people who voted for them.

It's especially galling since the mantra from the DNC is to work inside the system, and when people do it seems like they are still angry about it.
posted by Ferreous at 1:24 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


If the majority of non-Republicans eligible to vote had really truly wanted Sanders, then they would have come out and voted for him in the primary and he wouldn’t have gotten half the votes the winner did. The fact that they didn’t come out and vote for him when they had the opportunity does not fill me with confidence that they would have done so in the general election.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:24 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


There's a reason we use poll averages

This is a gentle reminder that while Nate Silver called 2016 wrong, he called the race as being far closer than any his peers and took a ton of shit on this website for being biased against Clinton in the final weeks. Which is to say that I view the 538 poll tracker with healthy skepticism but also acknowledge that it's still the most accurate (or least wrong, depending on how you take your glass of 50% water). They currently have Biden at +8.4% overall and far more importantly +5.3% in Florida as of this comment.

They don't get to say how Trump is an existential threat to hundreds of thousands of lives and then invite Colin Powell, who ushered a war that killed hundreds of thousands, to speak.

The United States currently has 1,365 nuclear warheads actively deployed and 3,820 stockpiled. Trump has sole launch authority. We've all seen his Tweets. I think they very much do get to claim he is an existential threat in comparison to the petite war criminals of Yankee imperialism.
posted by Ryvar at 1:27 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Tell that to the millions of people in the middle east whose lives were destroyed or worse, I'm sure it will be cold comfort.
posted by Ferreous at 1:29 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Seriously though "petite war criminals of yankee imperialism" is a horrendous thing to say and devalues the lives of the countless people we've killed maimed or tortured since the Bush regime. You should be ashamed.
posted by Ferreous at 1:35 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


This is a gentle reminder that while Nate Silver called 2016 wrong

I think even that is an overstatement. He didn't call 2016 at all. He said that, given the polls and certain fundamentals like the economy etc, you would expect Hillary Clinton to win 71% of elections held under those circumstances. It's true that most people probably read that as calling the race for Clinton but I'm not sure how to avoid that problem.

Think of it this way: If what you're doing is aggregating and modeling the polls, and the polls show one person winning, you are not "wrong" when you say the polls show that person winning even if the polls end up in error.

In other words it wasn't Silver who was wrong, it was the polling in the upper midwest. And he even said before the election happened that if Trump won it would be because of a polling error in the upper midwest.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


"petite war criminals of yankee imperialism" is a horrendous thing to say and devalues the lives of the countless people we've killed maimed or tortured since the Bush regime.

You seem to think that I'm saying they get to claim some sort of moral high ground or that their crimes are absolved when what I am saying is they get to claim that Trump represents an existential to the human race that goes beyond the everyday monsters history is filled with. Anything else you read into my words is your own invention.
posted by Ryvar at 1:39 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


I didn’t know Bob Dole had a Metafilter account.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:54 PM on August 19


If you're for global warming, healthcare, getting rid of the filibuster, not only has Biden tacked left hard with his revised policy plans he also seems the be the Democratic politician the people trust most on these issues. No one should feel bad about voting for Biden.
posted by xammerboy at 1:55 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Are progressives in the U.S. geographically distributed in a way where strongly and effectively appealing to them would result in an electoral college victory?
posted by Selena777 at 2:03 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


For me its not a "never speak ill" its "why speak ill NOW."

Between climate, the economy, the rise of right wing authoritarianism at home and around the world, crumbling infrastructure, the deliberate arson of the Trump administration, social unrest, new an exciting communicable diseases, and wild inequality, the USA will be in a state of looming (if not active) existential crisis for generations.

"NOW" will probably not end within our lifetimes. And a party who's only pitch is to be slightly less enthusiastic about actively making those crises worse isn't going to cut it.
posted by Reyturner at 2:03 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I mean now as in "right now, before the election."
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:11 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I think there's a sort of realization among people who don't pay super close attention to politics that the platform is just words, no one expected Clinton to govern as a progressive, regardless of the platform.

Forget the platform. It is just a bunch of vague, middle of the road statements of aspirations -- the bare minimum that you can get 4,750 !! disparate delegates to sign up to. Nobody looks at the platform again the day after it is voted on in the convention. The nominee does not write the platform. No nominee has ever felt an obligation to sign on to a platform they didn't write.

If you want to know the candidate's policy positions, go to their official website. There you will find quite detailed policies and numbers and positions on just about everything people care about. And the record shows that candidates do pretty much stick to what they say they would do. There are very few significant surprises.


I think we can have "eliminate fossil fuel subsidies" in the policy platform.

And if you go to the official joebiden.com site you will find:
"The Biden plan will be paid for by reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations, reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing, ensuring corporations pay their fair share, closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth not work, and ending subsidies for fossil fuels."


And:
"Demand a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies. There is simply no excuse for subsidizing fossil fuel, either in the United States or around the world."

And:
"Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected."

At least make a minimal effort to find out what the candidate really says rather than what the twitters say.
posted by JackFlash at 2:18 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


I think that question is this Matt Lubchansky comic from February 2019, but in earnest.
Transcript:
(people standing around at a party)
I'm so excited, it's finally here!
The window between elections to criticize the Democrats without being accused of "purity politics" or "helping Republicans"!
3! 2! 1!

Kamala Harris fought to keep trans prisoners from getting surgery!
Cory Booker is completely in the pocket of Wall Street!
Look up literally anything Joe Biden has ever said or done!

Kirsten Gillibrand's old right-wing voting record is concerni- Oof! (person is tackled by DNC police)
Do you want Trump to win?!

Sorry, window's closed.
... seems shorter every time. Oh well!
See you in 2023!
posted by CrystalDave at 2:18 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


I think the biggest mistake that Democrats in general, and leftists in particular, make is thinking that policy qua policy wins elections. We should question bad policies because they're bad policies, of course, but Democrats didn't lose in 2016 on policy grounds. They lost because of racism and misogyny and more racism.

Scrolling to the bottom of the thread to reply to a comment from the beginning but - isn't this basically the conventional wisdom? I mean, for Democrats overall, the younger leftier people do tend to dissent from this somewhat. But actually I think "policy harder" is a bit of a misunderstanding of what that group wants, and also maybe an illustration of a problem Democrats do have, which is that they think they win with more policies, whereas what that younger, leftier cohort wants might be more appropriately summarized as more vision, which intersects rhetoric, charisma and (certain) policy (priorities).
posted by atoxyl at 2:28 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


At least make a minimal effort to find out what the candidate really says rather than what the twitters say.

The DNC officially acknowledged not only that support for ending fossil fuel subsidies was removed from the platform sometime last week, but the fact that it was part of the platform in the first place at all was a "mistake."
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 2:31 PM on August 19


The DNC officially acknowledged not only that support for ending fossil fuel subsidies was removed from the platform

You're not paying attention. As I said above, nobody but nobody looks at what is in the DNC platform the day after it is voted.

What matters is what the candidate's platform says. The candidate's website tells you their official positions.
posted by JackFlash at 2:37 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I think there might be a little muddling on my part as to word choice. When I have said platform, I should have said a candidates policies. I never meant the democratic platform. Maybe changes nothing for anyone but apologies.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:37 PM on August 19


Joe Biden recommits to ending fossil-fuel subsidies after platform confusion.

It appears to have been a moving target for a second there.
posted by rhizome at 2:40 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


... the fact that it was part of the platform in the first place at all was a "mistake."

The mistake was putting it in a summary of the platform when it wasn't in the final platform. Biden still has "Demand a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies" in his plan, starting with the US.

Bringing it back to the convention, there's a presentation about Biden's climate change plan tonight in the 9 Eastern hour.
posted by netowl at 2:46 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Wonks can argue over how well or poorly messaging was done, but at least a commitment to a slightly better environmental policy is on the platform. This stuff is important to some of us voters, at least.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:47 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


The DNC platform is the platform for the entire party and its 4,750 delegates, for candidates at all levels of government including all of the Democratic Representatives and Senators. If you have a problem with that platform, you need to get after your own Representatives and Senators.

Biden is running to the left of the party mainstream with his stance on ending fossil fuel subsidies. He has not changed that position since he published it over a year ago.
posted by JackFlash at 3:00 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Re Lubchansky Feb. 2019 comic excerpt, Kamala Harris fought to keep trans prisoners from getting surgery!, upthread
Senator Harris's "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey" was published in January 2019, the same month she announced she was running for president.
Kamala Harris’s Political Memoir Is an Uneasy Fit for the Digital Era (The Atlantic, January 2019)
Harris Takes 'Responsibility' for Opposing Trans Surgeries when CA AG (Out.com, January 22, 2019) (YouTube clip of Q&A at Howard University, post bid announcement)
A close examination of Harris’s [criminal justice] record shows it’s filled with contradictions. (Vox, January 19, 2019)
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:12 PM on August 19


At this point, Biden's policies are pretty lefty, and his messaging oriented to making the majority of the country comfortable with them. I'm much happier with that as a leftist than if it were the other way around and the messaging, but not the policies, were targeted at progressives.
posted by xammerboy at 3:14 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Biden's policies are pretty lefty

no, they're not. they're liberal.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:24 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


I would like to request that people use the same naming conventions for men as they do for women. Please. Don't say "Trump," "Biden," and then "Kamala." You might not realize it but doing so is pretty standard gender bias. Now that you know, stop doing it.
posted by cooker girl at 3:31 PM on August 19 [80 favorites]


in this thread: a lot of people in their feels about sanders, not a lot of people interested in persuading anyone. and no one talking about how they’re going to help mitigate the damage that the biden administration will do.

sigh. i need to pin down my own answer for the “what am i going to do to help mitigate the damage the joe biden administration will cause” question, because i’m voting for biden, and because i’m voting for biden i need to have a good answer to that question. but also: i’ve had quarantine brain for months. but also: that’s no excuse for inaction.

maybe i’m old enough now that “give a bunch of money to leftist organizations (and to center-left organizations like the dsa)” is the appropriate thing for me to do, but that feels weird and abstract, but also even though giving money feels weird and abstract maybe that really is the best way for anxiety-ridden work-dogged me to help mitigate the damage that the biden administration will do. like maybe i’m better suited to financially support professional revolutionaries rather than actually myself being a professional revolutionary.

life really is a shitnado these days, isn’t it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:07 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


and no one talking about how they’re going to help mitigate the damage that the biden administration will do.

I like where you're going with this line of thought but I think you can both take it further and at the same time maybe tamp down the overt Biden criticism a little bit by arguing for the need to expand our political vision beyond just electoralism. We were gonna need to build tenant unions, mutual aid networks, etc. even under a President Sanders administration.

So in the spirit of building the popular front together, here's my deal for the centrists. I'll make calls for Biden with you if you come out to the next eviction defense or noise demo outside a jail with me.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 4:29 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


what are you (yes, you) going to do to mitigate the harm that the biden administration will cause?

This is the most hopeful thing I've read in an otherwise pretty bleak and infighty thread (and JFC this really is a big part of why the megathreads were so difficult).

Because yes. This is the most important thing a leftist or even progressive or hell, middle-of-the-road Dem who also has any basic grounding in the American political situation at this very moment should be thinking about. The accelerationist "I'm not sure who's worse!" has been tested. And things are objectively, provably worse, for most/all of us, than they were four years ago.

How can we vote against Trump and push back on establishment Dems? I'd say it has to happen on the ground, and I've got to say that the red state part of my immediate family is actually doing that - they're running for office, they're running write-in campaigns, they're doing shit.

And they're significantly to the right of me, and waaaaaay less lefty than many people commenting on this thread. And they still make a fuck of a lot more difference voting in WY and CO than I can ever hope to make in DC or CA, between which I've spent the last 20-something years. But their politics are oddly (and I say oddly because they are under 40 and white-passing and rural) quite similar to a big chunk of the black folks I know in DC (many of whom are retired). And you know what? They like Biden. And I don't, particularly. So my goal is to toe the line, and help with that ground game, and suck it up that in my entire tragically-aging life I've never voted for someone I agreed with on the basics of economics and executive power.

I think we can push this envelope. I don't think holding one's nose is ideal, but I've never known otherwise. We know from direct experience we can't really push Trump, beyond goading him. So fuck it. How do we make the DNC/Biden/the powers that be keep paying attention? How do we take over the party? If we even manage to oust Trump, what can we do to mitigate the shit?
posted by aspersioncast at 4:35 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


If we even manage to oust Trump, what can we do to mitigate the shit?

Be honest about shortcomings, work with them as they are in a reality-based world, and don't try to sweep them away.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:38 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


and no one talking about how they’re going to help mitigate the damage that the biden administration will do.

If I had to guess it's because we're all feeling pretty powerless to do anything right now. There is nothing I can do that will alter the slow erosion of the United States into a dystopian corporate hellscape. There is nothing I can do to alter the every-decade cycle of colonialism forcibly opening markets by killing hundreds of thousands and starving millions (this was the point of my comment upthread, however ineptly phrased: the war crimes are not petite, the war criminals themselves are - they think they're the authors of history but they're all just tiny little monsters, a background noise of white male ego endlessly repeating the same litany of atrocity to ensure the beast stays fed).

I will never be able to cast a vote that changes the imperial violence the US has exported ever since it took the reigns of colonialism from the British Empire. I will never be permitted to vote away capitalism or corporate personhood. To quote Audre Lorde: "the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house."

But I do - to my vast and unceasing irritation - live in Texas, and my vote probably counts more than a lot of people on Metafilter. I have multiple asthma hospitalizations and Covid is not considered a valid reason to vote by mail here (in-person is a requirement), so it may come down to my P100 half-mask respirator and nitrile gloves but I fully intend to vote for Biden. Because we somehow managed to get through four years of Trump without four to five billion dead from a nuclear exchange and most of the rest dying from radiation poisoning and cancer, but chancing another roll of those dice after he's kicked all the adults out of the room and has no impending reelection to worry about?

That's an existential threat to the human race. That and climate change are the only truly existential threats. And maybe, just maybe, my vote can do something about them. And maybe that's an overly-detached/overly-clinical perspective, maybe it's a byproduct of my neurodivergence, but I am both unable and unwilling to shake off my persistent awareness of the overarching threat to everyone and everything. Mitigating the damage of the Biden administration is so far down the line for me - and I suspect a great number of people - that I can't even see it from here. Not yet. But if we reach the other side of this with our country intact it sounds like a fine thing to discuss and those of you with the mental fortitude to grapple with it now will have first-mover advantage. Just mark me down for whatever AOC says until then, because I implicitly trust her way more than any other household name in US politics.
posted by Ryvar at 4:46 PM on August 19 [23 favorites]


Agreed, I think that's the most valid tactic. And one of the more frustrating things I've confronted throughout my politically-aware leftist adult life is the constant petulant threat of "my preferred candidate didn't win, so I'm taking my toys and going home."
posted by aspersioncast at 4:47 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Unfortunately, agitation for the party to move to the left from within is the one thing the Democratic Party is good at fighting.
posted by Reyturner at 4:58 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


I'm old. I watched some of the Anita Hill hearings *live*. I have issues with Joe Biden. Kamala Harris is also imperfect. I have watched in great dismay as the ruthless, focused, determined GOP has dragged us to the Right, as the federal judges that McConnell withheld from Obama have been filled with RightWingers. As ACA healthcare, far from perfect, has been chipped away; that one hurt me personally. McConnell stole a SCOTUS appointee. Congress gave away a massive unfunded tax gift to the very wealthy. the US military is funded to a lavish degree that is appalling, spilling weapons over to police, specifically to enrich war contractors. I see Trump still maliciously giving away leases on federal lands that will cause stupid damage, and fracking, which is stupidly filthy, and you know taxpayers will end up with the bill.

Climate Crisis is unfolding. Trump has done absolutely everything in his power, probably stuff that isn't in his power, to assist Big Oil and screw any environmental issue. He's managed to get Climate Crisis off the agenda with all the Corruption, Lies, Scandals. We need an administration that isn't dedicated to making Climate Crisis worse, just because it will enrich his buddies.

It's not even dog-whistle racism and fascism now. I have seen more overt racism in the last few months than I have in many years, enabled and inspired by the racists in power. He *openly* talks about flouting the Constitution and disregarding voting results, and the GOP is silent. I'm ranting. I'll stop, cause I could go on for a couple pages about how truly bad things are because of Trump, McConnell, and the GOP.

The miserable President and the ghoulish VP could not have stopped Covid. But almost any other leadership could have responded with a semblance of competence, a little honesty, a shred of empathy, and reduced the deaths, disabilities and illnesses by at least half. The last 5 months have sucked. Personally and in every other way. The chaos likely allowed huge sums to be transferred to people who buy megayachts and raise rents on housing while people are experiencing another devastating economic crisis that could have been ameliorated.

Miss the chance to vote against this slimeball and the genuinely repulsive colluding Republican Party? Are you nuts? On his worst day, and I have seen it, Biden is so very different and so very much better, and I am not a Biden fan; he was low on my list. But he's shown the ability to listen and grow. Miss the chance to have a Dem Congress and White House? Dems aren't relentless, but they'll do some good stuff, they'll fix some stuff, and we will hound them. I will vote as soon as my town gets ballots (they say @ Oct.1) and I can fill it out at Town Hall and hand it in, because I could get hit by a bus or Covid, and I cannot wait to vote against the powerful and actually evil people that are causing harm. Voting against Trump is going to be the best thing I do this year.
posted by theora55 at 4:58 PM on August 19 [45 favorites]


what am i going to do to help mitigate the damage the joe biden administration will cause

As a leftist who is also voting for biden (for harm reduction reasons), I'm glad someone else itt is looking at this election this way. Too many people in this thread, and on this site in general, give me the impression that they just want the Big Bad Orange Man to go away so they can be at peace and go on with their lives, neither realizing the continuities between Trump and what came before him nor realizing that, absent radical change, we're going to get something much worse after a Biden administration
posted by davedave at 5:05 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


Now that you know, stop doing it.

Since one of people making Kamala! part of her identity is Harris herself, you are facing an incredibly uphill battle with this one.
posted by sideshow at 5:28 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that I’m not sure I want America to continue being a superpower, and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump? That American style capitalism is perhaps humanity’s worst invention? That the main reason we as a species face the existential risk of climate change is due to American consumerism?

I don’t think I really want a Biden presidency because I don’t want this broken machine to continue running any longer than it has to.
posted by karst at 5:55 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I'll say too, and I'm sure this may be incredibly unpopular: I don't necessarily trust Ocasio-Cortez. I agree with her, and I think she's right about everything I've ever heard her talk about. But I'm old enough that I fundamentally do not trust that anyone who runs for office on X platform is not at base capable of adopting Y platform, given the right set of incentives. Politicians will not save us. We have to work our asses off to make sure they even represent us. AOC is simultaneously the shit, and not the place to park all our hopes and dreams.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:58 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that I’m not sure I want America to continue being a superpower, and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump? That American style capitalism is perhaps humanity’s worst invention? That the main reason we as a species face the existential risk of climate change is due to American consumerism?

You're allowed to say it, and some of it is true. But if Biden isn't elected, what do you think is going to happen? What direction do you think we're going move towards?
posted by mollweide at 6:00 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


The choice in the election is definitely not one that involves ending American hegemony, consumerism, or capitalism. All of those will continue unabated regardless of who is elected. It's a fantasy to think that the families and corporations that hold power would allow Trump to actually upset the apple cart and end the gravy train, or that almost anything Trump is likely to do could end it anyway. Within those groups there are different currents and factions, but they all agree to preserve the system that keeps them rich and powerful and no Trump is going to get in the way of that.
posted by chaz at 6:03 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that I’m not sure I want America to continue being a superpower, and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump?

Oh sure you're allowed. Are you American, and white and wealthy enough to think that works out well for you? And either way, do you really think that American hegemony dying this way results in less human misery than a slow and inevitable decline?
posted by aspersioncast at 6:04 PM on August 19 [34 favorites]


Since one of people making Kamala! part of her identity is Harris herself, you are facing an incredibly uphill battle with this one.

I mean, as much as any of the candidates use their first names as part of their identity ("the donald"?), it is still pretty much a journalistic standard to refer to each of them by last name only when choosing one or the other. I think just beware of how you are referring to the candidates and don't do something different for the women, maybe?
posted by JenMarie at 6:05 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that I’m not sure I want America to continue being a superpower, and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump? That American style capitalism is perhaps humanity’s worst invention? That the main reason we as a species face the existential risk of climate change is due to American consumerism?

I don’t think I really want a Biden presidency because I don’t want this broken machine to continue running any longer than it has to.


So you think another four years of Trump will make America just quietly go away? I don't think it's going to happen that way and a lot of people will continue to get hurt.
posted by JenMarie at 6:07 PM on August 19 [21 favorites]


and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump

The fastest path isn't always the smoothest. If American hegemony is truly ending, Trump is entirely not equipped to ensure a more peaceful transition to whatever comes next, whether it's a Chinese hegemony or a multipolar world.
posted by FJT at 6:14 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Democrats do not get to be the party of MeToo and keep inviting Bill Clinton to speak as the wise old emperor of the party. They don't get to say how Trump is an existential threat to hundreds of thousands of lives and then invite Colin Powell, who ushered a war that killed hundreds of thousands, to speak. They don't get to be all "BLM" then back a candidate who authored the crime bill and spoke at Strom Thurmond's funeral and called him a brave and good man, who ruined an assault victims life to get a conservative judge nominated.

This is a matter of principle, an important one.

"The hypocrisy doesn't matter" is not a lesson I want my leaders to take from my enemies.

still voting for Biden disclaimer, yadda yadda yadda
posted by butterstick at 6:18 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


give me the impression that they just want the Big Bad Orange Man to go away

That IS what I want, right now (and keep the House and win the Senate and do the same in states to combat the gerrymandering, but mostly to make the orange man and his cronies go away) and it's totally not a foregone conclusion that he's going to lose. I'm not 100% happy with Biden or Harris either, but I don't feel like now is the time to flood the internet with how much of a shithead they both are. And I find especially baffling the people who take delight in tearing them down as some kind of, I don't know, show that they are so smart and not like those other sheeple that like the candidates?

Yes, it's important to recognize the drawbacks. Can that wait until we've won?

I'm not calling anyone bad people here, but it really makes me anxious we're going to throw the game so we can look smart, and end up with unrestricted Fascism.
posted by ctmf at 6:23 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


And I find especially baffling the people...

Meant to say, not necessarily mefites; I'm not thinking of anyone in this thread specifically.
posted by ctmf at 6:25 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump

After 4 years, America remains the richest country, with by far the largest military spending in the world and maintains enormous capacity to do damage. 4 more years of Trump isn't going to make America collapse into irrelevance. At best we might end up like Russia --- ask their neighbors how thats working out.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:26 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


I mean, most people put in a disclaimer to the effect of "Sure, I'm voting for him but..."

but then you proceed to tell everyone else reasons not to. Anti-campaigning for him. It makes no sense, unless you're already sure he's going to win, or you just don't care one way or the other.
posted by ctmf at 6:33 PM on August 19 [24 favorites]


I mean, most people put in a disclaimer to the effect of "Sure, I'm voting for him but..."

but then you proceed to tell everyone else reasons not to. Anti-campaigning for him. It makes no sense


I think a lot of people are (rightly) of the opinion that not much of the electorate is coming into a metafilter thread to decide how to vote, so how hard we stump for anyone right here doesn't actually matter; the thread can be for discussion about we actually feel about the candidates.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:39 PM on August 19 [40 favorites]


Yeah, my comment is more about Twitter, etc.

I think there's a continuum of, ok in my house in private and among friends I do talk about such things. In public I don't. Metafilter is kind of "our house" in that sense, but public in another.

Mostly I'm just saying, it makes me extremely anxious that people are taking this win as a given and moving on to the (deserved) criticism too soon. I'm not demanding people stop criticising, it's everyone else's site as much or more than it is mine. Maybe just an awareness that by doing that, you're creeping people out?
posted by ctmf at 6:45 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Assuming that the good faith that some have here will bear fruit, and what Biden is putting forth as desired policy is what he will actually shoot for as Preznit (keeping in mind, of course, that Biden does not have a big red Fix Everything button on his desk, and even with a narrow Senate majority and the extreme longshot that is a removed filibuster, there will be certain Dem Senators who'll be more than happy to slam the brakes on radical change)...

How did Biden's left turn on policy, as far as it's gone, come about? Not out of the kindness of his heart or the wisdom of age, but from the left wing clawing and kicking and screaming for at least some recognition. I'm not about to endorse relaxing the pressure now.

Trust me, it's not as if Biden's flaws and history or other party leaders' flaws and history are somehow news to the other side. The attack ads were written months ago, and oh lord, they comin', as they would be for anyone else.
posted by delfin at 6:45 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


People will say they support a policy, and maybe in some theoretical abstract they do, but then they go and vote for the opposite of that policy time and time again.

The best way to determine what policies people support is to look at what policies they vote for.
posted by Justinian


This.

People are hypocrites is the single most important & ugly fact about politics. Any candidate or party that fails to factor that in will not survive long, let alone prosper.

There is no perfect in politics. But however you cut it up a Biden administration is clearly a vastly better option than the alternative on any meaningful measure. The choice couldn't be starker.

Furthermore, the bigger the win the better. The message sent to the Repubs needs to be brutally free of ambiguity to disabuse them of any idea that all they need do is tweak and repeat.
posted by Pouteria at 6:59 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


I mean, most people put in a disclaimer to the effect of "Sure, I'm voting for him but..."

but then you proceed to tell everyone else reasons not to. Anti-campaigning for him. It makes no sense, unless you're already sure he's going to win, or you just don't care one way or the other.


The entitlement dripping off of the post is nauseating: Not only do I have to hold my nose to vote for a candidate I don't like, but I'm supposed to shut up about it too, even in a space where airing dissent isn't going to move the needle one way or another.

I get it. The left wing of the party lost, and so voting for Joe is what we must do. But the insistence that people who severely disagree with him on almost every major issue not only vote, but lie about their beliefs, and wear a grin as they fill in the ballot for him, is wild.

What has the ticket or the party done to earn that sort of devotion? To be clear, because some of you won't get it unless I spell it out, I'm not asking why I should vote for Biden over Trump. I'm asking why I should grin and lie through my teeth about why I'm doing so. Again, what overtures to the left have they made to deserve that?
posted by davedave at 7:27 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Leftists bashing Biden (and Harris) stated their cases repeatedly during the primaries and have again in this thread. The fact is that Biden crushed Sanders and Warren, winning even in states in which he did not campaign. (You know a team is strong when even its C-game beats its strongest competitors.) Sanders didn’t come close to getting the share of the vote he got in 2016, even in Michigan after Warren and most other candidates dropped out. These more left leaning candidates could not prevail in a Democratic primary. While Biden could still lose, Sanders or Warren would have been trounced in the general.

Whatever his faults, Biden is reasonable, open-minded, empathetic person who has experienced terrible personal losses (his first wife Neilla and one year-old daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972, and son Beau to cancer in 2015). Following the primaries, both Warren and Sanders persuaded Biden to adopt some some of their ideas. Both of them have enthusiastically backed Biden. Sanders(!) has pointed out that Biden’s platform would be the most progressive since the New Deal.

It’s time to stop saying “Look at how empty the glass is!” and start cheering for how it much holds. Want even more progressive policies? Then elect Biden, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic House, and get them adopt policies closer to your positions.

As Lincoln said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Leftists, if you really want to make the world more like you think it should be, that is the way. Imperfect though they may be, bashing your best opportunities (rather than making the most of them) isn’t going to do it.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:27 PM on August 19 [67 favorites]


Whatever his faults, Biden is reasonable, open-minded, empathetic person who has experienced terrible personal losses (his first wife Neilla and one year-old daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972, and son Beau to cancer in 2015).

Millions of poor brown people across the Middle East and South Asia would vehemently disagree, but if the apologia-filled discussions on Metafilter are any indication, it's clear American liberals don't care about our lives, let alone our opinions.

If our voices and votes are so marginalized/meaningless, why are liberals here so profoundly defensive about criticisms of their preferred candidates and their history?
posted by Ouverture at 7:45 PM on August 19 [30 favorites]


Leftists bashing Biden (and Harris) stated their cases repeatedly during the primaries and have again in this thread.

*writes I Will Not Re-Litigate The Primary In This Thread on the chalkboard 100 times as a preventative reminder to himself*

My one caveat with this: we basically didn't have primaries after Super Tuesday. I mean, the dates came and went and they happened, but with COVID busting out all over, for the most part they were not what I would call a regular process.

So there were people who watched Biden rack up southern states on Super Tuesday (and, yes, Democrats in southern states that Trump will carry are still perfectly valid Democrats, but they may also not be the best bellwether as to how the states that are contested are thinking) while Sanders took California, and then came chaos and the media declared It's Biden! and a bunch of us went to bed grumbling. It's not a condemnation of the DNC or Biden in and of themselves as much as a rumbling that many felt that COVID simply cut the time for argument and campaigning artificially short.
posted by delfin at 7:49 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


What has the ticket or the party done to earn that sort of devotion? To be clear, because some of you won't get it unless I spell it out, I'm not asking why I should vote for Biden over Trump. I'm asking why I should grin and lie through my teeth about why I'm doing so. Again, what overtures to the left have they made to deserve that?

They gave you a vote the same as everyone else's. I don't care if you don't help but at least stop lobbing molotov cocktails from the sidelines just because we didn't get our way or our most favored candidates or our favorite policies.

Hell, we could have gotten Bernie and we still would have given reasons not to show up. Oh no he doesn't support a nationwide gun ban! Perish the fucking thought, blow it up over Twitter, throw the baby out with the bathwater, and we'll try again in 2024 if we still have a republic.

This nation takes 330 million people and distills all their thoughts and opinions into 435 Congresspeople, 100 Senators, and a President/VP. By sheer math we won't get our way a lot of the time. It sucks. We can either help push the needle towards the way we want or we can just sit on the sidelines mumbling how shit the system is and fuck all of it. You want to talk privilege. To be able to be certain you can survive another term of this shit thrown into overdrive. That's fucking privilege.

If our voices and votes are so marginalized/meaningless, why are liberals here so profoundly defensive about criticisms of their preferred candidates and their history?

Because for the most of the country politics isn't about policy, it's about inertia and attrition. If you're putting out stuff all over the place to make people think twice about their vote because the left wants to show off some tempest in a tea cup that sounds scary or mean or unfair, you're going to cause attrition. When people cause attrition away from the guy who's against the fascist then we have a fucking problem.

I don't know why tankies think they're going to get a revolution if there's four more years of Trump. There will just be more misery for more people that will continue and we'll be lucky to get another set of elections.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:52 PM on August 19 [26 favorites]


why are liberals here so profoundly defensive about criticisms of their preferred candidates and their history?

Because liberals, just like conservatives and leftists, want their candidate to win the election.
posted by FJT at 7:55 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I was a Harris supporter from the very beginning. Not because I agree with all of her stances--I didn't agree with any of the candidates' stances completely--but because I thought she was the toughest, smartest candidate with the best chance of winning. Happy to see her on the ticket. Trump doesn't have a nickname for her. He can't figure out how to attack her. She on the other hand knows exactly how to attack Barr, Kavanaugh, Trump, Pence, etc.

At first I was really skeptical about the GOP chorus invited to speak. I don't think it's so much to peel off the middle. There isn't much of a middle. But, can it make the non-MAGAt Rs sit on their hands and not vote? I'm picturing my parents white suburban neighbors in their 70s and 80s who just "always voted republican." Do Powell, Whitman, etc. remind them that that was the party they always voted for and it doesn't exist anymore? (Yes, I know there is a case that Trump is just peak GOP, but 45's ick factor vs polite, traditional suburban white supremacy.)

But, if the DNC invited Kasich, then why the hell didn't they invite Castro? I mean Yang whined and got a spot. Of course, Castro was a strong Warren supporter, but he ran on police reform and ticket needs Latinx support. This was an unforced own goal.

Harris' Indian heritage and connections are in the FPP but really bear more consideration. Child of immigrants. Schooled in Canada. Descendant of Indian politician. She has an international background that is sorely needed. Can she stand up to Modi the way the stands up to the GOP?

Finally, if Harris moves to the White House, put pressure on Newsom to pick someone to her left for Senate. As a CA voter, we really should have a solidly progressive senator. And, where the hell is Diane Feinstein? Seems pretty much AWOL when we need every damned Democrat out there fighting to push this election over the line and obstruct the McConnell.

OK, also, calamari. Mmmm, tasty!
posted by Gotanda at 7:58 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


I know that liveblogging the event isn't really a thing, but I'm watching right now and I've been watching it with an eye toward the conversation about younger voters and the climate that happened above - and I hope that if you are a younger voter, or anyone concerned about climate, that you'll seek out the segment from tonight's installment on that topic. Maybe, as a mid 50's woman, I'm an old, but I felt pretty strongly that about 90% of the people showcased were younger - a lot younger - than I am, and that they made a strong case that Biden sees climate change as the true emergency of our times.
posted by anastasiav at 8:00 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


With respect, Ouverture, I’m not sure that the people to whom you refer do disagree with my opinion. (Sanders and Warren seem to agree with me.) And even if, do, that doesn’t change Biden’s nature, regardless of the fact that vote on the authorization of the use of force was a mistake.

In any case, my main point is that the righteous anger of Leftists complaining about getting half of a loaf rather than a whole (which can be quite satisfying in its own way) seems repeatedly to get them no bread at all. Alienating one’s potential allies is singularly unproductive .
posted by haiku warrior at 8:09 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Bedtime for this Eastern Time Zone resident. Good night and good luck, all!
posted by haiku warrior at 8:11 PM on August 19




Speeches seemed good tonight. I’m glad I switched from PBS to CNN, who actually wanted to show the convention instead of a panel of old newspaper columnists.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:14 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


"I know a predator when I see one," looking straight into the camera, leaving a pause afterwards, almost--almost--like there's a specific person she had in mind
posted by meese at 8:18 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Ctmf mentioned that Biden wasn't their candidate either and explicitly said they were not asking for anyone to shut up. Just maybe to lighten up on the gas a little bit. And I don't know, maybe that's a big ask right now, because people are frustrated, angry, worried, and stressed. I have no easy solution for any of this. It's been kind of thing on the internet for years and probably will continue.

But at the very least, it's made me over the years to try (but I admit not always succeed) to pare back and just be more restrained in my commenting.
posted by FJT at 8:28 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Can we say "some leftists" because I'm pretty damn left and was Bernie/Warren (in whatever configuration) but that's all behind us now (for the moment) and I just don't see the point in rehashing how terrible Biden is (pretty terrible) or how Kamala is a seekrit police officer . . . At least not in this moment. Continue to push left, organize, rabble rouse and get angry . . . But those things are a separate thing than ripping out the cancer that is Trump. Besides, real change rarely comes from elected leaders so it feels foolish to invest energy into electoral politics after the election part (primaries) has already passed.
posted by flamk at 8:30 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


[A few comments removed. We need people to make the effort to speak for themselves, not to mind-read or make assumptions about one another or bring anger at off-site systems and problems here to direct at the nearest available target. This site has guidelines we need folks to follow. If you don't have the energy to make your contributions here constructive and focused on adding meaningfully to the conversation, that's okay but skip the thread.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:40 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I'll make a personal appeal here: I have been very lucky, for most of my life, to be insulated from the capriciousness of government. Coming from a middle-class family, political arguments have always been kind of abstract for me. No matter who's in power, things have never really changed for me and my family and friends; I only know things are different from watching the news.

Until Trump. For me, as a foreigner in the US who knows a lot of other expats, it's the travel bans and visa fuckery. Then the expulsion of Chinese nationals from US schools on vague suspicions of espionage. I see the stories about kids in cages at the border and think, if tensions continue rising with China, internment camps 2.0 are not so implausible here. At least I'm Canadian, so in the worst case I can make a run for the border... right? And smuggle some US-citizen-only friends in the trunk?

Against all logic, I do actually kind of like it here, though even if I do go back to Canada, we'll be fucked anyway because the US is the elephant next door. So in conclusion, as someone who is directly affected by US government policy but can't vote: please don't fuck this one up, US citizens. It's Biden or Trump. Look, I'm a lefty, but I can't fight alongside you if I can't stay.
posted by airmail at 8:47 PM on August 19 [27 favorites]


it's clear American liberals don't care about our lives, let alone our opinions.


I care enough to want Trump to lose, even if that means we have to support Biden for a while. I suppose you're free to help do Trump's campaign's job for them.
posted by ctmf at 8:49 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I don't know why tankies think they're going to get a revolution if there's four more years of Trump. There will just be more misery for more people that will continue and we'll be lucky to get another set of elections.

There is a vast world of ideologies other than "tankie" that exist outside of the white supremacist bipartisan foreign policy consensus that Biden has so richly contributed to and is still aligned with. It is telling that "being against white supremacist mass genocide" is now a political position worthy of ridicule on here though.

It seems like there is never a good time for leftists to speak up against white supremacy emanating from Democratic politicians. It can't be before the primary because then the fascists win. It can't be before the election because then the fascists win. And it sounds like it can't be even after an election victory because don't ya know, there is another election right around the corner where the fascists might win.

I wonder what Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki would have to say about that.
posted by Ouverture at 8:50 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


In any case, my main point is that the righteous anger of Leftists complaining about getting half of a loaf rather than a whole (which can be quite satisfying in its own way) seems repeatedly to get them no bread at all.

I wonder how liberal feminists would feel if Biden took a page from notable DNC speaker John Kaisich's book and shifted to a moderate position on abortion in order to bring in suburban Republicans. Would that still be a satisfying half loaf?

Or are the only policies worthwhile of a satisfying half loaf the ones that impact black and brown poor people outside of America's borders?

Alienating one’s potential allies is singularly unproductive.

The ambigutiy and irony in this statement is beautiful :)
posted by Ouverture at 8:55 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


"We are a nation that’s grieving. Grieving the loss of life, the loss of jobs, the loss of opportunities, the loss of normalcy. And yes, the loss of certainty. And while this virus touches us all, let’s be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender. Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately. This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism." - Senator Kamala Harris, during her nomination acceptance speech tonight.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:12 PM on August 19 [23 favorites]


The Democrats’ Eternal Wall Street Ticket: The Biden-Harris nomination represents the party’s return to free-market fealty.
In the face of another four years of Trump, a Biden-Harris administration is probably our best chance for a workable recovery from the pandemic and the related recession. But whether or not a Biden-led recovery would do as much for the working class as it does for the rich is less certain. Biden, of course, oversaw the 2008 bank bailout as vice president and, while a Delaware senator, coddled the credit card industry. This election season, the campaign contributions he’s received from Wall Street surpass Trump’s, which doesn’t inspire much confidence for future crackdowns on corporate greed. In fact, he’s explicitly promised to avoid heavy-handed measures: “Corporate America has to change its ways,” Biden said at a July fundraiser hosted by financial executives but immediately added, “It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any.”
posted by Ouverture at 9:31 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Against all logic, I do actually kind of like it here, though even if I do go back to Canada, we'll be fucked anyway because the US is the elephant next door. So in conclusion, as someone who is directly affected by US government policy but can't vote: please don't fuck this one up, US citizens. It's Biden or Trump. Look, I'm a lefty, but I can't fight alongside you if I can't stay.
Thank you for being honest.

Can you see how for some the fact liberals are suddenly concerned about fighting and solidarity only when they're personally affected may not lend the weight to their argument they think it does.
posted by fullerine at 9:51 PM on August 19


Can you see how for some the fact liberals are suddenly concerned about fighting and solidarity only when they're personally affected may not lend the weight to their argument they think it does.

I'm not a liberal. I literally said I'm a lefty in the part of the comment you quoted.
posted by airmail at 9:58 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Transcript: Sen. Elizabeth Warren's speech to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as prepared for delivery.
Close:
We all need to be in the fight to get Joe and Kamala elected. And after November, we all need to stay in the fight to get big things done. We stay in this fight so that when our children and our grandchildren ask what we did during this dark chapter in our nation's history, we will be able to look them squarely in the eye and say: we organized, we persisted, and we changed America.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:14 PM on August 19 [29 favorites]


> Yes, it's important to recognize the drawbacks. Can that wait until we've won?

fwiw: "During a Biden administration, there will be a huge battle over who must be betrayed — corporations and donors, or us. For now, the best way to wage that fight is to be an indispensable part of this election's coalition. Beginning in November 4th, we organize to credibly threaten to take our indispensable selves elsewhere if it is us who is betrayed."
posted by kliuless at 10:49 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


I wonder what Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki would have to say about that.

We can't really know since Obama killed him. A US citizen, wanted for no crimes, killed by drone in a country we're not at war with for being the son of an enemy. It was a shocking betrayal of everything that administration was supposed to stand for.

Trump had his 8-year-old sister shot dead a week after he got into office. No drone: in person.

Maybe my eyes are too old, but I can't pick out a candle next to an arclight.
posted by netowl at 11:27 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


I'm grateful for this thread being here. I've been watching things on a delay of sorts, due to time zone differences. I watched Michelle Obama's speech, and was deeply impressed, then enraged to see that twitter seems to have no problem with letting the hate speech outright claiming, no dogwhistle, that she is trans become a trending topic.

I watched/listened to the roll coll on the train on the way home last night, and I am not, nor have I ever been, a Sanders fan, but listening to the tallies of how many votes he got, then the announcement of "# of votes for our next president, Joe Biden" just started to get to me. I was very much excited at the candidacies of Warren, Castro, Booker, and yeah, a little further down the list, Harris. Especially given where we're at this year, this really seemed like the chance to have a truly left ticket, and more than anything, again, it seems like the only thing that really stood in front of that movement was the party itself, with Bloomberg's ridiculous campaign, inviting Kasich and Powell to speak, Mayor Pete even being a thing outside of a college republicans meeting. With every state announcing that a significant number of people had chosen, loudly, a different, more progressive path, and the gleeful announcement of votes for Biden after, it just seemed like the party was telling me, again and again: Biden/Harris 2020: Better things aren't possible!

Then, earlier, watching Warren's speech, where she slowly, subtly laid out her credentials as an educator, making it clear that she had experience in the classroom, and discussing how important education and educators are, with her sudden shift to, and condemnation of Trump, in full teacher terms ("He has failed") was amazing to me, but had me crying again because goddammit, I deeply wanted a Warren presidency, I wanted to see the beginning of a push that brings the young left out of the sidelines, rather than pretenaturally old centrists that will seemingly run the party forever.

I will be voting Biden/Harris, and all the way down the ballot as well, because yes, we need to get rid of Trump, we need to get back some control of state houses, city commissions, and school boards, but goddamn, it's been a while (nearly 3 years and ten months, give or take) since I wept over politics, and what could have been like I have been this week.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:28 PM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that I’m not sure I want America to continue being a superpower, and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump

You're allowed to say it and we're allowed to believe it's a terrible opinion displaying an extreme lack of empathy and historical awareness.

This is precisely the attitude that led some of the farthest left groups in the Weimar Republic to throw support behind a certain right-wing politician who they thought would lead to the system being torn down and a new, better system being erected in its place. I assume you know how that worked out for everyone.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 AM on August 20 [57 favorites]


preternaturally old centrists

I laugh/cry peals/gallons at this spot-on characterization, cannot favorite enough.

Everything I am in the Overton Window to the left to the left.
posted by riverlife at 12:36 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, extreme leftists would counter that a) empathy is a neoliberal construction (this goes back to their interpretation of dialectical materialism); and, I also think that b) since Chomsky already explained the Weimar example, the argument (for some reason that I still do not follow) does not hold up for said extreme leftists. Fortunately I think nobody here is an extreme leftist so we don't really need to be working in depth with those arguments; unfortunately, without such sources we don't really understand their position either other than based on hearing about it. A more mainstream example is Jacobin's essay yesterday on Biden; that author is pro lesser-evil but expresses demoralization at the state of things; there's a key insight where it becomes clear (at least to me reading it) that he is demoralized not about Democrats per se but about the future more broadly in a leftist frame.
posted by polymodus at 1:20 AM on August 20


What I’m planning to do to improve the outcome of a Biden administration is
1) make sure there is a Biden administration
2) do my best to make sure the senate is as D as possible. (Some of my Obama disappointment should really be redirected to 2010 failure to keep Congress and the power it gave Mitch McConnell).
3) Keep calling my senators, even when one of them is Mark Kelly instead of Martha McSally.
4) Vote for the most progressive possible candidate in state, county, and city elections.

I also like the build mutual aid networks idea above but haven’t really known where to begin, especially with my limited time and dollars.
posted by nat at 1:49 AM on August 20 [28 favorites]


All of us are pre-supposing that there even is a fair election or a fair turn-of-power in the first place, btw. Trump has telegraphed several times that he intends to not give up the presidency.
posted by gucci mane at 1:53 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


You're allowed to say it and we're allowed to believe it's a terrible opinion

With respect, can you please speak for yourself and not everyone else?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:12 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I think we gotta deal with one problem at a time, gucci mane. If Trump wins the election legitimately then nothing else matters. So first we make sure enough people vote in the right places to ensure he loses if the votes are counted properly. Then we worry about what happens if the votes are not counted properly.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


I don't think anyone is going to come to an agreement over the 2020 election here, but I'm a bit heartened that most people can see that the messaging of this campaign is going to be a disaster for the democrats in 2022 and beyond if Biden wins as I expect.

I'm on Tiktok a bunch at the moment. It's hard to get a general sense from such a filtered social media channel but from what I've seen the fact that the democrats have effectively nominated an anti-BLM ticket is extremely unpopular with younger people.

I think a surprising amount of kids are going to vote for Biden anyway, as they detest Trump, but its really eroding support for establishment democrats in a way I can only compare to the effect nominating someone who is pro life would have on older voters.
posted by zymil at 2:49 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Trump has telegraphed several times that he intends to not give up the presidency.

I know people say this, but I don't think anyone's really discussed that he's surrounded by Secret Service agents whose job is to protect the President. If they accept the results of the election it doesn't really matter what Trump says.
posted by Merus at 4:06 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


For those who hate the DNC and their strategy.....If you want to have a BIG IMPACT, you can

0) move outside of the DNC/DSCC's playbook AND
i) move the needle to the left in meaningful ways AND
ii) make discussion of left-leaning issues possible outside of urban/suburban bubbles AND
iii) help win the senate [without which nothing happens even if we win the presidency]
and
iv) help win the election,

by supporting things like THE GREAT SLATE which still needs money.


The Great Slate is an effort to help secure a Senate majority in the 2020 elections by supporting four rural Democratic House campaigns in states where that majority is likely to be decided.

.....
So lets try to help! The premise of the effort is that helping rural Democrats who target swing voters will be a complementary strategy to the suburban and urban strategy the DSCC has decided to pursue for Senate campaigns. It's a "reverse coattail" approach, where we help the top of the ticket by helping House races lower down, the ones actually trying to turn out swing voters.


posted by lalochezia at 4:06 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Harris' Indian heritage and connections are in the FPP but really bear more consideration. Child of immigrants. Schooled in Canada. Descendant of Indian politician. She has an international background that is sorely needed. Can she stand up to Modi the way the stands up to the GOP?

Totally agree. If nothing else, Indian Americans make up a substantial proportion of voters in swing states like Michigan, Texas; a lot of people are looking to feel represented on the national stage by someone other than Bobby Jindal or Nikki Haley. When I was growing up in the 90s, if there was an Indian-appearing person on TV, or walking in the background of a shot of white people, or even in the credits at the end of a show, my family would say "Indian!" like we were playing punchbuggy. That's how starved we as a community have been. (Don't get me started on Apu from the Simpsons.) Just today, an Indian colleague sent me the Table of Contents from this week's New England Journal of Medicine, with the note: "Full of Indians!"

I don't know how Harris herself identifies, but news coverage tends to focus on her Black identity, although I have seen more outreach lately, like Harris making dosas with Mindy Kaling. (+1 to reusing Tasters' Choice jars, and +1 million to Kamala calling Mindy's dad "Uncle"). But it just feels a bit weak.
posted by basalganglia at 4:20 AM on August 20 [12 favorites]


I think a surprising amount of kids are going to vote for Biden anyway

Going by past experience, I think an entirely unsurprising amount of kids (I assume you mean 18-30 year olds) won't vote at all - in 2020 or 2022 - irrespective of who is nominated. It makes a certain amount of sense to focus on the demographics that have consistently shown themselves willing to show up to the booth.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:37 AM on August 20 [14 favorites]


How can we vote against Trump and push back on establishment Dems?

Simple. By getting to the point where lefty positions are electoral winners.

Of course, said positions have been and will continue to be misrepresented by Republicans, and said misrepresentation being amplified by a not-at-all-liberal media more interested in "balance" and laziness than in keeping lies out of the public discourse, so you have that obstacle right off the bat. I'd love to see a solution, but again, Hillary Clinton ran on smart, workable, positive policies and it didn't keep Trump out of office.

Bear in mind also that you're contending with the institutional knowledge of Democrats getting beaten like a gong by Reagan and his cohort of Nixon Administration retreads, and Republicans succeeded so mightily in making "liberal" a dirty word that Democratic politicians shy from identifying as such (in contrast, Mike Pence describes himself as a conservative before a Republican).

We can argue endlessly about whether it was a mistake, but Bill Clinton embraced centrist positions and got elected President despite running against an incumbent. Democrats of the Bill Clinton era didn't embrace centrist positions because they're evil, but because they don't think progressive positions are winners, and they perceived their own moderation as necessary to retain office to do what good they can. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich was telling his minions to pepper every public statement with loaded language that smears liberals and casts negative perceptions on Democrats, and even-the-liberal-NPR and their like dutifully broadcasted those quotes, doing the Republicans' dirty work for them.

So AOC and the rest of the Squad primarying centrist Democrats in safe seats is a good idea, because it shows that Democrats can get elected by espousing progressive policies. And they've done well to use their platform to advocate for their policies and thus push the Overton window to the left, which is necessary but not sufficient.

Arguing whether your policies are obviously correct is beside the point if people don't vote for them. Regardless of how well they might poll, if voters don't actually vote for them, they'll never get implemented. And it doesn't help that our system, which would have produced a succession of Democratic presidents this entire century if not for the Electoral College, gives Republicans an advantage and fosters the perception that progressive policies are not popular.

So make them popular at the ballot box, show Democrats that they can get elected on a platform of "Medicare for All" and not just "More Obamacare," and Democratic politicians will embrace them. But please bear in mind that there are actual experiences to overcome.
posted by Gelatin at 4:39 AM on August 20 [23 favorites]


Following on to my point, John Kerry lost his election in part due to his opposition to the Vietnam War, let alone Bush's adventures in the Persian Gulf. It isn't fair that Bush's incompetence led to a terrorist attack that let him leverage fear to lead the country to such ruinous wars, but it's a very real fact that war heroes like Max Clelland were defeated by chickenhawks like Saxby Chambliss by calling them "soft on terrorism."

Voting to authorize Bush's wars was an act of craven political calculation, but Democrats weren't wrong to perceive that opposing Bush would lead to defeat (their miscalculation was in thinking that voting for the war would matter.) If we want a more peaceful foreign policy, we have to solve that problem.

(Personally I'd like to see Democrats working the refs in the media the way Republicans have for decades; the latter's ongoing propaganda effort to portray coverage of inconvenient facts as evidence of "liberal media bias" is still paying dividends for the Republicans.)
posted by Gelatin at 4:49 AM on August 20 [12 favorites]


So AOC and the rest of the Squad primarying centrist Democrats in safe seats is a good idea, because it shows that Democrats can get elected by espousing progressive policies. And they've done well to use their platform to advocate for their policies and thus push the Overton window to the left, which is necessary but not sufficient.

This. In deep blue seats we need to primary out of touch centrists with everything we’ve got. In American style Republicanism there is no party preselection. If “The Democrats” are running bad candidates, well, turnout for a primary is usually around 5% of registered voters. Everyone has a vote but that also means everyone has a vote. You need to show up to change things but also show up to make sure things don’t get worse.

There are a lot of interconnected forces when it comes to politics that are well outside our local control. This will mean that we can elect a perfect slate of candidates and have nothing get done. The important thing is to worry about the long game and not lose ourselves to cynicism. Once that happens those that would manipulate democracy to their own ends have truly won.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:01 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


Why I'm voting for Biden No Matter What: There is next-to-zero chance Ginsburg outlives a second Trump administration. Once the Supreme Court becomes a captured arm of the Trump regime, it's game over. We'll lament that Condemned Traitor Biden was a horrible choice for President (just like Condemned Traitors Clinton and Obama) but at least he supported a woman's right to choose, equal rights for minorities, some level of protection for trans people, some level of protection for the environment, some limits on police brutality, some degree of cooperation with non-dictatorial powers.

Leader Trump's second term will be a red bloody sore of him getting even with all the people he couldn't get even with the first time, of purging the government of the last few non-MAGA-loyalists, of letting the Stephen Millers, the QAnon nutters, the open white supremacists, the soulless highest bidders, completely take the reins of national policy. Of crushing protesters by whatever method that leads to maximal regret and humiliation. Of crushing Blue State holdouts like California and New York.

If Trump could get away with it, he would tie your level of benefit in society explicitly to your loyalty to him. In 2021, Leader Trump will be able to get away with whatever he likes. There will be no voting him out or his successors. The Republican Party in Georgia openly stole the governorship from Stacey Abrams, and will nationalize that policy without batting an eye. Think of how things are an order of magnitude worse now than what most people could have even imagined in 2016.

Think of looking back at 2020 as the best year in a long time.
posted by xigxag at 5:04 AM on August 20 [63 favorites]


the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump

And the fastest path to getting out of my house is to dive through the front window without opening it, but I still take the longer and less convenient way through the door and around the side of the house because I don't want to end up bleeding out on the fucking sidewalk.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:30 AM on August 20 [73 favorites]


I also like the build mutual aid networks idea above but haven’t really known where to begin, especially with my limited time and dollars.

I've got some ideas if you want to MeMail me but you could do worse than starting with the National Bail Fund Network. They have a state-by-state directory so find a community bail fund near you, look it up on social media, and start clicking around from there. The people and organizations they follow and interact with are the ones doing mutual aid and they'll still be doing it regardless of what happens with the federal elections in November. These groups are always doing phone zaps, which is a quick, free, and relatively painless way to get involved. None of this is incompatible with taking 20 minutes to vote for Joe Biden.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 5:53 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


This is precisely the attitude that led some of the farthest left groups in the Weimar Republic to throw support behind a certain right-wing politician who they thought would lead to the system being torn down and a new, better system being erected in its place. I assume you know how that worked out for everyone.

Well, social democracy did emerge when all was said and done, but "lose a war, killing millions in the process, get torn apart by the squabbling victors, and decades later have the half that isn't an authoritarian hell-nation culturally and economically overpower the half that is" might not be the best plan (also, unlikely to work twice).
posted by jackbishop at 6:33 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


I wonder how liberal feminists would feel if Biden took a page from notable DNC speaker John Kaisich's book and shifted to a moderate position on abortion in order to bring in suburban Republicans. Would that still be a satisfying half loaf?

Literally no one is proposing doing so,
posted by Gelatin at 6:41 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Literally no one is proposing doing so,

Why not? If electoralism is all that matters, then Biden has plenty of ground to potentially capture by moving even just a little bit to the right on abortion.

It's something moderate Republicans care more about than the genocidal war crimes he has committed or will continue to commit in his future administration. Biden’s white supremacist foreign policy legacy really only appeals to neoconservative hawks, who are going to vote for him anyway.
posted by Ouverture at 6:57 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


As for being critical of Biden, if not now when?

After the election when he can safely ignore us because he won and therefore can indulge his inner curmudgeon and scream at us again that he has no empathy and thinks our priorities are childish?

No one pays attention outside of election season. Asking people to STFU during election season is no different from telling protesters to go to a fenced off and hidden "free speech zone" far away from anyone else where no one will ever notice them.

The only chance we have of terrifying Biden into abandoning his proud declaration that he has no empathy for our petty desire not to be bankrupted by college and medical costs is right this second. After he wins he'll put his feet up on the Resolute Desk, declare a job well done, and go kneel before Mitch to beg for a few scraps in the name of bipartisanship.

I remember how this game goes, it's played out exactly that way for every election in my life. During the campaign we have a chance of influencing things because during the campaign they're frightened we might not vote for them unless they make public promises to us. After they win they'll toss us aside like used toilet paper. That was the Obama approach and the Clinton approach, I see no reason to think Biden will be any different.

Justinian Not to go too far back, but I think I'm missing something.

It appears that there are two propositions at work with regards to the fawning inclusion of Republicans and the snubbing of anyone to the left.

1) There are a non-trivial number of never Trump Republicans who can be persuaded to vote for Biden (or at least to stay home) if the Democrats bend the knee to war criminals like Powell and anti-choice union busting zealots like Kaisch.

2) The aforementioned persuadable anti-Trumpers will immediately rush to vote for Trump if the Democrats make any outreach at all toward younger voters.

Even if I accepted the first proposition, I fail to see why the second follows and why the Democratic elites couldn't have made efforts to take advantage of this literally once in a lifetime opportunity to get the younger cohort identifying as Democrats so that as they age they will become reliable Democratic voters.

Why not both? Is it really your opinion that the Democratic Elites genuinely thought that any outreach to younger people would help Trump and that only by snubbing the youth and throwing away a literally once in a lifetime opportunity to get an entire generation to identify as Democratic for the rest of their lives, was essential to victory in November? That just doesn't compute for me.

I can think of a much simpler alternative explanation, namely that when AOC ousted a long serving right wing Democrat it scared the shit out of the party elites and they want to put a stop to that sort of thing. That basically they aren't really thinking of much beyond "JFC if they could oust Joseph Crowley then none of us are safe!"
posted by sotonohito at 7:02 AM on August 20 [18 favorites]


Why not? If electoralism is all that matters, then Biden has plenty of ground to potentially capture by moving even just a little bit to the right on abortion.

Well, maybe, but he'd have to consider that against the ground he'd lose by moving to the right on abortion. A woman's right to choose is a core plank of the Democratic Party, of which women are a core constituency. Women vote. Women organized and turned out for the massive protests that dwarfed Trump's inauguration. Women helped elect the 2018 Democratic House, which has held up at least some of Trump's agenda and tried hard to hold Trump accountable for his crimes, not the least by actually impeaching him. Trump's support has cratered to his rabid base largely, if not exclusively, by losing womens' support.

And besides that, no, actually -- the forced birth crowd isn't into compromise anyway. Moving "a little to the right" on the issue would gain Biden nothing.

Why are we even still talking about this? The presence of Republicans at the convention was not at all to suggest that Democrats are moving toward their positions, but to tell Republicans who think Trump sucks that yes, they aren't alone in that, and it's okay to vote Biden this election.
posted by Gelatin at 7:13 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


sotonohito: I would guess that the Biden campaign thinks that giving AOC more of a platform would turn off swing voters in PA, MI, and WI, yes. She's getting the Hillary Clinton treatment from right-wing media and is pretty obviously going to be the new boogeyman. With added racism.

I don't know if the Biden campaign is right that featuring her would do more harm than good. I just don't have any way to make that judgment; they on the other hand have tons of pollsters and professionals to figure it out and have decided that it would be a mistake. That doesn't mean they are right. Clinton had tons of pollsters and pros too and we know how much focus was on Wisconsin and Michigan in that campaign.

So I don't know how much it would hurt Biden's numbers. But I don't know how much giving AOC a bigger platform would help his numbers, either. I am not sure that 4 years from now "I like this platform and candidate but AOC didn't get a speech at the DNC in 2020" is as big a deal as other things.
posted by Justinian at 7:18 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I think the point was that no one seemed to consider that bending the knee to the likes of Powell and Kaisch might ALSO have downsides and a political cost.

It's a sort of hostage taking mentality on the part of the Democratic powers that be. They presume that since Trump is so awful they can take all Democratic votes as a given and play to the right with no fear of consequences and I don't think that's true at all. Even if it's true, it's insulting and demeaning.
posted by sotonohito at 7:19 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I would guess that the Biden campaign thinks that giving AOC more of a platform would turn off swing voters in PA, MI, and WI, yes. She's getting the Hillary Clinton treatment from right-wing media and is pretty obviously going to be the new boogeyman. With added racism.

I would further guess that they discussed the situation with AOC and she agreed with their strategy. Last I looked, she was saying on Twitter that she was happy with her role at the convention and that NBC was ginning up a controversy where none existed -- putting words in her mouth, if you will.
posted by Gelatin at 7:21 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


I can think of a much simpler alternative explanation, namely that when AOC ousted a long serving right wing Democrat it scared the shit out of the party elites and they want to put a stop to that sort of thing. That basically they aren't really thinking of much beyond "JFC if they could oust Joseph Crowley then none of us are safe!"
If Biden wins AOC will be slowly demonised by the DNC.
She's the real existential threat to them, not Trump.

Now, none of this matters because one of the things the last few years has taught us is that for socialists electoralism is pretty much over. Pulling centre right parties a little to the middle and making kids spout memes about Chinese Land Reform is about the limit in the reality we inhabit. The media and campaign reform required to change this will take years. We don't have years unfortunately.
posted by fullerine at 7:23 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Why not? If electoralism is all that matters, then Biden has plenty of ground to potentially capture by moving even just a little bit to the right on abortion.

Like Gelatin said, even looking at it purely pragmatically the Democrats would lose a bunch of support if they did that. It's one of the pillars of the Democratic party. Now I get that you feel very strongly that the mainstream Democratic position on drones and other foreign adventurism is racist and horrific and that it, too, should cost a lot of votes.

The thing is, and maybe the world would be a better place if this weren't true, I think the number of votes it costs is margin of error stuff at most. Right now the folks whose votes are moved because the Democrats do drone strikes is so small I think it probably can basically be ignored in terms of electoral politics.

Let's be clear; I agree with you on the morality of a lot of these issues, I just disagree as to how much they move votes and probably how much they should move votes though that becomes quite a thorny and morally problematic quagmire.
posted by Justinian at 7:24 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


I think the point was that no one seemed to consider that bending the knee to the likes of Powell and Kaisch might ALSO have downsides and a political cost.

I think they did consider it and decided that any cost, if there was one, was much smaller than the potential benefit. Again they could be wrong but I don't think it's realistic to believe they didn't make that calculation.
posted by Justinian at 7:25 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


I think the point was that no one seemed to consider that bending the knee to the likes of Powell and Kaisch might ALSO have downsides and a political cost.

Well, maybe; or maybe they did consider that cost and considered it worth the benefit.

Biden is ahead in the polls and Trump is basically playing defense everywhere. Continuing to make him play defense seems a smart strategy. Trump craves the adulation of his base, so he will only reinforce the message given by the likes of Kasich that it's okay for the moderates of his party to walk away, and as I keep saying, Trump's base is not enough.
posted by Gelatin at 7:27 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Why are we even still talking about this? The presence of Republicans at the convention was not at all to suggest that Democrats are moving toward their positions, but to tell Republicans who think Trump sucks that yes, they aren't alone in that, and it's okay to vote Biden this election.

If this was the intent, they completely misread their audience because all the progressives I know took it as a deliberate insult and confirmation that Biden will continue trying to reach across the aisle as he has done for decades.
posted by zymil at 7:27 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


"bending the knee" to Powell seems like a weird way to describe it. Like, they aren't making Powell the Democratic nominee, they aren't bowing to him. If you're tied to that phrasing, it seems more accurate to say they are allowing Powell to bend the knee to Biden, and making a big public display about it. "See, even *he* prefers Biden to Trump!"
posted by Roommate at 7:34 AM on August 20 [31 favorites]


If this was the intent, they completely misread their audience because all the progressives I know took it as a deliberate insult and confirmation that Biden will continue trying to reach across the aisle as he has done for decades.

Absolutely Biden is sending a message that he is willing to accept the votes of a broad coalition. That's how one wins elections! Trump is the one playing to an increasingly extremist base. How's that strategy working for him?

The audience is not just progressives, it's everyone in the coalition. Again, if the calculation is that Biden has more to gain from appealing to a majority they feel is reachable versus the left wing of which they have their doubts -- and please remember, Biden won many more votes in the primary than Sanders did -- and given the polling, what evidence is there that this majoritarian strategy is unsound?

What seems unsound to me is progressives declaring they will be an unreliable and fractious member of the coalition. Seeming like one will take any opportunity to be insulted is also a factor in Biden's cost-benefit calculations. It makes sense not to work too hard to appeal to young voters, because the data indicates they won't show up anyway, so those resources are better spent elsewhere. We just had a primary that indicated there are many more non-progressive voters in the Democratic coalition than progressive ones. Progressives are and should be welcomed into that coalition, but what I see is progressives taking every opportunity to insist that the won't be. How is it rational for progressives to deal themselves out of the table?
posted by Gelatin at 7:39 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Why not? If electoralism is all that matters, then Biden has plenty of ground to potentially capture by moving even just a little bit to the right on abortion.

There actually were people calling for the Democrats to soften on abortion, a stance that was rejected by the party leadership. There's no real political gain to be made there and a lot to lose: Republicans have spent decades painting themselves as the Anti-Abortion Party that voters who cannot vote for pro-choice candidates are basically unwinnable voters, and meanwhile you'd piss off a lot of your base and a lot of the leadership who fought to defend Roe vs Wade. The Democrats made a strong statement saying that it wasn't happening.

I think people are looking at the John Kasich and Colin Powell thing all wrong. People are like 'why are you inviting these scumbags' but turnabout is fair play - for Kasich and Powell it's very much 'look who I, a Reasonable Republican, am required to associate with now' and I'm guessing they were invited on that basis. Their presence tacitly endorses the Democratic platform, which is not especially progressive but it's generally sensible 2020s neoliberal positions, which wouldn't be out of place on Angela Merkle's agenda.

I suspect that there's not a lot there for the Left for a few reasons, but the Left is far better off treating the presidential race as a lost cause and aiming for local races anyway. If Biden wins the presidency but McConnell controls the Senate, Biden won't get anything done anyway.
posted by Merus at 7:40 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


The presence of Republicans at the convention was not at all to suggest that Democrats are moving toward their positions, but to tell Republicans who think Trump sucks that yes, they aren't alone in that, and it's okay to vote Biden this election.

That is exactly their role. To give those Republican voters permission to abandon Trump, and vote Democrat this time.
posted by Pouteria at 7:42 AM on August 20 [17 favorites]


and given the polling, what evidence is there that this majoritarian strategy is unsound?


AOC: They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound.
BIDEN: Are my methods unsound?
AOC: I don't see any method at all, sir.
posted by Justinian at 7:49 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Harris making dosas with Mindy Kaling.

Oh, that was so charming! I hadn't seen it, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.
posted by mikelieman at 7:51 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


@Justinian, that quote is much more aptly applied to Trump and his campaign, I'd wager.
posted by Gelatin at 7:55 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


In all seriousness, Colin Powell has done more damage to the world than Trump. I think the reason a lot of us are so upset that the DNC would have this monster on stage is because he is exactly that, a monster. Same with Kissinger. It’s not exactly clear that this is good politics either. Clinton met with Kissinger without to much fanfare when she was campaigning. The DNC appearance makes it much more of a photo op, but I also think it underestimated how much resentment there is against the Iraq War even among the center/right. Trump himself tapped into that. Who is the DNC trying to recruit? Center-right career national security folk?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:55 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Legal abortion is popular, drone strikes are popular, more people identify as conservative than liberal.

That last one is notable - only a quarter of the us identifies as liberal. If that's the case, how small is the percentage of the general population (and not Twitter, or Tik Tok, or MF, or one person's social circle) that identifies as left? The party has to go where the votes are.
posted by factory123 at 7:59 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, Colin Powell has done more damage to the world than Trump. I think the reason a lot of us are so upset that the DNC would have this monster on stage is because he is exactly that, a monster.

And I'd love it if that were the generally held public perception, but it isn't (again -- the media is not liberal). Given that, the Democrats gain more from "Reasonable Moderate Republican Patriot Colin Powell Endorses Biden" than "Democrats Snub Powell, Call Him 'Genocidal Warmonger.'"

Yes, that sucks, but to change that situation the left has to change the public discourse. Which means, in no small part, changing the media, like the Republicans have been doing for the last 50-odd years.
posted by Gelatin at 8:02 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


I think one way to change the public discourse is to not forgive and forget monsters when they play a hand in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:04 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


A meta comment:
  • If you are unaware, this post went up because of a MetaTalk post noting that we hadn’t had a DNC thread.
  • That thread is more something of a meta-thread about how this thread is going. (It is not A politics thread.)
  • If you have opinions about how this thread is going, you should consider dropping them in that MetaTalk thread.
Thanks!
posted by Going To Maine at 8:05 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I think one way to change the public discourse is to not forgive and forget monsters when they play a hand in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Well, maybe, but again, while that's a principled stand and one I agree with, once again you're way outside the Overton Window and back to "Democrats Snub Powell, Call Him 'Genocidal Warmonger," which is probably a net vote-loser. Actions like these can't come out of the blue; they need to be part of a repeated message that injects the perception (at the very least) that "Powell let Bush use his reputation to sell an unneccesary and disastrous war" into the public perception -- which, again, includes a lot of journalists.

And again, who's saying anything about "forgiving and forgetting"? Democrats are saying that they'll happily accept the benefit of Powell's reputation, however undeserved, while giving him nothing at all in return. Powell is giving Democrats legitimacy in this scenario, not the other way around.

In 1776 the capitalists of New England allied with the slavers of the South to free themselves from the tyranny of King George. Today I will take any ally in the fight to boot Trump the hell out of the Oval Office and by a landslide at that. To that end, where is the data that it wasn't a completely rational cost-benefit decision to have Powell endorse Biden (not the other way around)?
posted by Gelatin at 8:19 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Important news from the convention, Gretchen Whitmer's "It's Shark Week, Motherfuckers" merch now available.
posted by skewed at 8:24 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


If Biden wins AOC will be slowly demonised by the DNC.

I hate the way the DNC is the bogeyman of us on the left. For starters, they're not illustrious elites. They're people that showed up to get elected by other people, built acquaintances, friendships, connections, and what not. They were elected there through layers of abstraction but they're still elected.

It's not like it's hard to take over a county Democratic Party outside urban areas or just in red states. Show up with a group of friends and you might have a decent chance. Then, depending on your state, the county might send delegates to the state executive committee or they might just plain be elected.

If people want to be insurgent and win, run for these positions. Some of them could be taken over by a few dozen people working together. It's happening a lot at grassroots level in urban areas and blue states (you can't swing a cat without hitting a heavily progressive county Democratic party here in MA) but all these red states have stuff up for grabs and everyone seems to let them chug along undisturbed despite having a proportional amount of power on the national stage.

A lot of the positions are going to be coming up for grabs in 2022 and they'll decide how the DNC looks in 2024. Start organizing. A lot of these positions go unopposed simply because nobody opposes them. Find people in districts, run them or run yourself, grab your friends and just get out there with foot traffic and start on name recognition. Repetition builds legitimacy. Repetition builds legitimacy. Repetition builds legitimacy. Young people? Get on to a college campus. Portray yourself as the insurgent, get them involved in the nuts and bolts of party building. "We're going to take over the damn DNC one seat at a time and I want this one". Don't be ashamed to put yourself out there to make things better.

Once progressives have control over a heap of state executive seats they can start to call the shots on who becomes a DNC member. They can remove assholes like Bill "I will tear the party apart before I let Sanders be the nominee btw I donate to Republicans" Owen from the DNC and rewrite the rules of the game.

In 1776 the capitalists of New England allied with the slavers of the South to free themselves from the tyranny of King George. Today I will take any ally in the fight to boot Trump the hell out of the Oval Office and by a landslide at that. To that end, where is the data that it wasn't a completely rational cost-benefit decision to have Powell endorse Biden (not the other way around)?

This. The ends justifying the means is a crap moral philosophy but us on the left have this bad habit of going too far the other way and see any sort of means to an end as evil. Instead we sit in the corners muttering to ourselves how shit things are or how much better things would be if we did truly impossible things like abolishing the electoral college and implementing an IRV popular vote for president. If we played the game just a little we could start to grab some power. But nobody (besides a few squad members) wants to deal with the actual pit of shit that is politics. Sadly, if we want results we eventually have to get down in that pit and wrestle that pig.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:29 AM on August 20 [29 favorites]


N.B. Liberals also have a bad habit of avoiding any sort of means as well but will still seek power. If anything, liberals focus too heavily on the means always producing the correct ends. Values neutral governance is like catnip to liberals.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:32 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I've come to believe over the last several years that the presidential model (as opposed to the parliamentary one) is destructive to a just, democratic society. And even with a parliamentary government, it is extremely important to not let it devolve into a two-party system. It breaks my heart to listen to the disagreements that come out of the fact that I and my fellow citizens in the US are the ones called on to compromise rather than politicians. It usually makes voting a bitter act and that's not healthy for a democracy.

Here in the Netherlands, once I'm able to vote in a few years, I'll have the choice of the GreenLeft party (which will probably be my choice, also the mayor of my city is a member), the Party for Animals (which is a lot like the GreenLeft party), the Labor Party, or the Socialist Party, and that's only if I want to vote left. If I want to vote moderate there's the pro-European social liberal D66 party. There's some conservative parties that are more like the US's Democratic party: the Christian Democratic party, the Christian Union party (well, I think these folks are anti-abortion, so more social conservative), and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, which is the kind of libertarian-lite party that is currently in power. And if you're a trumpist, tea party type there are a couple for you to choose from as well. You really can vote your conscience, you don't have to compromise.

I wish so much that, along with doing away with the electoral college, we could have a parliamentary system. You choose your party, and your party chooses its leader. The head executive office of the country isn't determined by a popularity contest, and politics isn't a team sport. Compromise and action is put to the fore, as the parties with the most votes need to form a coalition to govern and potential obstructionists can be left out of that coalition.

I can't think of any reasonable way to move the US towards a better form of government, but my god is it needed.
posted by antinomia at 8:33 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Legal abortion is popular, drone wars are popular, more people identify as conservative than liberal.

Let's be clear; I agree with you on the morality of a lot of these issues, I just disagree as to how much they move votes and probably how much they should move votes though that becomes quite a thorny and morally problematic quagmire.

And I'd love it if that were the generally held public perception, but it isn't

What exactly is the argument here? Do you just want my vote for Biden? Because you've already got that.

Am I supposed to also change my politics and learn to love drone wars too? I mean, the Iraq War was popular. It was also a war crime and a catastrophe that everyone now pretends they never actually supported anyway when they bother to remember that it happened at all.

It's okay and, in my opinion, necessary to have a political horizon that extends outside the narrow confines of US federal elections. Having one of those doesn't preclude also being clear-eyed and realistic in your assessments of the political situation in the United States.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 8:33 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Am I supposed to also change my politics and learn to love drone wars too?

Nobody wants you to love a drone war. They'd just rather that any mention of Biden doesn't come with all the baggage that comes along with being a politician for fifty years.

It's like how if you have two packs of chicken, one with hormone free on the packaging, one without. Which will the consumer choose? Well it's been proven they'll pick hormone free despite the fact that federal regulations mean no growth hormones are in our chicken. People are similarly illiterate in politics. The right doesn't talk about drone strikes Trump has done (no doubt in a far more egregious and gleeful fashion) so all it ends up doing is making them feel like Biden is a jerk even if Trump is ten times the jerk.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:42 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Am I supposed to also change my politics and learn to love drone wars too?

No, you're supposed to help make drone wars unpopular with the rest of the country, when the rest of the country is barely aware it's happening (which is, of course, the point -- drones let the US conduct operations with no risk to US lives, which is unpopular). Politicians will adopt views like that when they're shown to be electoral winners. To make them electoral winners, you need not only to make the public agree with your views, but to make sure they vote your way on the issue. I don't see the US electorate as there yet, do you?

You don't have to like it, but Biden and his people made a calculation that having Powell endorse him is a net plus for re-election, and no one has shown data (other than "it makes me feel icky," and I'm with you there, but still) that they miscalculated in that regard.
posted by Gelatin at 8:45 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]




Luckily, excepting the unlawful seizure of power that Trump has done, congress determines spending, not the president. So that's who we need to lean on.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:54 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


You don't have to like it, but Biden and his people made a calculation that having Powell endorse him is a net plus for re-election, and no one has shown data (other than "it makes me feel icky," and I'm with you there, but still) that they miscalculated in that regard.

I would hope we could agree that when considering committing an evil act for the sake of pragmatic benefit (platforming a war criminal to help Biden), the burden of proof should be on those arguing for the benefit, not those arguing against platforming the evil person.
posted by chortly at 8:56 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


I think one way to change the public discourse is to not forgive and forget monsters when they play a hand in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

I 100% agree that America's longstanding program of extrajudicial murder and war is abhorrent and criminal. In a just world, Obama would be in the dock in the Hague for it along with Trump, Bush, and Clinton. (In an even more just world, the murders would never have happened because no government would be so stupid as to do something that would immediately get them arrested, tried, and convicted.)

So let's take it as given that I will never forget or forgive Biden, Powell, etc for their hand in it. But what do you want me to actually do about it, with regard to the general election specifically? Vote for someone other than Biden in the general election? Abstain? Vote for Biden, but say 50 Our Bernies on Twitter as penance?

I see dozens of comments in this thread arguing about morally acceptable mental states. This is, to be blunt, a pointless argument that can only ever succeed in producing anger. Your ballot does not count twice if you check the box with righteous zeal, nor does it count half as much if you check the box with your nose held. There is no "I abstain because the candidate is [ ] immoral [ ] too moderate" check box on the ballot. Arguing about how a hypothetical Biden administration will interpret our individual voting choices is the political equivalent of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
posted by jedicus at 8:58 AM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Luckily, excepting the unlawful seizure of power that Trump has done, congress determines spending, not the president. So that's who we need to lean on.

Progressives better start now because Chuck Schumer needs to know he's going to fight the primary of his fucking life in 2022.

the burden of proof should be on those arguing for the benefit, not those arguing against platforming the evil person.

Do you want the philosophical victory or the power to make the change? Because there's millions out there that will be starving but can't survive on philosophical victory, delicious as it may be.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:59 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


And look at the leader of Biden's transition team, they are already pre-conceding that they will be doing nothing, austerity ahoy.

Yes, Republicans have been pulling that trick for decades -- cut taxes, deficit spend on Republicans priorities, and then start howling about the deficit again the minute a Democrat is elected.

Republicans also leave messes due to their generally failed policies, leaving Democrats to do the hard (and sometimes unpopular) work of cleaning up the mess.

This messaging is unfortunate, though it's good that Democrats are pointing out that Republicans have left a huge mess for Democrats to clean up Heck, Trump got a lot of mileage out of claiming the same for Obama even though he -- like George W. Bush -- inherited peace and prosperity and managed to louse it up.

"Being constrained due to deficits" is the message that the Wall Street Journal wants to hear. But it isn't necessarily pre-conceding that Democrats "will be doing nothing;" it's pointing out that the Republicans (who allegedly care about deficits -- Ron Howard Narrator Voice: They don't) left a big mess to clean up.
posted by Gelatin at 9:01 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Am I allowed to say that I’m not sure I want America to continue being a superpower, and the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump

apparently, you are, because your commented hasn't been deleted. So hooray for freedom.

Now let me tell you where I feel you're wrong. It's quite simple really. What you're presenting is an end justifying means argument. This is a wartime argument. That is, the end only really justifies the means in a war situation, when the means being pursued are already catastrophic. So you're basically advocating for catastrophe (which generally lands more on the poor and disadvantaged than any other crowd) in the hope (and that's all it is) that something good might eventually come of it.

As for America's hegemony ending, I wouldn't be remotely surprised to discover that history eventually points at the past few years as a major part of that -- that in electing a fundamentally incompetent fool to lead it, the empire effectively wrote its own death warrant. In other words, the American Empire (TM) will not ever recover from Trump.
posted by philip-random at 9:02 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


I think the biggest mistake that Democrats in general, and leftists in particular, make is thinking that policy qua policy wins elections.

I would guess that the Biden campaign thinks that giving AOC more of a platform would turn off swing voters in PA, MI, and WI, yes.

The apotheosis of the current Democratic party leadership is the assurance that policies make no electoral difference whatsoever, but how many minutes the left is given on TV has dire import for swing state electorates.

Do you want the philosophical victory or the power to make the change? Because there's millions out there that can't eat a philosophical victory, delicious as it may be.

Again: I claim that platforming war criminals has no electoral benefit. It is unquesitonably evil, and without strong proof of benefit, it should not be undertaken. The "philosophy" here is speculating that it has some effect. But it's not speculation to say that it's evil. Heck, I'm willing to entertain evil means to good ends, but I need lots of public opinion proof or focus groups or whatever, not just trusting the judgment of the Biden team.

More broadly, what's systematic here is that there is very little evidence either for policies or speakers having any effect on anything, but the DNC and its defenders make strong pragmatic claims for the necessity of the latter with even less evidence than there is for policies.
posted by chortly at 9:04 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


I see dozens of comments in this thread arguing about morally acceptable mental states. This is, to be blunt, a pointless argument that can only ever succeed in producing anger.

This seems to be the case for every position here, not just leftists calling out white supremacy.

None of our comments are going to make a material difference for Biden or the election here and that's okay because Metafilter is a community discussion site, not a magical electoralism boosting platform.
posted by Ouverture at 9:05 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


There better be a balloon drop tonight or I'm setting my house on fire.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:06 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


There are a lot of threads here so I’m trying to reply to two topics at once.

I hate the way the DNC is the bogeyman of us on the left. For starters, they're not illustrious elites. They're people that showed up to get elected by other people, built acquaintances, friendships, connections, and what not. They were elected there through layers of abstraction but they're still elected.

I agree with what you are saying to a degree, Your Childhood Pet Rock. Local races are important, that’s understandable, and sure, lots of people don’t realize that, but getting yourself up to the DNC or whatever level where there is “power” does require “power”, typically in the form of wealthy donors, who will do everything they can to invest in ruining a progressive’s chance of getting ahold of that “power”.
In the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary, more than half a dozen donors turned to Jonathan Kott, a former longtime aide to West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. “A lot of Democrats were surprised that Bernie Sanders had been able to avoid the scrutiny of a front runner,” Kott says, “and they decided to act and make sure voters had all the information about his radical views before they voted.”

Kott formed the Big Tent Project, a group which, as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, does not have to disclose its donors. Within days the group received more than $1 million, which it poured into ads in Nevada and South Carolina to sow doubt about Sanders’ ability to deliver on his policy platform. “Socialist Bernie Sanders promises the world,” stated one ad that aired in both states. “But at what cost? $60 trillion.” Donations to the group picked up even more after Sanders’ win in Nevada on Feb. 22, according to Kott, who says he’s steadily been receiving more six- and seven-figure donations and is closing in on $3 million.

[...]

Rufus Gifford, a Biden fundraiser, says there is still time for the party to unify around a Sanders alternative.”When it becomes clear what the Bernie alternative is, you’re going to see the donor community – both high dollar and grassroots – coalesce around that person,” he says.
There was a lot of confusion amongst Democratic donors and megadonors about what to do leading up to Bernie’s ascension, with so many people in the race. However, here comes another piece of the “elite” portion of the DNC conundrum.
Biden is counting on a win in South Carolina's primary Saturday to revive his candidacy.

African Americans are expected to make up about 60% of Saturday's Democratic electorate, based on past turnout. And Biden got a boost Wednesday with an endorsement there from Rep. Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the US House of Representatives who is the nation's highest-ranking African American in Congress and a respected figure in the state's black community.

[...]

Biden entered February with just $7.1 million in cash reserves, according to his campaign's most recent filings with the FEC. By comparison, Sanders had nearly $17 million remaining in his campaign account. Warren was in the most precarious position among the top-tier Democratic candidates, with just $2.3 million remaining her account, including $400,000 she drew from a line of credit her campaign secured in January.
Now, we know that Obama pulled some moves behind the scenes for Biden, and Bill Clinton used a part of his speech at Rep. Lewis’ funeral to thank Clyburn (a man who is paid off by the health insurance industry) for destroying Bernie’s campaign.

Bernie was the biggest threat to the Democratic Party. He had BARELY lost to Buttigieg in one state, and crushed it in all the other states leading up to South Carolina. Biden’s campaign was nearly DEAD going into SC. Then, all of a sudden, the media and everybody was pouring support behind Biden. He was suddenly the “clear front-runner”. Suddenly all the other candidates bailed out, suddenly they all backed Biden (and Warren declined to do anything but go on SNL 🙄). What happened behind the scenes there? There’s sprinklings of hints about the Democratic donor and elite political class pulling strings to make sure Biden had a clear path to the presidency, because the DNC and its wealthy and political elite were petrified.

This leads into the last few posts about “drone wars” and such being popular: if you don’t have a media class funded appropriately to do investigations and actually perform, you know, journalism, they’re basically going to manufacture consent. If the majority of people support “drone wars”, how many of them know the details of such weapons? Children being torn to shreds in weddings where a single guy may or may not be with the Taliban. Entire families destroyed in an instant. Multiple generations traumatized. If people were actually given that information, shown the carnage, would they support drone wars?
posted by gucci mane at 9:08 AM on August 20 [25 favorites]


I've watched a chunk of the DNC content via the PBS NewsHour coverage.

Watching it unfold encouraged me to think about how I obtain and process political information. I hope that this year's online DNC convention will continue in some form, because this approach filtered out some of the spectacle and pageantry that aren't appealing to me.

Speakers not diving for applause lines or pointing at friends in the crowd refocused my attention on what they were saying. A few ordinary Americans were mixed into the presentations in a more natural fashion, without the stage fright of speaking to thousands of people.

The PBS reporters did not have to engage in surface-level filler comments about the set design (i.e. the podium is made from wood hewn by loggers that are a key demo for this candidate...), although Lisa Desjardins did make a few comments about the empty parking lot where she was reporting from. Of course, she did get inside with two dozen other reporters to watch the Harris speech. She briefly commented about the speech and then shuffled unceremoniously out of the room at the end.

I hope that this disruption that was forced on the DNC will help them to revise their information strategy for 2024. I'd love to see Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez contribute to a digital convention effort to supplement the live events and bring younger voters information in a way that meets them on the online ground that is familiar to them.
posted by JDC8 at 9:09 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Do you want the philosophical victory or the power to make the change? Because there's millions out there that will be starving but can't survive on philosophical victory, delicious as it may be.

It is confusing to claim to be "on the left" or talk about "us on the left" and then minimize the millions already starving as a result of the white supremacist policies enacted by the administration Biden spent 8 years in and is staking his entire campaign on. Do Yemeni and Iraqi lives not matter because they can't cast votes in American elections?

I appreciate Justinian's honesty on this. I understand a position of "I think these policies are atrocious, but I don't think this will move votes against someone who is going to so much worse than Biden and will permanently close the door for anything better in the future". I actually agree with that! But I also don't think Biden coming out against drone strikes will make a difference either because most Americans right now care about jobs and healthcare.

For a lot of others here, I can't tell if they oppose these policies or if they are using electoral concerns as a cover for not having to actually articulate that they prefer these policies. That's some wild shit, but then again, as you have all mentioned multiple times, drone strikes are popular among Americans.
posted by Ouverture at 9:13 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Politicians will adopt views like that when they're shown to be electoral winners. To make them electoral winners, you need not only to make the public agree with your views, but to make sure they vote your way on the issue. I don't see the US electorate as there yet, do you?

I mean, to me, this is what the Bernie campaign was trying to do (and was quite successful at even if it wasn't enough to secure Sanders the nomination in the end). It's what the Squad is trying to do. To some extent, it's what I'm trying to do right here.

The fact that it has been less than completely successful so far is neither particularly surprising nor a reason to bail on the project. Which is what it seems to me that some people are in effect arguing for.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 9:18 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


For a lot of others here, I can't tell if they oppose these policies or if they are using electoral concerns as a cover for not having to actually articulate that they prefer these policies.

I resent that. Of course I don't want to bomb anyone in Yemen. Or anywhere. But I don't have those choices given to me by the citizenry when it comes down to the final two. So I choose the lesser of two evils because while I'll be fine there's people who can't afford me to not get involved or attempt to sabotage the outcome in some sort of kamikaze attack from the moral high ground. Hence I choose pragmatism over deontology. Ultimately I believe that every one of our elected Democrats are doing what they ultimately think is right even though I think they're often doing it wrong or too conservatively or insufficiently aggressively as an armchair quarterback. They're not magic wand wavers. There are more than the left to whom they are accountable and those people also get a say. There is not always a good choice. They can't be 100% of the time correct on 100% of issues that 100% of the base will agree with.

I agree with what you are saying to a degree, Your Childhood Pet Rock. Local races are important, that’s understandable, and sure, lots of people don’t realize that, but getting yourself up to the DNC or whatever level where there is “power” does require “power”, typically in the form of wealthy donors, who will do everything they can to invest in ruining a progressive’s chance of getting ahold of that “power”.

I believe you're right to some extent. Power is a thumb on the scale but there's only so many thumbs in the world that can push against people power. Bloomberg put over half a billion dollars into his campaign to get bagel. With that kind of money you would think the final two would come down to Bloomberg v Biden not Sanders v Biden.

People look to help each other in order to accomplish goals. This is exactly what elite politicians do albeit with exceptional skill. Do I think it's a good thing that megadonors can have such wild influence? No. Do I blame politicians for having to kowtow to them? To an extent. Should us on the left be doing the same thing but with the masses instead of the elite megadonors? Hell yes! Do we? Not really...
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:26 AM on August 20 [12 favorites]


as you have all mentioned multiple times, drone strikes are popular among Americans

First of all, I second YCPR's resentment at your implication.

Second of all, it all depends on how you frame it, doesn't it? I actually doubt Americans think much about drone strikes at all, far from being "popular." But if the options are "American soldiers die countering a clear and present danger to the nation" versus "said clear and present danger is eliminated at no risk to American lives," of course it'd be popular. Which is why Congress needs to make sure the Executive uses this power sparingly and judiciously (which for one thing means repealing the AUMF).

The problem is, as those of us who argued -- futilely -- against the second Gulf War remember, is that it's awfully difficult to advocate for rational and just policy when the electorate is subject to fear mongering about "terrorists" or "Communists" or whatever. And that fact isn't limited to Americans, either.

So again, I'd love to hear your solution, but the problem is much bigger than simply who is president.
posted by Gelatin at 9:38 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Bloomberg put over half a billion dollars into his campaign to get bagel.

Stop erasing American Samoa.
posted by Justinian at 9:39 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


the fastest path to ending American hegemony is Trump

Just here to say I am really really pleased that this is a comment and the responses to it (Ctrl-F for them) really really help me, an over-thinker, process this particular piece of our political puzzle. I get it, I know where you're coming from on this. In contrast to the numerous metaphors laid out above, however, I'd much, MUCH prefer to take the Buzz Lightyear approach, and fall with style and grace, not dry out and become a tinderbox until we spontaneously combust, as Trump's existence and presidency threatens to do.

In short: I'd prefer the US be 'a' leader, not 'the' leader on things. Emeritus status, whatever you want to call it.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:40 AM on August 20


Weirdly, I'm far more annoyed at Bloomberg being given a speaking spot than Kasich or Dent or whoever. Maybe if I, too, get enough money I can buy a speaking slot. I'll just stare silently into the camera for 10 minutes "The Artist Is Present" style and then throw money into the crowd as I walk off (assuming we go back to crowds post-plague).
posted by Justinian at 9:50 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


I'm far more annoyed at Bloomberg being given a speaking spot than Kasich or Dent or whoever.

I'm concerned that the two people speaking before Joe are Bloomberg and Andrew Yang. Like, are they representative of the future?
posted by FJT at 9:53 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Progressives better start now because Chuck Schumer needs to know he's going to fight the primary of his fucking life in 2022.

I wouldn't mind voting for Senator Ocasio-Cortez.
posted by mikelieman at 9:54 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I resent that. Of course I don't want to bomb anyone in Yemen. Or anywhere. But I don't have those choices given to me by the citizenry when it comes down to the final two. So I choose the lesser of two evils because while I'll be fine there's people who can't afford me to not get involved or attempt to sabotage the outcome in some sort of kamikaze attack from the moral high ground. Hence I choose pragmatism over deontology.

Plenty of people across the political spectrum, even "on the left", are resentful when they are called out for their support of white supremacist policies, even if it is gilded over with arguments of pragmatism. The motivation or justification for that support, no matter how noble it seems to the supporter, does not magically make the impact of those policies less white supremacist.

Ultimately I believe that every one of our elected Democrats are doing what they ultimately think is right even though I think they're often doing it wrong or too conservatively or insufficiently aggressively as an armchair quarterback. They're not magic wand wavers. There are more than the left to whom they are accountable and those people also get a say. There is not always a good choice. They can't be 100% of the time correct on 100% of issues that 100% of the base will agree with.

Yes, I agree elected Democrats are doing what they think is right. But what they "ultimately think is right" also aligns neatly with the interests of health insurance companies, the finance sector, and defense manufacturers that systematically devalue and treat as expendable the lives of poor people and people of color. This deprivation was already at billions of years of life stolen and lost during the Obama years, primarily from poor people of color.

I look forward to ousting them as you said and dragging them to the Hague for crimes against humanity. But that only happens with leverage. And the time during a primary along with right before an election is the moment where the marginalized have the most leverage. Staying meek and quiet is not an option for those who lack the privilege to think the status quo before Trump was at all good in any way.
posted by Ouverture at 10:00 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


One thing I don't think I said right, or enough, or possibly at all, is that I'm convinced the convention strategy is a practical failure not just a moral failure.

There's this idea: "Maybe there are Republican white guys who can be persuaded to vote for us if we ignore Democrats and pander to the Republicans enough", and it's been the dominant force in Democratic political strategy for literally my entire politically aware life.

The thing is, it isn't just a nifty idea, it's a testable hypothesis. And it fails every single time it is tested.

So here we are, again, with the Democrats telling the left they aren't welcome in order to chase after that elusive "Reagan Democrat". And this time they're telling us that they really, REALLY, need to go all in on chasing after the mythic moderate Republican that it's necessary to call in Republican war criminals in order to chase after them.

And, I don't think it will work.

Not because I'm a childish leftist who demands purity, but because we've seen the Democrats try pandering to the right and punching hippies as their galaxy brain political strategy for 40 years now, and it has never once gotten any significant number of Republicans to vote for them.

So in addition to being morally repugnant and personally insulting, it seems to match Einstein's definition of insanity. The future of America as a democratic nation is at stake here, so the big brains in the Party have decided to.... double down on a morally repugnant strategy that has never worked.

If they were saying that the ends justify the means and they were getting the desired ends that'd be one thing. But when they say the ends justify the means, and they don't get their ostensibly desired ends, I can't help but suspect that maybe they just really love the means.

Justinian & FTJ For the record I'm about as enraged at the inclusion of silicon valley failed techbro Yang over the Squad as I am at the inclusion of war criminal Colon Powell over the Squad.

He was right about the UBI, that's literally all I can say about him.
posted by sotonohito at 10:01 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


John Negroponte endorsing Biden - I think we can now confirm that these people aren't expressing a moral objection to Trump but rather see that Biden will execute the kind of foreign policy they want more competently. Sucks for people in the global South but at least trump will be off the news for Americans.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:06 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


so the thing is, even though a lot of people don't self-identify as liberal (whether because they think liberals are too commie or not commie enough), progressive policies are popular

the democratic party, as it currently exists, doesn't care.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:08 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


There's this idea: "Maybe there are Republican white guys who can be persuaded to vote for us if we ignore Democrats and pander to the Republicans enough", and it's been the dominant force in Democratic political strategy for literally my entire politically aware life.

The thing is, it isn't just a nifty idea, it's a testable hypothesis. And it fails every single time it is tested.


There's a very rational answer for why this occurs: Democrats can appeal to the right, possibly gain more voters, and maintain support from the corporate/business class. Democrats cannot appeal to the left and do this.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:08 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


it fails every single time it is tested

It worked in 2018. By way of comparison, Sanders lost votes from 2016 to 2020 and, of course, lost both those primaries. Justice dems have won something like 5 out of a couple hundred primaries. Tacking left doesn't have a great track record.
posted by factory123 at 10:08 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


This seems to be the case for every position here, not just leftists calling out white supremacy.

I agree, but it's pretty clear what moderate/liberal/progressive commenters want in terms of action regarding the general election specifically: vote for Biden.

I reviewed the thread twice, but I still can't tell what you want in that regard. If you want a discussion rather than calls to action then what do you want the discussion to be about?

If your position is that we shouldn't vote for Biden because he's a criminal and white supremacist and supporting him makes us complicit in his crimes and white supremacy, then I agree with the premise but not the conclusion. I'm already complicit in both because I'm a white person who pays US taxes and participates in US capitalism. Voting for the lesser of two evils in a general election does not seem like a qualitatively different level of complicity to me.

right before an election is the moment where the marginalized have the most leverage.

Is the suggestion then that we should threaten to withhold our votes in the general election in order to try to extract policy concessions? I think that's an unlikely strategy (too easy to call the bluff, and if it's not a bluff then it's a very dangerous strategy), but I see the sense in it.
posted by jedicus at 10:12 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Is the suggestion then that we should threaten to withhold our votes in the general election in order to try to extract policy concessions?

It's descriptive, not prescriptive. No one has the power to tell non-voters to get up and vote, people suggesting 'maybe endorse popular policies that will radically improve people's lives' are making the observation that that might convince people that actually voting might be worth it.

posted by Space Coyote at 10:15 AM on August 20


The problem is that non voters don't follow politics, so how do you get them to vote based on policy? This theory that folks would come out for the right policies was also a pretty explicit assumption of the Sanders campaign, and it just didn't work.
posted by factory123 at 10:24 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Sucks for people in the global South but at least trump will be off the news for Americans.

I imagine that Biden will be responsible for / and enact policies that will produce exponentially less misery than Trump. The future is uncertain, but we’ve seen Trump and as a tax paying USian who lives outside the US (and has for the past decade+), who the president is is important for the rest of the world. And Trump is bad for all of us. I will hold my nose, vote for Biden and hope he and (if god so wills it) Ms. Harris will lead the country with the greater good and the ideals of the Constitution (just the good parts, natch, not the historically accurate parts) as their guiding light.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:24 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


jedius For me i'd argue my objection is more about a foolishly missed opportunity rather than anything else. We're stuck with Biden, yes.

I think we should be organizing, right this second, for protests at his inauguration and ongoing mass scale protests demanding he move leftward and make formal apologies for his imperialist and white supremacist actions.

But what I'm objecting to with regards to the convention is that the Democrats had a once in a lifetime opportunity to convince an entire cohort to identify as Democrats, and instead they decided to double down on the failed strategy of hippie punching in a futile effort to appeal to the right.

Remember, the nominee is cranky Joe Biden who likes to stick his finger in young women's faces while he screams at them that he's 100% right and they're 100% wrong and stupid to boot. The nominee is cruel Joe Biden who literally declared that he has no empathy for young people and their problems. And his running mate is a cop who opposed police reform.

The Democrats needed a counter for that as a way of trying to reach out to their future voters. They desperately needed some way of saying "OK, young people, I know our nominee basically hates you and wants you to get off his lawn, but the Party as a whole has a place for you even if right now the nominee loathes you." Giving airtime to their rising young stars might not have guaranteed the younger cohorts became Democrats, but it would have at least been an attempt at doing so.

Instead they snubbed the younger voters and invited a war criminal to speak. Teens and young adults aren't very nuanced, but they are often very perceptive of social slights.

But the damage is done, so I'll STFU myself on the topic.

Maybe Biden will use his speech tonight to do the necessary outreach. Or at least his scriptwriters will. I hope so. It won't be as good as actually having the Squad speak, but he could still do some good if he can keep a lid on the withering contempt he tends to use when talking to younger people.
posted by sotonohito at 10:26 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


If your theory of politics is "the only people who vote (and are able to vote) are the people who vote today, who are reactionary mush brained centrists with no regard for the future, who hate socialism and brown people and therefore you can only say and do things that appeal to them to win" how the hell are you then supposed to turn that win into doing things that need to be done but are unpopular with that sliver of the population you've resigned yourself to appealing too?

Especially when what needs to be done is to radically restructure society and redistribute resources and power, maximally to the short term disadvantage of that self same sliver.
posted by Reyturner at 10:26 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


If you think that the people whose support you need are "reactionary mush brained centrists," you're probably going to have a hard time building that particular coalition.
posted by factory123 at 10:36 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Well, I guess you're right. After all, a Pyrrhic victory is still victory, right? That's what counts.
posted by Reyturner at 10:38 AM on August 20


"I think we should be organizing, right this second, for protests at his inauguration and ongoing mass scale protests demanding he move leftward and make formal apologies for his imperialist and white supremacist actions."

Maybe you should spend that organizing energy on getting out the vote so that he actually wins, first.
posted by tavella at 10:40 AM on August 20 [22 favorites]


Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is serving me ads on the Washington Post page of all places, saying that "the radical leftist takeover of Biden is complete."
posted by postel's law at 10:53 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Same here. That is an acutely strange use of ad dollars.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:59 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


On the back of the biggest expansion of public healthcare in America's history Republicans won both houses of government and complete control of 25 states. The result of losing all those states in a census year caused gerrymandering on an unheard scale and the repercussions will be almost impossible to dismantle and probably not be solved for decades.

Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina. All of these states have had house seats locked up by gerrymandering off the back of 2010's catastrophic loss.

What the hell is that supposed to tell the Democrats? Make huge public policy improvements and die on that hill once a generation? This was the left's biggest chance if a decade to prove it could be a political force in this country and they came back with a resounding fucking "meh". So yeah, I don't blame establishment Democrats for a second to do anything but be dragged leftwards kicking and screaming. Because going out on the limb left them falling straight out of the tree.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:01 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


I would argue that there was widespread discontent from the ACA because many viewed it as a watered down compromise.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:04 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Which was Lieberman's fault, not the Democrats. He wouldn't be the 60th vote unless the public option wasn't there. Blaming the Democratic Party for their opposition is this country's closest thing to a national sport.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:07 AM on August 20 [15 favorites]


Pelosi endorses Kennedy over Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary race
Pelosi's endorsement of Kennedy is a snub of Markey, who was one of Pelosi's longtime House colleagues. In 2007, Pelosi tapped Markey as chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which existed until 2011 after the Republicans retook the House.

Markey has established his progressive bona fides in the Senate, and was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal. He has been endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and also has the support of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Markey has accused Kennedy of trading on his famous family name to get elected to the Senate. In a heated debate last week for CBS affiliate WBZ-TV, Markey asked Kennedy if his father is funding a super PAC responsible for attack ads.

"Tell your father right now that you don't want money to go into a super PAC that runs negative ads. Just tell your twin brother and tell your father you don't want any money to be spent on negative ads," Markey said.
What earthly reason is there for this? Markey has been a loyal foot soldier in the House and the Senate, and is the perfect example for the establishment to tout as working with and building bridges to the left wing of the elected Dems. Kennedy is...a Kennedy, and not a particularly good or liberal one at that.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 11:18 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


I would argue that there was widespread discontent from the ACA because many viewed it as a watered down compromise.

If you think the Republican wave in 2010 was because people didn't think the ACA went far enough, I just don't know what to say to you. The ACA was branded as a socialist government takeover, going too far. It mobilized Republicans to turn out in unprecedented numbers and Democrats took it on the chin.
posted by JackFlash at 11:19 AM on August 20 [21 favorites]


Also, isn't "don't primary incumbents" like the first and second laws of Democratic Fight Club? And didn't Kennedy refuse to help unseat Republicans just a few years ago?
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 11:22 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure that relitigating "Was the ACA backlash justified or was it a 90's Republican plan dressed up for the modern Overton Window?" is much better than relitigating the 2016 primaries + election.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:22 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


What earthly reason is there for this? Markey has been a loyal foot soldier in the House and the Senate, and is the perfect example for the establishment to tout as working with and building bridges to the left wing of the elected Dems. Kennedy is...a Kennedy, and not a particularly good or liberal one at that.

I assume it's because Markey is one of the people trying to drag the party to the left while Kennedy wants nice Massachusetts centrism. I told both my wife and my uncle-in-law to vote for Markey in the primary when they asked.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:23 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Also, isn't "don't primary incumbents" like the first and second laws of Democratic Fight Club?

That rule is out the window now that its clear that The Squad aren't secretly hated by their constituents.
posted by Reyturner at 11:23 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Also that quantitative easing left a huge number of people behind, while making whole companies and people who gambled on housing first. That's a big part of why 10 went badly, the other half is outright racism stoked by the right.
posted by Ferreous at 11:25 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]




Yes, I agree elected Democrats are doing what they think is right. But what they "ultimately think is right" also aligns neatly with the interests of health insurance companies, the finance sector, and defense manufacturers that systematically devalue and treat as expendable the lives of poor people and people of color. This deprivation was already at billions of years of life stolen and lost during the Obama years, primarily from poor people of color.

I look forward to ousting them as you said and dragging them to the Hague for crimes against humanity. But that only happens with leverage.


So you are advocating dragging the Obama administration to Hague for crimes against humanity? You’d like for “the finance, defense, and health payer sectors” to be investigated for “years of live stolen”? Do you understand how the ICC operates?

Trying to understand.

Only on Metafilter does a thread on the DNC convention to defeat Trump in2020 devolve into “the finance, health, and defense sectors of the Obama years must be charged with crimes against humanity in the Hague.”

Yes, everyone is able to share their own opinions about things here on MeFI. Seriously, advocating for the entire financial sector and Obama administration to dragged to the Hague while Trump and his administration is in office? Really? That is not comprehensible to me. Most Democrats I know are focusing their energy and messaging IRL and on other platforms now on voting out Trump and electing Biden. I sure hope the Progressives here are doing the same.
posted by Abacus Bean at 11:27 AM on August 20 [14 favorites]


I've been I guess protecting my mental health by sort of dipping into this thread only here and there. But I wanted to address a comment a while back with my personal take.

Somebody pushed back on the criticism of the Biden criticism, saying, essentially, why can't I say I will vote for him but I have the following reservations, A, B, C, D.

Speaking as myself as somebody who is stressed by the election but is phone banking, I will say this. You're potentially negatively impacting the morale of people who have to make decisions as to whether or not they are going to do shit like phone banking.

Now, if this were a matter of say, determining who wins some literary prize, I'd say, make all your reservations known! Blaze away!

But really, since what we're talking about is, as Sedaris put it recently, a choice between chicken and dogshit dipped in glass, I feel like what you're doing is just discouraging people who are trying to get Trump out of office from engaging in this space, or potentially, engaging in political discourse altogether. And that's not something you (meaning you people who are saying I'll vote for Biden but) are doing that is a good thing.
posted by angrycat at 11:27 AM on August 20 [28 favorites]


I sure hope the Progressives here are doing the same.

You seem to have a real problem with the kinds of people who have averaged something like 2 comments a day across this entire website so far this year.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 11:32 AM on August 20


I'm disappointed by the speakers selected for this convention - I will never forgive Powell in particular for throwing in with the war on Iraq - but I wonder if we're maybe substantially overestimating the impact of a few nights of livestreamed speeches. I mean, how many 18-34-year-olds are actually watching the convention? How many will remember it by November? I mean, I'm a little outside that demographic now, but I was in my early 20s, living in DC and working in politics in 2004, having spent a good chunk of the prior year in Iowa for Howard Dean, and I think I maybe watched Obama's speech that year and no others. I don't remember watching any speeches in 2008 or 2012 or 2016.

The selection of speakers is an ill omen to the extent it foreshadows what Biden's approach to staffing the executive branch will be, but I think it's just as likely that the campaign thinks that most people watching the convention are people who are used to getting a lot of their news from TV (i.e., older Americans) and that they will be receptive to the pitch they're throwing here. Maybe they're right about that or maybe they're wrong, but it doesn't seem like something to get all that upset about, and certainly nothing that would justify not voting for Biden if you otherwise would do so.
posted by burden at 11:33 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Bear with me on my somewhat unfounded conspiracy thinking 11th D chess theory here:
The DNC is clearly pushing the Biggest Tent, running candidates who have clear mass market appeal, openly trying to pull centrist R and classic D votes...and to my eye (keeping in mind that I've only been a voter since Bush v Gore) this all points to a long term goal to devour the Republican party. The extreme edge of the Rs are currently unfeasible for even voted-R-forever people, the internet is awash with people expressing dire regret for voting Trump, and the convention made it clear that they are the alternative for All Americans, that they will follow policies that are anti Trump to Save America with equal time and weight as they will follow the classic D vision. The Republican party is in bits, and the people adhering to the Trump Party Line are unsustainable. The next generation of D voters are activated by AOC and Sanders, politicians farther left than the average Democrat party Line has been in living memory. Absorbing the "normal Right" and becoming, as we point out ceaselessly, what the R party was pre Reagan (or at least pre Trump) moves the party far enough right that they both gobble up the true R base and potentially leave a gap for an actual sustainable party on the Left.
None of these people are stupid. Absorbing the moderate-compared-to-Trump Repubs, running a candidate who is safely centrist with a former prosecutor at his side, but still tacking Left, could result in the dismantling of the damned party of traitors who followed Trump into the gates of this hell we're trapped in.
I know this sounds outlandish but it's the story I'm telling myself to vote blue this election. Imagine a Harris v Ocasio-Cortez election in 8 years. Not a primary, but a real November choice! That's possible given the amount of damage Trump has done to the legitimacy of the Republican party. The DNC may be aiming higher than we expect, and inviting a parade of center-right war criminals who have the benefit of fuzzy non-Trump nostalgia would be the best way to pull it off.
posted by zinful at 11:39 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


It doesn't matter how much damage trump did to the gop because the Senate makes nearly empty states full of angry racist assholes have massively outsized influence.
posted by Ferreous at 11:44 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


The schedule posted on demconvention.com shows speakers starting at 9:00 Eastern time every night. Broadcast TV jumps in at 10. If you want to see any of the earlier speakers (like Hillary Clinton last night) you had to be on CNN or MSNBC or maybe PBS, and hope they didn’t pre-empt it for some pointless talking head interruption. I didn’t find a livestream on YouTube either, though that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

I don’t know when Colin Powell actually spoke or for how long. I don’t know what he said beyond something about saluting. I think it was early Monday; he’s not on the posted schedule. I’d be interested to see if anybody actually watched the speech—not just on Metafilter, but like anywhere.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:45 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


American two-party politics: the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:58 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


The schedule posted on demconvention.com shows speakers starting at 9:00 Eastern time every night. Broadcast TV jumps in at 10. If you want to see any of the earlier speakers (like Hillary Clinton last night) you had to be on CNN or MSNBC or maybe PBS, and hope they didn’t pre-empt it for some pointless talking head interruption. I didn’t find a livestream on YouTube either, though that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

It is also streaming live on C-Span, and you can access an archive of prior nights on their site (the page defaults to the current night, but check the upper right for a pulldown menu for prior nights). Its neatly chopped up segment by segment for targeted viewing. Powell's 3 minutes are here.
posted by anastasiav at 12:01 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


The endorsing Kennedy thing is so frustrating. Pelosi and almost all the house lined up behind Dan Lipinski, an anti abortion, anti aca rep in a safe blue seat. Why the fuck is he worth defending but Markey isn't?
posted by Ferreous at 12:03 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


I would argue that there was widespread discontent from the ACA because many viewed it as a watered down compromise.

That would be a better world than we actually live in. The 2010 CCES directly asked respondents whether they supported or opposed the ACA. The simple breakdown by ideology looks like this, where the numbers are proportions who support it and where we would expect to see a dropoff in support among the most liberal respondents if you're right:
. tab ideo, s(voteaca)

            |         Summary of voteaca
   ideology |        Mean   Std. Dev.       Freq.
------------+------------------------------------
          1 |   .93137991   .25283864       3,993
          2 |   .92755952   .25923479       6,847
          3 |   .88226032   .32232782       5,716
          4 |   .66749073   .47113476      10,517
          5 |   .30932685   .46225362       6,165
          6 |   .11908901    .3239073      11,504
          7 |   .08904698   .28482901       8,153
------------+------------------------------------
      Total |   .49411097   .49997004      52,895
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:12 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


I'm just gonna apologize up front because this is really long and it's basically an emotional rant. If it's going to be a derail or a fight-starter, I'm fine with it getting axed. I typed it out partly just to vent and push back against what I feel is a really gaslighty tendency to look around and declare everything is basically fine when, no, everything is on fire - in multiple places literally - and partly because I think there are some genuine differences in perspective here that lead to complete misunderstandings. I wanted to help clarify mine, but I got carried away because, man, everything is just too much right now.

So. For those who are genuinely confused by why some people are talking about wide, deep systemic changes and trying Obama for war crimes and dismantling the military-industrial complex and declawing if not outright killing corporations and making them national services and mildly criticizing Biden/Harris or whatever other "extreme leftist" positions: it's because failure to address systemic dysfunction and rot - and an agreed-upon denial of reality in order to better facilitate business interests - that goes back before I was even born is, along with shifting demographics and subsequent white supremacist reactionary-ness, largely how we got here in the first place. The messaging from Democrats has largely been that we need to dump Trump so we can "go back to normal." But normal is gone, and it was killing many of us anyway, so that message has failed to resonate with... well, every single person in my generation I've talked to about it, so far. And as we keep being reminded, we're the largest voting block now. Snubbing us is strategically stupid.

The US is facing multiple crises. They need to be addressed. There has been so much waffling on even addressing them.

• Republicans need to be over. They are currently split between an openly fascist wing and a "back-to-normal" wing. The latter can be useful in boosting Biden to a certain extent, but platforming war criminals is really not a good look and the former more or less control the party to such an extent that it is long past time to just start bluntly identifying Republicans as a fascist party that threaten US democracy itself (and the rest of the world by worsening the US' already poor foreign policy). Nearly every single DNC speaker I've listened to (well, read) so far has been too cowardly to do this. I know the media will eat them alive for it, but we're no longer in the preliminary phases. Republicans are openly fascists now. Pretending they're a normal, respectable political party running in a normal, respectable election is suicidally oblivious. Even setting aside the fascism (lol), Republican obstructionism has been the biggest reason why the US has utterly failed to respond to any of these threats so far. Democrats. Need. To. Say. That. Constantly. Not politely and timidly suggesting Trump is "not the right man for the job." Just outright calling him a fascist and identifying McConnell as a criminal ratfuck bastard who's the #1 reason why we're all going hungry now.

• UBI needs to happen. The economy has basically collapsed. Small businesses are dropping like flies. Millions are already jobless and facing eviction and homelessness. Now, Harris backed a pretty good UBI plan already, so there's a chance for this, but Republicans will do everything they can to shut it down. As near as I can tell, their current strategy is to exacerbate as much instability as possible so that they can respond with an old fashioned "law and order" direct seizure of power.

• Tying into this, Trumpists will try to steal or suspend the election. They already are, the damage done to the USPS is not going to be undone and even if those holes get mostly patched, Republicans will try anything and everything to break democracy. Biden's campaign casually dropping that they have a team of lawyers at the ready to deal with this was a good thing, but the more dire possibilities have to be considered and planned against, too.

• The Coronapocalypse. Trump & co. have acted to deliberately worsen the pandemic, so Biden's administration will absolutely be an automatic and enormous improvement. But the pandemic has exposed just how thoroughly broken US healthcare is. To toss a personal anecdote in here, I did not have healthcare coverage while working as a nurse. After the ACA. The US needs universal healthcare.

• Degrowth needed to begin before I was even born. Climate change is an existential threat to humanity and to complex life on Earth. This one's hard and probably impossible, but business as usual is over. Even the WEF is gearing up for a "Great Reset." Whether that translates into substantial change or will be just austerity for us and business as usual for the ruling classes remains to be seen, but foot-dragging in even acknowledging the problems here is suicidal.

These aren't magical unicorn fart wishes. These are pragmatic things that need to happen to ensure the survival of the US and of everyone in it who is not an upper-middle class or above cis het white person. They're necessary responses to multiple existential threats to US democracy, global stability and human survival. We really do need deep, systemic changes that amount to dismantling business as usual nearly altogether and building more equitable and fair systems that will inevitably also result in lower quality of life for the middle and ruling classes (but increased quality of life for the rest of us!) in a short period of time. Biden has run his campaign on A Return to Normalcy, an utterly disastrous move. "Normalcy" is dead.

Those of us criticizing him and attempting to drag him leftward very much against his will are doing so now because right now all of this is very urgent and frankly terrifying and both the US as a democratic country and many of us personally will not survive the near future unless these kinds of sweeping changes are ushered in.

Moments of crisis can be moments of opportunity. The Democrats have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring enormously positive change to people and their reluctance, defeatism in the face of Republican opposition, platforming Republicans responsible for war crimes, marginalizing younger and more progressive voices that recognize the historical moment and understand what is going on just fills me with so much anger and dread and despair.

There's tons of infighting and combativeness and sour grapes in this thread, for sure. I'm really trying to set aside my own bitterness over past defeats and future losses because while I personally kind of despise both Biden and Harris for how their records and past stances have hurt me and people I love, they're the ticket and there's nothing I or anyone else can do about it now except try and try and try to make the party understand that these are real existential threats that will not blow over. There is no "try again in 2024." There is no "try again in 2022." This is it.
posted by Lonnrot at 12:21 PM on August 20 [35 favorites]


Not because I'm a childish leftist who demands purity, but because we've seen the Democrats try pandering to the right and punching hippies as their galaxy brain political strategy for 40 years now,
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Maya Angelou
posted by fullerine at 12:48 PM on August 20


If Biden wins AOC will be slowly demonised by the DNC.
She's the real existential threat to them, not Trump.

This just seems like bizarre fear mongering. And I don't get why the DNC is the "real" threat, instead of, oh say, the Republicans currently doing their best to tear apart any semblance of civil liberties and due process and whatever other values we should be defending.
posted by JenMarie at 12:50 PM on August 20 [25 favorites]


This just seems like bizarre fear mongering. And I don't get why the DNC is the "real" threat, instead of, oh say, the Republicans currently doing their best to tear apart any semblance of civil liberties and due process and whatever other values we should be defending.
Oh the republicans are the real threat, I would vote for Biden over Trump in the same way as I'm still a member of the Labour Party now Keith the Cop is trying to out Tory the Tories.

But the DNC as it currently stands would choose a republican over a socialist every single time and a lot of their donors would choose a fascist.
posted by fullerine at 1:00 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


I think it's clear that in the choice between Trump and Biden, you must choose Biden. But let's not pretend that a return to the white supremacist policies of the Obama administration is some kind of cause for celebration.

Frankly it's weird to see a bunch of "lefties" so bothered just for calling white supremacists for what they are.
posted by mojopiano at 1:04 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Getting rid of Trump is a joyous occasion, no?
posted by angrycat at 1:07 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Obama was/is not a white supremacist and it's pretty shitty to say otherwise.
posted by JenMarie at 1:09 PM on August 20 [28 favorites]


If the answer to the answer that question is 'yes' then join the fight righteously so we can get to the fights you and me and others) want to fight. Consider that you are not being part of the solution if you are spending your time screaming at clouds.
posted by angrycat at 1:10 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Do you really think we'll have "gotten rid of Trump" (ie, the conditions that allowed Trump to be pres and then remain so for his entire term despite being clearly impeachable for a half dozen reasons the day of his inauguration) just because he loses in November? Especially to Joe Biden? And I'm not talking about what if he tries to claim the election was illegitimate and refuses to step down.
posted by Reyturner at 1:11 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


It’s at least as joyous an occasion as we’re currently having over in the thread where Steve Bannon got arrested by the Postal Service on a boat.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:12 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Reyturner, ergo, what? What's your point? I lived through Bill Clinton and OKC so I kind of get that bit.
posted by angrycat at 1:16 PM on August 20


So you are advocating dragging the Obama administration to Hague for crimes against humanity? You’d like for “the finance, defense, and [health insurance] sectors” to be investigated for “years of live stolen”? Do you understand how the ICC operates?

Yes, I am advocating this. They have all contributed to crimes against humanity, particularly to millions of people of color. Furthermore, the complete abandonment of fighting climate change under the guise of liberal incrementalism will lead to suffering for billions of people of color.

I know it won't happen right now because America is a deeply white supremacist country, as your post and many posts here so strongly indicate. I also fully understand the ICC itself is a deeply white supremacist institution that does not care about crimes against humanity when they are committed by Westerners.

But I refuse to stay quiet just because it builds resentment among privileged Westeners in a community that purports to stand against white supremacy. It isn't as though my fellow people of color can speak up because your favored leaders have killed and displaced them by the millions.

Only on Metafilter does a thread on the DNC convention to defeat Trump in2020 devolve into “the finance, health, and defense sectors of the Obama years must be charged with crimes against humanity in the Hague.”

Biden is explicitly running on how good the Obama administration years were. That is his entire campaign. It is entirely in scope to discuss just how good those years were, and exactly to whom.

Yes, everyone is able to share their own opinions about things here on MeFI. Seriously, advocating for the entire financial sector and Obama administration to dragged to the Hague while Trump and his administration is in office? Really? That is not comprehensible to me. Most Democrats I know are focusing their energy and messaging IRL and on other platforms now on voting out Trump and electing Biden. I sure hope the Progressives here are doing the same.

Where did I say they should be dragged to the Hague while Trump and his administraton is still in office? I imagine there is a bulk discount if we ship them off all together at the same time, along with Henry Kissinger, the Clinton administration, and both Bush administrations.
posted by Ouverture at 1:21 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Biden Has Nothing to Fear But Fear of Deficits Itself
Former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman, a Biden confidant who succeeded him in the Senate, predicted during a Wall Street Journal Newsmakers Live interview Tuesday that a large increase in federal spending would be difficult to achieve in 2021.

"When we get in, the pantry is going to be bare,” said Mr. Kaufman, who is leading Mr. Biden’s transition team. “When you see what Trump’s done to the deficit … forget about COVID-19, all the deficits that he built with the incredible tax cuts. So we’re going to be limited.”
Kaufman’s comments are concerning for multiple reasons.

In 2009, a unified Democratic government declined to provide the economy with the level of stimulus necessary for spurring a rapid recovery in deference to deficit-phobia; specifically, the White House asked for less spending than its own economists believed to be warranted on the merits because it felt that a $1 trillion bill would be politically toxic. As a result, the post-2008 recovery was the slowest and weakest in modern U.S. history. That sluggish rebound had immense human costs as America’s most vulnerable workers — those with limited education, disabilities, or criminal records — were effectively locked out of the labor market for a decade. But the toll of inadequate stimulus was also macroeconomic: Since World War II, every time the U.S. economy entered a downturn, it eventually caught back up with its pre-recession growth trajectory — until 2009. By failing to rapidly re-match workers with jobs, policymakers durably reduced our economy’s productive capacity as discouraged Americans permanently left the labor force and capital fell out of use.

Of course, as we know now, the Democrats’ decision to prioritize national debt minimization above full employment did not actually curb the growth of the national debt. To the contrary, it simply gave Donald Trump and the Republican Party more fiscal space to fill with tax cuts and Pentagon budget increases.

Critically, this historic spending spree has not triggered any of the adverse economic consequences that deficit hawks would have predicted.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:26 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Ouverture, what exactly do you think we should do? Call people on the phone and say, yeah, can't wait to ship Biden to Europe to be tried for crimes against humanity, meanwhile, we really would like your vote!

I mean--there are a many ways to attack the U.S.'s horrible traditions. Do you, Overture, think that you are doing your part to address that by maligning the current efforts to get Trump out of office?
posted by angrycat at 1:29 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Obama was/is not a white supremacist and it's pretty shitty to say otherwise.

Why is that "pretty shitty"? Did his drone strikes, SOCOM assassinations, and cluster bombs kill and displace millions of white Europeans and Canadians?

Or was all that suffering exclusively concentrated on poor people of color already ravaged by decades of Western imperialism?
posted by Ouverture at 1:30 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Real good-faith reading here, what with the assumption that Ouverture spends every second of their free time writing comments critical of the Dem establishment on Metafilter and has zero involvement with political activism or organizing otherwise.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:37 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Flagged a few comments. People are really reading a lot into what Ouverture is saying. There is no reason to believe that their political activities are confined to commenting on metafilter. It's things like this exchange that make it really hard for those of us who are skeptical that you're going to show up for us after the election want to show up for you before the election.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 1:38 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I mean, it’s reasonable to expect some pushback if your argument is that all national American political figures of the past 3 decades are genocidal war criminals and that you, an American Metafilter user, support genocide and white supremacy if you vote for Joe Biden for president.

I will feel not the slightest twinge of guilt for voting for Biden in late October. If that makes me a white supremacist, so fucking be it, but in that case the words have no meaning to me anyway.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:45 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


There is no reason to believe that their political activities are confined to commenting on metafilter.

In my opinion nobody needs to justify what they are doing outside this discussion. Also it is a discussion and if you find yourself restating your positions again and again you might think about listening for awhile and letting other voices be heard.
posted by JenMarie at 1:46 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Um, I assume that's my comments that are drawing the ire. You're reading that meaning into my comments, if indeed that's where the upset is coming from.

I'm saying this in a thread about the DNC Convention, this is about a particular battle. To disparage fighters in a particular battle is to endanger morale. It's to threaten an end to dialogue, which is a vital tool in this battle.

We are going to war, and to come in and shit all over the candidate (even if you say you're going to reluctantly vote for him) is not helping the cause.

I'm sorry if that's sounding insensitive. I have a family history that includes slave owners and a teacher at a Native American boarding school. I come from white supremacists. That original sin shit is in my blood, and I suppose if I could, I don't know, bleed out somewhere and make it right I might consider, hey, why not, my ancestors did a lot of damage. I don't know why I'm saying that but to make clear my own connection to the issues people are addressing.

And you know what? I am going to come right out there and say, yeaaaaaah, if somebody is shitting all over Biden on metafilter, gun to my head, I'm going to say they're not phone banking. Sorry. So now you don't have to read it into my comments, I put it out there for you.
posted by angrycat at 1:47 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


I mean, it’s reasonable to expect some pushback if your argument is that all national American political figures of the past 3 decades are genocidal war criminals and that you, an American Metafilter user, support genocide and white supremacy if you vote for Joe Biden for president.

Having been part of Black Lives Matter since it started, I am very much used to white supremacist pushback and have no problem with it.

The litigation of my activist "resume" reminds me of the loyalty tests I have dealt with my entire time living in America as an immigrant and a person of color. It is disheartening to see Metafilter not being immune to it.

I will feel not the slightest twinge of guilt for voting for Biden in late October. If that makes me a white supremacist, so fucking be it, but in that case the words have no meaning to me anyway.

Thank you for the refreshing honesty about how you value the lives of people of color. It hurts, but it is a lot easier to work with that than to see people protesting otherwise.
posted by Ouverture at 1:54 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]




AOC isn't having Pelosi's rank hypocrisy

It's going to be a crying shame when a Democratic legislature and Democratic governor somehow "accidentally" gerrymander her district after the 2020 census.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:58 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Real good-faith reading here

There's not been a lot of good-faith reading going around before my last comment either. And I'm not questioning Ouverture's activities outside of Metafilter. I'm questioning why, since they said upthread their (and other people's) actions on Mefi aren't going to matter for the election, they keep arguing with people.
posted by FJT at 1:59 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


So you are advocating dragging the Obama administration to Hague for crimes against humanity? You’d like for “the finance, defense, and [health insurance] sectors” to be investigated for “years of live stolen”? Do you understand how the ICC operates?

Yes, I am advocating this. They have all contributed to crimes against humanity, particularly to millions of people of color. Furthermore, the complete abandonment of fighting climate change under the guise of liberal incrementalism will lead to suffering for billions of people of color.


Well, everyone has their opinions. Combined, the finance, defense, and health payer sectors represent approximately 19% of the US economy. In addition to being out of scope of the ICC, it is not a realistic course of action to investigate the millions of people who work in these industries.

I know it won't happen right now because America is a deeply white supremacist country, as your post and many posts here so strongly indicate. I also fully understand the ICC itself is a deeply white supremacist institution that does not care about crimes against humanity when they are committed by Westerners.


I'm confused. You are advocating that an institution you believe to be white supremacist and not care about crimes committed by westerners should be the institution to investigate the alleged white supremacist crimes committed by westerners?

But I refuse to stay quiet just because it builds resentment among privileged Westeners in a community that purports to stand against white supremacy. It isn't as though my fellow people of color can speak up because your favored leaders have killed and displaced them by the millions.

Why do you assume that I am not a fellow person of color? Are we not allowed to speak up if we disagree with your claims that Obama administration should be "dragged to the Hague"?

Yes, everyone is able to share their own opinions about things here on MeFI. Seriously, advocating for the entire financial sector and Obama administration to dragged to the Hague while Trump and his administration is in office? Really? That is not comprehensible to me. Most Democrats I know are focusing their energy and messaging IRL and on other platforms now on voting out Trump and electing Biden. I sure hope the Progressives here are doing the same.

Where did I say they should be dragged to the Hague while Trump and his administraton is still in office? I imagine there is a bulk discount if we ship them off all together at the same time, along with Henry Kissinger, the Clinton administration, and both Bush administrations.


There is no way that this can be interpreted as a serious statement. I am no longer going to comment on postings that lack constructive or informational content.

Like I said upthread, everyone is welcome to share their opinions here. Be aware that Metafilter in no way represents the demographics and sentiments of the US. It it predominantly whiter and much lefter than the US overall. Yet, there are many here who complain that it is not left enough. While these sentiments that you share are entertained here on rad-left metafilter, in my experience IRL, they are are not. They are shared by barely a very tiny percentage of the overall electorate. Advocating that 20% of the US economy be investigated by the ICC is laughable and statements like this just give the Republicans ammo when asserting that all Democrats are radical lefties who want to tank the economy and expropriate private property to redistribute wealth. Very unpopular not just among Republicans but a majority of Democrats as well.
posted by Abacus Bean at 2:05 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


Extremely online communities (including lefty ones) tend to breed extremism, and I think we’re seeing plenty of that in this thread.

A few days ago, a friend shared a link to Freddie DeBoer’s essay, the Iron Law of Institutions and the left , and while parts of it seem dated, it’s really ringing true for this thread.

Individuals within lefty communities often care more about their status within that community more than the success of the community itself. These individuals are often rewarded for positioning themselves at the ideological extreme of whatever that community represents.

In other words, rhetoric that harms leftism among the population at large ends up being rewarded in that community.

To be clear, a Biden ticket isn’t what the Left wanted, but it’s massively, massively closer to what they wanted than the other option on the ticket. While the rational thing would be to say “Okay, this isn’t 100% of what we asked for, but it modestly advances our agenda, so we should probably get behind it,” that’s not the sort of rhetoric that’s going to garner attention on MeFi, Twitter, Leftbook, NUMTOTs, or whatever.... Instead, they make comments about how Biden is the real fascist.

Meanwhile, the overall state of the American Left.... isn’t great. The rumored surge of far-left primary voters failed to materialize. The number of far-left city council members in the country is somewhere in the single or low-double digits. I admire that y’all are fighting for justice, but the rhetoric being used is absurdly, wildly out of place. It’s not going to win hearts and minds, and it’s posing an extreme risk to actively hurt your overall cause.
posted by schmod at 2:10 PM on August 20 [37 favorites]


you, an American Metafilter user, support genocide and white supremacy if you vote for Joe Biden for president.

I mean, as a white American Metafilter user in a very safe/non-swing state who has still ultimately decided voting Biden is my best course of planned action... yeah? Like, sure it doesn't feel good to acknowledge that, but indisputably. My vote, in as much as it means anything within the current voting system, will add support to white supremacy and plausibly future genocide (based on past genocide).
So will not-voting, or voting Trump. That's kinda the nature of a system built to uphold white supremacy. It's very good at making sure all actions align in that direction. If you prefer to talk about past administrations as "America-supremacist", that's still white supremacy with more steps, but maybe it'll be less discordant when thought of in those terms.

Do I like that? Fuck no. But within the context of voting within the current system, I don't have another choice. The strongest personal assertion I've decided on is ultimately that any sort of non-vote will keep other bodies in the metaphorical firing line well before myself, so I can vote for the better gradient while making sure not to forget what I'm doing and what else needs to come with that.

I'm seeing similar echoes of this sentiment above, looking at the distinction between enthusiasm & honesty & everything else.
"It's not that the DNC doesn't care about non-white non-American lives, it's just not politically expedient and we think we would lose more votes fighting for this than if we were to try to make a play for Republican votes on abortion" is Ouverture's point rephrased in a more realpolitik sense. "It's not that we don't care, but..." is isomorphic to "we don't care *that much*".

It hurts to admit, thus the pushback, but at least for me it's far more preferable than pretending otherwise. I'm down for making self-aware decisions about alliance. To someone else's above metaphor, I'll take glass-studded chicken over glass-studded-dogshit any day, but I'm still very keenly interested in getting rid of the glass. Eyes on the prize.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:15 PM on August 20 [38 favorites]


The Stories Kamala Harris Won’t Tell Anymore: In her historic DNC speech, the former prosecutor elided most of her resume to craft a different image of her record.
It’s not that many people will just forget Harris’s long career in law enforcement. In pursuit of the nomination, Bloomberg News described the potentially advantageous shifts in her public persona in the wake of national uprisings against police killings. “The reform debate burnishes the former San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general as a social-justice activist. It also protects the Biden campaign from potential criticism of her efforts while in those jobs to slow innocence bids and punish parents whose children were truants, among other contentious actions.”

Maybe that’s the Harris she meant to evoke in her acceptance speech. “We’ve gotta do the work to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law,” she said, “because none of us are free … until all of us are free.” While she spoke, her home state was burning—more than 300 fires reported in 72 hours, Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. Yet the state still faces a critical shortage of firefighters, The Sacramento Bee was reporting. People incarcerated in California’s prisons are the state’s primary “hand crews,” sent out to cut firelines with hand tools and chainsaws in locations where bulldozers can’t reach. (They are paid a pittance—$1.45 an hour, according to the ACLU.) Now, as prisons allowed Covid-19 to spread unchecked, some prisoners are too sick for wildfire duty and others have been released to help slow transmission. The shortage was something Harris had seen coming as attorney general. In 2014, facing a court order to release prisoners from conditions ruled unconstitutional, the state fought back. Lawyers representing her office argued that if prisoners were to be released early to comply with the order, the available prison labor pool would dwindle.
posted by Ouverture at 2:22 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


It's going to be a crying shame when a Democratic legislature and Democratic governor somehow "accidentally" gerrymander her district after the 2020 census.

AOC is very popular, and that would be a really stupid mistake for the DGA and DCCC to "accidentally" make. It wouldn't be the dumbest thing Dem officials have done, but it would alienate many voters. I can't even vote for her and it would push me away from down-ticket support where I live.

Required disclaimer: Biden voter, Clinton voter, etc. etc.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:27 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


[One deleted, and a more general note for people who are wanting to have a liberal-vs-left argument yet again: Do not put words in other users' mouths. Do not relitigate 2016. And do not imagine that there is anyone reading this thread who isn't intimately familiar with the baroque filioques of intra-left arguments as they happen on metafilter and we really, deeply don't need the entire argument rehashed from scratch every time politics occur. You haven't convinced each other in the past four years, it isn't happening today in this thread, and it distracts from discussing the actual politics happening now when every politics post eventually devolves into the same dozen users fighting about appropriate and inappropriate left-wing orthodoxies.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 2:49 PM on August 20 [32 favorites]


It wouldn't be the dumbest thing Dem officials have done

True
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 2:50 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I've said it before and I'll say it again: voting for Biden gives lefties four years to shift the pendulum further left without losing ground; if it all goes the other way it will take decades just to get back to here. Biden might not be the hero we need, but he's better than the villain we've got.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:58 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


Meanwhile, the overall state of the American Left.... isn’t great. The rumored surge of far-left primary voters failed to materialize. The number of far-left city council members in the country is somewhere in the single or low-double digits. I admire that y’all are fighting for justice, but the rhetoric being used is absurdly, wildly out of place. It’s not going to win hearts and minds, and it’s posing an extreme risk to actively hurt your overall cause.

I think part of the problem is that what the left wants is, paradoxically, too correct. For the most part, the things that the left espouse come down to the acknowledgement of universal human dignity, removal of systemic barriers, and basically making a better world where people can be themselves and find their purpose and fulfillment.

The problem is, how exactly do you maintain respect for people who don't want the whole focus of society to be advancing 110% in that direction? You know, like, "why don't you want every person to be secure in food, housing, and health you monster?". Because when we get down to brass tacks, that's essentially what it's about. Hell, it's why I'm a leftist. I'm not that extreme a leftist because I don't know if we need to universally seize the means of production but nationalizing the banks, utilities, and energy is probably a good start. Honestly, I want everyone to have the life that I have and I think it's possible.

But people are selfish. Not because they'd happily consign a large swath of society as an underclass (even though a certain fraction of them probably would), but because they're scared of the possible implications of such a massive societal shift. For the overwhelming majority of Americans things suck but they're tolerable and they still have something to lose, even if it's just the imagined superiority of their race in the social construct of racial hierarchy. It's the Iron Law of Institutions on a societal scale. People value their own standing in society rather than the failure of society for so many.

What's the solution to this? I don't know. I'm a privileged WASP. I donate to progressives, I donate to progressives who primary the establishment, I don't vote because I'm not a citizen yet but I try to give in terms of cash and expertise. It's not good enough that we've let the promise of the idea of the United States of America go unfulfilled to so many for so long but we can't just wave a wand and have everyone vote for the great socialist utopia that will surely work. It's going to be a long, shitty, incremental fight and my opinion is that we need to make sure we use our political power to look after as many people as possible before we get there. Some who have waited long enough might not be willing to wait that long, and I don't blame them nor do I want to invalidate their opinion.

I just can't square that circle and it's driving me fucking nuts. I suspect the solution is just to realize it's outside of my locus of control and let it go but I hurt when I think of these people and I want to at least fix the system enough so that everyone can at least be ok with the situation and be pointed in the same direction, forward, before we start the long road ahead.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:09 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


But people are selfish.

I think this is true in so far as the current state of society, but I think it's a mistake to think it's the natural state of humanity.

There were massive, class conscious labor movements worldwide until very recently, and the chief reason there aren't any now is the direct results of decades of massive state violence, both abroad and at home, and social, cultural and political atomization and alienation through intense propaganda. What's so galling about the modern Democratic Party is that it's basically everything capital has ever wanted in a party without having to pretend to care about the passions of the reactionary religious nuts or the left. A party by and for the wealthy, willing to be socially liberal if there's room in the budget and it does nothing to meaningfully change the status quo of the social hierarchy.

I'm with you on going nuts trying to square the circle, tho.
posted by Reyturner at 3:35 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


> the baroque filioques of intra-left arguments

okay but can we argue about the actual filioque clause cause call me a crypto-arian but i’m pretty sure the orthodox got that one right

failing that i’m okay with following justinian’s suggestion to do kpd/spd again. or maybe kronstadt, cause that one’s always pretty fun
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:39 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Teach the Monophysite controversy!
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 3:48 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


> Teach the Monophysite controversy!

finally an argument where justinian and i are on the same side!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:52 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


You know what, I've changed my mind, I'm actually really glad we had this 2020 post-DNC election thread -- this unframed, rambling, lightly moderated, venal, leftier-than-thou, credentials-checking, no-youre-the-war-criminal thread. Now that we've had it we never need to have another. Because everything up until November is going to be this. Not similar to this. Exactly this. If we're ever collectively dumb enough to have another, I'm just going to be able to search through this and find exactly the comment I want for any response.

Just as there is always a DJT tweet, there is always a Simpsons clip.

-- We need to do everything we can to un-elect Trump, regardless of your feelings about the Dem nominees
-- Yes, but these nominees are the most centrist of all possibilities
-- Yes, but that's because they're the nominees who can actually carry the five or six states that apparently decide all Presidential elections now
-- Yes but the reasons we're depending on such centrists is because anything more progressive has been resisted
-- Yes but look how the Overton window has changed on $ISSUE
-- Yes but look at (insert link to something candidate's platform says against $ISSUE)
-- Yes but what about (something candidate did earlier in their career on $ISSUE)
-- Yes but isn't the change in their viewpoint evidence of progression?
-- Yes but isn't it gaslighting for them to say they support it now when so many were hurt by their earlier lack of support
-- Yes but if you don't like when they don't support $ISSUE and you won't accept it when they do support $ISSUE, aren't you essentially saying you're withholding your support?
-- Yes but aren't you flexing your privilege/dismissing the underprivileged/displaying your Whiteness when you ask these concerns to take a back seat?
-- Yes but doesn't that make you an accelerationist if you're conditioning your support contigent on something that can only happen after the Dems are elected?
-- Yes but isn't the unbearably slow pace of legislative change already enough of a disaster for human beings in this country?
-- Yes but the only way we can get the fix started is we need to do everything we can to un-elect Trump, regardless of your feelings about the Dem nominees

and forever and ever amen, like an improv troupe that ends every show by hurling insults at each other and the audience. Instead of a snake eating its tail, imagine a snake shitting on its own head.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 3:53 PM on August 20 [61 favorites]


A Night of Magical Thinking at the Democratic Convention: Democrats are already in love with their future, in spite of the fact that Joe Biden has glossed over how he will get them there.
Parliamentary war games, the fanaticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the dire threat of a radical Supreme Court—these are not quite the stuff of a stump speech, let alone a party convention where the guiding idea is to rally voters behind an optimistic vision. But after three days of speeches, we know with precision what Joe Biden wants: a big tent to contain the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party and the Kasich wing of the Republican Party. In return, Republicans get a decent man and Democrats get progressive policy. Everybody gets no more Donald Trump. But these desires of Biden have been evident since the outset of his campaign. The piece that’s always been missing, and which will likely go unfound by the time the convention concludes on Thursday night with whatever Democrats come up with as its virtual version of a balloon drop, is the reckoning with reality and the plan for action. “We’ve got to do the work,” said Kamala Harris on Wednesday night. As some point, it may become necessary to explain how this work will work.
Are there actual Republicans in the Senate willing to help Biden and the Democrats accomplish anything? Does Biden really have that magical effect on the GOP?
posted by Ouverture at 3:56 PM on August 20


To be clear, a Biden ticket isn’t what the Left wanted, but it’s massively, massively closer to what they wanted than the other option on the ticket.

Uranus is "massively, massively closer" to Earth than Neptune is. But that doesn't make it the case that Uranus is remotely close to us.

The vastness of that distance needs to be acknowledged, not elided. "Progressive platform" or not, Biden doesn't "modestly advance" the Left's agenda. He's a milder negative, not a mild positive. If you want to convince leftists to vote for him, admit that lesser evilism does actually mean pulling the lever for someone who is, by your lights, evil. Don't try to say that the lesser of two evils is therefore good.
posted by Beardman at 4:05 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


The vastness of that distance needs to be acknowledged, not elided. "Progressive platform" or not, Biden doesn't "modestly advance" the Left's agenda. He's a milder negative, not a mild positive.

I have never in my life met a leftist who didn't consider any platform one iota to the right of theirs as "negative" or "evil". Roughly half of the country is relatively conservative, and as a member of a pluralistic society you're going to have to compromise unless you're willing to seize power and operate a dictatorship where those voters have zero input on the political process.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:25 PM on August 20 [18 favorites]


can we please not complicate "lesser evil"? It's one of those phrases that doesn't need to be qualified as it already includes a qualifier (lesser), which leaves us with evil. Which is not in any way good. Just as Uranus is not in any way close to home.
posted by philip-random at 4:27 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


i think maybe what’s going on — apologies for continuing the circle of left/liberal argumentation when really we all just want to talk about the root causes of the great schism of 1054 — is that people are wedged by their competing needs/desires to:
  1. get themselves hype for biden in order to give themselves a hope feel in these hopeless-feeling times
  2. participate in attempts to get more people to vote for biden
which negotiating the competing approaches required here is super difficult, because admitting that people have good reason to be uncomfortable with biden is necessary to reach out to the people you want to convince, but also admitting that undermines the hope feel that people really really need right now. i think it’s possible to thread the needle by deriving one’s hope feel through a sort of uncomfortable solidarity in unhappiness — a grim, tarnished, but real hope, that doesn’t require anyone to get hype about biden or anything else. a “here is the chore we all have to do, there will be many more chores, none of us will ever really reach any of our metaphorical jerusalems, but for now in our allotted time we can find ways to all be in the chore fight together” adult type of hope.

but it’s easy for me to say that, because i burned up all my ability to get hype for someone i wasn’t hype for back in 2004 with kerry. those circuits aren’t in my brain anymore, so i don’t have to worry about trying to get them to turn on again.

upthread several people sharpened and bettered the argument i tried to make about how it would behoove people who want to win left support for biden in this election to participate in non-electoral / non-electoralist politics. i front as a radical but i’m kind of useless in a lot of ways. the most effectively radical things i’ve actually done have involved putting my body on the line to stop evictions. there is a deep soul satisfaction in knowing that you really have helped one family avoid being ruined by a landlord — if only for one day, for one month, one year, or maybe one childhood.

wherever you are, there are folks doing eviction defense. we’ve all read about the communities during the depression that banded together to protect each other from the property owners, by blocking sheriffs, by using rough tactics to prevent auctions on foreclosed properties, by in general taking matters in their own hands in the face of a murderously broken system. we are in the great depression now. we are up against a murderously broken system now. and because we have the misfortune to be living in these times, we can build a silver lining by ourselves being those people, today — we can block the evictions with our bodies, we can stop the foreclosures with our bodies, we can become the inspirational stories that the children of a better future read about in their history books.

i am bad at things, but eviction defense is something i can do. it’s something you can do too. it will improve the world more than any amount of electoral boosterism will ever do — and as a side benefit, by getting out there as a biden supporter and doing good work, good work that biden probably wouldn’t like, you are thereby winning votes for your party.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:29 PM on August 20 [15 favorites]


Are there actual Republicans in the Senate willing to help Biden and the Democrats accomplish anything? Does Biden really have that magical effect on the GOP?

Yes, some of them are willing to help Biden and the Democrats defeat Trump, either via inaction or via very carefully vetted quotes. That is as far as it goes. Once Biden is sworn in, they will return to doing anything and everything possible to thwart Biden's agenda, including screeching like howler monkeys should the filibuster even be thought of being removed, in the event of a 50D+VP or better Senate.

But do not make the mistake of thinking that a 50D or 51D Senate will be a rubber stamp, and that Dems will happily vote party line. The Manchins of the world will be the new Collinses and Murkowskis.

People value their own standing in society rather than the failure of society for so many.

Which is part of why this primary season was as frustrating as it was, and why the infighting remains so loud.

Right now, Everything Is Broken[tm]. We all know this. But the divider separates those who want to fix the system by returning qualified leadership -- even milquetoast leadership -- to it, presuming that reasonable prosperity and stability will follow, and those who have decided that the system in and of itself is what is broken and that four years of centrist Dems holding us in place is no good if we are already collectively in a terrible place.

But radical change requires a radical mandate.

and forever and ever amen, like an improv troupe that ends every show by hurling insults at each other and the audience. Instead of a snake eating its tail, imagine a snake shitting on its own head.

*runs in from stage right and shouts THE ARISTOCRATS!*
posted by delfin at 4:32 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


The Manchins of the world will be the new Collinses and Murkowskis

If it's 51D and Senate Ds start pushing through anything even remotely socialist I heartily expect Manchin to switch parties.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:54 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


senate ds are not going to push through anything remotely socialist, so that's not a worry. manchin, though, who is halfway out the door already, is probably going to leave anyway.

moving forward to a theological dispute that's probably more relevant to our lives today than are monophysitism and miaphysitism and homoousianism and homoianism, i think we all gotta prioritize works over faith — cause let me tell you, all of our fights that go nowhere but make us despise each other are fights about faith rather than works.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:59 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


moving forward to a theological dispute that's probably more relevant to our lives today than are monophysitism and miaphysitism and homoousianism and homoianism

What about Arianism?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:02 PM on August 20


wherever you are, there are folks doing eviction defense. we’ve all read about the communities during the depression that banded together to protect each other from the property owners, by blocking sheriffs, by using rough tactics to prevent auctions on foreclosed properties, by in general taking matters in their own hands in the face of a murderously broken system. we are in the great depression now. we are up against a murderously broken system now. and because we have the misfortune to be living in these times, we can build a silver lining by ourselves being those people, today — we can block the evictions with our bodies, we can stop the foreclosures with our bodies, we can become the inspirational stories that the children of a better future read about in their history books.

I have a kid so there is no way I'm putting my body on the line for somebody else, but I am a landlord/tenant lawyer, and if there was interest here in a Metafilter-left-liberal-unity eviction defense organization, I'd volunteer for something like that in a heartbeat.
posted by factory123 at 5:03 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


For the first time in my life, I will be voting for a political candidate who is Indian-American, like me, and someone who encourages me to embrace my Indian-American identity. I would say this is exciting, but really, it's overwhelming. There's so much I was missing out on, that I didn't know I was missing out on, until the announcement was made. For me, this is a really big deal.

It's disappointing to see how little attention some people are paying to this fact. But I'm used to having my feelings ignored because I'm not white. So I'm just going to spend this time talking to the people in my life who are as excited as I am.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 5:07 PM on August 20 [53 favorites]


factory123: there's roles for you on the street — you don't have to volunteer as arrestable to participate meaningfully in eviction defense.

as a tenant's lawyer you could definitely reach out to local tenants' unions to do pro bono work. metafilter is small and distributed and anxious and kind of professional-managerial-class useless, so trying to roll our own eviction defense org would be kind of a bad idea even if there weren't effective orgs in that vein already.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:07 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


> What about Arianism?

see that's just a gateway drug to pagan neoplatonism. you start out dabbling with the idea that jesus is no part of the ingenerate and then you start playing around with gnosticism just for fun and then next thing you know you and all your friends are neck deep in theurgic rituals, all of you inhaling the psychedelic fumes that emanate from a giant burning-hot bronze head of apollo.

say what you will about me you can't deny that i know how to have a good time
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:14 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


[I love you all for rewarding my crankiness with theology jokes, it has made me night, but we can probably go back to the politics now. :)]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:27 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


[I love you all for rewarding my crankiness with theology jokes, it has made me night, but we can probably go back to the politics now. :)]

Someone's acting awfully Episcopalian.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:30 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Rntp-maybe, but if there are any mefites, esp. bay area ones, who are interested, they should hit me up.
posted by factory123 at 5:41 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


> but we can probably go back to the politics now.

fine fine but like you know you can't just bring up the filioque controversy out of the blue like that you know that's one of the topics mefi doesn't handle well
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:55 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


METAFILTER: you start playing around with gnosticism just for fun and then next thing you know you and all your friends are neck deep in theurgic rituals
posted by philip-random at 6:08 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


FYI, here is the direct link to the C-span livestream if anyone is actually watching.

Andrew Yang is the kickoff.
posted by anastasiav at 6:08 PM on August 20


"Black" and "South Asian" should be capitalized.
posted by starlybri at 6:09 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


“There were massive, class conscious labor movements worldwide until very recently”

You think this is sufficient counter evidence to the idea that humanity is selfish instead of a realignment of the selfishness towards a person’s current station in life as opposed to their fantasy future scenario (ex: “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” syndrome)?
posted by Selena777 at 6:10 PM on August 20


manchin, though, who is halfway out the door already, is probably going to leave anyway.

No doubt that Manchin is the most conservative Dem in the Senate, but he did vote with Democrats on impeachment. Which took some courage given the state he comes from, which was 68/26 Trump over Clinton, the reddest state in country.
posted by JackFlash at 6:58 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Came in here to talk about Warren's speech-- like, the queen of communicative empathy finally let herself show a few seconds of anger, and holy shit, it was like watching lethal steel drawn from an ordinary, everyday bit of clothing you hadn't suspected was a scabbard, but now you realise that its purpose all along was to hold a sword in readiness.

I see a lot of people do stage-anger, in politics and theatre. The little Warren showed was 100% real. Jill Biden punched a bully, but Warren would straight up quietly destroy him.

We damn well better take the Senate. Warren is going to be a hell of a Majority Leader.

***************
(Like many, I'm lukewarm on Biden but gonna vote for him. Jill makes me feel better about Joe, and I respect Harris's incisive intelligence despite some of her past record. Any progress is better than none, these guys can at least be pushed left, downticket races are essential, and the future hopefully belongs to The Squad.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:03 PM on August 20 [38 favorites]


wherever you are, there are folks doing eviction defense. we’ve all read about the communities during the depression that banded together to protect each other from the property owners, by blocking sheriffs, by using rough tactics to prevent auctions on foreclosed properties, by in general taking matters in their own hands in the face of a murderously broken system. we are in the great depression now. we are up against a murderously broken system now. and because we have the misfortune to be living in these times, we can build a silver lining by ourselves being those people, today — we can block the evictions with our bodies, we can stop the foreclosures with our bodies, we can become the inspirational stories that the children of a better future read about in their history books.

i am bad at things, but eviction defense is something i can do. it’s something you can do too. it will improve the world more than any amount of electoral boosterism will ever do — and as a side benefit, by getting out there as a biden supporter and doing good work, good work that biden probably wouldn’t like, you are thereby winning votes for your party.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:29 AM on August 21 [9 favorites +] [!]


Nothing more important or relevant is posted in this thread. We need to vote for Biden while also this. Revolution is a lifestyle folks, and we can't afford for it not to be. Dems can be pushed left. this is known, but we all have to PUSH, probably forever.

I'm voting for Biden but the hell if I stop there.
posted by saysthis at 7:06 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Thanks for that, Pallas Athena. The idea of Senate Majority Leader Elizabeth Warren is something I can get genuinely excited about. Realistically of course it'd probably be Chuck Schumer, but hey, we can dream. Thinking forward to a day some years hence when we could have President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Elizabeth Warren, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi... we could actually make some meaningful progress.
posted by biogeo at 7:14 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Holy crap, tonight's about how everyone who knows Biden authentically loves him.

I'm trying to think about what the Trump version of this looks like.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:33 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to think about what the Trump version of this looks like.

Scott Baio?
posted by valkane at 7:38 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


They really pulled out the stops for tonight... it's all about personal connections, personal struggles. It's really emotional. Julia Louis-Dreyfus has some funny lines. Hopefully Biden has a good speech.
posted by netowl at 7:44 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Theatre hat on, I think he's doing well. Connecting more than he did in his speech introducing Kamala Harris. Diction is clearer (or maybe the miking is just better).

If he was ever gonna make a good speech, tonight's the night.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:03 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


In retrospect, maybe his opponents setting the bar 20 feet below the floor by portraying Biden as senile was a bad strategic move? That was really good.
posted by Justinian at 8:18 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


He definitely had me when he invoked his loss. This was as passionate as I've seen him this campaign. His writers did a good job of throwing shade on 45 while building a positive folksy message. Americans do love some genuine folksiness.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:18 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Americans are basically folksy folk.
posted by Windopaene at 8:22 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


So that's the convention. The timing is weird... it seems to end about 15 minutes past the hour. Biden's speech was fine: he flashed his big smile about as much as he went into "get off my lawn" mode.

I like the D20 theme... I read the 71% chance of Clinton winning last time as having to roll a 7, which was plenty scary. I hope we get a better roll this time.
posted by netowl at 8:28 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


From The Daily Show, a docu-ad: Biden - Acceptable Under the Circumstances
posted by anastasiav at 8:36 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


meanwhile, this just popped up on my Facebook:

"Why are talking about Kamala's dating history? No one cares what guys Pence dated before he married his mother."



I laughed anyway
posted by philip-random at 8:41 PM on August 20 [19 favorites]


say what you will about me you can't deny that i know how to have a good time

posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon


At your age I should hope so. :)
posted by Pouteria at 8:44 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Joe Biden was about 12th on my list of favorite candidates. I've skipped most of the convention but tuned in tonight to hear The Chicks (which, damn was that a gorgeous rendition of the national anthem!) Anyway, I kept watching, was impressed by a lot of it, got tired of hearing about Joe's empathy -- and I think empathy is sorely lacking in the world and am all for it, I just didn't need to hear an hour's worth of it! Then I stuck around for his speech and HOLY MOTHER FORKING SHIRTBALLS he nailed it!! Like, I am actually going to be proud to vote for him and not just Kamala. I like this fiesty, mad, direct, blunt Joe. Let's see more of him!!

Also, thank you GOP for lowering my expectations so that it seems that Joe SOARED past them. Nice work. :D
posted by pjsky at 8:48 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


Joe never said Trump’s name once.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:51 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


Diplo is doing a hilarious Zoom DJ dance party right now.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:26 PM on August 20


Just watched the Colbert segment with Warren... .What a missed opportunity
posted by Windopaene at 9:46 PM on August 20


I wasn't going to make time today to watch Biden's speech, but pjsky, you were right! He nailed it. I almost feel like he should stop there. No debates to give Trump more stage time.

YouTube immediately rolled me into Tammy Duckworth's speech. Decorated military hero, she spoke directly to military families. I hope that works. I'm unfamiliar with how much influence she might have with officers and the rank and file. Does anyone here know?
posted by Gotanda at 10:01 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


the only time i've had to reconsider whether i'll vote for biden or not is when reading some of the comments itt. the liberal triumphalism, and its attendant sneering derision for people with ethical principles that a Biden presidency may be in tension with is wild. as far as i can tell, from reading this thread, the left is merely a marginalized faction of the electorate that can fall in line if it chooses to, but isn't necessary for victory and therefore not worth winning over.

and you know what: you're right. trump is so disastrously bad that the democrats could've ran a reanimated ronald reagan on the Democratic ballot line and he'd probably win, with the attendant liberal cheerleading and all.

i'm left with the question: if my vote for biden is not needed, and i find it morally repugnant to vote for him, then why should I bother? my state doesn't have mail in voting and has strict absentee voting criteria that i don't meet, so why shouldn't i stay home?
posted by davedave at 10:10 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Anil Dash: I'm Asking My Friends on the Left to Vote for Joe Biden

I do understand that for many of you, there are principles you feel you cannot compromise. You can never vote for a person who has Biden (or Harris’) view on the issues you care about most. But I want you to have the chance to elect that candidate who will support you on those issues. There’s a very real threat that you won’t have that option if we aren't able to hold things together this year.

You should read the whole thing, davedave. He's talking to you.
posted by anastasiav at 10:18 PM on August 20 [25 favorites]


trump is so disastrously bad that the democrats could've ran a reanimated ronald reagan on the Democratic ballot line and he'd probably win,

isn't that what everybody said last time?
posted by philip-random at 10:19 PM on August 20 [26 favorites]


i'm left with the question: if my vote for biden is not needed, and i find it morally repugnant to vote for him, then why should I bother? my state doesn't have mail in voting and has strict absentee voting criteria that i don't meet, so why shouldn't i stay home?

Downballot races are a thing. I've participated in an election for governor in my state that was decided by a couple hundred votes. One doesn't get to decide when one's vote is really going to make the difference.
posted by StarkRoads at 10:21 PM on August 20 [25 favorites]


the liberal triumphalism, and its attendant sneering derision for people with ethical principles

I second the suggestion to look at downticket candidates, whose ethics and moral characters might align more closely with yours. You don't have to vote for Biden, or any president, but your vote for other offices is important — in some parts of the country, more so, where local politics can and often will affect your life more directly and immediately.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:46 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


> i'm left with the question: if my vote for biden is not needed, and i find it morally repugnant to vote for him, then why should I bother? my state doesn't have mail in voting and has strict absentee voting criteria that i don't meet, so why shouldn't i stay home?

because voting is a small tactic that is sometimes useful as part of a broader political program, rather than an expression of deeply-held personal preferences or values or whatever. save thoughts of that ilk for some hoped-for far-off time when the united states of america becomes a democratic republic, and focus on achieving that hoped-for far-off condition.

folks talk about voting as if it is some weighty and serious proposition that in some way is a venue to bare your heart or show your desires or manifest your values. it’s none of those things. it’s a trifling thing and it has little to do with you.

this is of course sick-making to think about, because the state that office holders work in and for is most definitely not a trifling thing — it’s a vast machine that could do wonderful things in a democracy but which exists to serve the oligarchy instead. the state is heavy and the state is terrifying and the state is interested in you and the state doesn’t care about you, but a vote is a light little trifle that has nothing to do with you or your values. it’s a tactic, of marginal value. but that said, it doesn’t do harm. or, at least, it doesn’t do harm so long as you avoid falling into the trap of thinking that votes in elections are meant to express your beliefs, and then find yourself (this is the part you have to watch out for) adjusting your beliefs to fit into the constraints of electoral politics.

you should probably vote, if you have time, but it’s more important to actually do politics. since you’re in a benighted state that is using covid to defend the oligarchy by suppressing the vote — by selecting its preferred electorate — you should go in to vote only if there are any races where your vote is quasi-meaningful. it’s probably going to be a medium risk, but not a massive one — a bit worse than going to a grocery store, but nowhere near as bad as going to a bar. wear a mask, gloves, goggles and face-shield, and (if you’re sufficiently diligent) hard quarantine for two weeks after on the chance that you got it but are asymptomatic.

why yes i do take covid very seriously indeed.

honestly, city council races, school boards, and other local positions are probably the most important thing to vote in. those races on occasion — not always, not often, not everywhere — can be venues where democracy can happen, so long as they’re small enough for big money to overlook them and so long as the local small money is stupid enough to lose control over them. and these offices can be levers for exercising real power when by chance they fall into the hands of people interested in establishing democracy.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:01 PM on August 20 [36 favorites]


i'm left with the question: if my vote for biden is not needed, and i find it morally repugnant to vote for him, then why should I bother? my state doesn't have mail in voting and has strict absentee voting criteria that i don't meet, so why shouldn't i stay home?
Honestly? Because it's the right thing to do.
Trump's a literal fascist and should be fought on all fronts.

It's going to royally suck to have the liberals pivot from contempt and concern trolling to mask off hostility but they were going to do that anyway and fighting Trump is just the right thing to do.
posted by fullerine at 11:22 PM on August 20 [19 favorites]




I'm solidly on the side of voting for Biden with no talk of holding your nose. Encourage others to vote for him. Biden's team will do good things. Trump's second-term team would make 2020 seem like the good old days.
posted by pracowity at 4:31 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


davedave Despite my own intense dislike of Biden, I **STRONGLY** urge all leftists to vote for him regardless of where they are.

I have no doubt at all that Trump will contest the results of the 2020 election. Hell, he won in 2016 and spent the last four years contesting its results. If he loses (please, please, please) in 2020 he will go all out on it and the stronger a majority Biden has the less chance I think there is for his MAGA cultists to go into open civil war.

Also seconding what others have said about downballot races. I will be voting for Biden no matter what, but I'll be canvassing, volunteering for, phone banking for, postcarding for, etcing for my local candidates (maybe Wendy Davis can evict the odious Chip Roy from TX-21). I can't actually work up the will to actively campaign for Biden personally, but campaigning for downballot people is arguably more important and will help in the Presidential election too, so yay that.

Remember: while getting Trump out is the big goal, keeping a House majority and doing our best for a Senate majority is only a hair less important. McConnell has shown us what he will do with a Senate Majority and Biden as President, and I have no doubt that if Mitch is still Senate Majority leader in 2021 Biden will be as craven in his submission as Obama was. In large part our ability to try to coerce Biden into being less awful hinges on our numbers in the House and Senate. If there are lots of Republicans Biden's reflexive submissive bipartisanship will lead him to try to "reach across the aisle" by offering them everything they could possibly want. The more Democratic Congress is the less opportunity there is for captain bipartisan there to sell us out.

Selena777 You think this is sufficient counter evidence to the idea that humanity is selfish instead of a realignment of the selfishness towards a person’s current station in life as opposed to their fantasy future scenario (ex: “temporarily embarrassed millionaire” syndrome)?

I think that it is incorrect to imagine that the right wingers who support billionaires are think of themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. It's a fun way for us to their left to mock them, but I don't think it actually reflects their real thought processes.

They aren't stupid. They know perfectly well that they won't be rich. Sure, they'd like to be rich (who wouldn't?) but they know they'll be working 8+ hours a day forever and getting paid a pittance.

The thing is, they're not just right wingers they're far right wingers. Which means they truly, genuinely, believe that those above them on the hierarchy have earned and deserve all the benefits of their higher position. To them there's nothing inherently wrong with groveling before a superior, and there is something inherently wrong with opposing the hierarchy.

What motivates them, what really terrifies them, is losing their status in the hierarchy. As long as there's someone below them they can feel superior to they're fine with being poor and on the lower parts of the hierarchy. But they will fight tooth and nail against any and all efforts to raise up people below them, because they perceive that as a lowering of their own status.

They want more perks for billionaires because they believe billionaires truly deserve those perks, not because they think that someday they will be billionaires themselves.
posted by sotonohito at 4:47 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


It’s weird to me this election, when a person says they are voting for Biden because they are concerned about Trump, the Supreme Court, coronavirus, etc., and the response is “but Obama drone strikes.” And I get it.

But I do think it’s unfair to question the morality of millions of people who are really struggling in the US, who may not have foreign wars/the Iraq War as a top issue that will influence their vote in 2020.
posted by girlmightlive at 5:23 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


To me the question is what the point of it is, girlmightlive. As yet nobody will go so far as to say they don't think people should vote for Biden. So what's the point? If people aren't attacking Biden for being a white supremacist warmonger with the intention of getting folks to not vote for him, is it simply to make folks feel bad about themselves for voting for him? What does that accomplish?

Look, even if we granted (which many folks obviously don't) that Biden is an awful person perpetuating a white supremacist genocidal warmongering foreign policy... and then? Either you're trying to get people not to vote for him and should cop to it, or you want people to vote for him but you also want them to feel terrible about it, which is a sucky thing to do.
posted by Justinian at 5:40 AM on August 21 [22 favorites]


I recall before The Death of the Megathreads we had something like the same discussion, and the answer generally was "we're still in primary! We're picking the nominee so these attacks are important for that process." I didn't really buy that because Biden was pretty clearly gonna be the nominee but ok whatever, fair enough. Well guess what? We're officially out of the primary process now. Biden's the nominee. So those justifications no longer apply. He's the guy.
posted by Justinian at 5:47 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


If you think the Republican wave in 2010 was because people didn't think the ACA went far enough, I just don't know what to say to you. The ACA was branded as a socialist government takeover, going too far. It mobilized Republicans to turn out in unprecedented numbers and Democrats took it on the chin.

It was also relentlessly lied about by Republicans, and the so-called "liberal media" amplified those lies, despite it being a matter of public record that Bill Kristol advised Republicans not to cooperate with Bill Clinton's health reform effort, because it'd create a popular policy for Democrats and disprove Republican claims that the government can't do anything right. There was never any reason to believe Republican opposition to the ACA was in good faith, but the lies, coupled with the botched rollout, gave it a black eye in public perception for a long time.

Some of the continued opposition to the ACA was because it didn't go far enough, yes -- a fact the media rarely bothered to mention because it didn't fit with their lazy narrative of "The ACA is unpopular." Until the Republicans tried to repeal it, and it turns out, Kristol was actually right -- the people did like what the Democrats did for them.

Anyone who says the Democrats could have passed something more ambitious needs to explain how they would have gotten the votes in the Senate for such a law.
posted by Gelatin at 6:11 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Joe never said Trump’s name once.

Hitting him where it hurts.
posted by Pouteria at 6:14 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Whatabout-ism is so annoying on the far left. Vote Or Die! It's the simplest thing in the world. Vote for Biden now, whine about it later.
posted by Chickenring at 6:15 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Look, even if we granted (which many folks obviously don't) that Biden is an awful person perpetuating a white supremacist genocidal warmongering foreign policy... and then? Either you're trying to get people not to vote for him and should cop to it, or you want people to vote for him but you also want them to feel terrible about it, which is a sucky thing to do.

My fear is that if Biden wins, liberals will revert back to the brunchy triumphalism they have always gone back to when their side wins elections. That yes, Biden's campaign is the most leftist one in history except for when it comes to defense and foreign policy, areas where the president has actual power and influence compared to domestic policy.

After all, how many threads were made about war crimes or children in concentration camps during the last time Biden and his party were in power?
posted by Ouverture at 6:16 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


The speech was fine. Biden sounded like the way a typical president would sound like.

However, Trump is the actual president. And since 1950, there's only three times an incumbent has lost their re-election. It doesn't typically happen. "Don't change horses in midstream" as the saying goes. So, it is not a foregone conclusion that Biden will win the election.
posted by FJT at 6:28 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


They want more perks for [white] billionaires because they believe [white] billionaires truly deserve those perks.

I do think that the hierarchy explanation is better than the temporarily-embarrassed-millionaire explanation, but at least in the US, they are both really about race. It's the same mentality that pushes a "birther" narrative around Kamala Harris or Barack Obama; the same mentality that has led to the GOP introducing a bill in every Congress since 1991 (!!!!) to end citizenship by birthright; the same mentality that says the Second Amendment allows a white man holding a semi-automatic weapon to murder a black boy holding a toy gun.
posted by basalganglia at 6:30 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


What's worrying to me is that the Democrats are doing the exact same thing they did in 2016---Trump is evil, we need to defeat him. Vote for the Democrats they aren't evil.

Then they have a convention, with by all accounts, pretty high viewership. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and with that, their health insurance. Millions of people who never thought they would ever care about gov't supplied health insurance now do.

Why aren't the Democrats selling this?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:31 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Justinian I can't speak for others of course, but I believe in my case a big part of it is to try to preemptively head off the sort of thing we saw (and in my case did) after Obama's election, the part where so much of the activist energy that had been devoted to opposing Junior just sort of vanished as we all heaved a collective sigh of relief that finally an adult was President and we imagined we could just kick back and relax because he had it covered.

I recall a meme going around with Obama looking suave and confident, holding a mug of beer, with the caption "relax, I've got this!". It seemed that so much of the energy we saw during Junior's horrific administration came not from actual support of the various causes, but purely from opposition to Junior in specific and so it all just sort of died out with Obama's election.

Right here on MeFi I recall many ostensibly liberal and even lefty people vigorously defending Obama's decision to have the CIA assassinate an American citizen on the grounds that bringing charges and arresting him would be too hard and anyway he was bad so it's fine for Obama to bypass the entire legal system and just murder a guy because Obama believed he was a bad guy. I want to do everything I can to stop that sort of toxic complacency from taking root again.

Part of it is a self reminder: ousting Trump is the beginning of the labor, not the end. Part of it is a desire to try to hold together some of this activist energy after Trump is gone. If the idea that once Biden is in office we can all chill takes hold then we'll be right back here in another 4 to 8 years but this time with someone even worse than Trump in charge.

I don't want people to feel bad about voting for Biden.

But I also don't want people to feel that Biden is great and once he's in that's the end. Biden is awful. He's only good in comparison to Trump and a turnip is good in comparison to Trump. When Biden takes his oath on the 20th he will inherit the wars he started with Obama and the continuation of those wars by Trump and he has given no indication that he feels even slightly that Obama's continuation and enlargement of Junior's adventurism was a bad idea. So if we care about things like ending the ongoing US supported genocide in Yemen I think we need all the run up we can get, because there's going to be a lot of resistance to continued protest on the Democratic side.

I don't want people to feel bad about voting for Biden.

I do want them to see it as a purely strategic choice of electing the better, but still very bad, candidate and that America has ongoing evil that must be stopped and which Biden and Harris both endorse and support so we've got to make sure we have no illusions about Biden.

I don't want people to feel bad about voting for Biden.

But I do want people to go into his administration clear eyed and painfully aware of his shortcomings, actual positions, and the deep evils and wrongs he supports, endorses, and wants to continue and expand on.

I don't want people to feel bad about voting for Biden.

But I remember the, in retrospect, foolish and born of hope rather than actually listening to his words, feeling of betrayal when Obama expanded on Junior's wars and I want us not to suffer that sort of will sapping self delusion again. I say foolish, because he never actually ran as an anti-war candidate and often said he was in favor of more and bigger wars. It was my fault, and the fault of us lefties who bought the hope and change bullshit, for listening to hope for change rather than his actual stated position. So I want to make sure we don't make that same mistake with Biden.

He's a war mongering white supremacist and we need to be ready, one second after his inauguration, to exert maximum pressure to get him to abandon his desire to continue the endless US vs the entire Middle East war. I think sufficient pressure early on, skipping the honeymoon effect we had with Obama that let him think it was OK to indulge his inner warmonger, we can possibly get Biden to actually end the endless war.

But we can only do it if we go into the election without self inflicted delusions about Biden, his beliefs, and his objectives.

I don't want people to feel bad about voting for Biden.

I want people to vote for him while girding themselves to fight against him with all they have the second he's in office. Because that's what we'll have to do. We will have to force him, by sheer weight of ongoing protest, to give up his billionaire buddies and take the hard measures necessary to save us all from climate change. We will have to coerce him, by mass protest and never for one second letting him think he can get away with it, into giving up his desire to not just continue Obama's endless wars but to add to them.

I want people to be ready on day one to make him do what's right and necessary. And that requires honesty about him, not boosterism.
posted by sotonohito at 6:32 AM on August 21 [56 favorites]


the thread can be for discussion about we actually feel about the candidates.

Nah, Greg, the Democrats are doing Democratic Centralism now!
posted by atoxyl at 6:33 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I'm a socialist and I probably won't be voting for Biden because I live in a deep blue state where my vote for the socialists will cause greater positioning and funding of them, but if anyone votes for Biden, especially in more contested states, I don't blame them.

Capitalism is fucked. Imperialism is fucked. Fascism is fucked.

The Left needs time because liberalism just doesn't solve these problems. We need time. Biden may give us the time we need. Trump doesn't.

But make no mistake: Biden is a horrible candidate that will lead to a resurgence in neoliberalism is a viable governing philosophy despite it being the reason that we're all here.

However, the work we're doing now to organize our communities to resist fascism and capitalism is far more important than boosting Biden. I'm dealing with Proud Boy and Patriot Front fascists roaming our streets terrorizing folks. I don't really care if there are more queer millionaires in the future Biden cabinet. It doesn't appreciable change the reality for queer and other marginalized folks in poverty.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:42 AM on August 21 [14 favorites]


I’ll agree that there was too much complacency during the Obama administration.

But It’s difficult right now for people who are feeling scared to think about how to prevent the same mistakes in a Biden administration because there is no Biden administration, this election isn’t over and Trump still has a chance to win.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:45 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Thanks, sotonohito, that was a good comment.
posted by Justinian at 6:45 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


With Democrats, even the most centrist ones, there's at least room to talk with them in terms of of human rights, human dignity, the value of non-rich, non-white, non-American lives, etc. They profess to believe in those values, they're building their brand on those values, and some of them really do care about those values. You can talk with Democratic politicians and Democratic voters about the morality of drone strikes or foreign invasions or immigration limits using a common language and appealing to common set of ideals. And while progress is slow, and there are far too many casualties, the politics do evolve and the change does happen. It has happened and it keeps happening - much, much too slowly, but it is a continuous thing. On that side of the spectrum there really does seem to be a moral arc that's long but can be bent in the right direction.

Whereas with members of a party focused on power above all and on no discernible values save (a) preservation of a national and international social and economic hierarchy, (b) abortion being a worse evil than anything else, and (c) there being "no such thing as society", who is there to talk with? Everything they do will be aimed at painting you as the enemy against whom their base must mobilize. The only thing you can do is get them out of office. Should that really wait only for the most shiningly unblemished replacement, and to hell with all the lives that will be held hostage until then?

Support* the party that does fewer evil things and that allows for improvement when prodded hard enough. Simultaneously prod until one day zero evil actually is on the menu. But holding out for only that and refusing to support intermediate steps is a hell of a gamble to take, with far too many casualties.

*supporting more perfect parties at the same time is also good, it's not always a zero-sum game
posted by trig at 7:02 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


I’ll agree that there was too much complacency during the Obama administration.

Complacency? He was too busy fighting off everyone who didn’t like him for the sole reason of his skin color.
posted by Melismata at 7:10 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


With respect to fear of complacency, I don't disagree with the fear in and of itself. But I also think it's a lot harder to feel complacent about anything these days than it was in 2008. There's a pandemic that's going to persist long after the election. There's climate change, which even Fox isn't denying these days. There's a really dramatic demonstration of how fragile American democracy is and how the Republican party is perpetually, insatiably out for bloodpower regardless of the destruction they leave in their wake. And there is more support than I can ever remember for the idea that some things are systemically fucked up and that small, technocratic changes can't fix them.

Maybe I'm wrong and underestimating complacency in an age where people party in droves in the middle of a pandemic. But I can't see Biden getting elected and people thinking "Hurray, we're back to normal" like many did in 2008. The fragility of "normal", and the existence of the extensive human costs of "normal", are both more exposed than they have been for a long time.
posted by trig at 7:19 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Why aren't the Democrats selling this?

The democrats are counting on Trumps historic ineptitude and catastrophic negligence to be enough to win. The think they’ve got a magical scenario where they can win without offering something (like medicare for all) that would upset a huge donor class (the healthcare sector and its wealthy beneficiaries), or offering anything of substance besides “Trump is historically terrible”.

It’s very frustrating!!!!

But it’s also nothing new.

It’s the same strategy that lost in 2016.

This convention left me cold, and made it more clear than ever that if anyone can fuck this up, it’s the democratic party.
posted by dis_integration at 7:20 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


I think that it is incorrect to imagine that the right wingers who support billionaires are think of themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. It's a fun way for us to their left to mock them, but I don't think it actually reflects their real thought processes.

Agreed, and it’s frustrating to see this type of thing over and over. We can’t win by defeating an imaginary version of the enemy that we made up to make ourselves feel smart.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:30 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


Complacency? He was too busy fighting off everyone who didn’t like him for the sole reason of his skin color.

I meant complacency from supporters who seemed to believe he would be able to fix more than he could, or would, or that Republicans would work in good faith. It was frustrating that Dems didn’t turn out for the midterms.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:39 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Then they have a convention, with by all accounts, pretty high viewership. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and with that, their health insurance. Millions of people who never thought they would ever care about gov't supplied health insurance now do.

Why aren't the Democrats selling this?


Did we watch the same Biden speech? Because he was selling exactly this.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:48 AM on August 21 [23 favorites]


On topic: Biden's acceptance speech was a bog standard political speech, and after four years of Trump's narcissistic word salad it felt like some of the greatest oratory ever. Which reinforces my fears of complacency, because Trump has set the bar so low that almost anything will clear it.

I also think it was a fairly effective speech on two fronts:

1) Trump has been doing his usual projection and claiming that Biden is mentally incompetent, and Biden has proven that's pure nonsense in a way that even the legacy media will be hard pressed to deny.

2) While as a firebrand myself I'd have preferred a rousing call to battle and a strong, uncompromising, denunciation of every Republican in the country, I can see the tactical merits in letting the Presidential candidate play the role of being open while others do the job of calling the Republicans names. But even as a speech that was clearly written to play it safe and try to invite the never Trumpers to vote Biden, he still had good imagery and at least a clear denunciation of Trump which cleverly never called him by name and will therefore infuriate him.

It wasn't the worst close for a Democratic convention, and it did the job it should. I've got a lot of gripes with both the Party and the way they ran the convention, but their closer was great and hit the right notes.

Hell, he even made some talk about climate change and wealth inequality, so clearly he feels the need to make at least a few tiny symbolic gestures to the left.
posted by sotonohito at 7:53 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


The democrats are counting on Trumps historic ineptitude and catastrophic negligence to be enough to win. The think they’ve got a magical scenario where they can win without offering something (like medicare for all) that would upset a huge donor class (the healthcare sector and its wealthy beneficiaries), or offering anything of substance besides “Trump is historically terrible”.

You mean like a Green New Deal? Or a public option? Or immigration reform?

I mean look, it's fine to bash Democrats like we do every election cycle, lord knows they can screw things up. But at some point this becomes willful ignorance of the actual policies that a Biden administration will attempt to implement (I say attempt because, you know, the Senate and McConnell and all). And of course, as was noted, Biden didn't mention Trump by name once in his speech. So no, the campaign is not just "we're not Trump". It has real substance that, if it comes to pass, will make a meaningful difference in peoples' lives.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:54 AM on August 21 [33 favorites]


Hell, he even made some talk about climate change and wealth inequality, so clearly he feels the need to make at least a few tiny symbolic gestures to the left.

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I also feel like we did this four years ago with Clinton. It's all on his website in great detail. Climate change! Wealth inequity! That doesn't mean we don't need to hold his feet to the fire to do all of the stuff he says he wants to do. But he's not ignoring it or making symbolic gestures.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:57 AM on August 21 [28 favorites]


I like to keep in mind that Trump and his Asshole Fans are literally burning America to the ground.

Step 1: Put out the fire.

I'm voting Biden and Harris, warts-and-all.
posted by mikelieman at 8:20 AM on August 21 [25 favorites]


I don’t get how you don’t want people to feel bad about voting for Biden, and then in the same breath, describe his beliefs as “deep evils.”

Surely there’s some middle-ground between outright boosterism, and calling the guy an unqualified white supremacist.

There’s a constructive way to go about this – “Biden’s the best choice on the ballot who has any chance to win, but I think he could stand to improve on X, Y, and Z;” “A Biden presidency won’t solve America’s ills overnight,” etc...

The cabinet hasn’t been picket yet, and everything in the campaign so far suggests that he’s receptive to altering his platform to move with the shifting tides of public sentiment.
posted by schmod at 8:27 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


The Biden speech was really, really good - and the overall DNC production values were remarkably high. It was truly all needed. It was great, and it gave me hope and motivation.

I personally can’t imagine anyone thinking about not voting. We have a literal authoritarian dictator ready to be President for Life, and crush any last semblance of democracy. This needs to be an overwhelming defeat for a failed White House occupant. Anything less than that is unacceptable.
posted by hijinx at 8:29 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


“Biden’s the best choice on the ballot who has any chance to win, but I think he could stand to improve on X, Y, and Z;”

That's really soft-peddling his actions in the past that supported white supremacists, that drove forward the "anti-crime" bill, that dismissed sexual harassment, that supported the Iraq War. Those are deep evils that he won't—he can't—get better on, as they are part of his political career already. Even if he were to have a Scrooge-like revelation, he would have still done them, it's a disservice to make it out as "he could stand to improve" when we're talking about death tolls in the hundreds of thousands. And that's if he decided to repudiate his past in a complete way.

Make no mistake, Biden is better than Trump, but he's still an awful man with a political career that has decimated millions. Still better than the alternative.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:36 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


we did this four years ago with Clinton. It's all on his website in great detail.

As it was on hers, and I remember a lot of "she has a plan for this, look on the website!" including from Clinton herself during the debates. I hate sound bite politics as much as anyone, but it was needed then and is needed now. The average voter is not going to look up both candidates' websites, read through position papers, and make a fully informed decision about whose they like better. They are going to glance at headlines, see news clips and memes online, and maybe watch the debates. Biden and Harris need sound bites/elevator pitches about their positions and plans that can be easily captured and passed around. It's not ideal but it's the way the game is played in our low attention span social media world.
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:50 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


I guess I just really dislike the idea that everyone has to stay "on message" all the time about how great Biden is, even on this random website with fewer than 100,000 users. We're not on the payroll. And if we were, we wouldn't be spending our time here.

I'm definitely flashing back to 2016, when legitimate criticisms of Clinton would get jeers--like actual jeers. I wrote a longish comment on privacy and civil liberties concerns with Clinton and someone summarized it as "BUT HER EMAILS." It continued and led to Metafilter feeling like a more exclusive club, and a lot of us quit coming.

I don't think it's about making people "feel bad" for voting for Biden. It's rethinking your idea of what voting is--there's that old quote: voting isn't a love letter, it's a chess move. I think in terms of which candidate I'd rather organize against. When you think in those terms, the answer becomes pretty obvious, no bad feelings necessary.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:59 AM on August 21 [22 favorites]


As it was on hers, and I remember a lot of "she has a plan for this, look on the website!" including from Clinton herself during the debates. I hate sound bite politics as much as anyone, but it was needed then and is needed now. The average voter is not going to look up both candidates' websites, read through position papers, and make a fully informed decision about whose they like better. They are going to glance at headlines, see news clips and memes online, and maybe watch the debates. Biden and Harris need sound bites/elevator pitches about their positions and plans that can be easily captured and passed around. It's not ideal but it's the way the game is played in our low attention span social media world.

I don't disagree. But the general election campaign really doesn't start until after the GOP convention, so let's give Biden and Harris some credit and assume that they will in fact be making speeches and giving soundbites about virtually every policy position they hold. A speech accepting the party's nomination is not a stump speech. That's coming.
posted by schoolgirl report at 9:20 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


One of the problems facing American liberals/"leftys" trying to convince leftists about what to do and how to think about this election is that these are two very different schools of thought and ideology, with less shared language and ideals than liberals have with conservatives. Consider how Biden has an easier time courting moderate Republicans than leftists even with such a relatively radical platform.

When there are such fundamental disagreements on the most basic of material historical and future conditions, it is going to be very difficult to build the rapport and credibility to convince leftists. Compounding this is the fact that most leftists, like myself, started out as liberals and only ended up where we are today as a result of being let down so much and so thoroughly over decades of participation in liberal politics. The collision of the 2008 financial crisis, GOP intransigence, and Obama's own moderate, donor-driven politics have ironically radicalized at least two generations of young people far to the left. Silver linings indeed.

This mismatch seems to play a significant role in why overtures from the center to the left fall so flat and why these conversations are so frustrating for everyone involved.

That said, I think Andrew Yang, of all people!, has done a better job than anyone else I have seen so far:
“The magic of Joe Biden is that everything he does becomes the new reasonable,” Yang said during a roundtable discussion among former 2020 contenders. “If he comes with an ambitious template to address climate change, all of a sudden, everyone is going to follow his lead.”
posted by Ouverture at 9:37 AM on August 21 [22 favorites]


Biden's convention speech clocked in at about 26 minutes, which was way shorter than both Clinton's 2016 convention speech (56 minutes) and Trump's 2016 convention speech (1 hr and 14 min). And to make sure it wasn't due to the lack of applause and chanting, I also dumped all three of their speech transcripts into a word count:
'16 Trump: 4,380
'16 Clinton: 5,135
'20 Biden: 3,192

I have not done comparison's for all 2016 vs 2020 speeches, but I think most people spoke for shorter times this year. This is probably because of the online format and also everyone just having shorter attention spans in 2020.

I don't know about anyone else, but I think shorter speeches are a good thing and hope to see more of them.
posted by FJT at 9:39 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


I actually share most of the ideals and goals of the far left. I think the United States could be the greatest social democracy in the world if we got our act together. I do everything I realistically can to support those goals.

But I watched my parents, beneficiaries of the New Deal and the Great Society, happily and enthusiastically vote in Reagan and Bush.

I watched my colleagues and neighbors in a traditionally liberal East Coast college town throw in for Bush, Jr. I heard things like, “ I don’t agree with his policies, but he’s a God-fearing Christian so I know his heart must be in the right place” and “ I don’t agree with his policies, but 9/11 changed everything.” Clinton was excoriated in 2016 for having voted for the war, but believe me, it is what the vast majority of her constituents wanted her to do at that time.

I watched Obama elected and fight for change. I watched Republican legislators openly declare their intentions to block anything and everything he tried to do, and proceed to follow through on their threats.

I watched Donald Trump - DONALD TRUMP! - elected to the Presidency. Even with a narrow margin and a loss of the popular vote, that is a thing I had not believed was an actual possibility. He predicted that he could get away with openly committing crimes, and he proved himself correct.

When I was born, reproductive rights was a battle everyone assumed was won and over. The idea that a woman could decide what happens to her body was a mainstream, middle of the road position. I’ve watched that change over the course of my lifetime.

I believe that we can make this country what it ought to be. But I know it will not happen in my lifetime. We didn’t get into this mess overnight or even in the course of one administration, and we’re not going to get out of it that way, either.

Maybe we could elect a far-left candidate. But today, here and now, would they be allowed to enact all of the reforms they promise? I know for a fact they would not. It would be a symbolic gesture, and ultimately a Pyrrhic victory. I don’t believe we can change the world unless we can first accept the state it’s currently in.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:49 AM on August 21 [39 favorites]


I know I said I was dropping out, but there is one more thing I want to say - I want to issue an apology to showbiz_liz. I was out of sorts, I snarked at you, and that was not fair of me and I'm sorry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


I want people to vote for him while girding themselves to fight against him with all they have the second he's in office. Because that's what we'll have to do. We will have to force him, by sheer weight of ongoing protest, to give up his billionaire buddies and take the hard measures necessary to save us all from climate change. We will have to coerce him, by mass protest and never for one second letting him think he can get away with it, into giving up his desire to not just continue Obama's endless wars but to add to them.

Very, very well said.

I have half-joked that I want to be ready to vote for Joe Biden in November and support the effort to impeach Joe Biden sometime after January. Give him a week or two to enjoy himself, at least, before dropping the hammer. It is, of course, an exaggeration -- but only in degree, not in principle. I hope to be surprised by things that Biden does and endorses while in office. I do not expect to be.
posted by delfin at 10:21 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


support the effort to impeach Joe Biden sometime after January

Did I miss the memo where Biden outlined the high crimes and misdemeanors he was planning to commit in his first 100 days? What exactly are you expecting?
posted by 0xFCAF at 10:50 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


My "It is, of course, an exaggeration" T-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt.
posted by delfin at 11:02 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


> I actually share most of the ideals and goals of the far left. I think the United States could be the greatest social democracy in the world if we got our act together. I do everything I realistically can to support those goals.

not to get into filioques again well okay to get into filioques again social democracy is not a far-left position — it's a moderate center-left position. far left positions involve replacing the institutions of bourgeois electoral democracy with democratically elected workers' organizations, and transferring control of the economy and the processes of production away from the moneyed class and to those worker organizations.

> Maybe we could elect a far-left candidate. But today, here and now, would they be allowed to enact all of the reforms they promise? I know for a fact they would not. It would be a symbolic gesture, and ultimately a Pyrrhic victory. I don’t believe we can change the world unless we can first accept the state it’s currently in.

the electoral systems used in the liberal capitalist nation-states are designed to thwart attempts to use the power of the state to accomplish left ends. so "maybe we could elect a far-left candidate" isn't the right focus. even though very occasionally the right and center split enough to allow a left candidate to take control of the executive (the most notable example here was allende in chile), on the rare occasions that that happens capital immediately acts to destroy that government and kill its supporters (see: the pinochet coup in chile).

so "maybe we could elect a far-left candidate" isn't the right frame — even in the unlikely event that a left candidate came into office through electoral means, establishing and defending an actual left government will have to be carried out through non-electoral means.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:06 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


and okay right now the left in this thread is doing a damn fine job of reaching out to the liberals, and the liberals are often not reciprocating at all, or uh are doing the exact opposite of reciprocating. trying to use the biden nomination to dunk on the left is um not an effective means of persuasion — it's basically as useful (read: harmful) as tweeting 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍 at warren supporters.

like, whatever, do that here if you must, since metafilter is an Internet cul-de-sac that doesn't really matter. but holy jeez tone that shit waaaay the hell down when you're out in the world. it might make you feel good but it's going to lose your boy a ton of votes. and everyone here would very much like to see your boy get elected.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:14 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


like, whatever, do that here if you must, but holy jeez tone that shit waaaay the hell down when you're out in the world, because it might make you feel good but it's going to lose your boy a ton of votes.

Nobody likes a sore winner. I very much appreciate efforts by some folks in this thread to reach across and build up a constructive dialogue. Some of the other posts by contrast have been pretty counterproductive, even if they provided momentary pleasure for the authors.
posted by StarkRoads at 11:32 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


like this thread keeps swerving back and forth between
  1. really useful / insightful stuff from both sides of the left-liberal split
  2. stuff that makes me want to nope out of metafilter political threads altogether.
which like maybe all of us should nope out of metafilter political threads altogether. but if that happens how are we going to spend our time when we're at work?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:46 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


If it was not clear that I meant “to the far left of the spectrum as it exists in current United States National politics” then I sincerely apologize.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:54 AM on August 21


We’re all mad here.

From my perspective on the opposite side of the left-liberal split, exactly the opposite has been happening. It might be like that picture of the two Spider-Men pointing at each other.

As I am vanishingly unlikely to encounter many leftists out in the part of the world where I am, I think my best bet is to suggest to others that I think Biden will be a good president. If somebody does respond using the words “warmonger” or “neoliberal” I’ll know to politely excuse myself.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:55 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


and okay right now the left in this thread is doing a damn fine job of reaching out to the liberals,

I’d hate to see what a poor job looks like.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:56 AM on August 21 [18 favorites]


I’d hate to see what s poor job looks like

Campaigning for Nader?

It's funny how every one of these comments has to have an "of course I'm voting for them" disclaimer. Should we start posting screenshots of DNC donation receipts too, or what?

Disclaimer: Of course I'm voting for them.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:58 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


I guess I need to take a break.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:00 PM on August 21


[Hello fellow Mefites - Rather than meta-meta analysis of how people feel about other people's comments in this thread, friendly suggestion to bring it back to talking about the actual convention.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:01 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Fwiw, 'Monster, I think I understood your comment, and appreciate that you took the time to post. Off the internet, I'm not saying "Biden's a tourniquet" out loud, either. our boy is a 77-year-old compromise candidate with nearly five decades' worth of government experience, and his version of an executive-level coronavirus response will save lives.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:12 PM on August 21 [10 favorites]


and okay right now the left in this thread is doing a damn fine job of reaching out to the liberals, and the liberals are often not reciprocating at all,

Nobody is required to reach out to anyone, this isn't a mini convention or what have you. Just state your points and observations (about the topic at hand, convention, ideally) respectfully, don't keep repeating yourself in multiple comments, and move on. Once is enough.

I am really happy to hear that Biden's acceptance speech generally went over well. I don't place a huge importance on the convention in the scheme of the election cycle but having one that goes well is obviously preferable.
posted by JenMarie at 12:21 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Just visited my parents in PA. I moved from the state last year to a deep blue state, so my vote will matter much less this year, if at all. I saw a Trump Pence on parent's street. Asked my parents about it, and they said the family are idiots who argued with everyone at a gathering just prior to the pandemic. Anecdotal data from one of the suburbs Biden is gonna have to do marginally better than Hillary in to capture PA. Good sign: The House rep for the area shifted from Republican to Democrat in 2018.

Bad sign: A recent Muhlenberg college poll has Biden only ahead by 49 to 45 percent. Another bad sign: Trump Pence signs are everywhere the farther you travel from urban centers. I still remember driving north on I-83 through rural PA in 2016 seeing families waving home-made Trump banners from overpasses. The Democrats won the House in 2018 winning seats in suburban areas like those in which my parents live, but the Republicans held Senate seats because of enthusiastic supports in rural areas.

I think the election is still going to be close, too close. Hillary was ahead in the polls by similar amount it seems. Looking at the polling now, PA doesn't look that much different than Arizona, Florida, and Texas. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad sign. I fear we might be in this transitory period in terms of the electoral college where Democrats are gaining in places like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia while losing in places like PA and Wisconsin; in the long term the Democrat's gains might outweigh their losses, but in the short term Republicans like Trump might have an opening because Democrats haven't quite gained enough to carry Southern/Southwestern states while Trump types can win older, whiter, post-industrial states by appealing the cultural reaction and economic interest of older white voters.

Then again, I just listened to Thomas Frank on a podcast (I'm an evil far lefty) who seems to think Trump is done for. Maybe I worry too much.

I'll vote for Biden. I don't I have a choice. I was always going to support the Democrat. I always vote for Democrats. I've thought the Republicans represented a world-historical danger to the planet since I became politically conscious in the late 90's. In my view, subsequent history has proven me correct.

I just skimmed the thread. I didn't even watch the entire convention. I head AOC spoke. I hope she continues to ascend in the party. So far she seems to have injected energy into the Markey campaign. Joe Kennedy appears obnoxious, but he is young, so he'll automatically get hype as a "fresh young face" if he wins. Nip it in the bud, I say.

I fear AOC's electoral prospects are limited outside New York, though; not because people disagree with her, but because our electoral system and voter suppression overrepresent older, relatively wealthier, white people, particularly those in rural areas. Our country was set up by by wealthy white male landowners who feared a centralized authority that could tax them or, in the case of southern slaveholders, confiscate their property. Concessions to the need for a centralized state only came out of fear of foreign domination and the threat of intra-state conflict to business interests. Nobody really has a answer to that in the near term, not the leftists, liberals, social justice warriors or whoever.

I'm not interested in people trying to convince me that Biden is some new FDR figure, though. He's just not. His fundamental message that we can return to a better time pre-Trump I'm sure sounds good for older, wealthier liberal voters still enjoying the warm afterglow of the remains of the New Deal welfare state (relatively cheap education) and the tech bubble, but the system was fundamentally unstable. The Republicans are doing their best to destroy it because they carry the fear of centralized authority capable of taxation and confiscation dating back to the revolutionary war while Democrats are fundamentally unable to match their ruthlessness or resolve. Trump was just a symptom, hell, the failed Coronavirus response is just a symptom, of a deeper rot. Jeffersonian ideas of limited government become nihilistic and self-destructive in a world where humans are capable of altering the climate and spreading pandemic diseases amongst themselves because the horse and the sailing ship are no longer state-of-the-art means of travel.
posted by eagles123 at 12:23 PM on August 21 [18 favorites]


how are we going to spend our time when we're at work?

Click to orbit, duh
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:27 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Maybe we could elect a far-left candidate. But today, here and now, would they be allowed to enact all of the reforms they promise? I know for a fact they would not. It would be a symbolic gesture, and ultimately a Pyrrhic victory. I don’t believe we can change the world unless we can first accept the state it’s currently in.

we agree on the bold part, i guess, because until we accept the state the world is currently in, we're going to keep nominating centrists and losing the election. its like some sort of reality-distortion field that democrats use on themselves. "we need to nominate the centrist to peel off the sane republicans" [crazy republican wins] "ah well, nevertheless, it's sure to work next time"
posted by entropicamericana at 3:29 PM on August 21


There is no polling of any support to suggest that any of the other candidates would be doing better than Biden, and quite a bit to suggest they'd be doing worse.

He may lose, particularly with all the cheating that is going to occur. But if he loses all the evidence points to everybody else in the primary losing by more.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


[A couple deleted. One user banned who was here just to troll the thread into a fight about Bernie Sanders; the trolling is an ongoing pattern. This thread will not be a general political theory throwdown or a left-vs-liberals fight. Talk about the DNC or find a thread on political theory if you really want to talk about political theory.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:23 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


I fear AOC's electoral prospects are limited outside New York, though

I agree, eagles123, that her prospects are limited in that way. But, that isn't necessarily bad. Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think she has expressed interest in even higher office. But, she's goddamn member of congress. And, a good one. We need good house reps to fight it out there. A future Speaker AOC would be no small thing. Speaker of the House with a solid Dem majority and party that has moved somewhat left of where it is now is not impossible. It isn't easy either. Would it satisfy everyone? No. Would it be far, far better than what we have now? Hell, yeah. So, that is why we have to move everyone we can to get out and vote D for Biden and Harris, but at least as importantly for Zoning Board of Appeals and School Board. And, do it every damn time if you want the opportunity to shape the Democratic Party into a better party with better principles.
posted by Gotanda at 4:49 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


We’re all mad here.

Wibble.
posted by Pouteria at 5:30 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I haven't heard AOC express interest in higher office, but it would be extraordinarily early for her to do so. She's only entering into her second term. I've heard others speculate she might try to run for Senate after her convincing primary win over a well-funded challenger this time around, but nothing beyond that.

What she has built is a fairly extensive fundraising and get-out-the-vote network that is pretty plugged into the millennial left and that has branched out to help other candidates like Markey. I could see her trying to climb up the ranks in the House and try to become speaker or some kind of power broker for grass-roots funded candidates.

Then again, she has a pretty contentious relationship with Pelosi and the Democratic establishment. Even given her resources, that might make it difficult to advance in the House. A Senate seat might actually be eventually more attainable because she could focus all her resources and celebrity on one race, rather than try to take on the entire democratic establishment.

I may have been a little too down on her national electoral prospects though. Realistically, she couldn't run for President or Vice President until she at least had Senate seat, which means we're talking about at least the late 20's if not the early 30's. The electoral map and demographics are going to look a lot different then because by that time Democrats will be able to win states like Texas, Arizona, and Georgia with a much younger and more diverse coalition than the one they use to win states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In fact, they may not have a choice in the matter. The polling in Texas looks disconcertingly similar to the polling in Pennsylvania to me: within a could of points at most, the difference being one state is moving in a positive direction for the Democrats, and the other state is moving in a negative direction.

I totally agree that races at all levels of government are important, and I think AOC can make a positive contribution through any of the paths I described (which are really all the possible paths a politician can take at the federal level).
posted by eagles123 at 5:38 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


"Centrist" nominees also appeal to voters who aren't regretful Republicans:

Black voters opted for Biden because they have no faith that white voters will do the right thing and vote for a true progressive.(The Nation, March 2, 2020)
Why Joe Biden Is The Pragmatic Choice For Black Voters (NPR, March 10, 2020)
Why did Black voters back Biden? (AL.com, April 27, 2020)
Race gaps in COVID-19 deaths are even bigger than they appear (Brookings Institution, June 16, 2020) The COVID-19 pandemic has been like the flash of an X-ray, exposing the deep fractures in U.S. society – not least by race. New data from CDC shows that the death rates among Black and Hispanic/Latino people are much higher than for white people, in all age categories.

Black women are only about 7 percent of the population but tend to vote at higher rates than other groups, voting at or above 60 percent in the past five presidential cycles. (WaPo, July 6, 2020) They are also the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters: In 2016, 94 percent of black women voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton — the highest rate of any group, including black men and nearly double that of white women. [...] “Black women are sophisticated voters,” said [Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha] Brown. “We’ve never had the luxury of having the person on the white horse to come save us. We’ve always had to be very practical around what our needs are, for ourselves and for our families. We vote because we recognize it’s about us and reducing harm in our community.”

The coronavirus has claimed nearly 171,000 American lives through Aug. 18, 2020—about 15,000 more than our last update two weeks ago, or averaging about 1,100 deaths per day. (APM Research Lab, Color of Coronavirus project, Aug. 21, 2020) Latinos and Blacks have seen the sharpest rise in their actual mortality rates during the past two weeks. 1 in 1,125 Black Americans has died. Black Americans continue to experience the highest actual COVID-19 mortality rates nationwide—more than twice as high as the rate for Whites and Asians, who have the lowest actual rates. If they had died of COVID-19 at the same actual rate as White Americans, about 19,500 Black, 8,400 Latino, 600 Indigenous, and 70 Pacific Islander Americans would still be alive.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:44 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


Can anyone tell me WTF the organizing strategy is for GOTV with the Biden campaign? Because I watched parts of the convention (grudgingly, I am a socialist who always grits my teeth and votes for the D because I live in Ohio) and besides everyone talking about "make sure you vote!" I have zero sense of what the ground campaign looks like.

I door knocked as a volunteer for Obama in 2008 (in Ohio and Louisiana), and for Clinton in 2016 (in southwest Ohio). The differences between the two were night and day and I still think it was one of the primary factors in why he won and she lost.

Anyone who door knocked for Obama in 2008 knew what a smooth operation it was: you did not go out with your clipboard until you went through training, and role playing with your door knocking partner. When you encountered someone on your list who seemed not super enthusiastic about Obama, you coded their concerns so a field organizer could follow up with them and try to persuade them.

In contrast, Clinton's GOTV canvassing operation was an unmitigated disaster. Different field offices would call me with conflicting information on where to show up for my volunteer shift. I was not routinely sent out with a canvassing partner. And most ominous of all, I was told by the organizers to *not* deeply engage with any reluctant voters, all they wanted to know was who was with her and who wasn't. WTF?

My 2016 alarm bells are going off again because right now I don't see any form of ground game, and I live in Ohio. I see the same strategy of just saying how BAAAAAD Trump is without a clear strategy to reach people where they are and get them to the polls. I know we're in a pandemic, and I know door knocking is complicated by the risks of sending people door to door and the Biden campaign is unlikely to deploy it. During the primary I was getting campaign texts from candidates frequently. We are now less than 100 days from the election, I live in Ohio, and I see *zero* presence of Biden's ground game except for a handful of signs among my neighbors. Meanwhile, the suburban sprawl exurb in the next county over probably had 2 Trump signs for every 1 Biden sign I've seen in my neighborhood.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:51 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


I fear AOC's electoral prospects are limited outside New York, though

Within NY isn't really a showstopper. I'm not a big fan of Chuck Schumer, so maybe it's time for Gillibrand to be NY's Sr. Senator and AOC move up to a 6 year term?
posted by mikelieman at 6:09 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I wonder how important door knocking and canvassing is these days. Trump had almost zero ground game and still won the election. Trump's team seemed to excel on social media. Maybe it makes a difference depending on demographics.
posted by JackFlash at 6:12 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Gillibrand as Sr. Senator would be nice. (Well, nice for constituents, irritating to grudge-holding pols, and possibly a pain in the keister for Gillibrand herself.)

Where in Ohio, mostly vowels? The Ohio Democratic Party has remote phone and text banks, and lit drops [examples: "Put on your walking shoes and get in your steps in HD40 for Leronda Jackson! We will be dropping lit at targeted doors. We appreciate your help!";"Come on out for a Covid-19 safe, social-distancing Lit Drop event in beautiful Trotwood! We will not be knocking on any doors, we will not be approaching any voters, but we WILL be hanging Amy Cox door hangers"] in several areas scheduled, while a group like the Ohio Young Democrats break out by county chapter.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:48 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


I don't know who else needs to see this but I didn't notice it during the speech but Warren put BLM in her background shot right there!
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:22 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


I don't know who else needs to see this but I didn't notice it during the speech but Warren put BLM in her background shot right there!

This kind of literally meaningless optics made me cringe almost as hard as this. It makes me disappointed that Warren of all people is doing this, but then again, navigating issues of race has never been her strong suit.

There are real ways to support Black Lives Matter, but unfortunately, those concrete policies get in the way of the Democratic Party's elite donor class and the moderate Republicans they are trying to sway.
posted by Ouverture at 7:27 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]




Hey, the Twitter my link came from had a response for that!
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:32 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Ouverture, she's been saying "Black Lives Matter" longer than nearly every other politician. She said it in a speech she gave in 2015 when Obama was still president. This earned her the endorsement of the founders of the BLM movement. She had the highest rated Black agenda of all the candidates in the running on the left. All the online leftists who "cringe" at this, ignorant of all her receipts staring them in the face make me cringe harder than the kente cloth photo op, tbh. The Iranian sanctions issue is only amplified because it's a purity test that Sanders passes. So tired of this.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:36 PM on August 21 [38 favorites]


On preview (or post-posting), what nakedmolerats linked.

Friends on the left, we need to be better than this.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:43 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


She had the highest rated Black agenda of all the candidates in the running on the left.

Michael Harriot is not some official rater of Black agendas for presidential campaigns. To offer his snarky blog post as some sort of scientific, objective analysis is bizarre.

And I'm saying this as someone who likes Warren and admires her record (except for all those dead Iranians but it seems Brown lives don't matter much in this community).

These stunts are embarrassing and alienating to a lot of people of color, including myself.
posted by Ouverture at 7:44 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Ah yes. The guy you disagree with is not an authority. Of course.

Sanders voted for the AUMF in Afghanistan of 2001.

Aren't we all exhausted by this already? It was an Easter egg in the background of a speech. It amplifies a good thing, a positive message.

This reality-challenged Warren-attacking tribal signaling by the online left is extremely alienating to a lot of progressive people of color, including myself. If only it were simply embarrassing.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:48 PM on August 21 [31 favorites]


Ah yes. The guy you disagree with is not an authority. Of course.

It's not just me. Just ask Black voters themselves or Warren's own campaign staffers of color.

Given her campaign's treatment of her own staffers of color, this performance rings even more hollow. Yikes.
posted by Ouverture at 7:54 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Ah, so you're not tired of this back and forth. Got it. Yikes.

OK, I'm done. Feel free to go on!
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:57 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


No voting block is a monolith. That should go without saying. And Warren had significant trouble translating support from academics and media figures into votes amongst non-white voters (I'm not saying she didn't get any). That should be troubling considering the amount of money and intellectual effort progressive intellectuals, media figures, and consultants sunk into her candidacy.

And I like Warren. She did show how to sell leftish (for America) policies to middle to upper-middle class voters, which is no small thing.
posted by eagles123 at 8:01 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


The Biden Era Will Put the New Left to the Test:
All of this should be preceded by an attitudinal shift: Progressives should be through waiting and begging to be taken seriously by the Democratic Party. It’s not terribly relevant, in the present, whether the party might be made more progressive as a demographic inevitability or through left’s strategizing. It isn’t where it ought to be now. And the only thing that might move Democratic legislators in the near term is a progressive resolve to wear them down into submission. That’s it. If the left can generate noise and anxiety far in excess of its size in the electorate—as they managed to in the 1960s in the movements for Civil Rights and against the Vietnam War—the country will have a shot at change. The country may well be doomed. But we won’t have a fighting chance if we don’t start planning the fight.
This article was inspiring. I am incredibly excited for the fight ahead with a Biden presidency.
posted by Ouverture at 8:05 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


Maybe I worry too much.

No, I am worried too. The RNC is next week and I can't help but think of ways that the Republicans will use the event to deflect culpability, reset expectations, and target Biden/Harris. It's all still very possible, since TV is Trump's home turf after all.
posted by FJT at 8:17 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I agree, eagles123. Warren coming in 3rd in delegates as a relative newcomer and a woman was no small feat, but there were errors in all of the candidates' campaign strategies.

The progressive left is the future of the Democratic party, even if some prominent figures within the party haven't fully realized it yet. I volunteered so much more this primary season than I ever have. Although I often worry when the Democrats will fracture into two camps because progressives feeling of alienation has created a structural weakness for opposition forces to attack, feeling ignored has only ignited my own passion for the fight. And I have many colleagues who feel this way.

These are the people who will continue to volunteer for progressive candidates that they believe in, run campaigns, and run for office. We just need democracy in this country to hold until that happens. The choice in November is a simple and strategic one for me. Rather than focus on the centrist old guard in senior posts, I'm choosing to focus on all the young progressives running and winning primaries and elections down ballot. That's what feeds my optimism.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 8:24 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


> I am incredibly excited for the fight ahead with a Biden presidency.

ouverture, you are a genius. you have found the solution and i love you for it.

what you’ve discovered there with that sentence is a formulation that both the left and the liberals can find acceptable. you have found the miaphysite compromise between leftist monophysitism and liberal chalcedonianism. you have in one small sentence given us a way out of the great schism.

it is undeniably true that every last one of us here, every last one of us, can honestly state, with no hesitation, with joy in our hearts, with the courage of our convictions, that we are incredibly excited for the fight ahead with the biden presidency. this is true for those of us who think that liberal capitalism, private property, and the reëstablishment of american hegemony are good ideas. this is true for those of us who want to follow biden’s february with our own october. and this is true for all of us who lay somewhere betwixt these two poles.

let us all adopt this new creed and let us all show respect for all others in our unsteady popular front by agreeing to never state precisely what that little word “with” means in the context of our newfound creed.

i am incredibly excited for the fight ahead with a biden presidency. and so are you, whoever you are reading this.

let’s do this thing.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:26 PM on August 21 [39 favorites]


let us all adopt this new creed and let us all show respect for all others in our unsteady popular front by agreeing to never state precisely what that little word “with” means in the context of our newfound creed.

It's Schrödinger's Preposition.
posted by Ouverture at 8:27 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


god i just know eyebrows is going to bomb in here to explain what’s wrong with my amateur christology.

if anyone needs me i’ll be over by the giant burning-hot bronze head of apollo, greedily inhaling the intoxicating emanations that come from its divine nostrils.

wait no actually i’ll be in that thread about dogs.

posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:37 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


It's Schrödinger's Preposition.

"Not defining it, is when it becomes everything." ~ Jerry Garcia.
posted by mikelieman at 8:43 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Nah, Greg, the Democrats are doing Democratic Centralism now!

I'm sure you're joking, but the extent to which your average democratic voter is uncomfortable with and willing to silence dissent exceeds any far-leftist party or organization i've encountered. yes, even demcent ones
posted by davedave at 10:22 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


staaaaph it ouverture won the thread it’s done the thread is done and the convention is done we can go talk about dogs now we’re free
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:52 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I cackled when I got to the end of this thread. It is indeed over. Time for dogs.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:54 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


"Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will" is probably how to approach these things, even if 'will' in this case means casting an odious vote
posted by davedave at 11:02 PM on August 21




Came in days ago to talk about Obama's speech, and now that I've reached the end, I'm pretty sure it never came up in the thread. Huh.
posted by carmicha at 3:40 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


Kamala’s Complicated Relationship With the South Asian Community:
“Kamala’s 2017 tweet welcoming Modi was a very stark moment for us in understanding that she might be somebody who is in favor of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) ruling government in India, which is so frightening because we know the human rights abuses that are happening under the BJP government in India right now,” says Hossain. “The ruling party of India is setting up the largest detention camps for the world for Muslims, they are actively denaturalizing Dalits, Adivasi, and Muslim communities under programs like the National Registry of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). She invokes India when it is convenient.”

So when Harris started talking idlis and dosas in the days before her struggling presidential campaign was suspended, then explained how she was raised, “to know and be proud of [her] Indian heritage,” during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC), many of us wondered whose benefit those statements were for.
So many things I'd like to excerpt from this article, but the one that has gotten the least attention is what sort of relationship Harris, someone who is descended from Brahmins, will have with the largest fascist government in the history of our world, especially as that government plainly commits mass violence against Muslims and Dalits.
posted by Ouverture at 6:24 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]


So if we’ve decided that ouverture “won the thread” and he’s ready to stop sea lioning every comment he doesn’t agree with, maybe we could actually talk about the fucking convention now? Dogs are great, but the actual topic of this thread is the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was just presented to us in a completely new format and featured the former president and First Lady breaking with tradition to explicitly take the sitting president to task in the most stark terms.

Some suggested topics:
How did the “zoom” format work? What elements worked well or didn’t?
Were individual speeches effective or not and why?
To what extent does the Obamas breaking with tradition and calling Trump matter?
Are the Dems focusing on the right topics? Have they chosen the right speakers?
How will this impact the production of future conventions?
How do we expect this it compare to the Repub convention next week?

Examples of off topic items include:
Is every elected US leader for the past 30 years a war criminal? (I’m not saying they’re not, but it’s off topic)
How much of a white supremacist are people who disagree with me? (If they’re white, probably at least a little, but again, off topic.)
posted by jeoc at 6:31 AM on August 22 [51 favorites]


I generally thought the speeches felt more intimate and the format gave the impression of the speaker talking to me/us rather than "giving a speech". I felt this with Michelle Obama and Biden especially.
I would've liked to see more young Dems (like AOC) but maybe also some in state and local governments too.
The jokes were a little weird without audience laughter.

Like apparently most/all viewers, I loved the roll call and the decision to highlight America like that was great.
posted by pointystick at 6:54 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


From the Biden campaign, via CNN:

Over four days, roughly 122 million people watched the convention -- including 85.1 million on television and 35.5 million livestream views combined over the online platforms of organizations that streamed the convention, Biden's campaign said.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Convention's social media platforms -- including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter -- saw a combined 128.7 million video views and 31.4 million engagements, or times someone shared, clicked or commented on that content.
Biden's campaign said that more than 1.1 million people texted 30330, the number that speakers and moderators cited throughout the convention through which Democrats help people register to vote.

IWillVote.com, the Democratic National Committee's website that helps Americans register to vote and figure out how to request absentee ballots or vote in person, had 700,000 unique viewers -- or separate people who visited the website -- and 1.6 million page views over the four-day span. The site's traffic on the final day of the convention surpassed its traffic on the day of the 2018 midterm elections, Biden's campaign said.
posted by girlmightlive at 7:44 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


I think the speeches of the Obamas, Harris and Biden were effective (especially Michelle Obama's speech). They hit the right tone of expressing the seriousness of the danger at hand, while at the same time exuding stability, competence and calm.

I think that the Obamas breaking with tradition and criticizing with current administration was the right move. It speaks to how extreme the current administration is.

I also think not saying Trump's name is smart. He's going to flip out over that.

Could have done without the fake waving and pointing.
posted by ishmael at 8:07 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Not giving just a little more time for AOC or Stacey Abrams was a mistake, in my humble opinion. Needed to set the table for the future a bit more.
posted by ishmael at 8:09 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


I thought Michelle Obama gave the most impactful speech of the convention - for me at least it was the most memorable. She walked such a line between the starkness of her message (pack a dinner, pack a breakfast) and hopefulness. Also noteworthy was how she chose to present herself - big hoop earrings, brown top. No WASP-y pearl earrings and jewel tones. Tom and Lorenzo, who covered her style choices extensively during her tenure as First Lady, break down her choices here thoughtfully.

President Obama was also very direct in calling Trump a failed president. It is an interesting contrast with the Bushes, who did not attend the 2016 Republican convention, and are definitely not expected to be involved with the 2020 convention. I feel like this should be more compelling to Republicans - that every living former Republican president won't have anything to do with Trump, but it obviously isn't.

One other thing that I thought was deftly handled - the Republicans had been managing expectations down for Biden's speech, saying that he is senile and unable to string words together. This was likely a ploy to try to capitalize on the chance that he might stumble over his words. The choice to highlight his struggles with a stutter was done in part to mitigate that narrative - if he stumbles over his words it's because of his stutter, not senility! It had the bonus effect of reinforcing their narrative of him being approachable and available to ordinary people. I have mixed feelings about the involvement of the boy with the stutter, but it was a politically savvy move.
posted by jeoc at 8:21 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


The Dems hired an Emmy-award winning producer, apparently the Repubs are attempting to produce the RNC themselves with Trump in charge. Additionally they’ve had much less time to plan a virtual convention than the Democrats, and they are trying to recreate the in person feel. I hope it’s a disaster but this has been an unfair year.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:31 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


As for the virtual convention, I genuinely think they should adopt this model going forward. Having the pols actually speaking instead of diving for easy applause lines was fantastic. Louis-Dreyfus doing a pseudo-stand up routine for the first half I was less enthused by but that's a quibble about a specific detail. Overall it was fantastic.

We're **LONG** past the era when a convention was an actual convention where delegates got together in smoke filled back rooms and hammered out deals. It's a media event, a giant bit of free advertisement, and treating it as such by having it produced by pros and done for good TV is a fantastic idea.

For all that it was a scripted professionally produced event it felt more authentic simply due to the lack of cheesy applause lines and all cheering that breaks up speeches in person.

More of this, please!

jeoc Honestly not trying to be snarky here, but putting Zoom in quotes is a huge marker of someone uncomfortable with technology and generally a bit out of touch in a "how do you do fellow kids" sort of way. If that was your intent, then bravo well played! If not, then yeah.
posted by sotonohito at 9:17 AM on August 22


WTF? I read it as noting that the whole thing wasn't literally on Zoom.
posted by TwoStride at 9:46 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Yeah, jesus, sotonohito, that attack on jeoc is really weird and uncalled for.
posted by biogeo at 9:50 AM on August 22 [17 favorites]


[Hi, if your comments are focusing on other people in the thread, please stop and refocus on the convention. If you want to talk about meta aspects of all this please take that over to the Metatalk thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:05 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


I believe they put zoom in quotes as a catch-all for all the formats (Zoom, Discord, Facetime, Skype, Jitsi, etc, etc) one can use for video conferencing. Like people use "google" as a verb. Personally I duckduckgo the heck out of searches.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 10:48 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


Speaking for myself, I haven't commented much on the actual DNC because I've been finding most of the speeches uninspiring and lackluster. Like, both Obamas gave pretty good speeches, but that's something they're both excellent at and I don't think many of these really rose to... meet the historical moment that we're in. Barack's speech starts off strong, addressing the horror of the situation, then just fizzles out into "mouth sounds," as Justinian phrases it. That's the elephant in the room, throughout all this. There's so much minimizing the enormous crises that we're facing right now and the effect felt frankly gaslighty. All this is pretty par for the course and I usually find these things corny at best (please, please stop with the fauxlksiness and/or tokenizing black and brown people), but the course is on fire right now. Pissed Off Elizabeth Warren is about the appropriate tone for the present moment, not We Take the High Road. Turning "it is what it is" back on Trump doesn't really feel like the Sick Burn™ to me that it does to many other people. I'm scared I won't survive the next 12 months. I need something a little bit stronger.

Between that and the outreach to Republicans and the short changing younger leftists and me just not having enough time or spoons to keep up with things, the whole event has mostly reinforced my fears about what will happen between November and January. That being said, I do like the online format and the shorter speeches in general. It works to cut a lot of the stupid kruft and spectacle out of these things, which I appreciate. I wish the official site were a bit more utilized for this. Uploading speeches there to watch later would've been great and I assumed that was the plan, so I ended up missing some I wanted to see (/read) and will have to look around a bit more now. Which isn't a huge deal, but there's definitely room to improve this format.

I mean, if we get to have another one of these which, lol, fingers crossed but not holding my breath, honestly. The ambiguity of Ouverture's phrasing was pretty funny to me, though, given how this thread went.
posted by Lonnrot at 11:36 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Additionally they’ve had much less time to plan a virtual convention than the Democrats, and they are trying to recreate the in person feel. I hope it’s a disaster but this has been an unfair year.

A cheap looking production would play into the Republican's self-image of being scrappy individualistic underdogs, so they could use it to their advantage. And, the Republicans also can tap into the powerful symbolism of the presidency and the White House.

Yes, it is contradiction to be the US president and be seen as scrappy, but their followers see themselves that way and will eat it up. They are already choosing people like the McCloskey's and Nick Sandmann that got famous for standing up against protesters and the media, respectively.
posted by FJT at 12:03 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


Personally I am hoping the TikTok Kids have something up their sleeves which results in severe technical difficulties. Not that I'm advocating such terrible, terrible shenanigans of course.
posted by Justinian at 12:17 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


Yes, it is contradiction to be the US president and be seen as scrappy, but their followers see themselves that way and will eat it up. They are already choosing people like the McCloskey's and Nick Sandmann that got famous for standing up against protesters and the media, respectively.

It's almost pathological. Trump voters are supposed to have higher status in the imaginary social strata because they're white. If the "other" is receiving status that's above the Trump voter's imagined station, the Trump voter concludes that they doesn't have enough status making them the victim and the underdog in all of this.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:18 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


jeoc: The choice to highlight his struggles with a stutter was done in part to mitigate that narrative - if he stumbles over his words it's because of his stutter, not senility! It had the bonus effect of reinforcing their narrative of him being approachable and available to ordinary people. I have mixed feelings about the involvement of the boy with the stutter, but it was a politically savvy move.

Grudging agreement from Rich Lowry at National Review:
The biggest takeaway from the Democratic convention is that Joe Biden is a decent guy who has suffered grievous personal losses and has empathy for the suffering of others. This was a theme throughout, but the last 45 minutes or so of the final night, beginning with the moving appearance of Brayden Harrington, really brought it home.

One reason Democrats were so successful at making this case is that it is true. If the 2020 election is a referendum on empathy, Joe Biden should win on a walk.
...though he goes on to hope that the Democrats can be beaten by Republicans defining the Democratic program for them.
posted by clawsoon at 12:20 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


One reason Democrats were so successful at making this case is that it is true. If the 2020 election is a referendum on empathy, Joe Biden should win on a walk.

I think this is why Trump is barely mentioned. If you don't mention Trump it'll be less likely that the Trump defense reflex gets triggered.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:23 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Like it's a way of both running against Trump but not running against Trump. It's running against Trump on his actions while not attacking him directly. Instead you point out the things that have actually and unquestionably happened and ask if people are happy about it. Then you bring in all your positivity and hope and it's like fucking heroin to people.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:24 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Yes, it is contradiction to be the US president and be seen as scrappy, but their followers see themselves that way and will eat it up.

This kind of contradiction of being simultaneously stronger and better than one's perceived enemies while also an oppressed underdog is one of the hallmarks of Umberto Eco's "ur-fascism". It is absolutely a central element of Trumpism and White American ur-fascism more broadly that has been on strong display especially over the last five years, but really going back at least to the Gingrich and Limbaugh era of the 90s.
posted by biogeo at 12:31 PM on August 22 [13 favorites]


The conversation here is eerily similar to 2016, both in the run-up and aftermath of that disastrous election. That makes me really fearful, because this may be the low point for Trump, he can gain from this point as the pandemic either starts to decline or becomes more commonplace where even small improvements feel like wins.
posted by chaz at 2:16 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]


As a leftist more on the Ouverture side of things, I wanted to offer a few points to maybe thread the needle and encourage some room for understanding between liberals and the left.

1) Most leftists are going to vote for Biden. Noam Chomsky, Bernie, AOC, the Squad--they have all come out and endorsed Biden, so the hand-wringing about leftists feels a little unfair? And NY and CA have 60M people whose votes don't matter in the Electoral College and many are better off voting third party.

2) Political action is not simply voting or even direct action. Political identities are created, not static. Metafilter is a public space, a place where people's politics and information are fashioned. So it's important for leftists to duke it out here with liberals and explain why their positions lead to greater freedom and justice.

3) One difference between leftists and liberals is that the former don't see the Presidential Election as the only form of political engagement. Politics is a constant process of conflict and negotiation. The best parts of Biden's platform were not positions he previously held, being famously a partner with the Republicans on policing and abortion. They got there because leftists campaigned furiously for them. Bernie lost the election, but he won the policy debate and created the context for any future liberal politics (healthcare, green new deal, higher minimum wage, etc.), though of course these things have already been watered down. Kamala Harris is hardly a leftist, but her presence came from high-powered women in the party who pushed Biden to pick a woman as VP. So the very status quo celebrated by liberals now was created because left-wing activists pushed the party.

4) Obviously Trump is an existential thread, but every future Republican candidate will be too. It's self-sabotaging for liberals to argue against Trump as a lesser evil. It absolves them of arguing for any actual political vision or horizon; it is only a negative politics. The lesser-evil argument becomes especially unconvincing when the Democrats respond to the crisis by pivoting to conservatism, literally hosting Republicans, seemingly trying to rewind the clock into becoming Reaganites. The next Republican President after Trump will probably use his same tools but in a far more competent, savvy, damaging way. He'll arrive far quicker if Biden implements neoliberal policies that increase inequality.

5) Part of the context of this thread is DSA and BLM created two of the largest mass movements in recent memory, but it's not obvious that working with the Democrats is in their best interests. The DSA dumped its membership into the Democratic Party to try to elect Bernie when they could have been building their own institutions. BLM did more in a few weeks than many election cycles of Democratic candidates, often warring with neoliberal Democrats--and got rewarded with a prosecutor for VP. There are actual rational reasons for leftists to want to devote their resources outside of Biden's campaign. Check out "The lesser-evil trap Socialists and the 2020 election" by Ashley Smith and Charlie Post.

6) As many people have written above, left organizers need to think about how to pressure Biden when/if he wins. As Barbara Ransby writes: "We are not vot­ing for a sav­ior — quite the con­trary. In fact, despite the the­atrics, pres­i­den­tial elec­tions are nev­er about sav­iors. As Rachel Gilmer of the Dream Defend­ers often says, elec­toral pol­i­tics, for the Left, is about choos­ing our oppo­nents in the next round of strug­gle. We have to orga­nize our com­mu­ni­ties under a ​“Dump Trump­ism” ban­ner [...]. But here is anoth­er incon­ve­nient truth. Vot­ing, though nec­es­sary, is insuf­fi­cient. Those who came before us did not fight and die sim­ply so we could vote; they fought and died so we could live in a more just world. [...] Arund­hati Roy urges us to see this moment of cri­sis as a por­tal to a new soci­ety and ​“be pre­pared to fight for it.” Defeat­ing Trump and Trump­ism is only the beginning."

7) The structural issues of the pandemic and economy will force Biden to become a crisis Keynesianism and leftists will need to be ready to push him down that direction. Coronavirus even forced Boris Johnson to adopt more social democratic policies. Lincoln and FDR were both forced to become much more radical by systemic forces beyond their control. The only thing giving me hope is that something similar will happen to us now.

8) One small point: Biden's victory over Bernie in the primaries was worrying if you want Biden to win. He won despite having almost no field offices or Get Out the Vote operation. This overturned conventional wisdom across the political spectrum, and suggested that media and elite cues can be more important than actual ground operations. But this is a disastrous lesson to learn for the general election and exactly one reason why Clinton lost.

9) It is not like the left has all the answers either. On our side, the primaries led to a lot of really important questions:
-- Why didn't students and other people turn out for Bernie? If a left theory imagines people will vote for Medicare for All, etc., in their own self-interest, to what extent does that need to be adjusted? Where was the turnout?
-- Is it strategic to try to work within the Democratic party or is it better to build a parallel party (which seems impossible given the way political parties are set up)?
-- What is the role of organization? The workerist left has emphasized organization, but the mass insurgency this year was spontaneous and far more effective.
posted by johnasdf at 5:19 PM on August 22 [14 favorites]


I'm dreadfully sorry, I didn't realize jeoc was joking. I'm apparently a bit dense today. I didn't intend to be an asshole to them, but intention doesn't matter and I was. Many apologies and I'll try to avoid similar mistakes in the future.
posted by sotonohito at 6:25 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


Refocusing on Harris, my hope is that she can be America's Peggy Flanagan. For those outside Minnesota, Flanagan is the other half of our Standard Issue White Man/Younger Dynamic Minority Woman (in this case, White Earth Band of Ojibwe) administration, and unlike any other lieutenant governor I can think of, is an actual active partner in running our state. She is outspoken about issues affecting women, Native Americans, and other minority groups, but hasn't been sidelined to just those topics. Walz clearly respects her and gives her literal equal billing - the banner at the top of official emails reads "Office of Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan" in the same size font. I'd like to see Harris elevated to a similar level so we have a true Biden/Harris administration instead of relegating her to president-in-waiting and occasional Senate tiebreaker.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:58 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


The best thing about Biden is that "he is fairly flexible on policy — shifting his positions to whatever is in the mainstream of the Democratic Party at a given moment... 'a reflection or reaction to the party’s main planks throughout the last 40 years, rather than leading or shaping it'".

Whether or not one trusts more Biden's previous positions (busing, crime bill, bankruptcy, Iraq) or his current website (minimum wage, public option, daycare), it is quite clear that if one wants left-leaning policy, then constant pressure is needed to push the center of the party, and thereby Biden, leftward.

And of course this is all crystalizing right now: websites and speeches are still being written and rewritten; planks are being hammered out; staff are being vetted and hired; informal advisors are constantly shifting. And the best thing about these fights, from a pragmatic point of view, is that they are largely invisible to the general public, much less the low-information swing voters, so there is virtually no political cost to engaging in them, even on Twitter, where only a tiny fraction of the electorate is active.

Most importantly, whatever we think Biden currently believes, it is quite clear that, just as the in decades before when his Nominate scores put him in the dead center of the Democratic party, there are currently quite a few powerful Democrats and allies currently to the right of where we want him to be: the DNC just dropped a plank about ending fossil fuel subsidies; the insurance industry and some pivotal Senators are gearing up to fight a public option as soon as Biden is elected; Pelosi just endorsed a primary challenger to one of the most pro-environment, left-leaning Senators; some of his own advisors already signaling hawkishness on the deficit and spending; etc. These fights are essential, and now is a crucial -- and for the most part, electorally harmless -- time to have them.
posted by chortly at 10:48 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


One difference between leftists and liberals is that the former don't see the Presidential Election as the only form of political engagement.

Maybe if we all back away from the strawmen a bit the next few months will be a touch more pleasant for everyone?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:04 AM on August 23 [34 favorites]


-- Is it strategic to try to work within the Democratic party or is it better to build a parallel party (which seems impossible given the way political parties are set up)?

This is the million dollar question. Given the electoral landscape, there are probably two ways to look at this:

1) It's possible to run in left areas to the left of the individual Democratic members.

2) In a national sense it's extremely difficult if not impossible to build a top-down third party without harming progressivism as a whole. Canada and the UK should serve as a warning for any leftists who think a third party can work in the US.

What's the solution? I don't think it's a sure thing by any stretch but if I was organizing my immediate priorities would be:

1) Ranked voting and multimember constituencies for state government in every blue state where there are citizen initiated referenda.

2) Ranked voting or top two primaries for congressional districts in as many states as we can get them.

3) Building a separate party apparatus in those states where it exists purely to the left of Democrats in order to fight them in more progressive areas in contests.

4) In areas where we can't achieve these sorts of changes we need to primary every incumbent hard from the left and show up to the general (and this is the most important thing) even if we lose.

I think these is room for a third party to co-exist at a state level and on a federal level if there's a voting system which doesn't split the vote. Outside those possibilities, leftists start a third party at the peril of letting what should be a regional rump party run wild on the back of a 35% plurality.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:55 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


The Democratic party seems to be doing everything it can to kick third parties from the voting ballots so I doubt they'd allow it on any level, national or state.
posted by simmering octagon at 12:21 PM on August 23


2) In a national sense it's extremely difficult if not impossible to build a top-down third party without harming progressivism as a whole. Canada and the UK should serve as a warning for any leftists who think a third party can work in the US.

Historically at one time Labour was the third party entering a system which had been a Liberal/Conservative two party system. Today's LibDems are the result of a merger between the remainder of the Liberal party and the Social Democrats.

The Social Democrats themselves were a Labour splinter who left after the party came out in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament and leaving the EEC - a split on how the transnational EEC/EU should be seen which continues in the British left.

The mathematical logic of FPTP means that any given constituency is only likely to be a two-way contest, whether that means that means a two-party system nationally depends on the degree of heterogeneity between constituencies. This logic only gets broken during very sudden shifts when which two parties are dominant changes even while the two party structure survives.

So the lessons are that:
-Left wing parties with strong regional bases of support can exist in FPTP and win legislative seats
-During a sufficiently big shock, one party can replace another and a previously dominant party can become a "third party"
posted by atrazine at 12:29 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


My impression of discussions of the American electoral system is that y'all are petrified to try changing it because you're afraid of what monsters might be released by any attempt to make a change. Your electoral system feels simultaneously robust (200+ years of democracy!) and brittle (what if we have another Civil War in us?).
posted by clawsoon at 1:03 PM on August 23 [16 favorites]


Yep. We suspect/fear that the only thing keeping us together as a country is an old piece of paper, so we’re awfully scared to tinker with it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:40 PM on August 23 [9 favorites]


“Zoom” as in a live event conducted by participants in disparate locations connecting with each other and the audience via telepresence but not literally on Zoom. Like I have zoom trivia and zoom happy hours and not all of those events are literally on the zoom platform. Next time I’ll say cyber so I can sound up to date.

It would be interesting to see the VP role redefined with a Biden/Harris pairing. Given Biden’s age and questions about whether he would run for a second term it makes sense to elevate the VP role.

For the Republicans, the technical challenges of pulling off this kind of thing are not negligible and it isn’t clear what kind of expertise they have to help them do it. But it also seems like they gat lucky.
posted by jeoc at 2:30 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


DCN 2020 coverage at C-Span; direct links to speeches:

First night: Michelle Obama
Second night: Jill Biden
Third night: Barack Obama
Third night:Kamala Harris Accepts Nomination
Fourth night: Joe Biden Accepts Nomination

DNC 2020 speech transcripts (& transcription "for all things related to the 2020 Presidential Election") at rev.com

NPR Fact Check: Biden's Address To The DNC, Annotated (Aug. 20, 2020)
Biggest Moments from the DNC, video highlights at CNN

Biden's 2002 Iraq vote has come up a few times; This is Joe Biden's Checkered Iraq History (Vox, October 15, 2019) has several years' worth of info

Rebecca Traister at The Cut:

What's So Disruptive about AOC Standing Up For Herself? AOC, Yoho, the NYT, & The Poison of Male Incivility (July 24, 2020) [Background for Traister's Aug. 17 piece, linked below, about DNC squandering opportunities with AOC and other young Dems] Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stood up and gave one of the finest speeches recently heard on the House floor, calling out not just Florida representative Ted Yoho for having called her “disgusting,” “out of your freaking mind,” and a “fucking bitch” on the steps of the Capitol in front of reporters on Tuesday, but also elucidating how that kind of language is normalized and deployed against all kinds of women, on all kinds of days. It was a remarkable piece of oratory, clear and thoughtful about some of the knottiest dynamics of gendered power imbalance in political, public, and personal life...

How Did Biden Pick his VP? Biden’s Fantasy of Female Submission The Democrats have completely botched this VP pick. (Aug. 6) [Critical of party process -- Harris had not been announced]

How were the DNC speakers chosen? Sixty Seconds to Self-Sabotage The DNC’s choice of who to feature speaks volumes about the party’s inability to see its own future (Aug. 17) "But at least she [Stacey Abrams] and Ocasio-Cortez have prime-time speaking gigs, while many of their peers — the energetic new thinkers and voices of America’s liberal and left politics, many of them from diverse backgrounds, with perspectives and experiences fresh to the party — have not been given featured berths at all [...] this convention seems driven to thumb its nose not only at individual politicians, but at the social movements that have transformed civic participation and changed public opinion across the nation during the course of the Trump administration.

"But there is no view of how empty this showing is, given all the dynamic figures and ideas that are missing, and the marginal, supporting roles that so many of the progressives and young people who have been invited have been asked to play. It’s one thing to try to open up a big tent. It’s another to actually let people on the left, and in the next generation, into that tent in some meaningful way. Instead, Democrats are treating progressives and young people as cater waiters, there to serve hors d’oeuvres to the Republicans, billionaires, and former officeholders who are the real guests. [...]

"In fact, the DNC’s programming this week seems like it’s been designed by people who imagine their own power to be eternal. No one has yet informed them that they only have a minute."
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:40 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


> The best thing about Biden is that "he is fairly flexible on policy — shifting his positions to whatever is in the mainstream of the Democratic Party at a given moment... 'a reflection or reaction to the party’s main planks throughout the last 40 years, rather than leading or shaping it'".

Andrew Yang said the smartest thing about Biden at the DNC - "The magic of Joe Biden is that everything he does becomes the new reasonable."

Marianne Williamson Won the Democratic Primary - "Marianne Williamson's message is what the Democrats are carrying into November."

> What's the solution?

> So the lessons are that:
-Left wing parties with strong regional bases of support can exist in FPTP and win legislative seats
-During a sufficiently big shock, one party can replace another and a previously dominant party can become a "third party"


Weakness is provocative: "how weak first-past-the-post voting is, with respect to resisting corruption."
So, to sum up, the United States’ electoral system yields:
  • Elections that, when closely matched, yield a tremendous return to just a little bit of manipulation, corruption, or voter suppression
  • A near certainty that the most consequential elections will often be closely matched.
[...]

Given the broad, unruly coalitions forced by the two-party system, party alignments and realignments are tectonic. They happen slowly, except whey happen quickly in rare, unpredictable events we describe as “earthquakes”, like Donald Trump’s insurgency within the Republican Party (which up-ended some, but not most, of the Party’s prior commitments, and forced some reorientation within the Democratic Party as well). During the run-up to a given general election, however wildly platforms or promises veer left or right, the deep structure of the parties, defined by particular humans and their relationships and commitments, is essentially fixed...

The commitments of the parties evolve slowly... Our sacred political seasons are not where the great and weighty principles and compromises that guide our republic get worked out. That happens quietly, in hiring decisions and donor calls, in board and committee appointments, in the consultants and fellows who are hired, versus those who are effusively admired but passed over...

In the American system, most politics happens within the parties. The role of the public is indirect: To constrain the coevolution of party politics, because the parties must stay locked in 50/50 embrace. And then to flip a coin, to decide which coevolver wins. The public meaningfully decides only during elections (maybe including this one) where the 50/50 embrace has failed, where events have outpaced the parties’ capacity for realignment and left one party so far behind the midpoint attractor that the cloud of noxious randomness generated by inexhaustible bullshit and competitive manipulation and suppression just is not enough to give it a serious shot.

But many elections are close enough that it is not the party that decides, but the bullshit. And bullshit is too anodyne a term... Painful bullshit, “toxic”, destructive of the mutual goodwill that institutions of a virtuous nation should seek to cultivate, while not delivering much in the way of meaningful enfranchisement to justify the pain.

This is not how I’d design a democracy. I’d like to change it. But, in the words of a prominent if not great statesman, it is what it is. I do think it a bit rich to complain when all kinds of actors — foreign and domestic, inside the parties and out — join the fray and try to bias the coin as it flips. It’s what we should expect, when we’ve crafted a system that very often gives all the marbles to whoever can put together an edge of just a few percentage points, in a few key races, among the portion of the electorate that cares least about what is actually at issue, who are forced to choose among parties whose commitments they have little role in shaping.
@interfluidity: "on how to fix it, i hope. in the most immediate term, i think coordinated movements willing to risk spoiling (but reward by NOT spoiling) could make party commitments more susceptible to outside concerns."
posted by kliuless at 9:26 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]


I follow AOC on instagram and she did a little Q&A on her stories (on her way to the emergency inquiry with thePostmaster General) and there were a few excerpts I thought would be of interest to our little community:

Q: What were your thoughts on the convention?
AOC: The folks involved successfully pulled off a remote convention, which is incredibly difficult to do (& not to mention unprecedented). So everyone involved deserves major, major props.
Would I have done things differently? Of course. But as a young, progressive Latina I know I was not the target audience for this convention.The target audience for this convention was white moderates who aren't sure who they're voting for in November.
Do I agree with centering the programming on that audience? Not necessarily! I think we could have done more to rally turnout enthusiasm from our party's base. We should have heard from Julian Castro. We should have had youth issues spoken to a bit better. Latino & Muslim Americans should have been reached more effectively given the huge importance turnout of thsoe populations play in swing states. Muslims had ZERO representation which is just utterly crazy to me 0 we need the turnout Ilhan and Rashida delivered in their primaries (which incl SIGNIFICANT Muslim populations) to win Michigan and Minnesota.
But you know what? Not every disagreement is a fight. We can voice these opinions and people can stop acting like the world is ending or that we are hurting Dems. We have this insight because we want to WIN. But I can also respect that the folks who won the nomination get to call the shots.

Q: Do you really care about your fellow Puerto Ricans or are you just doin it to oppose Tump like the (sic)
AOC: I gave and continue give Democrats criticism over some of their terrible PR stances (ex. PROMESA) among other issues so trust me, I'm not a partisan when it comes to critique. In fact my refusal to stay quiet when Dems get it wrong is a big reason why I am considered "controversial". If I just stayed quiet and did whatever party leadership told me to do, I wouldn't have so many Dems poo-pooing me.
In fact that's why so many Democrats get so angry and say I'm "bad for the party" - because I don't reserve my criticisms only for Republicans. The Democratic party also has issues with corporate money, foreign policy, policing, etc. and YES we need to talk about it.
But that does NOT mean Dem and GOP are the same or equally bad. Because as we've seen, the Trump admin policies will literally kill and tramatize immigrant children and they will have no problem or remorse over it. Life is nuance. But if we just give a blanket free pass to "our side" then you're treating politics more like a sports arena than a struggle to improve people's lives.

(emphasis mine)

I cannot understate how much I admire AOC. I don't agree with 100% of her policies and views, but her passion balanced with pragmatism is truly refreshing and inspiring.
posted by like_neon at 4:49 AM on August 24 [24 favorites]


Oh and also if you have an Instagram account she has a series of stories giving a tour of her office. It's really fun and interesting!
posted by like_neon at 5:29 AM on August 24


As the RNC begins, Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric ask us to Vote That Fucker Out.
posted by maurice at 6:28 AM on August 24 [4 favorites]


Democrats should learn the wisdom of Tammy Baldwin - Senate candidates in red states hold the future in their hands:
California Sen. Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee who is clearly being positioned as the future of the party, situated herself in the tradition of “women like Mary Church Terrell and Mary McCleod Bethune, Fannie Lou Hamer and Diane Nash, Constance Baker Motley and Shirley Chisholm” while further name-checking her mother, who “raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage.”

Red-state Democrats don’t talk like this — a contrast that’s about political style and points of rhetorical emphasis, rather than policy. To pick up marginal voters who are typically white and not college-educated, they zero in relentlessly on the idea that they are bringing concrete, material assistance to people in need rather than their candidacy being an avatar of cultural or demographic change.
It is interesting how this intersects with leftist ideas of organizing that focuses on material redistributive efforts on things like health care and jobs instead of rhetoric around identity politics/demographic diversity. This very much mirrors my experiences of organizing with moderates/conservatives/politically unengaged people: sure, they were ignorant about all my marginalized identities, but I could turn them into solid allies if I focused on healthcare and jobs.

In strong blue locales like the Bronx, it is an asset to have candidates like AOC deftly wield both in synthesis and engage young people who are the future of the party, but the identity part doesn't resonate with the poor/working class moderates in red states that Democrats need to flip the Senate in this next election.

In this way, however unfair it is, Biden being an affable, old white straight man ends up being an asset, but only if he is able to thread the needle of appearing moderate while still campaigning on ultimately radical ideas around healthcare, jobs, and education (and not having elite donors ratfuck us all into ecological collapse).
posted by Ouverture at 7:45 AM on August 24 [10 favorites]


"doesn't resonate with" is definitely a very nice way to say "offends the white racists". I mean, I agree with basically everything you wrote I just think we shouldn't undersell the racism or make excuses for those folks.
posted by Justinian at 8:09 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


"doesn't resonate with" is definitely a very nice way to say "offends the white racists". I mean, I agree with basically everything you wrote I just think we shouldn't undersell the racism or make excuses for those folks.

There are plenty of poor/working class straight people of color of all races who are turned off by the centering of LGBT issues and even immigration issues. Hell, there are plenty of poor LGBTQ people of color who care a lot more about universal healthcare and housing than they do if the tough on crime prosecutor of color in their blue city get their pronouns right as her cops harass and brutalize them. These are all important groups for Democrats to materially engage with, not just some racist white people.

In my experience, it is often easier to organize them, despite their biases, because they feel a greater urgency around healthcare and jobs than wealthier people who may be to the left of them culturally but have the privilege to worry more about what redistribution takes away from them instead of what it gives them.

Besides, racism is not a terminal diagnosis. I believe poor/working class moderates and unengageds, just like liberals currently apologizing for white supremacist foreign policy, can overcome their prejudices.

Otherwise, what hope is there for the marginalized?
posted by Ouverture at 8:20 AM on August 24 [9 favorites]


just like liberals currently apologizing for white supremacist foreign policy

With respect, I call on you to cut it out with this offensive framing. Pointing out that to oppose "white supremacist foreign policy," one needs to find a way to do so that doesn't leave Democrats vulnerable to Republican fearmongering, that the not-at-all-liberal media will present honestly if at all, and that ultimately voters will support -- which those of us who opposed George W. Bush's war on Iraq know is a mighty steep climb -- is not "apologizing" for it.

You have been told more than once that while yes, it sucks, America's foreign policy is basically acceptable to Americans who vote. Max Clelland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, lost his Senate seat to chickenhawk Saxby Chambliss, who called Clelland "soft on terrorism." And I for one challenged you as to how you see changing that situation, and apologies if I missed it, I see no response apart from self-righteousness.

I would bet good money that everyone in this thread wants to see less money spent on the Pentagon, less spent in military equipment for the police, less foreign adventurism, more diplomacy, and more emphasis on our international allies. That many of them, and many politicians, also recognize how badly distorted the Republicans' so-called "strong on defense" position is -- a position that the media still presumes is true no matter how badly Bush and Trump botched basically everything this century -- is hardly a call for more blood for the blood god.

So: A reasonable inference from the last 20 years at least is that war, especially war that doesn't involve dead Americans, is popular with the American people, and politicians buck this system at their peril. How do you propose to change this situation? Because until you do, you will never achieve your aims no matter how morally superior they are.
posted by Gelatin at 9:08 AM on August 24 [15 favorites]


With Trump (falsely) running on a bullshit isolationist foreign policy platform in 2016 and (bad faith) attacking Hillary Clinton for her Iraq war vote, it is clear the old saws about being strong on defense don't ring true anymore. Your example of Max Clelland is from 17 years ago, ironically as long as the Iraq war has been raging on.

My thesis is that neoconservatives have spent nearly a half century deeply parasitized to both parties, draining trillions of dollars into pointless forever wars, impoverishing and effectively disenfranchising countless tens of millions of Americans as a result of that forced austerity, killing millions of people of color abroad, and ultimately, none of this has actually brought Democrats material gains in terms of power.

Just like "tough on crime", "tough on forever wars" is no longer a winning tactic for Democrats.

Following that, during an unprecedented pandemic and financial downturn, the voters Democrats need to win don't actually care about the intricacies of a disposition matrix or how effectively a cruise missile can level a Yemeni village. Just like the red state voters that Democrats are trying to win, these voters care about healthcare and jobs.

Effective leadership, powered by mass movements that bundle Black Lives Matter with the Green New Deal and Medicare 4 All, can move the needle here on anti-imperialism by showing Americans what they materially lose when trillions of dollars that could have gone to healthcare, good jobs, and education instead go to fighting pointless forever wars that just end up creating more terrorists who have every valid reason to hate America.
posted by Ouverture at 11:11 AM on August 24 [11 favorites]


Effective leadership, powered by mass movements that bundle Black Lives Matter with the Green New Deal and Medicare 4 All, can move the needle here on anti-imperialism by showing Americans what they materially lose when trillions of dollars that could have gone to healthcare, good jobs, and education instead go to fighting pointless forever wars that just end up creating more terrorists who have every valid reason to hate America.

I want that to be true but the Southern Strategy has consistently shown that half of America is willing to vote themselves poor/sick/under the thumb of authoritarians if it means a black person gets fucked harder.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:17 AM on August 24 [9 favorites]


I want that to be true but the Southern Strategy has consistently shown that half of America is willing to vote themselves poor/sick/under the thumb of authoritarians if it means a black person gets fucked harder.

Yes, there are some white people who are so tied to white supremacy they will always vote against their self-interests. There are also some poor people and people of color who are so tied to performative celebrations of identity politics they will always vote against their self-interests.

But there are a lot more people of all races who straight up don't vote because no one has ever demonstrated to them that doing so will actually make their lives materially better. Of course, it doesn't help that voting is an extremely high friction process for many Americans, especially the younger and poorer you are.

The Southern Strategy is over fifty years old now. Nothing about it should be a surprise. It is strange to me when people bring this up to me, a person of color, to explain that some white people are really racist. I am deeply aware :)

What is the alternative otherwise? People of color and poor people live in red states too, often dealing with the worst levels of deprivation as a result, and I refuse to write them off.
posted by Ouverture at 11:32 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


I want that to be true but the Southern Strategy has consistently shown that half of America is willing to vote themselves poor/sick/under the thumb of authoritarians if it means a black person gets fucked harder.

Or maybe it shows that propaganda works and people are easily led.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:43 AM on August 24 [5 favorites]


Your example of Max Clelland is from 17 years ago, ironically as long as the Iraq war has been raging on.

Republicans exploit the fear of the Other to influence people to vote against their interests, and it works. Do I understand you correctly that you're saying if we just tell them that voting left is in their material interests they'll turn their backs on Republican fearmongering, duly amplified by the media, and usher in a new wave of left leaning politicians?

Because while I'd love to see it happen, experience suggests such optimism might be a wee bit unfounded. And even if new voters did emerge, they'd need to outnumber the voters who currently do respond to fear of the Other.

But doubting the effectiveness of that strategy is not at all the same thing as "apologizing" for the status quo. You just said yourself that voters support those policies and the ones that don't, don't vote. I'd love it if more politicians stood for better principles, but it does little good if they're never elected in the first place.
posted by Gelatin at 12:11 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


That said, I absolutely agree that the Overton window regarding defense spending needs to pushed to the left, hard. I wonder if pointing out that the military produces so much surplus equipment that it's being shuffled off onto police departments, unnecessarily militarizing them, might be an effective argument.
posted by Gelatin at 12:14 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


So: A reasonable inference from the last 20 years at least is that war, especially war that doesn't involve dead Americans, is popular with the American people, and politicians buck this system at their peril.

So I understand this clearly, is the argument that the foreign policy establishment (meaning Reps and Dems) are pushed into war by the public?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:59 PM on August 24


So I understand this clearly, is the argument that the foreign policy establishment (meaning Reps and Dems) are pushed into war by the public?

The public doesn't so much push the establishment into a war but will beat the establishment over the head electorally (led almost certainly by a Republican challenger's charge) if they don't. It's less effective these days because of the shift in mainstream politics against war in general after almost two decades of being in Afghanistan but traditionally any Democrat that dared to go against a war would just have ads run against them and be concern trolled continually on why they aren't doing everything necessary to make Americans safe.

The establishment Democrats will convince themselves that with oversight they can minimize the losses while still achieving American objectives but when it comes down to it, Americans are quite happy to sacrifice as many not-white lives as needed to maintain the illusion of some sort of Pleasantville. If it is dare threatened they will line up to vote to have the underclasses sent off to a foreign land to kill as many foreigners as necessary.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:36 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


It's more than just the public, I think. It's also the structure of American Empire and its hegemony that reinforces itself - the inherited wars, the military bases all over the world, the treaties and alliances, the makeup and attitudes of those serving in the military and those in civilian defense positions, in government and outside of it.

I do not expect to see an American president in my lifetime who is not a war criminal, and that's not a statement on the people being elected to the office (although that hasn't been helping). It's what the office does to them. Some will be better than others, of course, and it can be dismantled, but I don't think it can be dismantled within the space of a single presidency. Not to the degree required to avoid that.

Each part reinforces the others. That varying parts of the public respond to "tough on terrorism" rhetoric is one part, and it reinforces incentives that come from elsewhere in the system. Who gets elected, and the policies of the parties is affected by that, which in turn affects the signals the public receives and reinforces that reaction. It's reductive, at this late date, to identify an origin of the foreign policy establishment. We can identify the pieces involved and how they affect each other, but no one of them causes the others to exist.

It is worth discussing the terrible things that will be done by this country under a Democratic administration with open eyes. It is worth pushing against those terrible things, however we can. There are also many other places that need to be pushed on, both in terms of pushing Democratic electeds to do better and pushing to get them elected in the first place. These things will be in tension or not in tension with each other, depending on the issue and the time and the place. A non-politician, in this thread or elsewhere, not making foreign policy their main pushing point doesn't mean that they're in favor of the status quo.

Fair game on the candidates and electeds though.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:55 PM on August 24 [8 favorites]


I do not expect to see an American president in my lifetime who is not a war criminal, and that's not a statement on the people being elected to the office (although that hasn't been helping). It's what the office does to them. Some will be better than others, of course, and it can be dismantled, but I don't think it can be dismantled within the space of a single presidency. Not to the degree required to avoid that.

Exactly. The biggest problem is that there are so many interconnections in geopolitics, what may be a war crime by any other definition may actually be the least shitty solution.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:35 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Which is not to excuse them: it is the horrible truth of the American project as it exists now, and it is damning of the candidates that they are willing to be put in that position. In a just world we would hold every living president accountable for it. That is not the world we live in, yet.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:51 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


So I understand this clearly, is the argument that the foreign policy establishment (meaning Reps and Dems) are pushed into war by the public?

The other comments have pretty much covered it, but it isn't so much as the public pushes politicians into war as voters reward those who favor military actions and punish those who don't -- a tendency that's been clear at least since 1968. And Republicans and the media are both fully committed to presenting the issue in the most emotionally loaded terms possible "why don't you support our troops?!").

None of which excuses any officeholder from the actions they take, but it's the water they all swim in, and I sincerely doubt that economic arguments have as much resonance when they're up against "The bad guys will kill you all!" Which means, again, a lot of hard work to move the Overton window.
posted by Gelatin at 4:21 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


I don’t care for Joe Biden and as I live in Washington state I tentatively plan to guiltlessly leave my presidential vote blank. I also avoid hearing politicians speak aloud almost completely, because that’s how they get you, so I won’t be tuning into the convention.

The thing that concerns me about this kind of attitude is that nobody expected Michigan to go for Trump in 2016, yet it did. It may be a much closer election than anybody thinks, especially with all the clear fuckery. There is more value than usual in running up the score in this instance.
posted by wierdo at 6:55 AM on August 25 [22 favorites]


Agreed. Minnesota, which has gone Democrat every election for decades (including famously Mondale '84), was far too close for comfort in 2016.
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:09 AM on August 25 [8 favorites]


Do I understand you correctly that you're saying if we just tell them that voting left is in their material interests they'll turn their backs on Republican fearmongering, duly amplified by the media, and usher in a new wave of left leaning politicians?

If you think I am implying that this will be easy work, then no, you do not understand me correctly.

This will be brutal and hard work, just as all work to build a better world is brutal and hard. But the other alternative is permanent white minority rule in red states, privileged liberals cowering away in blue states while the cops keep killing us, and never-ending ecological collapse at every level of existence..
posted by Ouverture at 9:59 AM on August 25 [6 favorites]


If you think I am implying that this will be easy work, then no, you do not understand me correctly.

If you know that pushing the Overton window away from favoring war will be "brutal and hard work," them maybe a little more charity is called for when describing politicians and voters who acknowledge and operate under those constraints. Maybe Democratic politicians' stance on the military comes less from a slavering desire to commit war crimes than from the certain knowledge that the voters will punish anything else. Maybe some Democratic voters are justified in forgiving a certain amount of pragmatism over principle given the sorry state of the national discourse.
posted by Gelatin at 1:39 PM on August 25 [8 favorites]


Maybe Democratic politicians' stance on the military comes less from a slavering desire to commit war crimes than from the certain knowledge that the voters will punish anything else.

If these are the jokes they make when the world is watching, then it terrifies me to think of what they say and think when the world isn't.

White supremacy when there is no other option is still white supremacy, no matter how bad it makes people feel. Getting over the defensiveness and denial is the first baby step in getting over the cognitive dissonance.

To connect this back to the DNC and the election at hand, I don't recall any solemn paeans to drone strikes in any of the speeches I watched. Drone murder isn't as big of a vote getter as neoconservatives, the only group who actually benefits from forever wars, want both liberals and conservatives to believe.

In the next few months, Trump might attack Biden in bad faith for not being tough enough on terror, but it is also likely he will attack Biden from the left, just as he did with Clinton 4 years ago. However, COVID-19 and the resultant financial collapse has presented an opportunity for a new form of shock therapy, except this time, it could be to the left.

Threading the needle between returning to a pre-Trump status quo and big ideas on healthcare and the economy will not only engage moderate suburban voters, millions of whom who have lost their jobs and healthcare in the last few months, but also the segments that Democrats desperately need to win this race and every future one: working class people, poor people, and young people, all of whom are disproportionately likely to be people of color.
posted by Ouverture at 7:43 AM on August 26 [3 favorites]


Again, a system in which "brutal and hard work" is necessary to keep voters from punishing candidates perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being anti-military is going to produce candidates that favor military action, and preferably military action that doesn't put American lives at risk.

Drone strikes may not be a vote-getter. But that doesn't address the likelihood -- the certainty -- that suggesting the US curtail drone strikes is going to be misrepresented by Republicans, concern trolled by the media, and ultimately be a vote-loser.

Repeating your certainty that promises of economic benefit will overcome this tendency is not particularly convincing.

So okay, fine. They're all horrible, terrible monsters and should all be marched off to prison. There's no difference between Democrats and Republicans; they're all neoconservatives. Shame, shame. You're still left with an electorate in which none of your lofty principles are ever going to get implemented unless you change the electorate that produced these monsters. I don't see why an impossible idealism with no plan or prospect of realization is any more deserving of the charity you refuse to countenance in anyone who fails your purity tests.
posted by Gelatin at 10:33 AM on August 26 [8 favorites]


Let me be clear: For all that you find fault with Democratic candidates, Republicans has used the "soft on the military" card to trump any economically beneficial message the Democrats have had since at least the 1960s. And it's worked. Claiming voters will ignore this fearmongering -- at which Republicans excel -- in favor of perceived economic benefit -- which the Republicans and the media will once again team up to distort and deny -- does not seem to be the magic formula you seem to think it'll be.

I'd love it if it'd work, but it'd be unprecedented.
posted by Gelatin at 10:50 AM on August 26 [4 favorites]


War is politics by other means, right? After it's a failure of diplomacy? "War" as a topic is a loser in a nation of fans of team sports, and it's only rarely been a good entrypoint. The deal is that Republicans have been consistently wrong about the use of the military for two generations. This is also a tough row to hoe due to the momentum of multiple zillion dollar industries behind military follies, but as a foreign policy tool, Republicans suck at it. Sure, maybe everybody likes a winner war, but nobody likes it when their child is bombed into a vegetable. And that's the thing: the effects have been successfully hidden, the government having learned from Vietnam, but they're still there to talk about.

"Threading the needle between returning to a pre-Trump status quo and big ideas on healthcare and the economy will not only engage moderate suburban voters, millions of whom who have lost their jobs and healthcare in the last few months, but also the segments that Democrats desperately need to win this race and every future one: working class people, poor people, and young people, all of whom are disproportionately likely to be people of color."

That this is such a gaping invitation for Democrats to tackle health care, child-care, unemployment, and basically the entire social safety net, which Republicans have helpfully shredded in a way to make the terms of that net starkly apparent: people, staying home, having to try to earn money, while their kids are running around, everybody avoiding disease, and staying sane. One side says none of that is actually happening, or at least not a degree to be concerned about, and the Democrats will say...? PEOPLE WANT THESE THINGS NOT TO BE PROBLEMS.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, I fear.
posted by rhizome at 12:15 PM on August 26 [2 favorites]


War is politics by other means, right? After it's a failure of diplomacy?
Because it's not a game, Kate. This is a scale model of war. Every war ever fought right there in front of you. Because it's always the same. When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who's going to die. You don't know who's children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they're always going to have to do from the very beginning -- sit down and talk! Listen to me, listen. I just -- I just want you to think. Do you know what thinking is? It's just a fancy word for changing your mind.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:07 PM on August 26 [1 favorite]


There's no difference between Democrats and Republicans; they're all neoconservatives.

Oh, come on. I feel this is an unhelpful characterization of what Ouverture and others in this thread have written (not counting the single widely panned accelerationist comment).


Republicans has [sic] used the "soft on the military" card to trump any economically beneficial message the Democrats have had since at least the 1960s. And it's worked.

That's not the only nor the most effective card they've played over the years. What about their constant efforts to criminalize a woman's choices about her own body,
and Willie Horton
and the "welfare queen" myth
and "they want to take away your guns"
and their racist, classist panics about drugs
and their racist, classist panics about immigrants taking countless American jobs but also doing countless crimes
and "omg the deficit"?

I steadfastly cling to my hope that (one day, after we hopefully get Biden into the WH) there will be many ways we can steer our country away from our culture of blowing nonwhite people up around the world. (It's white supremacy whether or not there's intent, btw.)
posted by el gran combo at 5:18 PM on August 26 [6 favorites]


Democrats Have Failed Urban Black Americans: "The Republican critique of misrule in American cities has some merit, and it’s not clear that Joe Biden’s party is prepared to meet the need."

I had no idea that Trump has built modest gains against Biden with Black voters compared to Cllinton. What could even be driving that?
posted by Ouverture at 11:30 AM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I mean it's 83-8 vs. 83-4. I don't see much significance there besides the crazification factor.

That said, Democrats could stand to take Black Americans less for granted. I'm interested in seeing the commentary that comes out of the Black National Convention this weekend.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 2:33 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Ouverture: I had no idea that Trump has built modest gains against Biden with Black voters compared to Cllinton. What could even be driving that?

Are the gains broken down by gender? In the couple of polls I've seen, Trump has much higher support among Black men than among Black women, e.g. 24% vs 6% according to this article. Maybe something to do with that?
posted by clawsoon at 2:48 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


“Corporate America has to change its ways,” Biden said at a July fundraiser hosted by financial executives but immediately added, “It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any.”

For the record, the vast majority of the corporate fuckery that happens is already against the law. There has simply been little willingness among attorneys general and prosecutors to make use of those laws and when they do they settle for pennies on the dollar. The CFPB was constituted with the ability to reign in even more of the fuckery than was previously possible, but has been hamstrung for much of its existence. A lot of this unwillingness to use the power of the government has existed since Reagan, but as with everything he has touched, Trump has turned it up to 11.

In short, Biden saying that we don't need new laws isn't the indictment you seem to think it is. His record doesn't necessarily inspire confidence in his willingness to appoint people who will use all the tools available to them to bring corporate america to heel, but his words have been more encouraging, as is his selection of Harris as his VP.

We've got plenty of laws. 30+ years of propaganda has reduced our willingness to make use of them as necessary and, for many, erased their existence from memory. We have an overbearing and indeed out of control system for enforcing laws against those with fewer means and minorities to an even greater degree. We have an almost completely neutered system for doing the same for corporate malfeasance.
posted by wierdo at 4:32 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Celine's Third Law seems somewhat relevant here ...

An honest politician is a national calamity.[4]

[...] While a dishonest politician is interested only in bettering his own lot through abusing the public trust, an honest politician is far more dangerous since he is honestly interested in bettering society through political action, and that means writing and implementing more and more laws.

Celine argues that creating more laws simply creates more criminals [...] and the explosive rate at which laws are being created means that every citizen in the course of his daily life does not have the research capacity to not violate at least one of the plethora of laws. It is only through honest politicians trying to change the world through laws that true tyranny can come into being through excessive legislation.


I don't entirely agree with Mr. Celine (who's far too deep into libertarian idealism, and a fictional character anyway), but he does have a point about having too much faith in legislation. Or as I've learned via finding myself living in a remote community with minimal police presence, there is zero point in having rules/laws if you don't have the means or the will to actually enforce them.

a current example is the speed limit on a certain piece of road. It's posted as 25 kmph (15 mph) yet recently people have started driving faster than before leading to some close calls. Which led to the posting of more speed limit signs. Which accomplished nothing. The real problem being that a bunch repaving was done last year which makes the road way more driveable. 25 kmph suddenly feels incredibly slow. So now they're looking at putting some bumps back into the road. And so on ...
posted by philip-random at 8:07 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


There has simply been little willingness among attorneys general and prosecutors to make use of those laws

And also don't forget the IRS & to some extent state tax collectors and enforcers. When one of your major investigative orgs is too underfunded to even have the time & staff to find the corporate fuckery, there's not much to prosecute.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:50 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Trump has much higher support among Black men than among Black women, e.g. 24% vs 6% according to this article. Maybe something to do with that?

I think that makes sense, especially in light of these last five years. The most consistent thing that Trump has done is to pretty much do and say things that are considered traditionally masculine to non-college educated white men/men. This year alone, his refuse to wear a mask or even come close being apologetic about the way he handled the pandemic both play into that.
posted by FJT at 12:31 PM on September 7


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