They are going to refuse to certify Democratic wins.
May 29, 2021 10:10 PM   Subscribe

They tried to overturn the 2020 election. Now they want to run the next one. @kenvogel: "At least four Republicans who sought to undercut or overturn the 2020 presidential election are launching campaigns to become the top election official in key states that could decide control of Congress in 2022 — & who wins the White House in 2024." (via)

Opinion: American democracy is in even worse shape than you think - "The Republicans are laying the groundwork to refuse to certify a 2024 Democratic presidential victory should the GOP hold a House majority."[1,2]

also btw...
  • Republican-backed bills restricting vote advance across U.S., report finds - "Fourteen U.S. states have enacted 22 laws this year that make it more difficult for Americans to vote, according to a [report from the Brennan Center for Justice] released on Friday... Many of the laws seek to make it harder to vote by mail, after a surge in mail balloting last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Others restrict early voting, limit drop boxes, eliminate poll locations and give partisan poll watchers more power."
  • 53% of Republicans view Trump as true U.S. president -Reuters/Ipsos - "The May 17-19 national poll found that 53% of Republicans believe Trump, their party's nominee, is the 'true president' now, compared to 3% of Democrats and 25% of all Americans."
  • In victory for Trump, Republicans block probe of U.S. Capitol riot - "The vote underscores the steep challenges for Democrats in the evenly divided chamber, as they will have to win the support of at least one in five Republicans to pass policing reforms, voting-rights legislation and other priorities... But Republicans are also concerned that a commission, modeled on one that probed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, would focus attention on the violence and on Trump's persistent false claims about the 2020 election well into next year's midterm congressional election campaigns."[3]
posted by kliuless (155 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are Democrats sleepwalking toward democratic collapse?
Sean Illing, Vox:
You said we were “at a very dangerous moment in American history” back in 2018. I have to say, the situation seems worse now. Trump is gone, but over the last year or so the Republican Party has taken an explicit turn against democracy itself. So what’s your current level of concern?

David Faris, Roosevelt University political scientist:
My current level of concern is exploring countries to move to after 2024.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:49 PM on May 29 [37 favorites]


It’s chilling to watch this play out just as many courageous voices saw coming, and documented step by step. The inertia and bias that have anesthesized people’s better instincts are frightening. It feels very similar to the sleepwalking in the face of the climate emergency, and it’s no surprise the actors are the same. The stakes really couldn’t be higher. What more will it take?
posted by progosk at 12:02 AM on May 30 [16 favorites]


After 2020, I’m just tired. I should be more elated we have a dem president. I should be more worried about the seething fascism waiting and working to take over. I’ve always been at least politically engaged and concerned. But I don’t have it in me.

I felt the same after trump won and after my husbands death. I did eventually come out of the “I can’t care about politics right now funk”. I’m sure I will again. I hope it’s not too late - I know I should, I know I need to find a way to connect to that passionate side again. But I’m tired, I’m still struggling from the effects of the pandemic and life, I don’t even know how much longer I’ll have a roof over my head. Caring about something as high-minded as politics isn’t there for me right now.

I suspect this is true of many people. And thus the problem.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:17 AM on May 30 [53 favorites]


It’s chilling to watch this play out just as many courageous voices saw coming, and documented step by step.

I've had to stop listening to Sarah Kendzior because she's mapped out the strategy and tactics so accurately, I couldn't take listening to how this is all going down, while Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein continue to stick to the disproven belief there are some magical unicorn republicans who act honestly and in good faith.

There are not. So do whatever it takes to ensure that since American Voters gave the Democrats control of the legislature and executive, that the Democrats actually start passing laws to ensure that State-level disenfranchisement DOES NOT HAPPEN.
posted by mikelieman at 2:36 AM on May 30 [60 favorites]


Where is the organization? Where is the fury?

There needs to be big protests. I don't think anything else will work.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 3:00 AM on May 30 [4 favorites]


Republicans block probe of U.S. Capitol riot

My wish is that someday soon we'll all stop calling January 6th a "riot" or an "insurrection" and start calling it by its true name: "terrorist attack."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:07 AM on May 30 [41 favorites]


If you want to help defeat Jody Hice in Georgia and save democracy, you can donate to Bee Nguyen's campaign for Sec of State. Bee has been an impressive legislator and was particularly well-prepared and persistent in dealing with Rudy Giuliani's nonsense about "voter fraud" in Georgia last year, showing that even basic research could prove their accusations against specific Georgians false. She will be an excellent Sec of State, defending the vote for all Georgians.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:24 AM on May 30 [26 favorites]


On a federal level, we're fucked because Joe Manchin is basically a Republican who caucuses with the Democrats. So the Democrats control the agenda, but don't have the votes to pass anything (including election reform, investigating 1/6, etc). Joe Manchin is singlehandedly holding back the entire Democratic agenda (filibuster reform, DC statehood, and so on). I can't understand why someone would do this. But I can't understand why Republicans do the things they do, other than the existence of Evil.

Seems like all we can do is organize for 2022 and try to squeak out enough Senators (while keeping the House) to kill the filibuster and maybe then save democracy? It's a hard grind, for sure, and disheartening that it takes so much work to get so few to do the right thing.
posted by rikschell at 5:05 AM on May 30 [22 favorites]


Adding The mess in Maricopa, a deep dive into the Arizona "recount" and its implications for American democracy. I've read a lot of these types of articles and had been able to sort of shug it off. After all, it's all worked out in the end so far. This is the one that absolutely terrified me.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 5:06 AM on May 30 [7 favorites]


It is perhaps a relatively minor thing in the platform of evil, but the Republicans are still waging their coordinated oppression campaign against transgender children. Children. The 'pro life party' is massively attacking children. And the fact that I can look at that and say it isn't the greatest evil is just...... Beyond words.
posted by Jacen at 5:36 AM on May 30 [13 favorites]


What if trump had been a real proto-dictator rather than a guy that just wanted a fancy jet, live in the big house and a have bunch of love rallies. He only started moving loyalists into the pentagon when he realized he could lose, what if we got a charismac dude that had the vision of Stalin that started seriously grabbing the reins of power day one?

Corruption of voting is vastly more serious than anyone realized.
posted by sammyo at 5:38 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


Here's a video primer on a particular view why people love authoritarianism for the unfamiliar.
posted by zaixfeep at 5:55 AM on May 30 [4 favorites]


I think a lot of establishment Democrats are just fine with the prospect of being a permanent minority party because that would absolve them of actually having to do anything to help the constituencies they have to pretend to care about. “Well, we’d love to _______, but you know, those mean old Republicans!”
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:43 AM on May 30 [11 favorites]


No one goes into national politics content to be in the minority.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:47 AM on May 30 [15 favorites]


If my leg is in a trap, at least I want to holler like hell about it. Surely there's at least one crank I could stand on a corner and shout with. Surely two?

A smooth talker who pretended they were going to make a big stink could probably scam the hell out of me. As it is, if I do nothing, I'm no different in my own mind than Manchin. Same actions taken, it only differs in the details. Note well: I'm talking about me, not you.

So far there's: donate to the Nguyen campaign. Great! Thanks for this suggestion. What else have we got?
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 6:52 AM on May 30 [4 favorites]


I've had to stop listening to Sarah Kendzior because she's mapped out the strategy and tactics so accurately, I couldn't take listening to how this is all going down

Considering the care they dedicate to inspiring and building resistance, I’ve actually found it sobering but also edifying to continue to follow Sarah K. and Andrea C.’s Gaslit Nation.
posted by progosk at 6:57 AM on May 30 [4 favorites]


No one goes into national politics content to be in the minority.

If those campaign checks keep rolling in and you're wealthy enough to be content with the status quo on some fundamental level...

There are ABSOLUTELY elected Democrats who are content not to be doing the hard job of governing as long as they stay in office, their family is personally comfortable, and there's someone else to blame.

It's not enough to stand for the right things: racial justice, economic justice, climate justice, robust democracy, adequate child care. You have to feel the lack of those things so keenly that you wake up each day ready to fight for them. You have to be PASSIONATE about those things. Many elected Democrats do. Many, many elected Democrats do not.
posted by Gadarene at 7:08 AM on May 30 [12 favorites]


I think we should investigate the people who wanted to violently overturn democracy. Let's have a vote:

54: yea
35: nay

The nays have it. Democracy in action!
posted by adept256 at 7:21 AM on May 30 [42 favorites]


One of my bigger fears about all this is that there are more than a few powerful Democratic pols (and corporations) who do fight for and even achieve worthwhile things for the poor, the marginalized, and the environment, but only as a means of maintaining favor in a party whose platform and donors support those things. Sort of like how Trump won a lot of victories for evangelicals despite not really giving a shit about religion.

If the Republicans successfully rig national politics to prevent Dems from meaningfully wielding power, how many of these transactional Democrats will continue backing progressive priorities? Why fight to pass left-wing policies in blue states as a springboard to national politics if progressivism is a political dead end federally? Some might say "good riddance," but frankly I'd rather have a cynical operator who depends on keeping Dems happy than an utterly powerless true believer. (Plus, what happens to those savvy ambitious ladder climbers when the only avenue to power is pandering to the far-right?)
posted by Rhaomi at 7:22 AM on May 30 [23 favorites]


Rhaomi said much of what I was trying to say but so much better.
posted by Gadarene at 7:27 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Aaaaaand here we are, reading kliuless' superbly terrifying compendium of links about the Republicans trying to create an authoritarian nightmare, and focusing on criticizing... Democrats.

I hate Joe Manchin. But he represents West Virginia. There is not a single fantasy situation whereby a Democrat even an inch to the left of him could win election in that state. And the antimajoritarian composition of the Senate is not going to change.

Much more importantly, at the local level where elections are administered, there are no Democratic office holders who would be content having their elections stolen from them on a regular basis. We need to focus on actual election integrity, and seize the framing and the wording and the activism and the power away from the Republicans in Arizona and Texas and elsewhere who are putting in place a terrifying future.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:57 AM on May 30 [48 favorites]


There needs to be big protests. I don't think anything else will work.

A few thoughts:

* Protests are a valuable way to draw attention to the issue if they are conducted in a way the grows networks of mutual support and communication.
* We should not expect that protests will make people who don't care what we think suddenly care.
* There may be a need to go well beyond protests to broad civil disobedience such as general strikes.
* We need to be prepared for the fact that historically it is the case that groups taking consequential action in defense of their democratic rights have been met with violence. We may need to make hard choices in how to weather and respond to that.
* It will always be possible politically to identify those at the edge of support and demand more of them. I still put the greatest blame on those who aren't even participating in the discussion of reasonable democracy.

This is troubling specifically because most people are not, and will not, pay attention. As frustrating and worrisome as that is, we need to conduct ourselves within that reality, rather than wishing the problem away with desires that people not act the way they do.
posted by meinvt at 8:01 AM on May 30 [12 favorites]


> On a federal level, we're fucked because Joe Manchin is basically a Republican who caucuses with the Democrats.

Let's not let Kyrsten Sinema off the hook here, either. She's a notch or two to Manchin's left ideologically, but couldn't muster the courage to even show up for the Capitol insurrection vote, and proudly defends the filibuster, making any party-line votes she does cast for Democratic priorities purely symbolic except in the rare instances where budget reconciliation rules can be used. Yes, Republicans are the real enemies of democracy, but they couldn't do what they're doing now without help from these two co-conspirators.

I'm not sure what it will take to get these two knuckleheads to stop carrying water for McConnell's band of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, but it's really our only hope at this point without a landslide in 2022 that allows the filibuster to be killed without their votes.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:04 AM on May 30 [19 favorites]


Federalism was a mistake. It was a mistake in 1789. It was a mistake in 1861. It's a mistake today.

States Rights is and always has been a means for the land-holding class and their descendants to wield power far beyond their proportion of the electorate, much less the entire citizenry. The compromises made at the Philadelphia Convention to ensure the cooperation of slavers from The South are haunting the country to this day.
posted by thecjm at 8:04 AM on May 30 [39 favorites]


What fascinates me is the fact that the “auditors” hasn’t already declared that they found 20 million fraudulent Biden ballots, or 300 million uncounted Trump ballots, or maybe they found that the ballots were made of reprocessed chopsticks or something. What’s stopping them?

This strange forbearance tells me one or more of the following things about the GOP cabal running this audit:

1. That announcement is coming, they’re just building up to it and milking their base for all its worth until the big event

2. They never planned for anything to come of this, it’s just a fundraising gimmick and it’ll eventually peter out and never be mentioned again

3. Some percentage of them are idiots who actually believe there was fraud and are honestly looking for it and not finding it, and they have, dare I say it, enough integrity that they aren’t willing to outright fabricate their “findings”

Am I missing an explanation? Anyone want to weigh in on which they think it is? I’m at a loss.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:06 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


The latest perfidy from the Texas Republicans, who andoned their own legislative rules to rush through an anti-voting accessibility bill.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:07 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Some might say "good riddance," but frankly I'd rather have a cynical operator who depends on keeping Dems happy than an utterly powerless true believer.

The current Republican party is full of cynical operators (McConnell, McCarthy, Stefanik, and almost everyone else) who seem to be doing everything they can to empower and keep the true believers happy. As soon as it became their self interest to please Trump, they did.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:08 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


The Card Cheat: "I think a lot of establishment Democrats are just fine with the prospect of being a permanent minority party because that would absolve them of actually having to do anything to help the constituencies they have to pretend to care about. “Well, we’d love to _______, but you know, those mean old Republicans!”"

Why do you think that? Where does that idea come from? Exactly what proof do you have of this?
posted by octothorpe at 8:17 AM on May 30 [10 favorites]


METAFILTER: We need to focus on actual election integrity, and seize the framing and the wording and the activism and the power away from the Republicans in Arizona and Texas and elsewhere who are putting in place a terrifying future.
posted by philip-random at 8:25 AM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Dearest Liz,

Remember the secret torture prisons? Opposing gay marriage and gun reform, denying climate change to enrich your donors, those sweet summer days when the whole world was your warzone. They will forever be in our heart. But we've changed, you were lawful evil, and we're chaotic evil. We can't be together. We're with Marjorie now, living our darkest fantasies in a world of imagination. Trump is the real president. Only the satan worshipers think Biden is. Except Manchin, he thinks he's the president.

I know, you'll say that's not true. But we're building a wall Liz. In legislatures across the land we are barricading democracy to make our dreams a reality. No-one will be allowed to ruin democracy again by touching it or even seeing it. Only the true believers will be allowed. And you're not one of us.

Goodbye,
GOP
posted by adept256 at 8:25 AM on May 30 [20 favorites]


I hate to say it, but we are also looking for exit routes. Not many open, truth be told, for those without vast piles of cash. My people have survived all this time by listening to the inner voice that tells one to gtfo. We’ve scooted out of the Ottoman Empire, and Russia, and Poland, and even Holland when my Greatx9grandfather was executed for being a prime minister who was anti royalist.

I’m surrounded by trumpists. There are neighbors with trump flags, with blue line flags, with hateful antiBiden signs. I’m old, I remember The Troubles, and Bosnia/Herzegovina, Abkhazia, Georgia, Sudan, Bors,etc.; the list of people killed by their own countrymen in just the last 50 years is long and bloody. The GQP loyalists are heavily armed, and I don’t doubt for a second they could be whipped into murderous frenzy.

I’ve done what I can do; I’ve worked for candidates and campaigns, I’ve donated to Dems, I keep pressure on the only Dem from my area in Congress, but at this point, the train is rolling, and I don’t see anyway for us as people to derail it.

Years ago, when the Tea Party spun up, and I referred to them as Teahadists, and warned that this was only the tip of the iceberg, I had comments deleted here for being too hyperbolic, with people saying that I was catastrophizing, and being over the top when I said the dark money behind Teahadistan needed to be flushed out and flushed away before it destroyed democracy.

We are seeing the end results of the Teahadist movement. It’s become an insanely dangerous death cult, and I don’t know what to do anymore.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:43 AM on May 30 [69 favorites]


Fuckety fucking fuck. The fuckers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:19 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


I'm hoping ANZAC reconsiders that "no olds allowed to immigrate" thing soon.
posted by lon_star at 9:30 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


At this point, a full-blown and violent Constitutional crisis seems inevitable. The only real wildcard (because I don't expect, for example, general strikes) is whether corporate America climbs on board for fascism. Their track record, of course, isn't encouraging.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:11 AM on May 30 [5 favorites]


> Why do you think that? Where does that idea come from? Exactly what proof do you have of this?

I don't have any proof. I'm just venting because almost everything about the political climate of the United States depresses and terrifies me, so you can safely ignore anything I say on the subject. The closest thing I have to proof is the weird lack of urgency from most elected Democrats, who seem to be treating all of this as just another legislative disagreement between two political parties rather than an existential threat to American democracy and, potentially, many lives.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:14 AM on May 30 [27 favorites]


Agree with The Card Cheat. And at what point does it not matter if some Dems are merely incompetent and slow vs secretly colluding when the results are mostly exactly the same?
posted by flamk at 10:18 AM on May 30 [7 favorites]


I don't think they're incompetent, they are aware for example that universal healthcare and student loan forgiveness would pump up the economy and that the federal government can't go bankrupt. They (by which I mean Pelosi and Biden) just choose not to do these things because they'd rather lose elections as capitalists than win as socialists. They aren't incompetent -- they are highly competent and defending their capitalist backers, as Biden said, "nothing will really change." Pelosi was quite adamant years ago that "we're capitalists and that's just the way it is."
posted by wuwei at 10:29 AM on May 30 [8 favorites]


This very thread is based on a long series of articles pointing out the aggressive moves that Republicans nationwide are making toward establishing a blatantly authoritarian regime, yet some here are convinced that San Francisco's own Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership are the reason we aren't living yet in a socialist paradise?
posted by PhineasGage at 10:40 AM on May 30 [37 favorites]


I'm beginning to think of Republicans as a private equity fund attempting a leveraged buyout of American democracy, stripping it for parts.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:43 AM on May 30 [20 favorites]


Personally, I'm hoping that I can get in a Nordic county as some kind of humanitarian case. At what point does being transgender make me enough at risk for that to work?
posted by Jacen at 10:45 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Despite some recent wins, the Democratic party at the national level is completely dysfunctional. I can't imagine anything that will change that before 2024 if ever. There's a desperate need for a competent, progressive third party but it sure seems like it's too late for that.
posted by tommasz at 10:55 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Phineas Gage: I'd really appreciate it if you didn't strawman my argument. Nowhere in my very brief statement did I say that student loan forgiveness and universal healthcare are a "socialist paradise." Thanks.
posted by wuwei at 11:09 AM on May 30 [8 favorites]


yet some here are convinced that San Francisco's own Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership are the reason we aren't living yet in a socialist paradise?

I just look at Pelosi's response to folks like AOC and others not in the mainstream Dem party.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 11:17 AM on May 30 [6 favorites]


Wuwei, in your comment you used "capitalist" as a term of derision multiple times.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:17 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


My current level of concern is exploring countries to move to after 2024.

Dems have been talking about moving to Canada whenever their favored candidate doesn't win, 20 years now. To the point where I could swear an airline ran a gimmick offering one way tickets refundable if and only if a Republican won the presidency.
posted by pwnguin at 11:26 AM on May 30 [1 favorite]


PhineasGage, we know the Republicans are authoritarian assholes, we can't do much about that other than vote them out. Supposedly, our Democratic elected officials are supposed to listen to their constituents and they're not working to stop the Republican authoritarians. That's why we're focusing on them... they're the ones in power who people worked their asses off to put there and they're not doing enough with that power.

Buy off Manchin and Sinema, cut a deal, give them whatever they want to get rid of the filibuster so that the Dems can get on with protecting democracy with the Voting Rights Act. Any action that isn't that says to me that they're content with losing in 22 and 24 and having the authoritarians take over.
posted by kokaku at 11:34 AM on May 30 [24 favorites]


I'm very passionate about voting rights but much like climate change it has turned into one of those issues that I have to try to not think about because otherwise all I want to do is grab a pillow and scream and scream and scream. Biden was elected and a lot of people seem to think the fight is over now but that is exactly what the Republicans are counting on. The problem feels overwhelming and I do not know what to do. Please, just hand Sinema and Manchin a billion dollars each to do whatever they want in exchange for overturning the filibuster so we can pass a new voting rights bill because the democracy of the most powerful country of the world is teetering on the brink of destruction and everything is depending on this.

or what kokaku said, should've refreshed
posted by schroedinger at 11:42 AM on May 30 [23 favorites]


In history, there are a disconcerting number of examples of law abiding segments of society getting overthrown or murdered when powerful minorities reach for their guns and basically say, "What are you going to do about it?". As long as '" the trains run on time", most people don't seem to do much even if conditions slowly deteriorate. Those at the margins suffer worst.
posted by eagles123 at 11:42 AM on May 30 [9 favorites]


This death of democracy talk is pretty abstract. I think it's important to remember how it's going to actually go down in our cities.

One of the first things to happen last year was paramilitary groups convoying to majority Democratic cities to violently suppress dissent. That happened in Portland, Seattle, Charlottesville, Berkeley, and other quite blue cities. Often with the tacit support of local law enforcement.

The paramilitary groups drove around with body armor and AR-15s looking for people to beat up. A few were arrested, but by and large, there weren't consequences for the political violence.

I guess it's possible the arrest roundups after Jan 6 knocked down some of the more radical terrorists, but I'm not betting on that.

As this situation escalates, how could there not be firefights with both sides shooting at each other, in downtown cities?
posted by ryanrs at 12:13 PM on May 30 [12 favorites]


Much more importantly, at the local level where elections are administered, there are no Democratic office holders who would be content having their elections stolen from them on a regular basis.

The entire reason we have no Democratic office holders in state and local offices is because, under Obama/Biden/Schumer/Pelosi, the Democrats lost over eight hundred of them.

If you're this upset over where we are, you can't just handwave away how we got here.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:16 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


Federalism was a mistake. It was a mistake in 1789. It was a mistake in 1861. It's a mistake today.

Counterpoint: If Germany had had a more federalist system in 1933, it would have been a lot harder for the Nazis to take power so quickly. A highly centralized government is a tyrant's best asset.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:16 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


I'm still a bit baffled. We're darn sure that we don't like what's going on, and there are surely thousands and thousands more who read the news and don't like it either. There must be options here, right? There's a voice in a collective frustration this large, isn't there?

Like, I don't know... Say we decided for example that blinkered nostalgia for bipartisanship on the part of Democratic leadership was a key roadblock. We haven't got the clout to buy our way into a face-to-face meeting with anyone of consequence, but there's probably enough resource and inventiveness among us to do some fairly public trolling. It might be possible to scratch together some figure that's fairly paltry in the grand scheme but still seems a wee bit on the large side for a seemingly smallish bunch of vocal internet jokers. Just the tiniest bit too big for summer in a year with Dem majorities and no election going on, just enough to raise a flag. "Show us you can do anything on the positive side of squadoosh," is the message, repeated loudly and broadly, "and the DCCC and DSCC can have it. Otherwise it goes to the DSA" or whatever. "And we'll do the same trick again and we'll be just as obnoxious when the old guard has primary challengers. We're tired of waiting."

I don't know, just spitballing here. This is literally the first thing that came to mind, and it's meant exclusively as an example. It's probably a bad idea; it sure doesn't feel like a good idea. But we've busted into the cockpit, the captain and co-pilot are out cold, the ground's rushing up and we're toast if we do nothing. Can we start thinking of something to do? I hope some folks are brainstorming somewhere, and if anyone knows of anything like that, I'd sure love to hear all about it.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 12:21 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


The leftist conspiracy theory that Democrats are essentially the Washington Generals -- losing on purpose -- is about as compelling as the conspiracy theory that they're all actually just corporate tools. Which is to say, not very strongly based in reality. Both of these ideas stem from the mistaken notion that everyone who votes Democratic is a leftist who shares all the convictions of the proponents of these theories.

The truth is that there are a lot of moderately progressive voters in this country, who want better health care, a better social safety net, etc., but are not chomping at the bit for full-on socialism. Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden are quite aware of this, even if many leftists aren't. And it's the job of Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden to represent the entire Dem electorate, not just the AOC and Bernie fanbase.

So the fact that they aren't implementing a full leftist agenda isn't because they're taking a dive, or because they're doing the bidding of their corporate paymasters. (Not to say that individual Democratic politicians aren't influenced by campaign donations from major industries in their districts -- they certainly can be.) For the most part, it's because it's not what most of their voters want.

But leftists tend to have boundless contempt for moderates -- to the point "liberal" has become a term of insult among many Gen Y and Gen Z lefties that I encounter online -- and so can't or won't conceive that they are actually outnumbered by these people, or that Dem politicians are in fact responsive to the majority of their electorate.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:24 PM on May 30 [31 favorites]


TL;DR: Joe Biden understands the overall Democratic electorate way better than the DSA does.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:32 PM on May 30 [16 favorites]


And it's the job of Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden to represent the entire Dem electorate, not just the AOC and Bernie fanbase.

The day after the 2020 election, AOC went to the NYT and literally said the best way for Democrats to regain power was to tailor their campaigns to their constituencies and run a 435-district strategy instead of listening to outside consultants, and was roundly attacked by fellow Democrats for being an idiot and dividing the party.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 12:38 PM on May 30 [35 favorites]


Sadly, at this point my best hope is that Big Money collectively realizes that a Civil War is bad for business, and acknowledges that letting the wingnuts have all the power will be considerably worse for profits than some increased regulation and taxes.
posted by microscone at 12:42 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


No, capitalists will try to balance on the knife-edge of stability to extract the most money, or maybe just go full fash for the same reason (or because they just like it personally).

Facebook only banned Trump after he lost the election, and—this is key—the coup failed.
posted by ryanrs at 12:49 PM on May 30 [7 favorites]


It's not that the Democratic leadership is losing on purpose; it's that when push comes to shove, they don't care enough about changing the status quo to fight for what needs to happen--structurally, institutionally, and as a matter of getting policy enacted and implemented that isn't directly in the interests of the donor class.

As for Joe Biden better understanding the Democratic electorate, by the way, I will note AGAIN that the vast majority of Democrats, a significant majority of all voters, and even a majority of Republicans favor a wealth tax on billionaires (to name something that would go a hell of a long way towards improving this country), and yet Joe Biden could not treat that idea with more contempt if he tried. He sure does understand them, all right; he just doesn't care.
posted by Gadarene at 12:49 PM on May 30 [16 favorites]


Personally I'm a fan of AOC, overall. Often she has good ideas. Sometimes she expresses those ideas in combative ways. Given that she has thrown her share of punches against other Dems, it's not surprising they sometimes hit back. *shrug*
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:50 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


As for Joe Biden better understanding the Democratic electorate, by the way, I will note AGAIN that the vast majority of Democrats, a significant majority of all voters, and even a majority of Republicans favor a wealth tax on billionaires, and yet Joe Biden could not treat that idea with more contempt if he tried. He sure does understand them, all right; he just doesn't care.

You understand that Biden actually wants to significantly raise taxes on the wealthy in multiple ways, right? The fact that his plan doesn't do it in one specific manner ("a wealth tax on billionaires") doesn't mean he isn't interested in doing it.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:53 PM on May 30 [13 favorites]


Sadly, at this point my best hope is that Big Money collectively realizes that a Civil War is bad for business, and acknowledges that letting the wingnuts have all the power will be considerably worse for profits than some increased regulation and taxes.

which is why we're going to end up with a center-fascist lite system in the future - the republican right are the useful idiots who are going to behave in a way to make it "necessary" - the democratic establishment will go along with it because they're scared to death of the alternative and they'll get to help run things - the progressives will be standing outside knocking on the door as usual

we're all going to see who really runs this country soon and no one's going to like it
posted by pyramid termite at 12:57 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Personally I'm a fan of AOC, overall. Often she has good ideas. Sometimes she expresses those ideas in combative ways. Given that she has thrown her share of punches against other Dems, it's not surprising they sometimes hit back. *shrug*

Aside from the creepy "she was asking for it" vibe, the point was that she told the Democrats the best way to win elections apart from President was to more or less follow the same advice you had just given, and they threw a temper tantrum. That puts a lie to the idea that the Dems actually know better than her, and I'm betting that 2022 will be another midterm the Dems run from the White House instead of microtargeted by district.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:00 PM on May 30 [17 favorites]


'Combative, throwing punches' on the left: Criticizing institutional power for blacklisting non-incumbents, suggesting giving constituents what they need vs. national consultants.

'Combative, throwing punches' on the right: Stripping power from election oversight, redistricting, literally taking over federal land, suggesting 'Second amendment solutions', stockpiling weapons.

Y'know, I think you might have a point. If we concede even further, they might just leave us alone.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:08 PM on May 30 [22 favorites]


Aside from the creepy "she was asking for it" vibe, the point was that she told the Democrats the best way to win elections apart from President was to more or less follow the same advice you had just given, and they threw a temper tantrum. That puts a lie to the idea that the Dems actually know better than her, and I'm betting that 2022 will be another midterm the Dems run from the White House instead of microtargeted by district.

You're misinterpreting/oversimplifying what I said, I dare say in bad faith. And you're oversimplifying the conflicts between AOC and other Dems, in which, as I said, she's thrown more than a few of her own "temper tantrums".
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:13 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Y'know, I think you might have a point. If we concede even further, they might just leave us alone

Not what I said at all, but you are helping make another one of my points, which is that bad-faith oversimplification appears to be popular on the left.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:14 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Republicans are in the process of laying the groundwork for full-on authoritarian minority rule. But by all means let's continue parsing whether the left or the center left are more annoying.
posted by Justinian at 1:15 PM on May 30 [38 favorites]


You understand that Biden actually wants to significantly raise taxes on the wealthy in multiple ways, right? The fact that his plan doesn't do it in one specific manner ("a wealth tax on billionaires") doesn't mean he isn't interested in doing it.

And you understand that taxing income is one of the worst possible ways to address inequality in this country, right? But let's see how far he gets in his "small to significant" (his words from the article) tax increases...better hope they don't run up against his promise to his big money donors that nothing will fundamentally change!

I'll also note how that article refers to a wealth tax as "controversial"--it's primarily controversial to establishment politicians, their donors, and the Washington pundit and consultant class. Hilarious to characterize something that consistently has majority support across the political spectrum in that way, and quite indicative of the framing that such issues get.
posted by Gadarene at 1:19 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


Republicans are in the process of laying the groundwork for full-on authoritarian minority rule. But by all means let's continue parsing whether the left or the center left are more annoying.

Great! We won't interrogate what the Democrats are doing to stop the Republicans anymore.

Now what?
posted by Gadarene at 1:20 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


And you understand that taxing income is one of the worst possible ways to address inequality in this country, right?

The article I linked to mentioned Biden's plans to raise not only the income tax and the payroll tax, but also the estate tax, the capital gains tax, and corporate taxes.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:23 PM on May 30 [7 favorites]


What fascinates me is the fact that the “auditors” hasn’t already declared that they found 20 million fraudulent Biden ballots, or 300 million uncounted Trump ballots, or maybe they found that the ballots were made of reprocessed chopsticks or something. What’s stopping them?

If they had found a smaller of obviously fraudulent/criminially mishandled ballots, hard evidence... like, let us say, "four" instead of "20 million"... they would be trumpeting those findings before everything that could even be mistaken for a camera lens at jet-engine decibel levels. "Mainstream" media would be feverishly debating about what should be done about this Obviously Compromised Election. Trump loyalists would be forming torchlight brigades along the security walls surrounding the White House, and incoming moving vans would be jousting for parking spaces along Pennsylvania Avenue.

This, of course, has not happened and will not happen.

Instead, those who are conducting the "audit" will do the same thing that they did for Obama's alleged birth irregularities. They will move the goalposts in every way possible, they will declare that the fraud is too massive for them to chart accurately, they will claim that they were denied access to critical pieces of evidence (WHERE'S THE LONG-FORM DOMINION SERVER, BIDEN?), and they will declare vindication and victory to the base that they are currently grifting as hard as they possibly can.

And that will be enough to convince 30% of Americans that George Soros personally carried suitcases containing 6,000,000 Biden ballots (which, oddly, failed to sweep the Dems into landslide House and Senate victories) into each swing state.
posted by delfin at 1:27 PM on May 30 [15 favorites]


The article I linked to mentioned Biden's plans to raise not only the income tax and the payroll tax, but also the estate tax, the capital gains tax, and corporate taxes.

No time like the present. Let's fast forward and see how much of a priority it actually is to him. Six months? A year? What do you think is fair, given the slow-motion emergency that working families without adequate safety nets or child care find themselves in as centrist economists preach austerity and billionaires make more money per day than most people see in their lifetimes?
posted by Gadarene at 1:28 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Great! We won't interrogate what the Democrats are doing to stop the Republicans anymore.

We definitely should interrogate what they're doing. I was speaking more to specious analyses of Democratic motives.

Manchin and Sinema, unfortunately, are a major bottleneck to election reforms. I very much hope they can be moved by one means or another to take action.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:30 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Republicans are in the process of laying the groundwork for full-on authoritarian minority rule. But by all means let's continue parsing whether the left or the center left are more annoying.

Republicans are in the process of laying the groundwork for full-on authoritarian minority rule.

So, the question is, who's doing the best job of taking this process DEADLY seriously, screaming about it at the top of their lungs, and getting the national media to cover it with the seriousness and thoroughness that it deserves?

That's not a gotcha question. I'll happily line up behind whoever is doing that. Is anyone?
posted by delfin at 1:32 PM on May 30 [11 favorites]


No time like the present. Let's fast forward and see how much of a priority it actually is to him. Six months? A year?

Well, the tax increases are in his current budget request. So, the answer would seem to be "ASAP".
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:33 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


We definitely should interrogate what they're doing. I was speaking more to specious analyses of Democratic motives.

Manchin and Sinema, unfortunately, are a major bottleneck to election reforms. I very much hope they can be moved by one means or another to take action.


Manchin, Sinema, Feinstein, Coons...should I round up the number of Democratic senators who have been lukewarm at best at the idea of taking the one necessary step we need to begin to address all of this?

I haven't exactly heard Biden himself give a full-throated statement in favor of abolishing the filibuster (or, for that matter, of enfranchising 800,000 mostly minority citizens with no voice at the federal level), but I allow that I might have missed it.
posted by Gadarene at 1:34 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Republicans are in the process of laying the groundwork for full-on authoritarian minority rule.

So, the question is, who's doing the best job of taking this process DEADLY seriously, screaming about it at the top of their lungs, and getting the national media to cover it with the seriousness and thoroughness that it deserves?


I agree re: the GOP.

I perceive Biden's general approach to be anti-polarization -- to try to ratchet down tensions in order to bring parties to agreement. I don't think he's naive enough to think that will work on Mitch McConnell and his ilk. I do think the problem of future GOP election theft is on his radar. I suspect he and other Dems are trying to work out how to get election reform thru the Senate... i.e., how to get Manchin and Sinema to do what needs to be done.

That does not mean I have boundless faith that the "Manchin/Sinema whisperer" approach will succeed. But nor do I have faith that the "screaming loudly" approach is better. People are not rational, and loudly shouting at them about a problem does not, unfortunately, automatically induce them to solve it.

Biden has some emotional intelligence about people and politics that may be useful in the current very fraught situation. Maybe it won't be enough. We'll see.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:39 PM on May 30 [15 favorites]


Democrats need to fight back with vigor, they can't afford to lose New Jersey and Virginia's governor's races.....in NJ, the Republicans are likely to win the governorship, but they would be in a situation like Larry Hogan or Charlie Baker in MD and MA...checks and balances on a Republican governor...

Phil Murphy is the anti-Christie, but he has raised taxes and a lot of NJ people hate taxes......especially suburban Dole-Bush-McCain-Romney-Clinton-Biden voters......so he has to be careful....
posted by Broncos 1999 at 1:54 PM on May 30


Manchin will not run for reelection in 2024, so he is approaching this as a last dying breed of centrist Democrats...I'm an Independent, I have some of Manchin's views, but the filibuster should go...

Sinema is likely to be primaried like Lieberman....

I'm tired of the two-party system, i hope in the 2030s there is a third party that can appeal to moderates....

The GQP is a rotten corpse filled with corrupt racist/homophobic clowns...
posted by Broncos 1999 at 1:57 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


The two-party system is mostly an emergent property of our government's structure. Any third party that appeals to moderates and becomes strong will absorb and replace one of the current two parties, they'll re-align, and we'll end up with two parties that mostly resemble the parties we have now.
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on May 30 [17 favorites]


I don't think he's naive enough to think that will work on Mitch McConnell and his ilk.

Despite literally every available piece of evidence to the contrary.

This is the guy who bragged about how well he worked with segregationists while supporting anti-busing legislation, the guy who undermined the Democrats on the fiscal cliff by striking a deal with Mitch McConnell behind Harry Reid's back, the guy who threw Anita Hill under the bus and facilitated Clarence Thomas's ascension to the Supreme Court...the next time I see him understand the urgency with which we need to be addressing the existential threat posed by the Republicans will be the first.
posted by Gadarene at 2:22 PM on May 30 [6 favorites]


The entire reason we have no Democratic office holders in state and local offices is because, under Obama/Biden/Schumer/Pelosi, the Democrats lost over eight hundred of them.

It's frustrating to watch the moderates lose and lose and lose and lose and then turn around and try to play The Adults In The Room Who Really Know What's Up Unlike You Idealistic Children when questioned. What the Democratic Party leadership is doing is not working and when confronted with roadblocks like Manchin and Sinema they need to have a response that is "here's how we're going to get good things done under these circumstances" rather than "well I guess we just can't do good things, then, not really our fault". Is that malice? Incompetence? Laziness? Who cares, the Republicans' desire to murder us all isn't dependent on the answer to that question.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:25 PM on May 30 [32 favorites]


This is the guy who bragged about how well he worked with segregationists while supporting anti-busing legislation ...

I've seen a lot of people recite this litany of stuff from decades ago in Biden's long career in politics as if it's all one needs to know about the guy -- as if it's indicative of his positions and approach now. I'm curious to know whether you missed all the recent interviews where he and people close to him have indicated that they understand that Obama got played on "bipartisanship", that they understand they don't have real partners for bipartisan policymaking on many issues these days, and that they aren't going to let a fetish for bipartisanship stop them from focusing on delivering results. Also wondering if you've missed his vigorous denunciation of supply-side side economics.

Biden is a professional politician who has always followed the mainstream of the Democratic party. The mainstream has moved to the left of late -- not as far as the DSA, but well to the left of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Biden is showing every sign of moving with the prevailing winds, in the policies he's already enacted and in the legislation he's proposed. Thus far, it's the most progressive policy package any Democratic president has put forth since LBJ.

I understand he's not a born-again democratic socialist. I understand what he's done isn't enough to solve all the problems we face. It's a bit frustrating, tho, when people act like none of this has happened at all... as if they're operating off of a decade(s)-old conception of Biden, and have simply ignored all recent data that contradicts it.

I'm not trying to get anyone to love the guy. It's best not to fall in love any politicians. He wasn't my first choice. I'm just saying, let's not act like he's exactly the same guy taking the exact same positions he was in, say, 1996 or 1973.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:49 PM on May 30 [25 favorites]


What the Democratic Party leadership is doing is not working and when confronted with roadblocks like Manchin and Sinema they need to have a response that is "here's how we're going to get good things done under these circumstances" rather than "well I guess we just can't do good things, then, not really our fault".

And the data indicating that this is in fact their response is...?

Biden is doing quite a lot with executive orders and regulations. The Dems seem to be leveraging reconciliation pretty well (they have passed 1 reconciliation bill thus far this year, and are making plans to pass 2 more, which they are able to do thanks to unusual circumstances).

As for what they're doing about Manchin and Sinema, I don't think any of us know what conversations, deals, etc. are or aren't happening behind closed doors. I'm not saying I know they're doing everything they can; but I don't any see evidence that they're doing nothing.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:54 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


I've seen a lot of people recite this litany of stuff from decades ago in Biden's long career in politics as if it's all one needs to know about the guy -- as if it's indicative of his positions and approach now.

You do remember him bragging about working with segregationists during the 2020 primary, right? It was the thing that made Kamala Harris have her only genuine moment of the cycle during the debates.

This is not dragging up some 40-year-old thing. He was touting it himself as an indication of his ability to work across the aisle.
posted by Gadarene at 3:14 PM on May 30 [6 favorites]


I don't think he's naive enough to think that will work on Mitch McConnell and his ilk.
Despite literally every available piece of evidence to the contrary.
You might want to reconsider how you interpret that evidence, in particular the distinction between what he would do if he had a magic wand and what he thinks he has to do to get a diverse coalition party to back him. The GOP is decades into ideological purges and a media bubble increasingly isolated from reality, and the Democratic Party just isn’t like that with both a wider range of views and a much smaller percentage of people who reliably vote for candidates they disagree with. Remember how many conservatives pivoted from what they claimed were bedrock principles just 5 years ago to openly back nepotism, white nationalist ideas, massive budget deficits, etc.? That just doesn’t happen in reverse and Biden is a very experienced politician who knows this quite well: think about how many people he beat in the primary despite all of the Bernie-esque rhetoric about how voters would love stronger left positions? I would bet a good deal that Biden is going slow here because he thinks it’ll be necessary to do the “we tried to work with them and failed” dance to get a lot of voters on board, and that this is right.
posted by adamsc at 3:29 PM on May 30 [7 favorites]


It may seem unglamorous, but Democrats need to appeal more to white men voters---something Biden did successfully, even with Kamala Harris on the ticket.....

You need to win places like Iowa, Ohio, Florida and Texas....alienating white men and so on is damaging Democrats' viability in elections...

Tim Ryan and Val Demings would have been great candidates for Senate in 2014-2016 when Ohio and Florida were still swingable...but Trumpism has infested the GOP and now Ohio and Florida are red states---imagine that!! The mighty Florida and Ohio, states that put George Bush and Barack Obama in the presidency in the 2000s.....now red states.....

Ryan and Demings are likely to lose to Josh Mandel and Marco Rubio in 2022---lightweights......imagine that....Dems need to cut into the GOP male base---and talk about $15 minimum wage/etc--heck, the DSCC is not going to invest in Florida or Ohio in 2022....because of how ruby red OH/FL is now...they've turned into Mississippi...

When you have most white men in America being Republican from rich white men like John Elway and Mike Shanahan to the poorest white males who are janitors and mechanics....that's a problem....it's a problem when you can't win the majority of the majority---that is a big issue.....
posted by Broncos 1999 at 3:34 PM on May 30


“White men” aren’t even a plurality, let alone a majority.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 3:37 PM on May 30 [12 favorites]


Florida:
Biden
47.9%
5,297,045
Trump
51.2%
5,668,731

If that's ruby red god help us all
posted by Jacen at 3:41 PM on May 30


White men are 31% of the country, white women 35%, whites are 60+ of the population, Dems need to do better than just win 30%-41% nationally, they need to get 44% one of these days to put the GOP on defense while holding on to the Black and Latino support....

It's not a zero-sum game...
posted by Broncos 1999 at 3:48 PM on May 30


Salvor Hardin -

It's kinda none of the above. This is a depressing thought and I get that, but think of the AZ recount as laying the groundwork for us as a nation never having another uncontested election again (at any level). It's all about permanently muddying the waters around "election integrity", and creating an environment where nothing we see is to be believed.

In other words, it's exactly what Trump said he'd do back in August of 2020, or whenever he was first asked if he'd concede if he lost and he said "we'll see". Well, we're seeing now - the answer is clearly no, and he's setting up one hell of a precedent so no Republican ever has to say they concede, because they'll claim fraud, even when multiple actual audits (not to mention Cyber Ninja sham ones) have proven otherwise. They're doing to elections what they've done to everything else - convinced their base that what is fact is in question, and the answer is "trust us we are patriots".

That may be an eyerollingly dumb sentiment, but never forget that 74 million people agreed with that sentiment in November, and don't for one minute think that even 10% of those who voted that way are just waiting for the scales to fall from their eyes so the truth can be revealed to them. They have found their truth, and that truth guides their actions.

RobotVoodooPower -

They're not just attempting one, they're succeeding.

ryanrs -

As this situation escalates, how could there not be firefights with both sides shooting at each other, in downtown cities?

Because one side has the vast majority of the guns in private hands in this country. That firefight (those firefights) would be over quickly.

I'm with others in wondering where we go from here - there is no way to unspill this particular glass of milk, so the question becomes, how do we contain the spill and start to mop it up?
posted by pdb at 3:49 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri are all gone for Democrats.
Like how Colorado, Virginia and New Jersey are gone for Republicans. The only way Republicans win in Colorado is if they run Peyton Manning, John Elway, Mike Shanahan or Nathan MacKinnon, then the COGOP would have a chance since all four are rich white athletes who can self-fund.....

Democrats need to fight fire with fire, but yes, there is nothing wrong with bipartisanship.....people hate politics because they see nothing gets done and both parties bicker, that's all they do.....they don't do anything to help people's lives, that's why people tune out. People want to see the parties working together at least on something....

Dems should push through reconcilation with the budget, $15 and the Floyd bill and end the legislative calendar by June 2022--because by then, we will be in midterm mode.
posted by Broncos 1999 at 3:53 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


Democrats need to appeal more to white men voters

One, Democrats have been watering down the progressive platform so as to try to appeal/ not offend white male voters for decades.

Two, it hasn't worked because if conservatism is what appeals to these white men, they would vote for a full-on Republican rather than a semi-Republican.
posted by ichomp at 3:55 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


Gosh, who will think of the poor, alienated white men who have no voice?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 3:57 PM on May 30 [14 favorites]


Everyone deserves a voice. It's not a zero-sum game...
Like I said, when you have poor and middle class white male janitors voting the same way as John Elway, Mike Shanahan and Boomer Esiason, that's a problem.....

The Dems need to fight fire with fire.......appeal to all people.....don't listen to the purists who say "oh we don't need the Midwest"...look where that got you in 2014 and 2016...
posted by Broncos 1999 at 4:02 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Nevada GOP thrown into turmoil after avowed Proud Boys member said he participated in censure vote of state official (washpo)

The leaders of the Nevada Republican Party are facing an internal revolt after an avowed Proud Boys member said he was invited with friends to attend a state party meeting last month and cast the deciding votes in the censure of a state official who concluded that the 2020 election in the state was not tainted by fraud.

Most Republicans still believe 2020 election was stolen from Trump – poll (guardian)

May opinion poll finds that 53% of Republicans believe Trump is the ‘true president’ compared with 3% of Democrats

wtf is with that 3% lol

Ok sure, AOC jousting over student debt is tearing the party apart. Meanwhile their party can't agree on reality. Weirdos like qanon and thugs like proud boys are actually taking control. I don't think the switch to chaotic evil has any future. People are tired, they want stability. Howling conspiracy theories just gets annoying after a while, y'know? No one has the stamina for that.

Let's just take a moment, sit back and look across the divide. They're eating each other over there, and they're going to find out how poisonous they are.
posted by adept256 at 4:07 PM on May 30 [9 favorites]


I'm a janitor working for a large school district, and so I know lots of other janitors. A surprising number are on the leftist side of things. The janitors who support the Republicans are evangelicals and/or racist and anti-LGBT. They're often misogynistic and anti-Semitic, too. They are never going to go blue.
posted by LindsayIrene at 4:10 PM on May 30 [25 favorites]


Most of these laws will be contested in court and ripped to shreds.

Others like Texas's last-minute addition, language was also inserted in the bill making it easier to overturn an election, no longer requiring evidence that fraud actually altered an outcome of a race but rather only that enough ballots were illegally cast that could have made a difference. The law also changes the legal standard for overturning an election from “reasonable doubt” to “preponderance of the evidence” — a much lower evidentiary bar. can also be used by democrats to contest close races, they can cite actual voter fraud cases involving republican operatives as "a preponderance of evidence."

Republicans are in the Calvinball daydream stage of law making that will be laughed out of court.

See Arizona give away the game.

On a national level the republicans are toast, still arranging chairs on the sunken Trumptanic and hoping that the gerrymandering will get them the house.

This is what happens when you listen to the loudest voices on your voice mail.

Manchin? Left holding an empty bag of "good" republicans, should have used the threat of removing the filibuster against the republicans not the democrats. 74 years old and still losing to used car salesmen.
posted by Max Power at 4:29 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


I'm hoping ANZAC reconsiders that "no olds allowed to immigrate" thing soon

Thing is our (NZ/Oz) social welfare system (retirement, unemployment, healthcare, no fault insurance etc) is essentially an insurance scheme, we expect you to pay in when you are young and healthy in order to cover you when you are older and need more health care. If you show up later in life you're asking our kids to support you without paying your share - you're breaking our social compact.

We (at least in NZ) do allow you to buy your way in, for a million or two - but that's beyond most people. Besides at the moment, because of covid we're essentially closed to immigration.
posted by mbo at 4:32 PM on May 30 [6 favorites]


Most of these laws will be contested in court and ripped to shreds

Before the approximately eight point two million Trump-appointed federal judges?
posted by Gadarene at 5:02 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


>Federalism was a mistake. It was a mistake in 1789. It was a mistake in 1861. It's a mistake today.

Counterpoint: If Germany had had a more federalist system in 1933, it would have been a lot harder for the Nazis to take power so quickly. A highly centralized government is a tyrant's best asset.
posted by Artifice_Eternity


Australia is currently getting a lesson in the upsides of federalism. Our national government have badly botched their part of the management of the pandemic, such that we – a rich, supposedly scientifically literate, 1st world country – are now 101st in the vaccination stakes, and still don't have a national quarantine system (which is constitutionally mandated as a national government responsibility). Our arses have been saved (so far) mainly by the state governments basically saying to the national government, 'go fuck yourself, we are going to do what is needed with or without you'. Something they can only do in a federalised system.

I can't even begin to imagine how much worse it would be if the malignant prosperity-gospel turd currently masquerading as our prime minister had been able to get his way. He is every bit as bad as Trump.

******

I would bet a good deal that Biden is going slow here because he thinks it’ll be necessary to do the “we tried to work with them and failed” dance to get a lot of voters on board, and that this is right.
posted by adamsc


I am as concerned terrified about the current situation in the US as anybody. But the shitty political reality, particularly the filibuster vulnerable numbers in the senate, mean that the Dems have to be indisputably seen as giving the Repubs as every opportunity possible in the circumstances to 'do the right thing', before bringing the hammer down on them and the filibuster.
posted by Pouteria at 5:04 PM on May 30 [4 favorites]


Before the approximately eight point two million Trump-appointed federal judges?

Everyone he appointed tossed his election fraud lawsuits right out the door.
posted by Max Power at 5:06 PM on May 30 [8 favorites]


Like I said, when you have poor and middle class white male janitors voting the same way as John Elway, Mike Shanahan and Boomer Esiason, that's a problem.....

That’s a problem but framing white men as people that Democrats have abandoned or failed to court gives them too little agency.

Those white male janitors and millionaire NFL coaches alike have decided that anti-abortion and white male supremacy is their deal. Nothing you offer and no combination of words can pull them away from that.
posted by ichomp at 6:07 PM on May 30 [10 favorites]


Everyone he appointed tossed his election fraud lawsuits right out the door.

I'm sure that's perfectly sustainable when we're talking about the validity of newly and democratically elected laws rather than a tortured interpretation of existing ones.
posted by Gadarene at 6:32 PM on May 30


Mod note: Broncos 1999, please refer again to your e-mails from cortex from today. This participation is not in line with what you discussed in those e-mails.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:33 PM on May 30 [2 favorites]


So, I live on the prairie in North Texas. Texas just made it legal for everyone to open carry, without a license, and without background checks. I live far enough out from the big cities that people often come out here to shoot off fireworks and guns in the pastures. (The ones that haven't been turned into zero lot mcmansion housing yet.)

Right now, it sounds like civil war has started. Huge explosion sounds from fireworks we can't see, but as we were outside cleaning the pool, the guns started. So many guns, so much ammo being fired. At least one fully automatic, because afaik nothing else fires that much, that fast.

I'm a leftist Arab, in Texas. My daughter is trans. We don't belong to the Baptist church, where 80% of our town goes. Driving by there on a Sunday morning, the lot is full of rolling coal trucks and awash in Trump and GQP stickers. If the purge happens, we're first on the list. I haven't forgotten that I had to move after 9/11 because flags and worse got planted in my yard all the time. I'm more scared than I like to admit.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:33 PM on May 30 [55 favorites]


A little good news out of Texas tonight. The Democrats abruptly exited the legislature. Denying a quorum. The bill had to pass by midnight tonight. It won't now.

The suppression bill will come up again later this year in a special session, but for now it's dead.

SecretAgentSockpuppet: I'm sorry and I sympathize. I'm a very minor Democratic official living in a town which went 70% for Trump. Nothing's happened but I sometimes worry. I understand a bit about what you're going through.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 9:36 PM on May 30 [13 favorites]


When a powerful plurality is determined to destroy the polity within which it's embedded, it has a pretty good chance. The fact that the polity determines the viability of the plurality makes this a suicidal impulse. The GQP is a party of loathing. Self-loathing and defensiveness are a big part of their ideation. Their endlessly-escalating murder fantasies of 'cleansing' fail to satisfy because this self-loathing means they can never come clean. They hate me, they hate you, they hate each other. It's not conducive to healthy organizations, but it makes them easily manipulable.

Catastrophizing over an eventual 'collapse' into fascism misses the point of what's going on. Ifyou're not subject to fascism RIGHT NOW, that is your good luck. It's happening right now to your neighbors.

The "revolution" is ongoing. The side of "people of good will" is currently losing. At this time, no side is winning. It's a death struggle, because there's a "death cult" side: a side that ideologically casts every conflict into a fight to the death, that displays death tokens as its insignia, that fetishizes weapons and killers. Death struggles are typically lose-lose, negative-sum games; more-powerful weaponry exacerbates this.

The USA has been a rogue state since the beginning; illegitimate under its own Constitution from the first moment it violated its own treaty. Because of this, there is no canonical, unambiguous idea of the "American Way". Americans have ideas about what America means, and they sometimes regard those who disagree with their ideas "Unamerican".

The Idea of America is potentially a worthwhile Idea around which a robust and fair polity could be constructed, if and only if that polity is built of ideas that conduce to healthy and effective collective action. I think the ideas of labor unions, the New Deal, and "socialism" (i.e., the perfectability of society) are conducive in this way.

So, please stop worrying that the USA will "descend into fascism" if the Rebuplicants Do This Awful Thing- that tired old cant.

Worry instead about the fascism that's happening around you, and stop helping the fascists.

Don't employ them or work for them. Don't befriend them unless you are sure you can convert them. If you are brave or angry, fuck their shit up to the extent that you can get away with it.

The war has been on since they openly declared it years ago. The poors, the brownfolk, and the gayjacent are not allowed to shoot back or even speak loudly. They (we) need you, who can afford it, to step up, make noise, break shit, STOP THEM.

Or just let them keep on killing us I guess
posted by Rev. Irreverent Revenant at 10:29 PM on May 30 [23 favorites]


If you're not subject to fascism RIGHT NOW, that is your good luck. It's happening right now to your neighbors.

Yes - arguably, people of color have *always* lived under something functionally indistinguishable from it here.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:08 PM on May 30 [14 favorites]


There's a Q-anon convention happening in Dallas this weekend, because of course there is. Here is video of former general and National Security Advisor Mike Flynn calling for a Myanmar-like coup to replace the sitting U.S. president with Donald Trump. The talk of war is very real.

Seth Abramson writes: Dallas is the epicenter of the insurrection
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:32 PM on May 30 [6 favorites]


Remember when the feds were using unmarked vans in Portland to snatch people off the street?
posted by ryanrs at 1:37 AM on May 31 [9 favorites]


Americans considering emigration to Canada should consider: the federal Conservative Party could form a majority government some time in the coming decade, possibly the next year or two; the federal Conservatives will be taking careful note of what happens in the States; unlike the U.S., our federal elections are run by a non-partisan agency called Elections Canada, which could be subverted by firing a sufficient number of civil servants who work there and replacing them with partisan hacks.

Also, Canadian citizenship is not granted as of right to everyone who wants it. The requirements for eligibility are pretty stiff.
posted by Epixonti at 4:40 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Remember when the feds were using unmarked vans in Portland to snatch people off the street?

My housemate just returned from a stint working with people in Ethiopia displaced by the Tigray War, and one of the things she noted was, despite everything, the sense that, relatively, the rule of law still prevails here. Direct quote: "I know they're snatching people off the street here, but it's really happening there - they don't come back."

Which isn't to say it cannot get that bad here - and all signs certainly point to it getting much worse - but I'm trying to maintain some perspective and think about the ground we still have left to fight on.

As I noted above, I think a violent constitutional crisis is coming, but the scale of the violence and the outcome still seem far from certain.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:32 AM on May 31 [9 favorites]


It's not yet as bad as the other two times my family has had to flee government oppression*, but it's on track to be the third.

* Brazil in the 1970s, California in the 1940s
posted by ryanrs at 11:19 AM on May 31 [4 favorites]


For those interested, here's a fairly informative and nuanced NYT article on Biden's approach to defending voting rights, how it's evolved over time, and where he stands now. The headline oversimplifies it a bit -- I recommend reading the whole thing.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:20 AM on May 31 [3 favorites]


The bottom line of that article is that Biden is urging Democrats to compromise and remove parts of the voting rights bill that are more "like to have" than "must have."

Cool cool cool.

Get back to me when he's in favor of abolishing the filibuster rather than kowtow to Republicans.
posted by Gadarene at 11:44 AM on May 31


... Biden isn't the guy stopping filibuster reform. Manchin and Sinema are. (Maybe a handful of other Senators as well, but they're the publicly vocal ones.)
posted by Justinian at 12:18 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


... Biden isn't the guy stopping filibuster reform. Manchin and Sinema are. (Maybe a handful of other Senators as well, but they're the publicly vocal ones.)

Your second and third sentences contradict each other and could be reconciled by a revisitation of the conclusion in your first.

Or we could just have a leader of the party that does absolutely no leading of the party. Either way.
posted by Gadarene at 12:36 PM on May 31


Except that Biden has publicly come out in support of filibuster reform? Here, for example. At least yell at him for stuff that is true.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 PM on May 31 [8 favorites]


My money is that the blue dogs will let filibuster reform thru just in time for us to lose in midterms, so it fucks us even further.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:36 PM on May 31 [5 favorites]


My money is on Democrats gaining seats in the House and Senate in 2022, and Federalist Society judges whose loyalty is to (their misguided interpretation of) the Constitution rather than to Trump not being willing to overturn elections.

In order to not be a total Polyanna, I should add that I think this will happen after the Supreme Court does something to weaken Roe v Wade.
posted by box at 8:31 AM on June 1 [2 favorites]


Shot: A frantic warning from 100 leading experts: Our democracy is in grave danger
Now, in a striking intervention, more than 100 scholars of democracy have signed a new public statement of principles that seeks to make the stakes unambiguously, jarringly clear: On the line is nothing less than the future of our democracy itself.

“Our entire democracy is now at risk,” the scholars write in the statement, which I obtained before its release. “History will judge what we do at this moment.”

And these scholars underscore the crucial point: Our democracy’s long-term viability might depend on whether Democrats reform or kill the filibuster to pass sweeping voting rights protections.

“We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary — including suspending the filibuster — in order to pass national voting and election administration standards,” the scholars write, in a reference to the voting rights protections enshrined in the For the People Act, which passed the House and is before the Senate.

What’s striking is that the statement is signed by scholars who specialize in democratic breakdown, such as Pippa Norris, Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky. Other well-known names include Francis Fukuyama and Jacob Hacker.
Chaser (from Maggie Haberman):
Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August (no that isn’t how it works but simply sharing the information).
Side note: I find it hard to believe at this point that Haberman's "simply sharing the information," but even if that really is all she's doing, the NYT needs to acknowledge that there are many times where she functions as a Trump mouthpiece to an increasingly violent and authoritarian base. Trump doesn't have to believe that he's going to be reinstated by August himself, he just needs someone to suggest it to his millions of cult members and they'll manufacture a reason for it to happen.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 9:21 AM on June 1 [12 favorites]


After defeating restrictive voting bill, Texas Democrats send loud message: ‘We need Congress to do their part’
“Breaking quorum is about the equivalent of crawling on our knees begging the president and the United States Congress to give us the For the People Act and give us the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,” he said.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:16 AM on June 1 [10 favorites]


Republicans are in the process of laying the groundwork for full-on authoritarian minority rule.

So, the question is, who's doing the best job of taking this process DEADLY seriously, screaming about it at the top of their lungs, and getting the national media to cover it with the seriousness and thoroughness that it deserves?


I think I see your problem.

Nothing Democrats might do to address Republican authoritarianism is likely to be easy, or even successful, as long as the so-called "liberal media" keeps tying their hands with one-sided standards of "comity," "civility," and "bipartisanship." Anything the Democrats do will be perceived as radical, and Republican actions perceived as within norms, so long as the media portrays it as such, which includes letting Republicans claim it is in the name of "balance."

Those complaining about Biden's giving lip service to bipartisanship forget that the media fetishizes it. (Watch carefully to see if they allow the Republicans to complain about any House Select Committee investigation into the insurrection as "partisan" even after the Republicans vetoes a bipartisan commission on an entirely partisan basis.) What we know about the insurrection right now should make any Republican ashamed to show their face in public, yet the media treats it as a partisan issue at best and old news at worst.

The media is getting better at referring to Trump's claim he won the election as a lie, but they are still awful at pointing out how Republicans are undermining democracy, because they choose to portray Republican's excuses is if they were meant in good faith. (Narrator: They aren't.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:03 PM on June 1 [8 favorites]


Or we could just have a leader of the party that does absolutely no leading of the party.

Biden calls out Manchin and Sinema over the filibuster.

Sounds like leading to me.
posted by Justinian at 2:01 PM on June 1 [7 favorites]


Can't say I am surprised, since there has been no indication that there was any lesson learned except needing to do away with the legal structures and other institutions that stopped the last election-stealing operation. So after the recounts (if they even happen), it's going to be "concerns" and "irregularities" and then refusal to certify election winners.
posted by thelonius at 4:20 PM on June 1


I keep thinking about Liz Cheney leaving/being kicked out of the party. Her political instincts seem to be pretty good, in a banal evil kind of way, and that she apparently thinks that distancing herself from the trumpists is going to be useful to her political career gives me hope.
posted by joannemerriam at 5:26 PM on June 1 [4 favorites]


I dither between that same thought, and then thinking, "Or maybe it's just another of the many, many things she's wrong about."
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:04 PM on June 1 [5 favorites]


But leftists tend to have boundless contempt for moderates -- to the point "liberal" has become a term of insult among many Gen Y and Gen Z lefties that I encounter online -- and so can't or won't conceive that they are actually outnumbered by these people, or that Dem politicians are in fact responsive to the majority of their electorate.

The 2020 election, both the primary and the general, was a referendum on Trump. In the case of the primary, it was a referendum on who voters thought most likely to beat Trump.

One of many polls of priorities of Democratic primary voters

As such, its a bit bizarre to launch upon this tangent.

Right now, the Democrats face mortal threats to their near and medium term ability to win elections at both the national and state level along three fronts. The first, largely out of their control, is the simple fact that Republican leaning demographics are geographically disbursed in such a way that they are overrepresented politically. The second involves Republican voter suppression efforts, both direct and indirect, as well as Republican attempts to further entrench themselves through redoubled gerrymanders. The third, and by far most dire, involves the threat of a Republican controlled congress somehow overturning the Presidential election in 2024 (assuming Biden wins) on the pretext of trumped up charges of voter fraud.

The only way to for Democrats to really have a chance to combat those threats is to use every lever of power they have now to pass reforms to mitigate Republican voter suppression efforts, Republican gerrymandering, and even built-in Republican geographical advantages (e.g. DC and Puerto Rico statehood). The VOX article in the first reply lays out the threats and counters nicely.

Given the those threats, its natural to inquire why getting Democrats to sign onto measures popular with both Democratic activists and wealthy donors like voting rights reforms (one of the few!) is even an issue. While I'm certainly not prepared to state a definitive conclusion, given the existence of past machinations of powerful Democrats at the state level to block full Democratic control to block progressive goals (see the Independent Democratic Conference), I think at least some suspicion is natural, even if it isn't correct. It's especially odd considering Manchin probably isn't even going to run for reelection in 2024 and Sinema's Senate Democratic colleague from Arizona hasn't come out against ending the filibuster.

Now, Biden is putting pressure of Manchin and Sinema, which is good, but in the end, mere words aren't going to matter if Democrats don't act. At the very least, I fear these debates will be taken up by future historians, possibly from other countries, trying to make sense of the possibly forthcoming American constitutional crisis of the 2020's and 2030's. One of the questions undoubtedly will be, "Why didn't the Democrats do more?", especially considering the following:

1) Republicans only won the Presidential popular vote once since 1988. Despite that, they've held the Presidency for 12 years since then and managed to stuff the courts with activist judges ideologically committed to helping them hold power.
2) One those those elections, 2000, largely turned on Republican efforts to stop recounts which may have given the Democratic candidate a victory (see the Brooks Brothers riot)
3) The 2020 Republican Presidential candidate attempted to overturn the election through an attack on the US congress and spurious allegations of voter fraud, the investigation of which the Republicans just used the filibuster to block.
4) That candidate is alleged to have had help of foreign governments, a possibility that also appears to be going uninvestigated.
5) That candidate still holds enormous influence within the Republican party, and may very well run again in 2024.

So, yeah, given the gravity of the threat, its natural to wonder why more isn't being done to counteract it. Hopefully Biden will come through and manage to enforce enough party discipline to save the Democrats and the possibly the American electoral system. Either way, we'll find out within the next two years. Its just that, and maybe its just me being jaded and having seen signs for "Patriot Meetings" going up in the rural PA town I just drove through, I'm not about to condescend toward people being a bit nervous and skeptical right now.
posted by eagles123 at 6:40 PM on June 1 [10 favorites]


Either democracy or the filibuster has to go. They are fundamentally incompatible.

And that choice has to be made now. This is not something that can be left until the last minute, because the Repubs will use the courts to prevent it being implemented in time for the 2022 mid-terms.

Over to you, Manchin and Sinema...
posted by Pouteria at 8:02 PM on June 1 [4 favorites]


My money is on Democrats gaining seats in the House and Senate in 2022, and Federalist Society judges whose loyalty is to (their misguided interpretation of) the Constitution rather than to Trump not being willing to overturn elections.

Let us say there is.... not a lot of money on the Democrats picking up seats in the House. The spread on DHgain.22 is super wide right now though, and some of the high spreads could be around the uncertainty of a new party. Far likelier is just reduced interest in midterm elections than unseating a president.
posted by pwnguin at 10:27 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


Is Democracy actually is at stake? It's clear the Democratic leadership does not believe this to be true, or they would be doing very different things than they are. You have to ask yourself, is the Republican moves being oversold? Are the Democratic lack of action due to fecklessness? Recklessness? Something else? It's confusing.
posted by chaz at 12:33 AM on June 2


How is it confusing? We have damn-near unanimous consensus among scholars of the destruction of democracies that we need to be ringing the alarm bell as loud and all but screaming that the time to act is now. If the Democratic leadership--who helped bring us here by losing roughly a thousand seats at the federal, state, and local level in less than a decade, during at least one enormously influential census redistricting period--doesn't know of or care about an oncoming existential threat, then I see no reason to place any stock in their take on what's going on.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 7:41 AM on June 2 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why so many here think that the Democratic Party leadership doesn't have a sense of urgency. What are people expecting, that Chuck Schumer will pull a gun on the Senate floor and order 10 Republicans to vote for the voting right bill, or order Manchin & Sinema to vote to abolish the filibuster? While it feels emotionally satisfying - to me, too! - to fantasize about Biden publicly shouting "Mitch McConnell is an a-hole!" or "I demand that my dipshit colleagues vote to abolish the filibuster!" that wouldn't actually have the desired effect. We simply aren't privy to the intense conversations and negotiations that are happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill right now.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:24 AM on June 2 [5 favorites]


I keep thinking about Liz Cheney leaving/being kicked out of the party. Her political instincts seem to be pretty good, in a banal evil kind of way, and that she apparently thinks that distancing herself from the trumpists is going to be useful to her political career gives me hope.

My worry is that it really was an act of principle and/or genuine patriotism. If it was an honest act, a real what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you-people break from the insurrectionists, then it means that everything happening now is what it appears to be: the insurrection only started on January 6, and is ongoing. We need to believe what we are seeing.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:47 AM on June 2 [2 favorites]


PhineasGage, I expect the Dems to maintain a continuous drumbeat of "un-American Republicans", "anti-democracy Republicans", "anti-freedom Republicans" in the same way that the Republicans have been doing for 30+ years now, except that in this case, it's actually true rather than made-up bs over non-scandals or trying to get the fed gov to take care of people

the national Dems are shit at the PR game - that's well known, but some people (AOC and the Squad) clearly get it and maybe the national party should learn something from the vanguard
posted by kokaku at 10:40 AM on June 2


Kokaku, normally I would agree, but the game right now is very specific: persuade Manchin, who has repeatedly expressed his belief that demonizing the Republicans in the terms you present (and which I agree with), is "bad for the country." I think he is a naive idiot, but for the next few weeks at least, Biden & Schumer need a laser focus on what might persuade him, right there on Capitol Hill, not what would rally the gazillions of panicked Democrats around the country.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:51 AM on June 2 [2 favorites]


I think the focus on Manchin is probably a mistake. Sinema seems like a much worse person to me.
posted by Justinian at 4:24 PM on June 2 [3 favorites]


I wish someone would believe in me the way some people believe in the Democrats. My entire adult life they've failed to deliver for the people, despite how we're always told that they're working hard behind the scenes! Even when they're in power, for some reason they just can't seem to wield it in the direction that helps the little guy.

US Senators are not naive idiots. They know exactly what they are doing. They consistently deliver big time for their friends, allies, business partners, and campaign donors. It's just when the common person wants a piece that things suddenly get complicated, secret, and difficult.
posted by chaz at 2:07 PM on June 3 [8 favorites]


While I mostly disagree with your main point too, I would in this comment like to specifically take issue with "US Senators are not naive idiots". There are certainly quite a few smart and savvy Senators. But some of them are, indeed, actual idiots. Ron Johnson for example is a known idiot. I would say he is the stupidest Senator but Tommy Tuberville has entered the race as a very strong contender.

There are a bunch of others who while perhaps not possessing exactly the same level of idiocy as Johnson or Tuberville aren't in the running for Brain of the Year either.
posted by Justinian at 5:38 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


Personally, I've learned to distinguish intelligence from ethics. People like Ron Johnson and Tommy Tuberville certainly don't share my values or interests, but they've demonstrated enough savvy to succeed in their fields and accomplish their goals. If you don't want to characterize that as intelligence, then perhaps cunning or guile might be appropriate.

As for the Democrats, at some point it becomes difficult to separate the "good" from the "bad" Democrats. West Virginia might be a "red" state, and Manchin's resistance to Democratic priorities like gun control and climate change might be understandable, as might be his need to demonstrate independence from the national Democratic party, but then how does one explain Sinema?

Democratic leaders certainly make calculations when they decide who back and recruit to run for Senate seats. Why, then, do we constantly see Democratic senators acting against the interests of the party? Surely there are other ways for Manchin to demonstrate his independence. It's not like he's expressed opposition the idea of voting reform. As with Sinema, he just seems to want to burnish his own influence and brand, which he accomplishes by acting as the senator Democrats constantly need to cowtow to to get things done.

I guess I just question why the Democrats can't seem to recruit people willing to exercise even the bare minimum of party discipline in the interests of preserving the ability for Democrats to compete electorally, not to mention preserve the integrity of elections in this country. If Manchin, Sinema, and other "centrists" want to demonstrate their bona fides, why can't they do it in other ways? At some point there has to be limits. In the end, it just seems like ego to me.

As for what party leadership should do: I'm honestly not sure at this point. The origin of the failure might very well be cultural, and might have started when decisions were made regarding who to back. At this point I'd say: Back up the brinks truck, so to speak. If Manchin wants to pave the roads of West Virginia in gold to prove he can "bring home the pork", if Sinema wants a committee assignment, give it to them. The stakes might very well be that high.

The players' unions of the MLB and NBA were able to pressure their leagues to sanction states enacting voting rights laws. I think its time for citizens to exercise similar pressure. Union pension funds need to put pressure on the companies they invest in. Go after corporations that conduct business in these states and fund the Republican party, as well as fund Sinema and Manchin. Bring economic pressure to bear.
posted by eagles123 at 8:00 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


I don't understand the pushback against people who question the actions and strategy of Democratic leadership. They are losing the battle to the forces of evil. Maybe that's inevitable and not their fault, but having some angst and doubts about it seems reasonable and rational. Sure, there's no "point" in expressing those doubts, but there's no "point" in the opposite either. We're just here shooting the shit and thinking aloud.
posted by diogenes at 6:28 AM on June 4 [1 favorite]


Brian Beutler:
I don’t mean to come off as entirely hopeless. There’s still a little bit of time, they could still get it together before the window for action closes. Maybe this was a sign that Dems are gonna start taking things seriously, rather than the beginning of the finger pointing. June is gonna be interesting either way.

But things are definitely not trending in a good direction. House Dems are dithering over the differences between various types of oversight approaches rather than just establishing the select committee and letting 'er rip. To the extent that Congress is interested in Trump accountability at all, the Biden administration isn’t really cooperating, supposedly in the interest of what they call “restoring normalcy.”

This—an anticipation of this exact moment—is why the intraparty fight over Trump-era oversight got so elbow-y in 2019 and 2020. It wasn’t just a disagreement over political tactics or civic obligations (though it was those things) but a fight about the future. Would a party that could persuade itself not to expose the corruption of a widely loathed president, because it might be bad politics, have the mettle to wrest control of elections and the courts out of the hands of corrupt GOP officials and return them to the people? With the fate of democracy and the planet at stake, with so much to do and such a narrow window to do it in, could we afford a party defined by its own timidity and consumed by the desire to seem reasonable.

Like many influential party consultants and liberal pundits, the party leadership apparently read polls showing that kitchen-table issues and bipartisanship poll well, and decided to recruit candidates and run campaigns that reflected this meaningless insight.

Perhaps the hope was that reasonableness would win the election, then self-interest would force the party to engage in realpolitik over the filibuster and gerrymandering and voting rights and senate malapportionment and maybe even the courts.

I fear we are witnessing the folly of that notion in real time.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 7:59 AM on June 4 [6 favorites]


I don't understand the pushback against people who question the actions and strategy of Democratic leadership

I think people ascribe the values of the voters to the people they elect. And they often don't match up at all. The system is naturally set up to oppose the people, but we all want to believe in something. Think about what the Obama electorate would have done vs. what the Obama administration actually did.

It's absolutely hilarious to me to see how people will over and over again defend the people who refuse to do the will of the people, because they're not as bad as the other side. In some ways you can understand the politician who is caught in between what would actually deliver gains to the working class, and the ability to get elected again and again by people just happy you aren't quite as cruel and rapacious as your opponents.
posted by chaz at 8:49 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]


I always vote and it's pretty much always for the candidate who I figure will do the least harm. Sorry.

I've never really been what I'd call political. By which I mean, I have no particular faith in any political ideology. Blame some of my mentors, I guess. Finishing high school and starting university in the late 1970s will do that. The hippie-left call for total revolution had crashed and burned taking many a utopian dream with it. To call the prevailing mood cynical wouldn't be all wrong. It was definitely very skeptical.

One thought that still sticks with me came from a film prof -- an avant garde type. As he put it, he didn't just push for revolution, he ended up doing jail time for it at which point he found out who his "comrades" really were, how quickly they scattered when push came genuinely to shove, how they cut their hair, got proper jobs ... and mortgages.

Anyway, his line (offered in the context of pushing the NEED for extreme non-mainstream culture of all kinds, all genres, all schools, all passionate intentions) was that politics was really only good for rubber stamping. That if it's genuine change you want, don't go wasting your time pursuing a career (or even a hobby) in politics. But rather, get active in other avenues, zones where the heavy mass of bureaucracy, conformity, overall intransigence hadn't long since stratified -- make the change you must in non-political spheres by hook or by crook or maybe just acts of incomprehensible beauty ... and eventually, at its own inscrutable speed, history will have its way, a genuine political shift will officially happen, some statues might topple, some walls might be demolished. Trying to force it the other way -- political change first. Well like I said, he'd tried that already and got burned.

Not saying I live by this credo but it does continue to inform me and my decisions as to where to put my energy.
posted by philip-random at 7:41 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Manchin will never vote to remove the filibuster. An Op Ed written by Manchin today.
I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.
posted by xammerboy at 9:18 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Manchin and Lisa Murkowski are plugging the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Vox has an explainer. Human Rights Campaign, Color of Change, and the ACLU all like it. Heritage Foundation does not.

When it came up in the last House, only one Republican voted for it. 47 senators co-sponsored it in 2020, with Murkowski the lone Republican. If Manchin thinks Murkowski can get nine other Republican senators on board in 2021--hell, if Manchin thinks there are ten Republican senators that don't think any expansion of voting rights is partisan legislation--well, let's just say I hope he's right.
posted by box at 10:25 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I always vote and it's pretty much always for the candidate who I figure will do the least harm. Sorry.

Maybe there's some history in these threads that I missed. I didn't see anybody suggest that you do otherwise.
posted by diogenes at 5:21 AM on June 7


"The Last Free Election in America" (kottke.org)
The scenario then goes like this. The Republicans win back the House and Senate in 2022, in part thanks to voter suppression. The Republican candidate in 2024 loses the popular vote by several million and the electoral vote by the margin of a few states. State legislatures, claiming fraud, alter the electoral count vote. The House and Senate accept that altered count. The losing candidate becomes the president. We no longer have “democratically elected government.”
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:35 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Without HR1, I think they win enough electoral votes that they won't have to alter the count. They are certainly putting the pieces in place as a backup though.
posted by diogenes at 7:45 AM on June 7


My only quibble with Kottke there is that AFAIK it's the new Congress that handles the electors not the old Congress, so the GOP has to win/hold the Congress in 2024 rather than 2022.

Of course even if Dems have Congress in 2024 I can think of all sorts of fuckery that would result in democratic armageddon.
posted by Justinian at 3:21 PM on June 8


Maybe there's some history in these threads that I missed. I didn't see anybody suggest that you do otherwise.

I was responding to this in the previous comment:

It's absolutely hilarious to me to see how people will over and over again defend the people who refuse to do the will of the people, because they're not as bad as the other side.

though I hope I'm not defending a refusal to "to do the will of the people" so much as just not expecting it. Sorry.
posted by philip-random at 8:42 AM on June 9




Feinstein, asked about some Dems saying they'd choose democracy over the filibuster: "If democracy were in jeopardy, I would want to protect it. But I don't see it being in jeopardy right now." (more details in link-thread)

Feinstein said she wants to “wait and see what happens” with H.R. 1, and, when asked if there are any filibuster reform measures she would support, said, “I’d have to take a look. Right now, nothing comes to my mind.”
I don't think this is something that can just be chalked up to just Manchin & Sinema holding up a political base that's otherwise in favor of filibuster reforms.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:11 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


The Texas state bar association is investigating (AP) Ken Paxton, the state AG, for professional misconduct after he filed a lawsuit to overturn election results in four other states.

Meanwhile, Paxton went on a Steve Bannon podcast (Newsweek) and said that, had he not sued to keep Harris County (Texas' most populous county includes Houston) from sending out mail-in ballots, Trump would've lost Texas.
posted by box at 2:47 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

—Will Rogers
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:07 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


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