"The people of South Carolina have spoken again."
February 4, 2024 6:28 AM   Subscribe

Biden wins South Carolina primary (NYT, WaPo, Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), carrying 96% of the vote and gaining 55 delegates in the first-in-the-nation Democratic primary.
posted by box (178 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I keep seeing this sort of jubilant reporting all over the place, which seems really weird considering Biden is the more-or-less-unopposed incumbent. This is kind-of non-news, isn’t it? Was anyone seriously concerned he wouldn’t win a Democratic primary this decisively?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:37 AM on February 4 [53 favorites]


I keep seeing a lot of reporting about Trump winning primaries too. He's also (more or less) an incumbent and while there's some token opposition no one ever thought anyone but Trump had a chance.

Note Biden also won New Hampshire a couple of weeks ago, despite his name not being on the ballot. Over 80,000 write-ins.
posted by Nelson at 6:46 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


I bet my Trump-supporting brother-in-law is seething right about now.
posted by Kitteh at 6:47 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Those four percenters better show up for the team on game day, is all I'm saying.
posted by mhoye at 6:52 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


coyotes-legs-continue-to-pump-as-runs-off-cliff.gif
posted by lalochezia at 6:55 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I keep seeing this sort of jubilant reporting all over the place, which seems really weird considering Biden is the more-or-less-unopposed incumbent. This is kind-of non-news, isn’t it? Was anyone seriously concerned he wouldn’t win a Democratic primary this decisively?

I sort of agree, in that him winning is not really major news but a poor showing would be. But my point of disagreement is that there is so much breathless reporting (and comments here) about how supposedly unpopular he is and how he is at risk of losing any of several key demographics. This result isn't telling that story -- if he was really that unpopular, people would be voting in higher numbers for protest candidates in the primary, even if they intended to vote Biden in the general.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:00 AM on February 4 [28 favorites]


But I’ve been assured by Very Serious and Sincere People that Joe Biden is both unelectable and unpopular-a historically weak candidate who no one likes or respects.
posted by chronkite at 7:01 AM on February 4 [16 favorites]


>four percenters better show up for the team on game day,

Biden lost SC by 300,000 so we'd need 150,000 (R) defectors to take the state, 11% of the 2020 Trump tally. Not mathematically impossible, but if Biden's close to winning SC he's winning a lot of battleground states already.
posted by torokunai at 7:03 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


Was anyone seriously concerned he wouldn’t win a Democratic primary this decisively?

Not really, but Biden is fairly unpopular in terms of historic polling, and old, and pundits have written a lot about that. And these early votes are the first electoral data on what that means. Dean Phillips is spending real money opposing him, on the platform of "You all don't like Biden much so vote for someone else" with a touch of "third party run" going on.

So one game to play is how well Phillips needs to do for the analysis pieces in Politico and Axios to be about Biden's weakness. Twenty percent? Thirty? They have the stories written, they just need numbers high enough that it's not obviously ridiculous. Similarly, the results will tell you how likely it is that No Labels could recruit a "credible" (as in polling >5%) candidate.

Point is that there's a little information and impact here. Yeah, Biden was going to win by a big margin, but 96% is clearly "enough" in a way that even 80% might not have been.
posted by mark k at 7:06 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


It's funny how these nobody opposition candidates are so insignificant Biden won't debate them, but also so promising that we should be very proud of him for beating them in this extremely real big boy primary.
posted by dusty potato at 7:07 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


Turns out the ‘nobody opposition candidates’ were indeed insignificant, and unworthy of ‘debate’.

Some people are bitter about this.
posted by chronkite at 7:13 AM on February 4 [33 favorites]


it’s very difficult for me to understand the psychology of anyone voting in the democratic primary this year. i guess the lines will be short so it won’t take long but there are better things to do on a saturday like watch a pot boil or get a used toothbrush out to clean your grout. the thing about it is that only party weirdos are voting in an incumbent primary with no real challenger so naturally biden is racking up absurd numbers.
posted by dis_integration at 7:13 AM on February 4 [14 favorites]


In 2020, almost 540,000 voters showed up for the SC Democratic primary. This year, under 200,000. It wasn't a very exciting primary this time!
posted by mittens at 7:14 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


As this thread picks up steam I am asking that we all please, PLEASE endeavor not to turn this into (another) fight about whether leftists are voting for Biden and/or are sufficiently enthusiastic about doing so. As I said in a different thread the other day I am a leftist voting for Biden and it is deeply, deeply unpleasant to be lectured continually about it or treated like a spoiled child. I, and most of the leftists I know, including all the ones in swing states, are planning to vote for Biden in the general even though we feel really crummy about it. I don't want to start a debate or conversation on the topic with this comment, I'm just asking that, if this is important to you, please take that win and let this thread be about something else.
posted by an octopus IRL at 7:18 AM on February 4 [48 favorites]


we should be very proud of him

Nobody is asking anybody to feel anything? Sometimes news is just the news.
posted by Not A Thing at 7:19 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


And in other news, the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has been withdrawn from a NATO exercise due to a problem with a coupling on its starboard propeller shaft. It will be replaced by HMS Prince of Wales.

Which I guess is how things work over there.
posted by Naberius at 7:25 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


we should be very proud of him

Nobody is asking anybody to feel anything? Sometimes news is just the news.


eh it’s definitely being spun as part of a narrative to counter biden’s historically low approval ratings and the worrying prospects he has for beating trump again. people are asking us to feel things
posted by dis_integration at 7:34 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


It's funny how these nobody opposition candidates are so insignificant Biden won't debate them, but also so promising that we should be very proud of him for beating them in this extremely real big boy primary.

Even behind the snark, this is just not understanding electoral politics.

Biden's poll numbers are on par with Johnson's in 1968 and Bush's in 1992. They both faced fairly minor opponents (McCarthy and Buchanan, respectively) in early primaries who were too insignificant to debate. In objective terms they had no chance of winning.

But that doesn't mean no impact. Both opponents picked up malcontents for a protest vote, and showed real weaknesses for the incumbent. Johnson ended up dropping out. Bush lost decisively, partly because Perot entered the race.

Doesn't mean he'll win, but a series of primaries like this will close out one path to him losing.

people are asking us to feel things

More like other people are thinking things. It's one of the few electoral data points we have so far.
posted by mark k at 7:43 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


That spin machine works FAST, y’all!
Speed of light fast.
Almost as if it’s happening in our own minds.
posted by chronkite at 7:43 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


PLEASE endeavor not to turn this into (another) fight about whether leftists are voting for Biden and/or are sufficiently enthusiastic about doing so. As I said in a different thread the other day I am a leftist voting for Biden and it is deeply, deeply unpleasant to be lectured continually about it or treated like a spoiled child.

Thanks for being on Team Grownup. Nobody says you have to be wildly enthusiastic about it. At the same time, constantly talking about what a sacrifice it is does depress turnout among people with less fortitude than yourself, so try not to do that, and I'll not jump down your throat about you regarding it as duty and not joy. It goes both ways, is my point here.
posted by outgrown_hobnail at 7:45 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


It’s very difficult for me to understand the psychology of anyone voting in the democratic primary this year. i guess the lines will be short so it won’t take long but there are better things to do on a saturday like watch a pot boil or get a used toothbrush out to clean your grout. the thing about it is that only party weirdos are voting in an incumbent primary with no real challenger so naturally biden is racking up absurd numbers.

ya but you could use the same 'party weirdos' bit to highlight how utterly flyspeck the challengers are... if < 40% of 'the base' is turning out to cast a pro forma primary vote, it is relatively easier for an upstart with real electoral juice to get an outsized share.

another way of saying it: biden can turn out his weirdos, but phillips and williamson can't turn out theirs
posted by logicpunk at 7:48 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


This is a nonevent, but if -- and I mean, this is crazy, it's impossible, but just walk with me for a moment into a twilight zone world where it could somehow happen -- if a challenger had, say, received 45% of the vote, and Biden still technically won, I do not think the narrative would be that Biden had cruised to a devastating and yet inevitable victory. Wouldn't it be weird, though, if that did happen, that a challenger got almost half the votes, and the media still spun it like Biden's victory was an absolute lay-up?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:56 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


>Biden is fairly unpopular in terms of historic polling

and

>historically low approval ratings

we really. need to throw out the MAGA contingent here

https://news.gallup.com/poll/609188/biden-third-year-job-approval-average-second-worst.aspx

Only 1 out of 20 Republicans say they 'approve' of Biden, vs. 1 out of 4 Republicans saying the same thing for Carter's third year.

"Poll: 20-point deficit on handling economy highlights Biden’s struggles against Trump"

Employment's tighter than ever in my lifetime, inflation has been mostly rent-seeking in housing and skyrocketing corporate profits.
posted by torokunai at 8:04 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


the thing about it is that only party weirdos are voting

This is of course not true and insulting to many of those that actually went out and performed their patriotic duty rather than boiling water or looking for old toothbrushes.
posted by achrise at 8:07 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


eh it’s definitely being spun as part of a narrative to counter biden’s historically low approval ratings and the worrying prospects he has for beating trump again. people are asking us to feel things

It's interesting to me how invested some commentators are in the narrative of Biden's supposed weakness and unpopularity. They might be right, for all I know, but this one singular data point of the SC primary sure doesn't support that interpretation.

Similarly, I have found it fascinating how despite almost half of the GOP primary voters so far picking "anyone but Trump," that primary is largely being discussed in terms of how he owns the electorate and is such a strong candidate, etc., rather than that he is someone who is likely to win the primary but who is exposing massive weaknesses at the same time.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:08 AM on February 4 [20 favorites]


It is notable that for a supposedly unpopular incumbent his challengers in the primary are getting below 5% of the vote. In 1992 and 1968 unpopular incumbents Bush and Johnson both struggled in the early primaries. Biden’s show of strength indicates the base is still with him.

Trump is the real story here. He is also essentially running as the incumbent and he’s below 60%.
posted by interogative mood at 8:16 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


rent-seeking in housing link
posted by torokunai at 8:16 AM on February 4


ITT: If you don't understand why anybody would bother to vote in the D primary this year, why would anyone care what you think?

I hear a whole lot of bitching about what the D Party does, from people who proudly refuse to take step 0 in getting those bitches tended to: namely, voting in the D primary.

Every person who works for the D Party knows of the existence of a group of people called "supervoters." These are voters who vote Every. Single. Election. They vote in off-year special elections for replacement dogcatcher. They especially vote in D primaries.

When the D Party wants to know What Their Public Thinks, who do you suppose they ask? Hint: Every. Single. List. of D Party cold-call or door-knock contacts starts with the supervoters. The Party knows who they are, and wants them to keep coming out.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 8:29 AM on February 4 [21 favorites]


Oh, and to follow on to that last: how do you suppose the R Party came to be such a shitshow of conspiracy-mongering? Because people working to shape the R primary electorate were selecting for the most gullible, greedy, easily-angered 30% of the voting population.

The policy preferences of a Party are shaped over decades by the composition of the Party's primary electorate. If you are smart and compassionate and humane and want a Party that embodies those characteristics, please consider voting in the D primary, with a view toward making the D Party more like that someday. It is already trying to be that, and if you think it's not doing a good enough job maybe you can help take it over.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 8:34 AM on February 4 [25 favorites]


A Biden-Trump rematch is being celebrated by Biden's campaigners. Things can always go wrong, but putting up a loser to win the second time around is a gamble that only appears to be a safe bet. Trump must go after Biden personally by comparing himself, to people who already hate Trump as corrupt. All Biden needs to do is peel away the dissonance surrounding Trump, that he is a failed cult leader who attracts only the most desperate cult-like people. Important to remember that Republicans spent the last fifty years targeting the Democrat brand, especially using guilt and family values morality, and succeeded. Young people are even suspicious of the brand and not sure why, but people are radicalized at home and in churches before we ever go out and adopt a peer-approved way to judge everyone else.
posted by Brian B. at 8:51 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


In 2020, almost 540,000 voters showed up for the SC Democratic primary. This year, under 200,000.

I know the primaries and the general are two very different contests with two very different electorates, but even so I worry this might be a portent of low turnout among Democrats in November. Hope I'm wrong.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:54 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


If you don't understand why anybody would bother to vote in the D primary this year, why would anyone care what you think?

This seems like an unnecessarily hostile reading of the position you're responding to. You can fully intend on voting in the primary yourself, while understanding that most people won't bother with a primary when there is an incumbent. I fully intend on voting in my state's primary when the outcome will be even more predetermined, but I also know most people won't see any reason to do so.

Also, this logic seems a bit contradictory. Is voting a pragmatic act to choose the least bad candidate, or a patriotic expression of your deepest ideals? The former gives no reason to vote, because we all know what the putcome will be. The latter undercuts any argument for caring about either major party's candidate.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:57 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I had to look up who was actually in the Democratic primary aside from Biden (since RFK Jr dropped out). Oh, one person whose name is vaguely familiar and someone else who I don't think I've ever even heard of...

This is very, very different from 2016 or 2020 when there were primary challengers who got us leftists fired up. There is no choice to be made here, it's a foregone conclusion.

Reported elsewhere, here were the voter turnouts for registered Democrats in South Carolina:

2024: 4%
2020: 16%
2016: 12%
2012: (Obama was unopposed)
2008: 23%
posted by Foosnark at 8:58 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


I know the primaries and the general are two very different contests with two very different electorates, but even so I worry this might be a portent of low turnout among Democrats in November. Hope I'm wrong.

Remember, 2020 didn't have a Democratic incumbent, and there appeared to be genuine uncertainty about who would be the nominee. That isn't true this time.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 8:59 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


This is very, very different from 2016 or 2020 when there were primary challengers who got us leftists fired up.

There weren't primary challengers in 2016 and 2020, per se, because no incumbent was in the running. It is true that some candidates were in the running who seemed to consider themselves incumbents.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:02 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Biden's poll numbers are on par with Johnson's in 1968 and Bush's in 1992.

Were those polls from 10 months before the election?

The media* is so desperate for a race they can comment on and breathlessly over-pontificate that they're putting out these garbage polls from fly-by-nighters, bad polling agencies, even the ones from "good" pollsters and commenting on it like the election is next week. I wouldn't mind so much if they acknowledged that the election is months away, and these polls might not be indicative whatsoever as to the results of the 2024 election.

So go ahead and clutch your worry beads and be afraid all you want, just stop telling other people to be afraid already, ok?

*And their mindless regurgitators
posted by Sphinx at 9:03 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Reported elsewhere, here were the voter turnouts for registered Democrats in South Carolina:

2024: 4%
2020: 16%
. . .


those numbers are out of all registered voters, not just registered democrats.
posted by logicpunk at 9:12 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Another question I have that wasn't addressed in the local paper's piece linked in the OP is what else was on the ballot. Here in Texas we have a bunch of downballot races that are worth coming out for even though we all know Biden is going to be our candidate for president. (We still have to decide who's running against Ted Cruz, for one.) Those downballot races bring people out too.

Also honestly I think folks who don't come out for anything short of the president or the senate are missing a bet. Those downballot elections shape a lot of policy and have a lot of effect on people's daily lives. If we dial local officeholders to the left and away from the right, we can help make things better locally and build up a bench for statewide and national elections. I get that voting is difficult for a lot of folks (and deliberately so) but the "oh nobody bothered to come out because Biden is going to win" is sad.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 9:14 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


and these polls might not be indicative whatsoever as to the results of the 2024 election.

Biden is at his floor and Trump is at his ceiling. It's an ideal situation going into the season regardless of actual numbers. There is an interesting development though. Haley might realize that she can only succeed politically in the future if she defeats Trump as a third party candidate, by sinking his chances to win. This is complicated in their world because Trump effectively killed the Republican platform when he made fools out of most Republicans by making them bend their knee. But he will be gone if he loses, thanks to her, and she inherits the GOP for the next round.
posted by Brian B. at 9:26 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


i will say it’s nice to see the lincoln project’s little freak dan phillips getting shellacked here. a primary challenge from the right, of all things, is not something the democratic party or the country needs and hope people will start to see the lincoln project for the transparent political consultant grift it is. it’s gratifying to see the “maybe elon musk should have a cabinet position” guy has basically no constituency in the party
posted by dis_integration at 9:28 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Brian B. would they ever forgive her for something like that, or would she be another Liz Cheney?
posted by Selena777 at 9:35 AM on February 4


what else was on the ballot

Nothing -- this was the Democratic presidential primary only. The Republican primary is later in February, and the regular statewide primary (for state leg &c.) is in June.
posted by Not A Thing at 9:36 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


But he will be gone if he loses, thanks to her, and she inherits the GOP for the next round.

I think what's likelier if Haley does damage Trump significantly is that she'll be remembered with all the fondness the DNC holds for Ralph Nader. Admittedly, the republican party didn't want Trump in 2016 either, and fell in line when they realized the voters did. I don't think the support Haley has is that strong, by any means; before DeSantis dropped out, he was beating Haley in the primary results. Leading one to wonder what might have happened if Haley had dropped out and DeSantis had stayed in, but that's just another ponderable to go in the pile of all the other things that might have happened for DeSantis if his campaign had been run even remotely competently.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:37 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I get that voting is difficult for a lot of folks (and deliberately so) but the "oh nobody bothered to come out because Biden is going to win" is sad.

I don't think anything but the presidential primary was on the ballot.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:42 AM on February 4


Important context here, South Carolina was the first Democratic primary. By design, the DNC deliberately upended the old Iowa and New Hampshire role in favor of a more diverse and representative state
posted by Nelson at 9:43 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


So go ahead and clutch your worry beads and be afraid all you want, just stop telling other people to be afraid already, ok?

I think there are good reasons to be afraid. And this really isn't a race people should take for granted.

There is a lot of policing of people's feelings and expression this election. Everyone is supposed to pretend to be confident and enthusiastic. That seems unreasonable. We aren't part of Biden's PR team. People should be free to express themselves honestly, even in an election year.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 9:48 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


In 2020, almost 540,000 voters showed up for the SC Democratic primary. This year, under 200,000.

I know the primaries and the general are two very different contests with two very different electorates, but even so I worry this might be a portent of low turnout among Democrats in November. Hope I'm wrong.


The GOP Iowa caucus and NH primary also had really low numbers compared to 2020. I don't think any of that is surprising in an election where both Biden and Trump are near-certain to receive their respective nominations, and it doesn't necessarily say a lot about likely energy and turnout in the general election on either side.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:56 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


I’m not feeling confident that dinner will be ready before my guests arrive.
Of course, I haven’t prepared any of the ingredients, turned on the stove, or even invited anyone.
In fact I spend most of my time telling everyone I know that dinner is a bad thing.
I’m afraid dinner won’t be ready before my guests arrive.
posted by chronkite at 9:59 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Brian B. would they ever forgive her for something like that, or would she be another Liz Cheney?

Because they only fear Trump, not like him. They are losing their party to snake handlers and know it. Privately, top Republicans needed Haley for their own survival. She might even win as a third party too, and some might suggest it would be only way for a woman in America to be elected president, as an independent representing women with deadlocked outdated opponents. Her last major ad was framing herself between two grumpy old men.
posted by Brian B. at 9:59 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I'm not at all interested in being on Joe Biden's PR team! My hope is that if he thinks leftists may not vote for him, he'll actually move left between now and November in ways that measurably improve (and, in the case of Palestine, save) lives in the present. If he gets reelected, we can figure out how to motivate his lame duck ass to be proactive when we get to that bridge. Considering how shiftless he is with an election at stake, I have low hopes that will succeed. One thing at a time, however.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:02 AM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I’m not feeling confident that dinner will be ready before my guests arrive.
Of course, I haven’t prepared any of the ingredients, turned on the stove, or even invited anyone.
In fact I spend most of my time telling everyone I know that dinner is a bad thing.
I’m afraid dinner won’t be ready before my guests arrive.


So in this metaphor, people who are worried Biden can't beat Trump and are worried about a fascist takeover that might very well result in their deaths are all neurotics who aren't contributing sufficiently? Tell me if I am reading you wrong, because that seems pretty messed up.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:05 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


I agree that the spin on his SC win as "proof that all is fine" is pretty delusional. There might be other people on the ballot, but they aren't real contenders.

Also – and I'd say this is pretty important – it wouldn't shock me if the average voter wasn't even aware of most if not all of the Democratic challengers. I'm not a news junkie but I definitely consume an above average quantity of news, and while RFK Jr. got a lot of coverage (mostly about his conspiracy theories or his famous wife), the others have barely registered in mainstream coverage (i.e. NYTimes, NPR, etc.). Like, I know Dean Phillips came up in some coverage I consumed, but all I recall was that his main pitch is that his politics are similar to Biden, but he's younger - which isn't exactly an exciting pitch.

Meanwhile, there has been ad nauseam coverage of the rise and fall of DeSantis, of Haley and her appeal to "moderates," Ramaswamy, Christie's barbs against Trump, and pre- and post- each Republican debate.

I'm skeptical it's meaningful in anyway to treat these two primaries as commensurable.
posted by coffeecat at 10:08 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Seems to me that people who are worried that Biden can’t beat trump would be working VERY HARD to make sure he DOES BEAT TRUMP, not spending day after day hand-wringing and moaning.

Of course, expressing feelings is also super important so definitely do whichever thing you think is most likely to get you what you want.
posted by chronkite at 10:14 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


The way I look at it is this. There's a guy, Trump, who will always do the wrong thing, so fuck that guy. Then there's a guy, Biden, who will sometimes do the right thing, but only under duress; his default setting is to cruise control, and it's worked out well for him for half a century. Trump is extremely active, but only in the service of evil. Biden is extremely passive, but can be convinced to act if he thinks that, once he has acted, he can return to his default state.

While Trump is a threat, Biden is also a threat. However, Biden is persuadable. Trump is not.

Once reelected, Biden will cease to be persuadable. Literally the only thing the left can do to advance any kind of progressive agenda in the remainder of this entire decade is threaten to withhold its votes if Biden does not shape up this year.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:26 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


Donald J Trump thanks you for withholding your vote.
posted by chronkite at 10:29 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Donald J. Trump can suck a fuck. Biden has the opportunity to earn my vote. He can take that opportunity or not.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:30 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Metafilter REALLY needs an ‘eyeroll’ button.
posted by chronkite at 10:33 AM on February 4 [32 favorites]


I think some of yall have a extremely different definition of threat than I do.
posted by Jacen at 10:42 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Donald J Trump thanks you for withholding your vote.

I know the temptation is strong, but let's try to resist the temptation to turn this into round 6000 of the leftist versus liberals show.

No one has said they aren't voting in the general, and Biden doesn't need all hands on deck for an uncontested primary.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:43 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


we should be very proud of him

Nobody is asking anybody to feel anything? Sometimes news is just the news.


I am asking for everyone to feel proud of him. Every. Single. One. Of. You.

Thank you!

See? That wasn’t so bad! And look how happy that made him!
posted by vorpal bunny at 11:03 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]



Of course, expressing feelings is also super important so definitely do whichever thing you think is most likely to get you what you want.

This is the first time I have encountered the Green Lantern theory of voting. If visualizing success helped, we'd all be voting for Williamson right now.

Thinking what people type on Metafilter decides the election is a very weird sort of . agical thinking .
posted by The Manwich Horror at 11:03 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Whew that was a lot to read - can everyone take 5 before commenting again?
posted by kerf at 11:07 AM on February 4


Mod note: Few comments removed -- in line with our content policy. Please don't turn this into an eternal election sitewide argument when it's only February. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:12 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


Seems like this thread is ending up in the same places as To beat Trump, we need to know why Americans keep voting for him just with less Israel/Palestine (for now). Can't hardly wait for the inevitable megathreads.
posted by achrise at 11:20 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Honestly, I'm just trying to get it out of my system. I don't know how we've ended up back with two candidates Americans have said again and again they just don't want. If Trump loses again, will he just come back in 2028? Will he just keep doing this until he keels over or goes to federal prison?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:23 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Just in case anyone missed it, Biden very recently imposed a new regime of sanctions on individual Israelis perpetrating violence against Palestinians. For the moment there's only like four people on the list, but the criteria for inclusion are written such that it could be a much longer list soon.

I know it doesn't sound like much, but given that the administration is (quite reasonably) concerned about the possibility of a coordinated attack on Israel by Iran-aligned groups and that is preventing them from imposing consequences on Israel as a nation, it says something significant about their level of displeasure with events in Gaza.

If you'd asked me ten years ago, or even five years ago, if the US would ever allow any official daylight at all between Israel and the US I would have just laughed because the premise seemed absurd.
posted by wierdo at 11:29 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


If Trump loses again, will he just come back in 2028? Will he just keep doing this until he keels over or goes to federal prison?

Actually, if he keeps sucking all the oxygen (and campaign donations) from neo-fascists in an ever-narrowing loser spiral until the hammer comes down, that’d be fine with me.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:31 AM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Biden's campaign should choose their six best policies that would help the working class (miminum wage, health insurance, tax break, etc.). They bundle up those policies and call them "Joe's Six Pack" or "The Joe Six Pack." Then they run on that as their primary message.
posted by flarbuse at 11:34 AM on February 4 [14 favorites]


Seems like this thread is ending up in the same places as To beat Trump, we need to know why Americans keep voting for him just with less Israel/Palestine (for now). Can't hardly wait for the inevitable megathreads.

I think people are scared and angry, and when we get like that, we want control. We want to think our actions will make a difference, and as part of that we overvalue other people's actions as well.

Truth be told, this is a scary place and no one of us can do anything to fix it. We can and should throw our efforts in with others wherever we can to try to help, but outside of those coordinated efforts, we are largely powerless to change things.

And as humans, we hate that. So every possible interaction becomes a way to discharge that anxiety, and convince ourselves we're making a difference. We all need to step back and accept that in our individual lives and expression we are mostly just passive observers of something much bigger than us. Do what you can, but don't let it consume you.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 11:35 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


"Literally tried to overthrow the US government to form a dictatorship, and is actively planning on doing it again, but incompetent at it" vs "insufficiently effective and active persuing policies I consider important" seems like such a toss up.

I can't decide who I would prefer to win. They are both so wrong.
posted by NotAYakk at 11:47 AM on February 4 [14 favorites]


I can't decide who I would prefer to win. They are both so wrong.

No one here is going to vote for Trump. Trump isn't on the Democratic primary ballot. Biden has real problems, in regards to his foreign policy, his strike breaking, and his support of the police. Certainly Trump is worse, but that doesn't make Biden beyond criticism, particularly when the primaries are ongoing.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 11:52 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


We did it, we’re back
posted by Selena777 at 11:53 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Biden's problems are what we're facing, and my strong suspicion is they're what we're going to be facing the next five years. It's all well and good for him to use Trump as a boogeyman, but Trump isn't president, Biden is president. He needs to do better. People are dying because of the weapons we're giving to Israel. Maybe Trump would do the same thing, maybe Trump would do something worse, but that isn't real life. In real life, Biden needs to not enable a fucking genocide. This is a bar so low even the world's champion underachiever of US politics ought to be able to clear it, as this involves him not doing shit, which is where he kicks ass.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:04 PM on February 4 [8 favorites]


Wow, this is just like when Clinton won the South Carolina primary in 2016!
posted by AlSweigart at 12:06 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Biden's campaign should choose their six best policies that would help the working class (miminum wage, health insurance, tax break, etc.). They bundle up those policies and call them "Joe's Six Pack" or "The Joe Six Pack." Then they run on that as their primary message.

It couldn't hurt. The other side can't use the economy as much, now that inflation is going down and job numbers are going up, so Republican are pushing hordes-of-illegal-immigrants-invading-murica as hard as they can, as the main reason your grocery bills and rent are higher and your gas tank costs more to fill.

Dems will never reach extremist Christians, but it really couldn't hurt to reach out to a broader set of voters who mostly care more about the ever-increasing costs of living. Hammer over and over to the public that Republicans keep wanting to take away healthcare, eliminate minimum wage, and keep giving corps and rich people tax breaks they neither need nor deserve. End rent-seeking: Push existing bills that prevent hedge and other investment funds from buying single-family homes to rent out, which raises rents and reduces the inventory of homes for families to buy and settle down in.

My worry is that the media has been reporting about a Trump presidency as fait accompli, that Fascism is coming and you just have to accept it. There is a great deal Dems can and should do in the meantime to push a different vision for the United States.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:09 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


There is a great deal Dems can and should do in the meantime to push a different vision for the United States.

I hope they are willing.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 12:15 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Important context here, South Carolina was the first Democratic primary. By design, the DNC deliberately upended the old Iowa and New Hampshire role in favor of a more diverse and representative state

Either North Carolina or Georgia would have been a massively better choice, as they are much bluer and therefore more likely (in a competitive primary year) to select someone who is both electable and actually maybe potentially somewhat progressive, but Jim Clyburn isn't from those states and gerontocracies gonna gerontocracy.
posted by Gadarene at 12:45 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Reported elsewhere, here were the voter turnouts for registered Democrats in South Carolina:

2024: 4%
2020: 16%
2016: 12%
2012: (Obama was unopposed)
2008: 23%


That 4% number doesn't signal a lack of enthusiasm for Biden, who is for all practical purposes unopposed in the primary. It's unsurprising to have low turnout for a race of no consequence.

Dean Phillips is a fake candidate propped up by a single plutocrat with a bad case of Discovery Institute brain worms, and by a news media who wish a contest existed so they can cover it breathlessly.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:20 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Turnout would only have been higher if Democrats were not satisfied with Biden and wanted to vote for an alternative. The fact that no challenger has emerged is a positive sign. iirc in 1984 Reagan was also polling at 40% vs generic democrat at the start of the year.

I’m still optimistic for a Biden landslide.
posted by interogative mood at 1:25 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Maybe Trump would do the same thing, maybe Trump would do something worse, but that isn't real life

Given that he has surrounded himself with dominionists who are hell bent on bringing about the End Times, there's no maybe about it. A second Trump administration would do whatever they thought would lead to an all out war in the Middle East. The feverish pace at which they are attempting to assert religious domination here at home isn't just about their belief that women must be subjugated, it is about preparing the country for the literal second coming of Christ.

I feel like many people can't or won't wrap their heads around what exactly is going on. It's like they think that we're facing another Reagan or Nixon or whatever. I can't really blame them given that we've often talked about fairly normal politicians as dire threats for so long that it has made it impossible to communicate the gravity of the current situation. If I hadn't been exposed to the mindset in my younger days, I'd probably dismiss it as a paranoid fever dream. But no, this is who Trump has surrounded himself with. More and more of the basic Qanon types are getting on board. I can only hope that Trump getting drubbed in November will break the spell for most of the more recent converts. I can't deal with 20-30 percent of my fellow Americans believing that babies are being murdered in the basement of a pizza place so Democratic elites can literally eat them and that Christ is going to return literally any day now if only Israel gets glassed by Iran. (Make no mistake, the possibility of that not happening is why the Trump admin was so against the Iran nuclear deal and blew it the fuck up at the earliest opportunity)
posted by wierdo at 1:30 PM on February 4 [20 favorites]


The only surprising thing is that they even bothered having a primary. Biden is the Democratic nominee, duh. I can't say I like that, but the Litany of Tarski applies:
If Biden will be the Democratic nominee, I desire to believe that Biden will be the Democratic nominee.

If Biden will not be the Democratic nominee, I desire to believe that Biden will not be the Democratic nominee.

Let me not become attached to beliefs I may not want.
I mean, I get that the 24/7 news people have to have SOMETHING to report on all the time, but this is thin gruel even for CNN or FOX. They might as well be reporting that kittens are fuzzy or that the sun rises in the east.

Much the same applies to Trump. It's perhaps not quite as 100% guaranteed locked in as Biden's position as the nominee, but we all know Trump is going to be the nominee. Hell, if by some bizarre chance he actually loses the primary (which he won't), I'm pretty sure they'd find a way to make him the nominee anyway just because the Republicans know if he isn't the nominee he has the power to demolish the Republican Party and make the 2024 election such a blowout for the Democrats that we not only win the Presidency, we win almost every single House seat and virtually all the Senate seats up for election too.

I can think of nothing at all that would be a more solid guarantee of Republican loss in 2024 than the Republican Party having a nominee who is not Donald John Trump.

I can only hope he loses and perhaps that second loss will take the wind out of his sails and make his fanatics abandon him. They like the big daddy white supremacist act, but eventually he has to deliver results or else they'll find someone else to worship.
posted by sotonohito at 2:09 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]




The only surprising thing is that they even bothered having a primary. Biden is the Democratic nominee, duh. I can't say I like that, but the Litany of Tarski applies:

Given a candidate in three dimensional space, there exists a decomposition into a finite number of disjoint subsets of the candidate which can be reassembled to yield the candidate and an identical running mate.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:54 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


Biden essentially won 2020 being not-Trump. And that's pretty much what we got for a president (he did actually try some things later on, things people wished Obama had done, but it was so little so late. He spent too much time thinking he can reason with Repubicans.) And that's what I'll be voting for again: not-Trump.

I'm not going to be getting more enthused than that and I suspect people are feeling the same. It
s not inspiring to be voting against something instead of for something. All those Trump voters are voting for (a horrific) something. Biden voters are mostly just picking not-Trump.
posted by LizBoBiz at 4:24 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


I’m still optimistic for a Biden landslide.

Unless women are over having a fundamental right most of them have had their entire lives taken away, I am too.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:39 PM on February 4 [7 favorites]


30 Things Joe Biden Did as President You Might Have Missed

Posted it in the other thread but it's more germane here. Truly hadn't heard about a couple.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:41 PM on February 4 [15 favorites]


NPR, January 2023, Despite infighting, it's been a surprisingly productive 2 years for Democrats
Looking back at the last two years, there was plenty of infighting among Democrats, even as they held control of both chambers of Congress. Biden was not able to pass the full scope of his social spending plan, for example; the expanded child tax credit did not get extended, and the president's student loan relief program is tied up in courts with an uncertain future.

And yet, Democrats still managed to pass major pieces of legislation, several with bipartisan support.
  • The American Rescue Plan in response to COVID-19
  • A bipartisan infrastructure bill
  • The first major gun-safety bill in decades
  • Building semiconductors at home through the CHIPS Act
  • The Inflation Reduction Act
  • Support for Ukraine's defense against a Russian invasion
The Biden-Harris Record | The White House
Each item has links to details.
  • Lowering Costs of Families’ Everyday Expenses
  • More People Are Working Than At Any Point in American History
  • Making More in America
  • Rescued the Economy and Changed the Course of the Pandemic
  • Rebuilding our Infrastructure
  • Historic Expansion of Benefits and Services for Toxic Exposed Veterans
  • The First Meaningful Gun Violence Reduction Legislation in 30 Years
  • Protected Marriage for LGBTQI+ and Interracial Couples
  • Historic Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Federal Judges of Diverse Backgrounds
  • Rallied the World to Support Ukraine in Response to Putin’s Aggression
  • Strengthened Alliances and Partnerships to Deliver for the American People
  • Successful Counterterrorism Missions Against the Leaders of Al Qaeda and ISIS
  • Executive Orders Protecting Reproductive Rights
  • Historic Student Debt Relief for Middle- and Working-Class Families
  • Ending our Failed Approach to Marijuana
  • Advancing Equity and Racial Justice, Including Historic Criminal Justice Reform
  • Delivering on the Most Aggressive Climate and Environmental Justice Agenda in American History
  • More People with Health Insurance Than Ever Before
posted by kirkaracha at 4:48 PM on February 4 [23 favorites]


Either North Carolina or Georgia would have been a massively better choice

I think they would have been a moderately better choice but any of them are hugely better than having Iowa and New Hampshire go first. The Democratic coalition is very, very diverse and having two of the least diverse states in the country go first had long since become both an embarrassment and entirely inappropriate.
posted by Justinian at 4:49 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


(North Carolina would probably have been my first choice though, I agree with you on that.)
posted by Justinian at 4:50 PM on February 4


Biden's campaign should choose their six best policies that would help the working class (miminum wage, health insurance, tax break, etc.). They bundle up those policies and call them "Joe's Six Pack" or "The Joe Six Pack." Then they run on that as their primary message.

That is a genius idea.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:53 PM on February 4 [6 favorites]


LizBoBiz To be fair to Biden, and it pains me to do so, he was hobbled by a Senate that was essentially in stasis mode. Joe Manchin might as well be a Republican and as near as I can tell Sinema just wants to watch the world burn. Remember back when they were trying to pass the environmental spending bill and Manchin said the Democrats had to negotiate with him because he saw ANY spending as a concession and "was happy with zero".

I think he could have done more on the PR side, and possibly on the executive orders and so on side, but he truly was hobbled by a not really real Senate "majority".

Justinian Never forget, New Hampshire actually has a law stating it MUST be first and that if any other state has an earlier primary election then New Hampshire's primary election will be moved so it is first.
"The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election, whichever is earlier, of each year when a president of the United States is to be elected or the year previous"
The only solution would be for both Republicans and Democrats to tell New Hampshire that if they won't stop hogging first then they won't get any delegates at the convention. Which will never happen.
posted by sotonohito at 4:55 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


I find myself surprised to find that I'm one of the folks he's actually done something for.

Most Dem presidents of the modern era have been tasked with cleaning up after the huge, near-impossible messes left by Republican presidents, especially the huge piles of orange shit that Trump left on everyone's doorstep:

• Covid
• Afghanistan
• Inflation
• Emboldened Putin and Russian kleptocracy
• Weakened environmental laws; worsened climate crisis
• Indefinite tax breaks for rich people; expiring tax breaks for everyone else

I'm not a Biden cheerleader, but he's done a lot more good than people will ever give him credit for and is probably the most progressive president since Carter. Maybe more so.

Dems also surpassed expectations for a Republican midterm sweep the media was projecting. This is a result that can be built upon.

I'm cautiously optimistic for a second term and a better future, but my caution and despair are based on the plentiful help that the media and even the left (RFK and ilk) are again giving Trump.

We can't be complacent and we can't let people forget what is at risk. Trump is a criminal who showed it is easy to throw away generations of progress in the blink of an eye.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:04 PM on February 4 [16 favorites]


Nothing -- this was the Democratic presidential primary only.

Thanks! I know different states run primaries very differently and that's important context I didn't have.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 5:07 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Biden's campaign should choose their six best policies that would help the working class (miminum wage, health insurance, tax break, etc.). They bundle up those policies and call them "Joe's Six Pack" or "The Joe Six Pack." Then they run on that as their primary message.

dear god this place
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:32 PM on February 4 [7 favorites]


I keep seeing this sort of jubilant reporting all over the place, which seems really weird considering Biden is the more-or-less-unopposed incumbent. This is kind-of non-news, isn’t it?

The Extremely Online cohort (which includes this very website) has been hyperventilating about how Biden couldn't campaign his way out of a paper bag since the fall of 2019, so lots people assumed he'd barely squeak by in SC, even though last time around there he literally drove almost every other candidate out of the race and this time he won a higher percentage of the vote than either Trump or Obama during their incumbent SC primaries. Just like last cycle, the first time non-online/non-white people had a say, they told everyone to STFU because Joe's their dude.

We're going to be 3 years into his second term and we'll still just be re-litigating if we should be embarrassed for him because he didn't leave the race after Iowa and NH in 2020.
posted by Back At It Again At Krispy Kreme at 5:54 PM on February 4 [12 favorites]


Just like last cycle, the first time non-online/non-white people had a say, they told everyone to STFU because Joe's their dude.

Thank you. Came here to say that. Just didn't have the energy.
posted by nanook at 6:12 PM on February 4


so lots people assumed he'd barely squeak by in SC

I haven't heard that from anyone. The general consensus I have encountered has been that the 2024 Democratic primaries are a formality with no serious competition. (Like they usually are when their is an incumbent president.)

Biden winning primaries is good, in the way having a blood pressure reading in the normal range is good. It is the absence of a serious red flag. It isn't otherwise illuminating.

I know everyone wants some sign of how things will go in November, but reading much into the exact numbers at this point is like reading tea leaves.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:19 PM on February 4 [9 favorites]


Yeah, RFK Jr is definitely not left by any definition. Dude is a right wing conspiracy monger and the only reason he was ever running as a Democrat was to try to throw the election to Trump. I mean, he's a regular on Joe Rogan for crying out loud.

so lots people assumed he'd barely squeak by in SC

Who was anticipating a Bien squeaker in SC? Maybe I'm visiting the wrong sites, but every place I hang out the SC election was a non-issue because everyone assumed Biden would be the victor. Actually, that's not quite true. Most of the places I hang out were split between saying that having a primary at all was a waste of time and grudging praise for there being a primary at all so at least they could register their dissatisfaction via primary voting and at least in theory there was the possibility of someone other than Biden being the nominee.

Seriously, the other two candidates even slightly serious candidates are a (Bill) Clinton style triangulating bipartisanship fetishist who thinks we need Republicans on a Democratic President's cabinet, and a self help author who has never held any office.

Now I will admit that Williamson talks fairly leftist, her official positions are mostly stuff I agree with. I feel that she's a flake and a fake, but maybe that's just misogyny talking not a legitimate or valid criticism.

But regardless of Williamson's seriousness, or lack thereof, she doesn't have any chance of being the nominee. And most leftists I know tend to be skeptical of her rather than promoting her as a serious leftist challenger to Biden.
posted by sotonohito at 8:25 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


When the D Party wants to know What Their Public Thinks, who do you suppose they ask? Hint: Every. Single. List. of D Party cold-call or door-knock contacts starts with the supervoters. The Party knows who they are, and wants them to keep coming out.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog


This.

In a democracy the candidates/parties will pay most attention to those who turn out, in sufficient numbers, and consistently. If you are not one of those people then your concerns will not be given much attention and effort.

Furthermore, if you withhold your vote then the candidates/parties will of necessity look elsewhere for the required votes to win, which for the Dems in the US context means if they cannot rely on the left vote then they must look to wooing voters to the right of their party.

––––––––

Never, in any election or electoral system, is your ideal candidate, party, or policy suite going to be on offer. You will only ever get a practical choice between closer to your ideal, or further away from it. Sometimes you don't even get that, you only get maintaining the status quo, or even just minimising the damage and staying in the game, until the options improve.

I have voted in every election in my country since I became eligible over forty years ago, and I have never had any other choices on the ballot, and don't ever expect to.

Democracy means compromise, and sometimes shitty gut-wrenching principles-shredding compromise. That is how it works. It cannot be any other way.
posted by Pouteria at 9:18 PM on February 4 [18 favorites]


And yet, Democrats still managed to pass major pieces of legislation, several with bipartisan support.

Yeah, but what have they done for me lately?

/s
posted by Literaryhero at 9:31 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Mod note: A few removed. Don't use slurs (FAQ). Also don't assume the site is "cool" with using slurs because of nefarious reasons and go off on some rant on that. We have moderation gaps, but we will always delete that shit. Finally, try to stop fighting and slinging insults back and forth about Bernie Sanders, leftist vs liberal, etc. etc. Maybe you could find a Reddit community dedicated to that purpose, or you could create one. On Metafilter it's a disruptive derail that interferes with discussion.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:39 AM on February 5 [21 favorites]


> Never, in any election or electoral system etc. etc.
correct

> Democracy means compromise, etc. etc.
not sure why you're talking about democracy here. democracy and elections are incompatible.

these have been your bombastic lowercase pronouncements for the day.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 8:16 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


“Why the 2024 Polls are So Confusing Right Now,” Dan Pfeiffer, The Message Box, 04 February 2024
posted by ob1quixote at 8:49 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Democracy means compromise, and sometimes shitty gut-wrenching principles-shredding compromise. That is how it works. It cannot be any other way.

Sorry in advance, queer people!
posted by MrBadExample at 9:08 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


> democracy and elections are incompatible

Wow that's bombastic all right. And all lower-case!

Strictly speaking (in the very obnoxious sense of "strict speaking," i.e. a kind of pedantry that completely robs an utterance of its meaning) this is correct. In a "true democracy," offices are awarded assigned by lot. Voting is reserved for the assembly of citizens to decide issues as a body. Elections are a tool of oligarchy, which ensures that offices will be won by oligarchs almost all of the time.

The trouble with this strict sense is that there has not (I think ) been a "true democracy" for millennia, and those that existed once upon a time would never have been scalable to a modern nation-state. When you use "democracy" in this sense to describe any political activity in the last 1000 years at the very least, you are talking about something that is completely outside of everybody else's universe of discourse.

Plausibly you are laboring under the delusion that the distinctions of Federalist 10 were every widely shared among the people who made the early Republic. In fact, in those days, almost everybody used "democracy" and "republic" interchangeably: the claim "we live in a Republic, not a Democracy" would have made no sense to them. A Republic is a kind of oligarchy with democratic features, if you insist. But the choice is not between that and "true democracy," it's between that and rule by a closed circle of oligarchs with no input from you at all.

As an aside, the US has if anything too much democracy when it comes to appointing offices. If your local ballot is anything like mine it's crowded with "non-partisan" posts that nobody voting has any idea about how to decide who to vote for. Those posts ought to be appointed. Also there is at the national level way too much Senate oversight of appointments. There should be few enough advise-and-consent votes that a President can have *all* of that done with in 2-3 months, tops.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 9:10 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]


OK, that was a little unfair. I flew off the handle and posted without thinking.

The white middle-class cis gays can stay.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:11 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Jesus christ, y'all.
posted by Chocolate Sandwich at 10:00 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


When you say that the party only cares about the people who will vote, and only cares about the people who will reliably vote for the party, I ask you to think critically about what you are saying. I know this triumph of cynicism may feel true to you because we often feel that cynicism must be truth. But what you're saying is a paradox. If we strike out the mutually contradictory statements in your argument, what we're left with is the democratic party will only ever move to the right. Why? I'm not really sure, but there doesn't have to be a reason, actually. If it's true, it's true. If the democratic party will always choose to move further right to win voters, not further left, that's fine, as far as it goes, but I don't seriously see that as a good argument for voting for the democratic party. Basically, it's electoral blackpilling. And honestly, even I am not at that level of blue screen of death despair. I'm not going to vote for them simply because if I don't vote for them they go more fascist. Please try again. Thank you.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:48 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


The Democrats and Republicans have both resisted ranked choice voting. Maintaining the current party system has a greater priority than getting the support of minor party voters.

Likewise, the decision to court the center was a decision that the Democrats would rather lose leftist votes than centrist votes.

I still think the need to beat Trump is overriding, and that ideally everyone should vote to beat him first and foremost. But this isn't some unforeseen problem that fell upon the Democrats without warning. There are solutions, but they have been rejected.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 12:23 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


>the democratic party will only ever move to the right. Why?

there is more money and voters to their right than to their left.

Obama gave the nation the Republicans' own damn healthcare reform proposal, and look where it got him, and how close-run a thing it was to get into law and remain there.

Looking for any intelligence in electoral politics is going to be a rather futile experience.

Self-interest, lies, character assassination, fear-mongering, cherry-picking: lots. Intelligent policy: zeee-roo.
posted by torokunai at 1:36 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


@kittens for breakfast
> When you say that the party only cares about the people who will vote

That is not what I said. I said, the Party asks the people who support it, what they want. How else could it be? A Party is an organization of people who band together to accomplish political goals. Because of the way US elections work, the Parties here are a lot more like the coalitions of European parliamentary democracies. But they're groups of like-minded people who joined together to work for a goal. You are saying up front that you're not joining with them to work toward any goals, so why be surprised that that's the end of the conversation? There's not unlimited time and resources to talk to people who don't support them, though there is some effort at outreach.

I look at posts like yours and genuinely don't understand what you are trying to say. I'm not being cynical, I'm just a person who has watched how US politics works for about 45 years now, and I understand the technical workings of the system and human motivations of the actors a little better than you do, maybe. It's hard for me to avoid the feeling that you don't understand, that nobody ever gets to vote for exactly what they want, unless they write their own name down on the ballot as a write-in. That's not cynicism, that's just how things are. Voting for the lesser of evils has been my choice almost all of my life. The choice is easier these last few election cycles than it has ever been. I'm a little stupefied that some people seem to find it so difficult.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 1:47 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


That is not what I said. I said, the Party asks the people who support it, what they want.

What I think you're not grasping is that this is a logical fallacy; in the absence of an ethos that would cause people to support a party in the first place, there are no real supporters of a party. The party must first state what it believes in. If the party believes only in what the people who support it tell it they want it to believe in, it is not a political party, it's a baseball team. It's nothing. It's a clubhouse with a name on the door and just whatever happens inside is what the place is about.

And frankly, people on the right have been getting exactly what they want. In a single term, there's a border wall, there's fifty years of Roe v. Wade down the toilet. So don't tell me no one ever gets what they want. They definitely do get what they want.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:30 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


They definitely do get what they want.

They get what they want under Democrats, too, if this cruel and execrable border bill being trumpeted by Biden is anything to go by.
posted by Gadarene at 3:16 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


The party must first state what it believes in. If the party believes only in what the people who support it tell it they want it to believe in, it is not a political party, it's a baseball team. It's nothing. It's a clubhouse with a name on the door and just whatever happens inside is what the place is about.

I think the disconnect is that you're expecting the largest political parties in a two-party system to be functionally the same as the political parties in a broader multi-party system. And they are not. A multi-party system would function like you suggest; the parties have platforms and you look at the platforms and support the one which most closely fits what you believe. (Theoretically and ideally. In practice its obviously more complicated). Then unless one party gets a majority they form coalitions with other parties, and the coalition compromises a bit to get to a majority.

But in a two party system the coalition-ing happens before the elections within the parties. The reason the parties cannot have a written in stone ideology and platform is because they are functionally coalitions and those coalitions change over time. So the precise policies being championed, the importance placed on various positions, and everything about their ideology is dependent on who is in the coalition which forms that party at any given time.

Now, the coalitions tend to change quite slowly so it's not as choatic as this sounds and not remotely as chaotic as you make it out to be. But, yes, the party believes what the coalition of various interest groups and demographics which have joined together to win elections tell it to believe because that's how it works in a two party system.

So I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the political system and wishing it were more like a multi-party system. But that's not gonna happen so long as we have the current system; the only way to get what you want is if we had structural reform resulting in a multiparty democracy.
posted by Justinian at 4:46 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


tl;dr - when you hear "Democratic Party" you should really hear "the coalition of people and interest groups who mostly but not entirely range from leftists to centrists".

To win a general election the Democrats need to win the vote of, say, sotonohito, me, and Joe Manchin. The sausage making to get to that point is not pretty but it is necessary. (nb, I assume only Manchin is actually a member of the party)
posted by Justinian at 4:56 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


>Democracy means compromise, and sometimes shitty gut-wrenching principles-shredding compromise. That is how it works. It cannot be any other way.

Sorry in advance, queer people!
posted by MrBadExample


Explain how else it is done in a democratic system.

It is not your goals I am questioning, it is your lack of a realistic political pathway to achieve them.

You can rage and sneer all you like about how the world currently is, and with very good reason. But that does not offer the practical means to change it for the better.

––––––

If the democratic party will always choose to move further right to win voters, not further left, that's fine, as far as it goes, but I don't seriously see that as a good argument for voting for the democratic party.
posted by kittens for breakfast


You have no other choice in a first-past-the-post-voting system. Your only option in such a system is to drag the Dems left by force of numbers, and you do that by making your voting block indispensable to Dem wins. Which requires that you and like minded people turn out, every time.

There are no easy quick options here. This one amazing trick isn't on the table. It is a raw long-term numbers game slog. If you end up with more seats at the table, or at least sufficient seats, then you start winning. If you don't, then you don't.

I'm not going to vote for them simply because if I don't vote for them they go more fascist.

Then you will not only fail to get what you want, you will instead increase the chances that you will lose everything you do have, and will take the people and values you claim to be standing up for down with you.

And frankly, people on the right have been getting exactly what they want. In a single term, there's a border wall, there's fifty years of Roe v. Wade down the toilet. So don't tell me no one ever gets what they want. They definitely do get what they want.

Because they turned out.

You just proved my point.
posted by Pouteria at 5:02 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


I mean, if your point is that if I vote for them I don't get what I want, and if I don't vote for them I don't get what I want, sure. My question is, why do the republicans get what they want? What are they doing that the democratic party is not doing? Other than running candidates their voters want. Because, look, I dutifully turned out for Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, and basically what I'm hearing is I didn't vote hard enough, vote harder. It doesn't work.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:09 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


o I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the political system and wishing it were more like a multi-party system. But that's not gonna happen so long as we have the current system

What I cannot stress highly enough is that this amazing, impossible to believe thing that you're discussing, where instead of a passive centrist president you have a politically polarizing activist president, has literally happened, very recently, but on the side of total trash. We can argue, I guess, that any kind of activist president is actively bad for America, but FDR was so good for America that they actually had to pass a law to ensure no one else on his level could just be president forever. I, personally, would prefer FDR to Joe Biden, I suspect most people would, maybe not everybody here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:21 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


kfb: The holy grail for a sizable chunk of Republicans was Roe-v-Wade repeal. They committed to it in 1973. They turned out year after year, election after election. For decades they had nothing to show for it. They felt like the people who ran the GOP were pandering to get their votes but weren't making a real push to get it done. (They were half right).

You know what they didn't do? Stop voting and stop turning out. They kept turning out and voting. In Presidential years, in midterms, in state elections, in local elections, in school board elections. For decades.

50 years later Roe-v-Wade got overturned.

That's what we're talking about. You keep saying "if your point is that if I vote for them I don't get what I want". That's not what anybody is saying. What people are saying is that politics is the work of decades and dozens of elections, not the work of years and 3 elections.

How long do you think it will be before Roe-v-Wade can be restored even with full Democratic commitment to it? Unless by some miraculous fluke 3 GOP justices, um, "leave the court" as they say all at once while there is both a Dem president and Senate it's likely to take decades and decades just as it took that long to repeal it. But that's only if we turn out, year after year, decade after decade. Otherwise it will never be restored.

Yes, you might get what you want if you turn out and vote. And vote. And vote. And vote. Eventually.
posted by Justinian at 5:24 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


What people are saying is that politics is the work of decades and dozens of elections, not the work of years and 3 elections.

Okay, but this is actually not what happened with Roe v. Wade, at all. It is impossible for me to argue that Trump was the result of years of grassroots organization by the republican party when what really happened was that this far right nutcase no one in the GOP wanted to be president got the nomination because he pretty much willed it into being, against their will. Matt Yglesias' Green Lantern President does really exist, but unfortunately, he's Parallax. And this dude was the one who stacked the Court. Now, true, he had help; Obama let Mitch McConnell keep him from appointing a justice, and RBG decided to die and not retire during Obama's time in office (presuming that Mitch McConnell would have given President Obama permission to appoint her successor). But in plain terms, Trump stacking the Court was the culmination of, at most, a decade of self-promotion on the part of Donald Trump. If anything, the republican party did all it could (without sacrificing the candidate its base wanted, against the GOP's better judgment) to prevent this eventuality from coming to pass.

As well they might, because as it happens it's probably way better for fundraising to promise something pie in the sky like overturning Roe v. Wade than to actually deliver it. What do you have left to campaign on if you go ahead and do the thing you've been promising was just around the corner, after all?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:37 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Because, look, I dutifully turned out for Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, and basically what I'm hearing is I didn't vote hard enough, vote harder. It doesn't work.
posted by kittens for breakfast


It is not about a single vote, it is about a sufficiently sized and reliable block of votes.

Either enough voters sharing your views don't turn out, or they don't exist in the first place.

Given views expressed in USA opinion polls, including on abortion, I suspect the former is more likely the explanation.

I am not unsympathetic to your disappointment and despair, but not voting is not an answer.
posted by Pouteria at 5:39 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


>https://www.messageboxnews.com/p/why-the-2024-polls-are-so-confusing

"this is a very close and winnable race that will come down to less than 100,000 votes across a small handful of states"

(100,000 votes here is 50,000 swing voters) Not a random sample of 50,000 voters, either, but the most fickle, confused, uninformed, and clueless 50,000 voters in these few battleground states.

"No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." – Churchill
posted by torokunai at 6:10 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


It is impossible for me to argue that Trump was the result of years of grassroots organization by the republican party

But Trump isn't the cause of the end of Roe v Wade. He was the guy who happened to nominate the last justices to the Supreme Court, but the project was the work of people like the Federalist Society, who set up the pipeline for the judges who were appointed and ruled against Roe v Wade, and who populated the lower courts so rulings about Dobbs could get to the Supreme Court, and so on. Trump claims the credit, sure, but he's lying about that like he does about how much money he has and how he didn't foment an insurrection and how he didn't assault E. Jean Carroll. You can take his claims with exactly the same shaker of salt you take the rest of his BS.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 6:18 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]



How long do you think it will be before Roe-v-Wade can be restored even with full Democratic commitment to it? Unless by some miraculous fluke 3 GOP justices, um, "leave the court" as they say all at once while there is both a Dem president and Senate it's likely to take decades and decades just as it took that long to repeal it. But that's only if we turn out, year after year, decade after decade. Otherwise it will never be restored.

We are a long way from FDR, indeed.
posted by nikodym at 7:23 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Trump claims the credit, sure, but he's lying about that

He literally is not lying about that. His picks overturned Roe v. Wade. The Federalist Society didn't do it, he did it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:44 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


The Federalist Society (specifically, Leonard Leo) created the list of Trump nominees: If Americans had heard of Leo at all, it was for his role in building the conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court. He drew up the lists of potential justices that Donald Trump released during the 2016 campaign. He advised Trump on the nominations of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Before that, he’d helped pick or confirm the court’s three other conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. (ProPublica, Oct. 11, 2023) Decades ago, he’d realized it was not enough to have a majority of Supreme Court justices. To undo landmark rulings like Roe, his movement would need to make sure the court heard the right cases brought by the right people and heard by the right lower court judges...

Having reshaped the courts, Leo now has grander ambitions. Today, he sees a nation plagued with ills: “wokism” in education, “one-sided” journalism, and ideas like environmental, social and governance, or ESG, policies sweeping corporate America. A member of the Roman Catholic Church, he intends to wage a broader cultural war against a “progressive Ku Klux Klan” and “vile and immoral current-day barbarians, secularists and bigots” who demonize people of faith and move society further from its “natural order.” Leo has the money to match his vision. In 2021, an obscure Chicago businessman put Leo in charge of a newly formed $1.6 billion trust — the single-largest known political advocacy donation in U.S. history at the time. With those funds, Leo wants to expand the Federalist Society model beyond the law to culture and politics.

posted by Iris Gambol at 8:07 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


Do you really think it took a lot of work to find partisan judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade, given the opportunity? I don't.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:09 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Anybody voting for Trump, i.e. not voting for Clinton, in November 2016, should have been aware that the result was going to be Federalist Society members being advanced in the Federal judicial system.

This topic may or may not have come up here on this site at the time, dunno.
posted by torokunai at 8:50 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Better things really aren't possible, are they?
posted by Gadarene at 8:53 PM on February 5 [6 favorites]


"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." – H. L. Mencken
posted by torokunai at 9:01 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Do you really think it took a lot of work to find partisan judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade, given the opportunity? I don't.

Yeah, that's the point of spending 40 years building a network of partisan judges, aka the Federalist Society, who could make it through congressional vetting during confirmation on abortion and other issues. Roe was not their only target.

I gotta say it boggles me to realize there are people who just think we got from Earl Warren to John Roberts by magic or something. That was a hard-fought war that the good guys lost.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 9:02 PM on February 5 [11 favorites]


OK, but here's the thing: other than not voting what mechanism do people have to say "no dude, I'm not in support of you and your shitty politics"?

I'm not saying we shouldn't vote for Biden, we absolutely should because Trump is genuinely terrifying. But no one in the Democratic leadership is going to see a vote for Biden as a terrified anti-Trump vote by someone who doesn't much like Biden or the politics of the DNC, they see every vote for Biden as support for their policies and politics.

I'd argue this is a fairly significant problem, not just leftist whining, because eventually the Democratic powers that be will hit a point where they can't just terrify non-compliant progressive/left/ultra-liberal/whatever voters into voting for their terrible right wing candidates. The resentment is so bad at this point that even with Trump as the stick to threaten voters with they're having a difficult time of things.

If the Democratic elites from the currently in power center-right faction won't acknowledge that they're in a coalition and need to cut deals and make concessions with the other factions to get their votes then the coalition isn't going to keep holding together. A coalition only sticks together when all groups are getting something and being treated with at least some small degree of respect. A coalition that tells one faction that they're nothing but lousy good for nothings who are not permitted to have any actual slice of the pie isn't a coalition that will last much longer.

Frankly it's a testimony to how terrifying the other three major factions in the Democratic Party find the Republicans that the Democratic Party hasn't already fallen apart.

A more explicitly coalition style approach would go a long way towards making the currently alienated Democratic voters feel a lot more involved. But I don't see it happening because the current dominant faction sees no reason to give up its iron grip on power.
posted by sotonohito at 9:03 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


Mathematically, picking off 1 swing vote to their right is worth two disaffected votes to their left.

Let's say the (D) is polling 38,001 to 41,000 for the (R)
Clearly the (D) needs find 3,000 more votes to win – or just swing 1,500 (R) votes (D).

I'm left-libertarian on the political compass but I understand that's not a program that's going to be enacted anytime soon in the current system.
posted by torokunai at 9:14 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


The following would be a stupid thing to be sad about the 2024 election, but whoever wins November will preside over the 250th "Bicentennial" celebrations in 2026.

Being in my pre-teens at the time in 1976, those were pretty cool (I didn't know who Ford was).
posted by torokunai at 9:14 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Either enough voters sharing your views don't turn out, or they don't exist in the first place.

Or they do turn out, reliably, and are thus taken for granted.

If your vote is always guaranteed, there is no benefit to trying to win your vote. That's why the GOP being nakedly fascist is great for the Democrats. They can go as far to the right as they like, and still have Trump to threaten defectors with.

Far left voters can't simultaneously be a huge contingent who absolutely need to come out and vote, and an insignificant fringe not worth trying to win over.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:12 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


Or their votes are suppressed and the party leadership doesn't give a sufficient goddamn about pressuring Manchinema (and the other inexplicable Democratic holdouts) on a filibuster carveout for voting rights, i.e. the easiest slam dunk ever on both policy and politics.
posted by Gadarene at 10:43 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Short of taking over the nation a la Saigon 1975, the far left is stuck with the centrist Democrats just as much as said Democrats are stuck with it.

The more leftists work within the coalition, the more their policies will be advanced.

The alternative is just "Nach Hitler kommen wir" which doesn't seem to be a winning strategy in the short, medium, long, or geologic timescales.
posted by torokunai at 10:46 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


The more leftists work within the coalition, the more their policies will be advanced.

I don't think the Democratic establishment is willing to move left. There have certainly been attempts to move the party that way, but so far there has been serious resistance to left leaning candidates and organizers. The leadership of the Democratic party isn't somehow exempt from class interests.

At a certain point the contradictions between social libertarianism and support for capitalism become irreconcilable. I have no doubt that any really successful socialist movement, electoral or otherwise, will be accomplished despite the Democrats.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 10:58 PM on February 5 [4 favorites]


sotonohito said: OK, but here's the thing: other than not voting what mechanism do people have to say "no dude, I'm not in support of you and your shitty politics"?

In theory, there're a lot of methods: major and disruptive protests, massive strikes, building organizations that lobby or fundraise for specific policies, building media apparatus that can coordinate the aforesaid message, and so forth. But the left usually doesn't have the numbers to make that work, and usually lacks the time, the resources, and the structure to make it work.

The problem is that there are a bunch of structural barriers to this -- who'd fund it, initially? -- and that multiple factions of the American left are very skeptical of institution-building, for multiple reasons.

So I think a lot of left politics these days falls into informal, small-scale social stuff and into demanding that some major political party change or emerge so that something will Be Left Enough at the national level. The Left in the U.S. doesn't build stuff so much as it demands that existing stuff Become Left.

It's hardly a new observation to point out that the most powerful, effective, grassroots bloc in Democratic Party politics is, frankly, the Black church.

You know what happened right before Biden added some sanctions on the Israeli West Bank settlers? Black pastors called on Biden to end the fighting in Gaza, pointing to their constituents' opinions. To a lesser extent, it's not just the Arab-American community in Michigan, it's the fact that these communities have organizations, centers, and mosques.

But a lot of what we think of as the American the left really just doesn't have this kind of community-up organization, or at least not any that are big enough to work.

The Manwhich Horror said: Far left voters can't simultaneously be a huge contingent who absolutely need to come out and vote, and an insignificant fringe not worth trying to win over.

This leaves out the middle: a crucial marginal constituency, just enough to make a critical difference in the ridiculous electoral college system, but not really anything organized or massive enough to set the agenda.

In other words, exactly the kind of constituency you occasionally throw a bone to, but only something superficial that isn't going to freak out or offend the bigger, more organized constituencies.

The problem with withholding a vote is that it doesn't really address this bigger problem of organization and methods. In fact, it exemplifies the problem. If your best move -- your only move -- is essentially passive, a form of withdrawal, then the party will just look for the votes elsewhere.

Look at the youth vote: young people vote in lower numbers, so guess who ends up shaping party platforms and policies? Reliable, consistent voters: older people. The youth vote became important when it showed up in bigger numbers, not when it stayed home.
posted by kewb at 2:48 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


I don't think the Democratic establishment is willing to move left. There have certainly been attempts to move the party that way, but so far there has been serious resistance to left leaning candidates and organizers. The leadership of the Democratic party isn't somehow exempt from class interests.

The party has been moving left for the past two decades. Not as far or as quickly as I'd like and certainly not as much as the screeching Republicans accuse, but it has been happening nonetheless. Things were really pretty shit in the Bush years and in the 90s when calling the party center right was more credible.

The christofascist project took 25+ years to begin bearing the smallest fruit and it took another 20 to get what they'd actually been looking for all those years ago. When things were looking bleak for them after Obergefell, they didn't give up, they went to Russia (quite literally) and recruited Putin to be their standard bearer. This is why they have such a strong aversion to Ukraine aid. They are repaying their debt to him for helping to keep the movement alive during (what they saw as) those darkest hours before the dawn.

Incidentally, and I can't believe it took me until last week to figure it out, I finally figured out why they call Democrats Communist. It's got nothing to do with politics or economics or anything like that. It's their way of saying "Godless" without being forced to elaborate that what they really mean is "the mean Democrats don't want people to be forced to worship in the way we think they should be forced to worship." As if having a society in which people are free to worship, or not, as their conscience dictates is a bad thing.
posted by wierdo at 3:57 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Mathematically, picking off 1 swing vote to their right is worth two disaffected votes to their left.

First of all, a party with a strong ethos does not think this way; if you believe your agenda is what the country needs, you find ways to convince the voters that your agenda is good for them. Reconstituting yourself in an effort to win as many votes as possible at whatever cost is amoral and shows that the party's agenda is to win, their goal to hold office. I am not inspired by that. And the useless results speak for themselves.

Second, my strong suspicion is that it is much harder to win over a republican vote than it would be to win over a disaffected vote from the left. I had no love for Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden; I voted for both of these worthless human beings. I do not for one moment believe anyone who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 is going to vote for Joe Biden in 2024. And yet Joe Biden may be about to lose my vote to a write-in for Howard the Duck.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:00 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


it is much harder to win over a republican vote than it would be to win over a disaffected vote from the left.

Yeah, I love how the GOP has won essential victories (J.D. Vance in Ohio just last year, e.g.) by specifically catering to the more right-leaning elements of their base and giving them much of what they want, but the centrist asses settled in at the top of places like the DNC, DSCC, etc., always run shrieking from the more left-leaning elements of their own base. It's a pattern, and a problem, and a primary - even an uncontested one (no one in their right mind thought Biden would have a serious challenge in SC, good lord) - is the perfect place to continue calling those centrist Dems out for their self-interested stupidity.

Reminds me of the old not-such-a-joke about when it's ok to criticize an incumbent Democrat: not during the general election (oh my you are voting for the GOP!), not during the primary (it just weakens them!) and not during the brief times they're not in campaign mode (now is the time to come together!)

Bullshit, bullshit and bullshit. Criticize the fucker strongly and often. It's our only hope of getting anything significant done in the face of the cemented-in centrist Dem resistance.
posted by mediareport at 5:34 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]


Donald J Trump thanks you for withholding your vote.

Metafilter REALLY needs an ‘eyeroll’ button.


Mefites who make sneering comments like the above in political threads are toxic to political discussions here, and should be ignored in the future.
posted by mediareport at 5:45 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


The party has been moving left for the past two decades.

A bit over two decades ago, Clinton was bragging about gutting welfare, engaging in racist dog whistling, and removing banking regulations. It really isn't impressive to have crawled back a tiny bit from being the party that wrecked the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society.

No amount of leftists voting for Democrats is going to change the economic dynamics that drive both parties. There can't be real collaboration between the ruling class and the working class. During the George Floyd protests, the clearest possible message was sent about the rage and frustration over police violence. During this genocide in Gaza, people demanded a stop to US support for the slaughter. The response from Democrats in the federal government in both cases were some vague reassuring noises and then nothing. Getting elected isn't all that matters to the Democratic establishment. They are deeply invested in the status quo and are going to resist change as much as possible.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:44 AM on February 6 [10 favorites]


Just to be clear, I am not being critical of Democratic voters. I vote Democrat in every race where it is an option myself.

I just don't believe the claim that leftists are somehow failing to win the party over, and that if they just voted, or canvassed, or smiled more the Democrats would embrace them and their policies would be adopted.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:02 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Bringing all this talk of how to get the Dems to be less centrist and more left (though I agree with folks who say the change from the 90s when I was a wee epigram to now has been leftward and good on many issues) back to the Supreme Court: one of the "other" issues I have always felt the Federalist Society project was designed to promote was to turn on the spigot of money, identifiable and unidentifiable, in politics. Cases like Citizens United have made it a lot easier for really rich people to spend money on candidates and propositions that suit their interests. Not just indirectly, like building the Federalist Society, but actual campaigning, whether or not it's officially coordinated with a candidate.

Sometimes this helps Democrats. There are super-rich Democrats out there, and not all of them are Sam Bankman-Fried. But turning on the money hose is pretty much never going to help the left side of the Democratic Party. I don't know whether the money guys like Leo consider that a direct or indirect benefit of their plans, probably the latter, but it's something to keep in mind when considering the place of "the left" in the Democratic coalition and what it can bring to the table.

(I think about this a lot because I live in Texas and one of my many beefs with the Democratic Party's machinery is that it considers me a resource to extract money from to give to candidates in places they consider Dems electable, which is not Texas. Meanwhile people here lose right after right and folks outside the state tsk a lot but don't give enough of a fuck to help most of our candidates in potentially electable races any money, unless it's against Ted Cruz.)
posted by gentlyepigrams at 7:30 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


First of all, a party with a strong ethos does not think this way; if you believe your agenda is what the country needs, you find ways to convince the voters that your agenda is good for them.

The point is to appeal to more voters without losing any support, actual voters preferred. Any specialized boutique approach is a foreign party-list sensibility and puts too much emphasis on convincing someone about a new approach, which is a distraction in underdog American politics. Normal voting is the boring but high stakes drama of renewing the social contract for clean air and water, food stamps, birth control, minimum wage, public education, medicare and social security, etc. Otherwise we are pretending that a safety net and basic public goods is optional or will be here forever. The opposition rapidly succeeds by sowing confusion and getting people to take their eye off the ball, which is their only strategy for those who refuse to become their zombies about a doomed future and who resist shame and guilt and redemption.
posted by Brian B. at 8:57 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The problem with the One Weird Trick of winning elections by turning Republicans into Democratic voters, just one Republican turned is worth two new Democrats!, is that it doesn't work.

The Democrats have been trying that One Weird Trick my entire life. It has never worked. Republicans aren't wannabe Democratic voters who, gosh darn it, just can't bring themselves to vote for the Democrats they way they really want to because the Democrats haven't punched enough hippies. The Republican voters LIKE the Republican Party, they LIKE being Republicans, and they LIKE voting Republican.

You'll also notice that line of reasoning is rooted in an unquestioned and unspoken assumption: trying to appeal to people leftward is bad in some way.

The Democrats would rather tie themselves into knots and visit a bazillion small town diners than consider trying to appeal to more minority voters.

The point is to appeal to more voters without losing any support, actual voters preferred.

See, there's those two huge unspoken assumptions again.

Assumption 1 - There exists some significant percentage of the Republican voting base that can be convinced to vote Democratic.

Assumption 2 - The actions and policies the Democrats use to appeal to that hypothtical group of Republicans will not cost them any votes.

Both of those assumptions appear to be false. I see no evidence that there exists any significant group of flippable Republican voters, and I see no reason to think that chasing after that group would not cost the Democrats votes.

All of this is rooted in an even deeper unspoken assumption: The Democrats must never, ever, NEVER, try to attract leftists.

And there, I argue, is the true crux of all this fighting. The Democratic leadership sees Republicans as reasonable people they can cut deals with and work with, and leftists as people they should not try to cut deals with or work with.

We know why too, but it pisses of Democrats if I use the correct political science terminology, so I'll use some euphamism instead.

The Democrats and Republicans share a view that social hierarchy is some combination of inevitable, necessary, beneficial, good, moral, valuable, and essential.

Leftists view social hierarchy as some combination of optional, unncessary, bad, harmful, immoral, costly, and damaging.

The policy differences between Democrats and Republiancs tend to be differences of degree and intensity, not kind, while the policy differences between leftists and Democrats tend to be matters of kind rather than degree.

Which is why there's such bitter resistence to the very concept of appealing to leftists: fundamentally leftists want something the Democrats don't believe is possible or desirable. In the end, we want different things.
posted by sotonohito at 1:38 PM on February 6 [7 favorites]


I keep coming back to this thread, against my better judgement.

If I were an outgoing type with lots of friends scattered around my area, and 30 years younger, I might recruit a bunch of them to stand for Democratic precinct captain/committee person for their precincts. Which would get us seats in the room, and votes, when the local Party Executive Committee puts things up for votes. If I had enough friends like that (probably not that many) we could send one of us to the Executive Committee to report on what happens in those meetings. I mean, most D precinct leader positions are going begging, and just filing papers to run for the post basically guarantees you'll get it. If you were really organized and energetic, you might recruit enough people to create a faction on the Executive Committee. That way, you could make the County Party organization say some of the stuff you wanted heard, when it talks to the State Party. Probably some of these people would turn out to be plausible School Board members also. Always good to have enemies of book-burning on the School Board.

That kind of work is what took over the R Party for the single-issue kooks who wanted to kill Roe.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 2:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


That kind of work is what took over the R Party for the single-issue kooks who wanted to kill Roe.

The Republicans were largely indifferent to abortion until they needed a new issue to replace overt segregationism. There wasn't some mass of inspired anti-abortion crusaders who knuckled down and formed a grass roots movement. There was a very deliberate campaign to create anti-abortion sentiment in order to get conservatives to vote for the right wing policies that would benefit the wealthy and powerful men who set that campaign in motion.

Actually overturning Roe was a blow to the Republicans, as it cost them a perennially effective issue to drive their supporters. They never cared about abortion, just like they don't actually care about immigration, and shutdown a bill they gave them everything they asked for rather than give the impression the issue was resolved. They don't need outlawed abortion or closed borders. They need scared, angry bigots ready to vote for them to hurt the people they hate. Any issue is just a means to that end.

The notion that it was just a bunch of common folks coming together because they were true believers in the right to life is a total fiction, constructed by the religious right.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:44 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


"About four-in-ten U.S. adults believe humanity is ‘living in the end times.’"

Yes, I'm one of the people who believes this - not from a religious perspective, but from an environmental one. We are teetering on the edge of the end of the world.

Don't believe me? Ask the Doomsday Clock.
posted by acridrabbit at 3:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]



Why Trump Is Winning — And How To Beat Him

First and foremost, there’s the fact that a supermajority of the public has long considered Biden too old to serve as president—far from an idle judgment. In comparison, even Trump’s detractors largely see him as in charge of his own affairs. There’s the question of leadership, where Biden is seen as weak and Trump is seen as strong. There’s also the question of handling specific issues, where Trump has routinely polled above Biden on the economy, overseas crises, and pretty much everything else besides abortion. The problem here is not a question of ideology, where voters still see Biden as far more mainstream than Trump. It’s not a question of policy, where Democratic proposals are still more popular than Republican ones. It’s simply a question of basic management, and it’s where voters have entirely lost faith in Biden.

posted by nikodym at 6:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The notion that it was just a bunch of common folks coming together because they were true believers in the right to life is a total fiction, constructed by the religious right.

The decision to make the push was conceived by a relatively small group, but they really did recruit people to put in it grassroots work to change the Republican Party from within so that bills got filed, laws eventually got passed, judges got appointed who wouldn't strike down the laws, etc.

Also founding new churches, using those churches to convince people they were right, and using the members as a pool of recruits for their organizing efforts and a source of candidates to run for offices up and down the ballot.

Yes, they also benefited from a lot of outside money poured into messaging, but they paid for it by supporting the Republican Party's more immediate goals whether or not they particularly cared about deregulation, neutering the administrative offices of government, or lower taxes. Like it, hate it, or don't care, they voted for it anyway because their eye was firmly fixed on the prize. A generation later, their efforts finally bore fruit.

It sucks, but there is no "one weird trick." We have names for groups that insist there is. They're the sovereign citizens and the accelerationists. The former believe that speaking some magic words will allow them to opt out of the law, while the latter are firmly convinced that if only there were a civil war or collapse of society they will come out on top and they will be able to remake the government to their liking overnight. It's a complete fucking fantasy that just so happens to involve eliminating a whole lot of people in the process.
posted by wierdo at 10:45 PM on February 6


But you see the distinction between saying "just volunteer at the local level and you can move the party left" and "have the party leadership adopt your ideas, spend vast amounts of time and money tecruiting supporters and propagandizing for you, and then have them support your candidates and policies and you can move the party left", right?

Fundamentally, the culture war doesn't interfere with the interests of the Republican establishment. Socialism is very much opposed to the interests of the powerful in both parties. The right wing can be coddled because they are demanding harm to the vulnerable to solve imaginary problems. The left is trying to address real problems, and the people in charge of the party system are the ones benefitting from them.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 3:41 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


First and foremost, there’s the fact that a supermajority of the public has long considered Biden too old to serve as president—far from an idle judgment. In comparison, even Trump’s detractors largely see him as in charge of his own affairs. There’s the question of leadership, where Biden is seen as weak and Trump is seen as strong.

Wait, what?

So I'm supposed to say Biden is too old (and I do) but that hot young stud Trump who is a whopping four years younger is supposed to be all cool and studly and totally mentally stable? WTF?

And there it is again: "strength". To the right wing mind Trump's bombastic bullying braggadocio and constant demands for praise are seen as strength, while to those not so right leaning they're seen as pathetic needy weakness.

I'm leftist, I don't like Biden at all, but no, I don't think Trump is younger and "in charge of his own affairs", nor do I see Trump as stronger. Quite the opposite.
posted by sotonohito at 4:54 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


But you see the distinction between saying "just volunteer at the local level and you can move the party left" and "have the party leadership adopt your ideas, spend vast amounts of time and money recruiting supporters and propagandizing for you, and then have them support your candidates and policies and you can move the party left", right?

Over time, the movement becomes the party leadership, so no, I don't see that distinction. The christofascists plugged away for 20 years to get enough power to get to the point where they had enough say to pass laws that the Supreme Court could use to start chipping away at women's rights, and the old guard wasn't particularly happy about it when it finally did. It took over 40 years to finally subsume what remained and elect a President they had enough control over to really get the dominos falling at a rapid pace.

Much of the Democratic Party is already sympathetic to many of the left's goals, so I expect that a similarly concerted effort could bear fruit much more quickly than it did for the christofascists. Most of the party would be happy to have Medicare for All, there's pretty wide support for substantially improved tax policy, etc. Plus, in the process, substantial progress on livability of our cities and housing policies that could stem the tide of suckitude could be made at the state and local level on the way to getting the national party on side.

A lot of our problems require slow, incremental progress, though. It takes decades to reshape a city, but it has been proven to be doable. It won't happen if we just throw up our hands after an election or two and give up because there's still so much to do. It took 25 years for Carmel, Indiana to all but eliminate traffic signals and four way stops in favor of roundabouts in large swaths of the city so that they could shrink their roads and make room for multi use trails in their place without creating a traffic nightmare, but they managed it by chipping away at the problem every time a road needed to be rebuilt. Now their traffic flows better more people walk and bike, and fewer people get creamed by cars. What got this started? One guy got elected mayor and, despite the initial opposition to change, managed to win people over to his point of view. He didn't say "the city council is against this today, so it can never happen." He kept talking up the benefits of his plan and fought like hell to get enough sections of road rebuilt that people could see the difference for themselves. Eventually, it just became the default way things are done there and it has become a matter of continuing to do the thing until the whole city is reshaped.
posted by wierdo at 5:41 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I think we will have to disagree. There is a fundamental difference between a campaign organized by party insiders with billions of dollars and telling individual leftists to change the world by going to town hall meetings.

The Democratic establishment has entrenched class interests in resisting socialism. The Republicans do not have class interets in maintaining women's reproductive help.

Some positive change is possible, but gundamentally the left is opposed to liberalism in both its probressive and conservative forms.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 6:02 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


In This Thread: a lot of (what smells to me very like) bad-faith argumentation, including changing the subject, moving goalposts, burning strawmen, and (worst of all) putting words in your interlocutors' mouths, and responding to the words you put there, instead of what your interlocutors actually said, all by supposed "leftists" and "progressives" intent on finding some justification for not participating in the political process in a way that might help defeat Trump in 2024.

Like for example from just above: @The Manwich Horror responds to a description of how one might take over a County Democratic Party chapter with an irrelevancy about the origins of the anti-abortion movement. When called on this they then mischaracterize the thing they were trying to change the subject about, rephrasing as "just volunteer at the local level and you can move the party left" a description of a years-long process that will involve coordinated efforts of dozens of people.

There's a lot of very righteous opinionation by people who appear to not be well-enough acquainted with the relevant facts to have opinions worthy of respect: further upthread, we have @kittens for breakfast denigrating the idea that decades of effort were involved in getting Roe overturned.

Yes, it's true, if you're under 40, every single Presidential election in your life was always a pivotal moment when you really had no choice except to vote for the Democrats or horrible things would happen. That's because the R Party has been getting worse and worse the whole time, uninterrupted from 1968 to today. The last two R Presidencies made the world a whole lot worse than any D alternative, in ways that are easy to point at. North Korea has nuclear weapons because too many people voted for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore. This is not a matter of opinion, on which informed people can have good-faith differences of opinion. Iran is on-track to be a nuclear power, with no off-ramp in sight, because too many people stayed home in 2016, or picked Jill Stein as their vote against Trump.

So yeah, if you're under 40, every election of your life has been pivotal, like none before, and sometimes the pivots went the wrong way. So now we're going to see what anti-abortionists can accomplish using the Drug War's weaponization of the police's powers to coerce the people, and we can worry about what circumstances could cause Kim to nuke something, and who can say how many other lesser abominations we live with now, because some people could not bring themselves to vote for the one choice that had a real-world chance at averting those outcomes. But all of those other previous pivotal elections have just been warm-ups for this one. This time, what's on the table is, do we become the kind of country where the entire Federal Civil Service is a political tool, where the Department of Justice is purged of anyone who will not look the other way when people are illegally jailed, tortured, and killed. What's on the agenda in 2024 is, "will there be any meaningful elections in 2028?" Because in 2016, see, Trump won literally by accident. His "Presidential campaign" was never intended to be anything other than a grift, but because the R Party is so utterly rotten he stumbled into the Presidency by mistake. His "campaign" literally did nothing to prepare for the possibility that he'd win, so 100s of important appointed posts were vacant for many months. Nobody even had ideas about who to ask to take the jobs. This time it will be different. Trump is running with the intent to win, and the people lined up behind him have plans to hit the ground running to disembowel the rule of law and make the rule be "What Trump wants, when he wants it." The fash will be ready to build camps for the "antifa," or whoever they want to call that.

Meanwhile, in this thread, a whole bunch of people who hate Trump are all like... and the Biden voters are all like... and it's not ironic, this time.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 1:19 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


I'm leftist, I don't like Biden at all, but no, I don't think Trump is younger and "in charge of his own affairs", nor do I see Trump as stronger. Quite the opposite.

The polling doesn't say that everyone feels that way, just that enough people feel that way to put Trump ahead in the polls, despite him being an actual criminal and his administration being a disaster.

Four more years, seriously?
posted by nikodym at 1:28 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


responds to a description of how one might take over a County Democratic Party chapter with an irrelevancy about the origins of the anti-abortion movement. When called on this they then mischaracterize the thing they were trying to change the subject about, rephrasing as "just volunteer at the local level and you can move the party left" a description of a years-long process that will involve coordinated efforts of dozens of people.

It wasn't an "irrelevancy",. The anti-abortion movement was offered in the comment I was responding to as an example of successful entryism. It isn't.

Suggesting a bunch of folks off the street volunteering at the precinct level can accomplish what a campaign by people already within a parties establishment with billions of dollars to spend is not reasonable. (and ignores the difference between asking the party establishment to curtail women's rights versus asking them to limit the power and abuses of the ultrarich.)

Also, comparing reluctance to vote for someone committing war crimes, quite possibly against your own family to wanting a candidate to "make you feel special" is not exactly a good faith approach to discussing people's problems with Biden.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:26 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


“Are You Morally Obligated to Vote for Biden?” [28:16]—Leeja Miller, 07 February 2024
posted by ob1quixote at 2:28 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


The polling doesn't say that everyone feels that way, just that enough people feel that way to put Trump ahead in the polls, despite him being an actual criminal and his administration being a disaster.

Those people aren't paying attention. Trump was both clearly never a clever or thoughtful person, and is also showing real signs of cognitive decline. Substantially moreso than Biden.

Biden is clearly not as cognitively healthy as he was even a few years ago. I imagine that is making his responses
to his tendency to stutter substantially less smooth than they used to be. But he is not graying out like McConnell or becoming incoherent like Trump.

Neither of these men should be in public office at this point, and it would be really nice to have a young, healthy person to contrast against Trump. (I don't think Kamala Harris will do.) But Trump is way worse off on every metric of age related decline.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 2:53 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Aardvark Cheesehog, I know that this will be very hard for you to accept, but I don't care whether you respect my opinion.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:55 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


In the last forty years, I do not know of a single republican politician who stood proudly, openly, or indeed at all with the pro-choice movement. I'm sure that the Heritage Foundation did a lot to foster this environment, but I think it's a backbreaking effort to take credit away from Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump to lay the responsibility for the polarization of the Supreme Court at the feet of anyone else -- unless, again, that "anyone else" includes Barack Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who through passivity and bad choices helped McConnell and Trump stack the Court. To me, it's a reach to say the Heritage Foundation did this, much as it would be a reach to blame Oliver Winchester for school shootings. I'm not saying he didn't play a part. I'm just saying he's probably not the most relevant actor anymore.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:04 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Off the top of my head, Mitt Romney was publicly pro-abortion rights in 1994, campaigned on it, and changed position in 2005.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:22 PM on February 7


The Republican Majority for Choice organization closed up shop 6 years ago.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:25 PM on February 7


I was gonna say George Pataki and then refer vaguely to East Coast governors and big-city mayors, but those are much better answers.
posted by box at 6:13 PM on February 7


the Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is a bunch of assholes, but they are a different bunch of assholes to the Federalist Society, which is the project to move the courts to the right.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 6:22 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Mitt Romney is a good example of a republican so moderate there is a miniscule difference between him and a democratic centrist. That's why -- just like John McCain, another republican who was indistinguishable from a centrist democrat -- republican voters rejected him.

Maybe the anti-abortion movement was facilitated by a shadowy cabal of lobbyists, but ultimately their goals were the goals of the republican voter. The notion that republicans were manipulated into being anti-abortion may hold some water, but strikes me as both condescending and false; I don't think abortion had been illegal until the 1970s simply because no one ever thought to legalize it. I do think the GOP generally did not seriously intend to overthrow Roe v. Wade, not when running on the platform of eventually overthrowing it was such a huge source of revenue, but Trump won by being a guy dumb enough to really do all the stuff they just talked about. Again, he was abetted by fate and bad choices on the democratic side, but he's the one who did it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:25 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


The Heritage Foundation is a bunch of assholes, but they are a different bunch of assholes to the Federalist Society, which is the project to move the courts to the right.

Okay.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:28 PM on February 7


Suggesting a bunch of folks off the street volunteering at the precinct level can accomplish what a campaign by people already within a parties establishment with billions of dollars to spend is not reasonable.

At the beginning there were not billions of dollars behind the movement, nor did the party elites really give a shit. Things were so desperately bad for them that a faction of the anti-abortion movement was literally commiting acts of terrorism because they thought they'd never get what they wanted otherwise. You've got a serious recency bias going on.

Like yes, if you ignore all the time before the mid-2000s or so, it's easy to argue that the Republican Party has always been in the thrall of people who hated women's health. It's just not true, though. What the Republicans were willing to do in exchange for votes was to make mouth noises about abortion being bad and that was about the extent of it, with a few exceptions.
posted by wierdo at 7:05 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


At the beginning there were not billions of dollars behind the movement, nor did the party elites really give a shit.

The religious right deliberately created the anti-abortion movement among white evangelicals for the purpose of denying Jimmy Carter a second term. Most Republicans were pro-choice until it became a focus of Republican propaganda in 1970s, as a way of channeling social conservatives fear of a changing society into votes, just like they did by catering to racists.

Guys like Eric Rudolph were bombing abortion clinics for the same reason modern fascists drive cars into crowds or engage in mass shootings. Because they are violent bigots who have swallowed propaganda designed to get people top vote for the Republican party and took it seriously.

The Republicans in power still don't actually give a damn about abortion. This is red meat to feed their base of misogynists. Sure, every so often someone who really hates abortion gains a position of power, but the vast majority of Republican politicians would become pro-choice in a second if they could see a way to gain an advantage from it. The reason Republicans seem so fanatical about abortion is that their propaganda worked. Their base now cares about any issue enough to kill over it. Their going to keep catering to that fanaticism as long as it gets them votes that they can use to make themselves and their masters richer.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:31 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


I do think the GOP generally did not seriously intend to overthrow Roe v. Wade, not when running on the platform of eventually overthrowing it was such a huge source of revenue

I think the Republicans had to make a choice.

If they take control of the courts and don't overturn Roe, they make it clear it was always a grift and it becomes much harder to motivate the fanatics to come out and vote.

If they don't take over the court, they can keep using the "aw shucks, we'd ban abortion if it weren't for those activist judges" nonsense, but they don't get to destroy environmental and economic protections and civil liberties.

Or, they can bite the bullet, overturn Roe, use the court to gut any rule that gets in the way of the rule of rich white men. And then try to both run with the overturning as proof they are sincere and effective while looking for more issues to enrage social conservatives with.

They chose the last.

I think the "credit" should go to McConnell more than Trump. McConnell stole Obama's SC appointment, and Trump is too stupid to actually pick a candidate based on their judicial philosophy. He did what the fascists in the room told him would make him look smart and strong.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:54 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


And I think I am done with this thread, it has moved onto a tangent of a tangent of a tangent.

I'll let y'all have the last word.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 7:58 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I think people who say that the Republicans never really intended to ban abortion are engaging in wishful thinking. Yes, possibly there was a faction of the Republican Party which viewed abortion cynically as nothing but a tool to get the rubes into the voting booths.

But it's also been obvious for a long time that there are a bunch of Republicans, including elected Republicans, who honestly, genuinely, 100%, no fooling, want to make abortion illegal, and ignoring them or painting them as duped suckers or cynical manipulators will lead you to incorrect conclusions and make beating them more difficult.

You have to deal with the reality we have, and that reality is that there are a lot of Republicans who want to ban abortion.

I think it's important to remember that they aren't idiots, or at least they don't have to be. They all know that banning abortion won't stop abortions. They'd argue that banning murder doesn't stop murder either, but we don't just give up and make murder legal.

Iain Danskin said, and I think he's right, that to an extent they're fatalists who have a tendency to see things in binary. There will always be murder and they see laws against murder not as an effort to reduce the murder rate but as a moral judgement so that the Good People can all express via government that they disapprove of murder and when a murderer is caught that person is punished.

Same goes for abortion. It isn't so much that they don't care about reducing abortion rates as it is that they just don't tend to think in those terms. If any abortions happen it means abortion is happening, and that's bad but the world is bad. It's a sinful, fallen, hopeless, world and trying to make it better is a waste of effort and possibly hubris since only God can make things truly better. What we can do is agree that bad things are bad, and punish people who are caught doing bad things.

So yes, they wanted to ban abortion and many of them are either willing to take an electoral loss in the name of doing the right thing, or believe that the polling on how many Americans support abortion rights must be wrong. They seem genuinely shocked, and horrified, when their abortion bans keep getting voted down every time its up to the voters.

nikodym

Yeah, Biden is definitely showing signs of cognitive decline. He's always had a stutter but he didn't drift to a halt like that in the past.

Trump is also showing signs of cognitive decline, and has been since before 2016. He was always an idiot, look at interviews with him in the 1990's and he's clearly dumb as a bag of hammers. But he could at least string a coherent sentence together. These days he can't.

I'm not quite sure how America has fallen so low that the people who are theoretically the best each Party has to offer are two senile old white men. The Republicans at least have the excuse that they're a bunch of pro-stupidity white supremacists and Trump is the dumbest white supremacist they can find.

I'll say that for all that I really hate hearing VBNMW, I'll be voting for Biden even if he actually stops being able to speak English at all. Better that than Trump. I'd literally rather my cat be President than Trump, so an increasingly senile Democrat is far better IMO.

I don't like it, I think the Democrats made a horrible mistake in 2020, but we're stuck with it. I just wish he had the good grace and sense to retire and let someone who isn't suffering from the embuggerance be the nominee. But he won't so there you go. The Litany of Gendlin applies here.
What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn't make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn't make it go away.
And because it's true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn't there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.
posted by sotonohito at 8:53 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


As far as whose votes count, and whose turnout (or lack thereof) might make the Democratic party sit up and take notice -- i note that there is no path to the presidency for Biden that doesn't go through Michigan, and there is a major campaign there among Arab-Americans and Palestinian-Americans and their allies to show up at the primary specifically to vote "Uncommitted". I'm very interested in how Michigan's primary turns out; we'll know in less than three weeks.
posted by adrienneleigh at 6:44 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]



Biden defends his memory in surprise speech after special counsel report

🤦🏻🤦🏼🤦🏽🤦🏾🤦🏿🤦‍♂️🤦‍♀️

Jr ner fb shpxrq
posted by lalochezia at 7:30 PM on February 8 [4 favorites]


The official statement is shorter -- "how in the hell"s edited out.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:32 PM on February 8


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