Unilateral Dehumanizing Disarmament

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Obama Administration

The Rabbi Michael Lerner is a wise man. He wrote this column right after the election, and I missed it at the time, but I am pointing to it now.

Though job loss and economic stagnation played a role in his victory, so did shame. As the principal investigator on a study of the middle class for the National Institute of Mental Health, I found that working people’s stress is often intensified by shame at their failure to “make it” in what they are taught is a meritocratic American economy.

The right has been very successful at persuading working people that they are vulnerable not because they themselves have failed, but because of the selfishness of some other villain (African-Americans, feminists, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, liberals, progressives; the list keeps growing).

I also blame liberals/Democrats for not doing a better job of bringing a different message to the white working class. I’ve been ranting about the iron curtain of right-wing hegemony. In vast parts of the country, most people are never exposed to progressive views. They don’t see them on the teevee, they don’t read them in their local papers. Unless you make an effort to seek out other opinions, the only opinions you ever hear are right-wing opinions.

This accounts for a lot of the lingering racism in the U.S., by the way. Yes, this racism is real, and it is pervasive. But we could have moved further beyond it by now, if the Right weren’t allowed a media monopoly in large parts of the country. And we could have moved further beyond it by now if progressive voices had been heard everywhere in the U.S. Maybe more folks would have gotten a clue that working people of all colors have many common causes.

In short, the Democratic Party’s near abandonment of the white working class — to the point of not even talking to them — makes Democrats at least partly responsible for the racism that frustrates and defeats them.

The dominance of the iron curtain came about because right-wingers started working back in the 1970s to put together an integrated institutional-media infrastructure that hones right-wing messages and gets them in front of the public. After all this time, the Left hasn’t come anywhere close to creating anything similar. Chip Berlet published a fine rant about this on Facebook last week, and I recommend it highly.

But let’s go back to Rabbi Lerner. This part is not going to sit well with a lot of folks:

Instead of challenging this ideology of shame, the left has buttressed it by blaming white people as a whole for slavery, genocide of the Native Americans and a host of other sins, as though whiteness itself was something about which people ought to be ashamed. The rage many white working-class people feel in response is rooted in the sense that once again, as has happened to them throughout their lives, they are being misunderstood.

The truth is, if you’re a rust belt white guy who is stressed out of his mind about job insecurity, layoffs, underemployment, loss of opportunity and decaying communities, being called out for “white privilege” is utterly infuriating. I understand that white privilege is real, but I really wish we could retire the term outside of academia. Any demographic group experiencing rising mortality rates is not “privileged.” See also “All Hollowed Out: The lonely poverty of America’s white working class.”

Skipping down a bit, the Rabbi concludes,

Democrats need to become as conscious and articulate about the suffering caused by classism as we are about other forms of suffering. We need to reach out to Trump voters in a spirit of empathy and contrition. Only then can we help working people understand that they do not live in a meritocracy, that their intuition that the system is rigged is correct (but it is not by those whom they had been taught to blame) and that their pain and rage is legitimate.

After the election I saw a lot of rage directed at Trump voters. Urban liberals passed many judgments on them and spoke of white working class Americans in clinical terms, as if they were an exotic aboriginal tribe recently discovered in the wilderness. And those were the polite comments. The less polite dismissed the white working class as racists and rubes and fools, and according to one widely cited article they couldn’t think properly because their brains have been scrambled by religion. I saw little sympathy; just contempt.

Part of the problem is that “Trump voters” are all presumed to be just like the neo-nazi fanboys who show up for Trump rallies and threaten dissenters with violence. Yes, Trump tapped into a faction of racist extremists who hate modern civilization and want to destroy it. But “Trump voters” also include people who just want some attention paid to their problems, which have been ignored by both parties for too long.

Like it or not, Trump spoke to them and seemed to “get” them. Clinton didn’t speak to them at all. Yes, Trump’s pitch was a con, but as I keep saying, nobody speaks to the white working class except to manipulate them. That’s been true for a long time.

Sarah Kliff went to Kentucky to find out why people who really needed Obamacare voted for Trump. The answer: It’s complicated. They didn’t believe he actually would end it; they thought he would make it better. And of course, there’s a belief that somehow, somewhere, there are undeserving (and probably dark) people getting better benefits. We might all be frustrated by how ignorant that is. But who told them anything different? Who actually explained to them that if they vote for Trump they might lose their insurance? Did a single one of Hillary Clinton’s ads about Trump using naughty words or getting his ties made in China talk about the ACA?

I’m writing this from Trump Country. People here are mostly walking around with standard human brains in their heads. Most of them possess the standard amount of human empathy. They can read and write and find foreign countries on a map about as well as average city folks. Most of them are not members of the Klan or actually expect the Second Coming to happen any day now. They have a one-side view of politics because the Right talks to them, and the Left doesn’t.

I repeat: The Right talks to them. The Left doesn’t. That didn’t use to be true. I can remember when a liberal politician of the John Kennedy mold could get a respectful hearing here. But that was decades ago.

Not everyone gets this. Amanda Marcotte recently wrote,

Under the circumstances, it’s understandable that many people are arguing that we need more empathy and communication across partisan lines in this country. And clearly we do! The problem is that such efforts are almost always one-sided: Liberals are instructed to reach out to conservatives and practice empathy for them, as evidenced by the series of preachy articles published in the wake of the election, urging urban liberals to get out of their supposed bubbles and talk to conservatives in the heartland.

The irony in all this is that the reason pundits ask this of liberals and not conservatives is because they know liberals are likely to listen. Everyone understands, on some level, that asking conservatives to reach out to liberals will be met with a bunch of guffaws, a profane invitation to perform anatomically difficult feats and more stereotypes about how liberals are a bunch of useless welfare sucks.

Okay, let’s think about this. The Democrats just got clobbered in a national election. We didn’t just lose the White House to an odious toad. We lost all across the U.S.

Republicans control both chambers in 32 states, including 17 with veto-proof majorities. Those 32 states cover 61 percent of the U.S. population. Democrats, meanwhile, control the legislature in just 13 states, amounting to 28 percent of the country’s population; only four of those chambers have veto-proof majorities.

With a firm grip on the presidency, Congress, and soon the Supreme Court, Republicans have won more political power in 2016 than in any election since at least 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected to the White House. Democrats now face a deep hole they need to climb out of to fight back against the coming reactionary policy shift of the pending Trump administration and its allied state governments.

We’re not going to turn that around until we stop stamping our feet and wailing, but it’s not fair! I don’t wanna talk to those awful other people! 

Indeed, the biggest reason we are losing is that we don’t talk to those people. So maybe we should change our attitude, if only because it’s in our own bleeping self-interest to do so.

We are the ones who need people who are being hurt by The System and The Plutocracy to unify.  The Right benefits by keeping us divided. Got that?

Marcotte complains that the Right dehumanizes liberals, and that’s absolutely true. Liberals are the boogyman here. Throughout the campaign I saw one political ad after another in which the Democrat was sneered at as a liberal, as if nothing more needed to be said.

But the reason that works is that liberals are perceived to be snooty rich city folks who look down their noses at us and think they are better than us, and nobody tells them any different. And, truth be told, sometimes they have a point. Urban, educated professionals really do live in their own bubble and don’t see what’s going on out here in Walmart Land.

So, I am proposing unilateral dehumanizing disarmament. The white working class needs progressivism, even if they don’t understand that themselves. It’s up to us to do outreach and find a way to bring as many as we can into the progressive fold. And I say it’s do-able. You won’t get all of them, especially older people, but if we don’t get some of them, we are doomed.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Dan  •  Dec 26, 2016 @10:02 pm

    I live in a small reddish-purple state. I saw the “Trump will take away the ACA” ads. They exist. My state voted against him. If the message did not get out to other states, shame on Hillary.

    BUT…

    These last-minute white-male Trump voters lived through the disastrous Bush years. They saw thing get better under Obama. A chunk of them voted Dems out in 2010, 2012, and 2014. There is no excuse – they just do not pay attention.

    I’m sorry, but like Germans in the 30s, these people will have to experience the disaster they have wrought before they understand that choices have consequences. These people have been the recipients of a lifetime of privilege while thinking they had hit triples. Sure, they were encouraged in this fantasy by a series of con men, but intelligent people can look at the world and decide rationally that something is too good to be true.

    No one forced these hens to vote for the fox to run their hen house. They did so of their own volition, and it is time to stop making excuses for their bad behavior.

  2. Doug  •  Dec 26, 2016 @10:04 pm

    Maha – I have been trying to leverage my flight across the aisle because money in politics is an issue the left and the right agree on. Since I have been working across the great divide, I’ll tell you (as you well know) that you’re dealing with different categories of conservatives. It’s worth looking at the characteristics, but let’s not go there now.

    Suppose we could reach 10% of the Trump voters in the next election – just to grab a number. That’s 6 million votes, enough to flip a LOT of elections at the state and local level. And it would flip the presidency every time. ‘Reaching’ that 10% means communicating and it’s worth a HUGE effort BUT there’s no issue that will do it. And it’s not worth trying to rehabilitate the liberal position by explaining issues.

    Trump will fail on issues – jobs, wages, national debt, the wall, Muslim registry, etc. And Trump’s failure will NOT put dems in position for significant gains, not even the White House, even with the financial scandals I predict. We won’t win UNTIL we convince voters the candidates we put up are on the side of voters, rather than rich urban aristocrats.

    Which brings me back to my obsession – my fetish – my insane quest. To peel off that 10% – we don’t need fancy rhetoric. We need action that voters will believe. Democrats need to swear off at the party level – all Wall Street money – All K Street money – All PAC money – and commit entirely to contributions from voters. This is the formula for trouble in a close individual race BUT if the democratic party set this as a standard, and stuck to it, we’d be able to run on proven integrity.

    Trump beat Clinton with half the money she raised. HALF. The source of Clinton money became a liability. Want to beat the republicans – do it on a matter of principle not an ‘issue’ – return democracy to the people. It will sell – especially with that 10%.

  3. aj  •  Dec 27, 2016 @3:02 am

    I never voted fascist because I wanted attention. I never acted like a child expecting a president to solve all my problems as if presidents just snap their fingers and congress doesn’t exist. I ‘ve had a 1 % raise in 12 years because I work a state govt job.
    63 million voted for someone they knew was sexist fascist racist xenophobic narcissistic and a con man. The worse he seemed the better they liked it. We have seen the dark heart revealed.
    Now I want democratic government to be restored in NC and a lot of other states as well. I am sick of republican held states who abuse their citizens with their privatized agendas. But I can not make excuses for people who knew what they were voting for.

  4. maha  •  Dec 27, 2016 @1:30 pm

    aj Here’s something else to think about — “A post-campaign study comparing the George W. Bush coalition in 2000 to the Trump coalition in 2016 found that Mr. Trump particularly improved in areas hurt most by competition from Chinese imports, from the bygone brick and tile industry of Mason City, Iowa, to the flagging furniture plants of Hickory, N.C. The study concluded that, had the import competition from China been half as large, Mrs. Clinton would have won key swing states and the presidency with them.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/26/opinion/sorry-liberals-bigotry-didnt-elect-donald-trump.html?ref=opinion

  5. maha  •  Dec 27, 2016 @1:42 pm

    A comment someone just left on Facebook — “Conversations about ‘privilege’ often get stuck exactly in this taboo. White privilege is real. Class privilege is real. Gender privilege is real. But ask a poorer white man about ‘privilege’ and you’ll get an earful. When we talk only in silos, we fail to wrestle with a bigger, much more complex reality.”

  6. Doug  •  Dec 27, 2016 @10:08 am

    Maha – it looks like the 10% we need to convince are not the closeminded bigoted sexists who voted for Trump. It’s the closeminded idiots who claim to be progressive. They aren’t going to move beyond the labels they want to lay on all Trump supporters and so sabotage the overtures to voters we need to advance.

    I’m not suggesting progressives abandon any values. ‘One Person – One Vote’ is not negotiable. Climate change is real. Women are fully equal to men and they have a RIGHT to control over their bodies – that covers consent and abortion until the fetus is viable.As a progressive I believe the federal government CAN function as a force of good for the benefit of the people IF money is removed from the process.

    But I ‘get’ why a lot of conservatives voted for Trump. He had proven his contempt for the GOP establishment and the media. If my overreaching anxiety was the failure of the federal government to meet MY needs – ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. It will turn out that the enemy of your ‘perceived’ enemy will screw you and yours to the wall. It’s gonna happen and for 10% of Trump voters, Trump will become toxic.

    The question is whether we’ve left a door open for them to rejoin the democrats – or if we’ve been so bitter and vitriolic in our rejection of Trump voters as subhuman creatures undeserving of respect that they stay in the GOP fold as reliable opponents of all things liberal (which they have no comprehension of).

    Yeah, Maha is suggesting we cast some pearls before swine. But some of the voters in that herd of pork CAN be reached. We will have to treat ALL of them with respect to coax out the minority who WOULD defect, handled properly.

  7. csm  •  Dec 27, 2016 @11:40 am

    Obama agrees with the messaging to WWC voter theory:

    Obama’s exit interview: I could’ve won again: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/26/politics/axe-files-president-obama/

    “In the 50-minute session, Obama repeated his suggestion Democrats had ignored entire segments of the voting population, leading to Donald Trump’s win. He implied that Hillary Clinton’s campaign hadn’t made a vocal enough argument directed toward Americans who haven’t felt the benefits of the economic recovery.”

    Given his tendency towards deference, I am surprised, but glad that he’s being this forthright, especially given the sensitivity of the Clintonites to the fact that Clinton does bear some responsibility for the loss. Without calling her out specifically, Obama is doing just that.
    But I also wonder to what extent this is a realization that came in hindsight, or something he did call out during the campaign that was either ignored or something that was just beyond Clinton’s capabilities. Who knows? But I agree with him that this was the democrat’s race to lose.

  8. csm  •  Dec 27, 2016 @11:55 am

    As for Rabbi Lerner’s views on the WWC voters, I am in agreement somewhat, but I think too much weight is put on the need for empathy and contrition specifically towards them. IMO, the democrats need to speak to them, but as a message to ALL working class voters, something the democrats abandoned to kowtow to the economic and coastal elites; e.g. go back to being a labor party. And for this the Democratic Party owns a large part of the responsibility for where we are today. This “rising tide lifts all boats” approach simply says that, if you speak to the issues of the workers as a class, it will resonate with whites as well.

    And even though I agree that democrats deserve blame for having neglected speaking directly to WWC voters, there has to be some concession for the fact that there is a huge amount of frustration on the part of those who see them as consistently ignoring facts to vote against not just their interests, but in ways that harm all working people, and society as a whole. And although it’s not an answer, the anger and frustration of those fed up with these voters is understandable. WWC voters do bear some responsibility as well, but they are not the enemy.

    One of the things I’ve always said is that African Americans are like the canary in the coal mine for society, e.g. the “bad” tends to happen to African Americans first, but when it does, it is eventually visited on society as a whole. For example, heroin addiction was as devastating problem in the black community decades ago. Back then the approach was limited to “law enforcement;” a harsh, unyielding criminal approach. Had the empathy been there for them and the approach was as a public health issue with a focus on treatment instead of incarceration, fast forward to the present and we would likely now have a mature and by now very effective way of dealing with heroin addiction and mitigating its impact among white communities.

    Another example that is more relevant to what the WWC is feeling, and I don’t doubt that they are feeling it, is economic dislocation. The loss of manufacturing jobs that began to take hold in urban areas starting in the 1970s devastated families in urban areas, leading to the crime and poverty you see in some neighborhoods in Chicago, for example.

    Republicans were content to blame “liberal policies” and leave it at that, but democrats didn’t appear to be seriously invested in providing much of an answer either. Anything we could have learned by at least caring enough about what happened to these communities to at least make a serious effort to address these job losses with real solutions was a missed opportunity that could have been applied to what’s now happening to whites in rural areas. Some will say, that the point of this was race, but then history shows that race was simply the means to an end which was a concentration of wealth at the top. For that reason, there has long been an effort to divide and conquer the working class, going back to the end of slavery which preceded the rise of industrialization. The use of race to divide the working class, to make white workers think that their enemies were “the others,” is a very old con that unfortunately still works. And Trump knew to masterfully exploit that.

    The answer to this for democrats is not “hard”; it’s an issue of will. The WWC is unfortunately but finally experiencing on a large scale, the same symptoms other working class folk have experienced. And what they are asking for is no different than any working class segment, regardless of race: the opportunity to have a decent job to provide for the family, access to education, health care and a decent retirement in old age. The democrats simply aren’t believable as a “champion of the working class” that would address these issues directly, when they are financially in bed with those on the side of dividing and suppressing it. And to the extent Clinton even had a message along these lines, and her die hard supporters insisted that she did, its compromised by her and the party’s association with wealth that require the message be “nuanced” and the policy approach is “incremental” in order to satisfy the masters while still appearing to throw a bone to the working folk. The problem is, in 2016, appearances are just not enough. They need to do more than throw a bone.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 27, 2016 @12:04 pm

    Has anyone tried to talk to a conservative in the last few decades?
    I could, back in the 70’s and early 80’s.
    Not anymore.
    Not in quite a while.
    It’s all Rush, Fox, Newt, talking points that they spew-out, and then, “LA-LA-LA! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!”

    They’ve created their own world – or, rather, had it created FOR them – with their own “facts” and “math” and “science.”
    The don’t want to hear the truth. They prefer “truthiness.” They know that as their “truth!”

    Maha, tell me how I can talk with them, to get ehm to listen, and I’ll be happy to talk with them again.

  10. barry  •  Dec 27, 2016 @1:21 pm

    Dehumanizing humans is probably a good idea. As a ruling class, we haven’t really been good stewards of the world anyhow. Maybe if we were less human…

  11. Billikin  •  Dec 27, 2016 @2:12 pm

    “I can remember when a liberal politician of the John Kennedy mold could get a respectful hearing here. But that was decades ago.”

    In 1960 JFK helped Ross Barnett, a politician who once addressed a Jewish group as “my fine Christian friends”, get elected as governor of Mississippi. Not directly, OC, but in the Democratic primary Barnett lambasted his main opponent, moderate and former governor Coleman, for years earlier letting the then Senator Kennedy stay overnight in the governor’s mansion. After the election there were jokes about building an outhouse with two hole, one for John and one for Bobby.

  12. maha  •  Dec 27, 2016 @6:21 pm

    Billikin — please keep the Deep South separate from the industrial north and midwest. Don’t assume that all of flyover country is just alike.

  13. Billikin  •  Dec 27, 2016 @2:17 pm

    NYT: “Mr. Trump particularly improved in areas hurt most by competition from Chinese imports, from the bygone brick and tile industry of Mason City, Iowa, to the flagging furniture plants of Hickory, N.C.”

    We’re importing bricks from China?

  14. maha  •  Dec 27, 2016 @6:20 pm

    We’re importing building materials from China, yes.

  15. Billikin  •  Dec 27, 2016 @2:24 pm

    “Tell me how I can talk with {conservatives}, to get ehm to listen, and I’ll be happy to talk with them again.”

    See http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/12/13/1610445/-Bernie-Sanders-shows-how-to-win-over-Trump-voters-in-real-time 🙂

  16. Bill  •  Dec 27, 2016 @4:10 pm

    I’d suggest carefully choosing who to reach out to first. And maybe sharing personal or linked success (and failure) stories in places like this one. As we pretty much know:

    Republicans have a large base which is so dogmatic-cultish they’d have to be deprogrammed to think any other way. The quickest way to get through to them would be through their tribal elders, which ultimately are the corporate oligarchs. Seen it personally, and good luck with that.

    Meanwhile on the other side, the Democrat base is so jaded many didn’t even turn out to vote. Most can still listen to both sides of an argument, but at the same time many also believe the party which should be closest to them is also owned by the oligarchs.

    Independents might be the easiest to try and reach. Some may have to know that progressive organizations ares working on their behalf, though for others fancy bells and laser whistles is what gets their attention.

    I like thinking that there are actually three major parties – R, D, and Puppetmaster.

  17. Chocura750  •  Dec 27, 2016 @4:23 pm

    In some measure I think the Democrats are getting a bum rap. How far do you think a jobs training bill would have gotten in Congress over the last 8 years?

  18. erinyes  •  Dec 27, 2016 @4:55 pm

    You can’t talk to them. I’ve tried at work. They believe FOX is THE news. Big busted blonds delivering the “NEWS” is a plus. They hate unions and the “government”, except the military, which in some way is NOT the government. They hate civil servants because they get a pension. They hate blacks and Mexicans. If you don’t go to church, you’re a freak.
    I’ve been putting up with this shit for 16 years, and I’m SICK of it. I know and understand “THEM” and they are FUCKED UP. It’s very simple. Their minds have been polluted, and I think the only hope is when they die off; their off spring is much smarter.

  19. Doug  •  Dec 27, 2016 @6:28 pm
  20. Billikin  •  Dec 27, 2016 @7:02 pm

    Maha, I was not assuming that flyover country is all alike. That it is not was my point. 🙂

  21. maha  •  Dec 28, 2016 @11:42 am

    Billikin — Sorry, but I’m really tired of writing commentary that is specifically about the rust belt, and find people saying yes, I understand, I’ve been to Mississippi. It isn’t just you; it appears to be a syndrome.

  22. Doug  •  Dec 27, 2016 @7:04 pm

    Correction – This s what I was trying to put up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61V85UaLkSQ

  23. Racer X  •  Dec 28, 2016 @12:27 am

    10/10

  24. Noel Terry  •  Dec 28, 2016 @2:18 am

    There’s an old saying: ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer’. If Dems had kept the Trumpanzees closer, they would’ve been wiser to what was getting into their craw. But in four years time, the Dems can do a Bill Clinton and sneak up to the zoo gate with handful of propaganda to haul THEM back. Back then, of course, it was the Democrat-Reagans who got hauled back at the expense of leaving the working class behind.

    Hmmm…….come to think of it, it might be US in four years time who get LEFT BEHIND!

  25. pluky  •  Dec 28, 2016 @12:29 pm
  26. Billikin  •  Dec 28, 2016 @12:51 pm

    On the question of reaching out to White working class voters, this post ( http://prospect.org/article/mapping-white-working-class ) by Guy Molyneux may be of interest. Before the election he did research or White working class moderates, both in the South and the North. That is where, to use the metaphor from a Christian parable, one might sow seeds on fertile ground.

    Molyneux: “The fundamental problem is that white working-class voters do not perceive progressives (or Democrats) to better represent their economic concerns.”

    I think that this perception is correct. As Maha points out, their problems have been ignored for too long. I think that she means that in practical terms. The Right has not ignored those concerns in their rhetoric. They articulate them but then cast blame for them on the poor or unions. Democrats could have alleviated the problems of the White working class, but they have not done much in that regard.

  27. Billikin  •  Dec 28, 2016 @1:08 pm

    Sorry, Maha, I did not get that you were just writing about the Rust Belt. You called it Trump Country, which means something different to me. I think of it as where there are a lot of authorian personalities. Like the Deep South.

    But let’s not write off Mississippi, either. White Mississippians have been demonized for decades, but they are not a monolith. Molyneux’s research was based on focus groups in Alabama, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. He did not remark on geographic differences among White working class moderates. Although, OC, their incidence in different areas was probably different. One ray of hope — more than a ray, I hope –, was the mock elections among secondary school students. They have been quite predictive of actual elections, probably because the students vote like their parents. Clinton won the student election in Mississippi and other Southern states! Change is coming.

  28. Billikin  •  Dec 28, 2016 @1:29 pm

    I mean authoritarian personalities. Trump’s appeal was over the top authoritarian.

  29. Michael Brown  •  Dec 30, 2016 @2:00 am

    Usually I am in agreement with you Maha…but not this time.
    These mouth breathing cretins had been lost long ago and are NEVER coming back. You would be surprised how invested poor white people are in nurturing what they perceive is the special place of “whiteness” in the social and economic hierarchy than electing people whom they know will and have actually improve their lot:
    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2016/12/that-economic-anxiety-in-elkhart-again.html

    The part the good Rabbi left out…perhaps because he is unaware….is that what they heard when Trump told them he would destroy the social programs they depend on was : “I will destroy the black , brown, and single mother versions of these social programs….not the versions for ‘real white Americans’!” …and even now these idiots are worried that he will eliminate “their” ObamaCare…like he told them for the past 2 years that was exactly what he was going to do…because who knew that not only he was going to do what he actually said he was…but there is no separate pot of money for the blacks and the browns. So in summary…FUCK THESE PEOPLE. How many times are we going to waste resources reaching out to people whom no longer desire to live in a civilized society ?

  30. maha  •  Dec 30, 2016 @6:56 pm

    Michael Brown, I grew up among those mouth-breathing cretins, am living among them now, and am even related to some of them. They really aren’t all alike. And a lot of the reason racism has lingered here is that no one talks to these people except to exploit and manipulate them. I blame Democrats as much as Republicans. And, like it or not, if the Democrats don’t win some of them back, they’re going to continue to lose elections for the next couple of decades, at least.

  31. Auntie Social  •  Jan 2, 2017 @3:39 pm

    You know, I would be more supportive of your position here if only you’d acknowledge the gigantic barfing, flatulent, hooting and hollering, 3-AM-amplified Lynrd-Skynrd-partying dinosaur in the middle of the metaphorical living-room here: the almost-unlimited funding that billionaires have provided to right-wing think tanks, media, publications and “educational” “foundations” ever since the 1964 election results came in.
    Who exactly is going to fund our lefty outreach to the average rust-belt voter?
    It’s not as if the right wing was simply so passionately devoted to the Gospel According to Ayn Rand that they poured all their energy into getting the message out, purely because of their dedication to the cause. Billionaires have been lavishly funding countless Astroturf “Concerned Citizen” groups, cable stations, Op-Ed sinecures, AM radio stations, special “Chairs” in Ayn-Randian Economics at universities, etc. for 45 years. If you are a right-wingish college boy who wants to live a prosperous and genteel life in a big expensive blue city like NYC or LA without having to do anything harder than write a pro-billionaire, anti-labor “think piece” about how awful Democrats are every couple of weeks, the Koch Brothers would be delighted to pay you $300 K per year to do just that.
    How do we compete with that?
    Maha, if I had a couple hundred billion dollars, I would buy you a television station. I would pay you $300 K a year to get our message out, and fund you a staff so that a couple dozen bright young lefties could earn $60 K to start, with big promotions to come, as your support staff. Then, I’d buy the same kind of media system for each of my other favorite lefty bloggers, and get all my fellow lefty billionaires to chip in a couple-three billion at a clip to keep you all going.
    To compete with Rush Limbaugh, I’d buy Bernie Sanders an AM radio station in each and every red-state rural radio market, so he could have his own cranky, loudmouthed call-in radio show each and every day. He would be absolutely AWESOME at that!
    If I – you – we – had anywhere NEAR the funding that the right wing has had at its disposal over the past 45 years, I daresay our message would be quite a bit easier to communicate to Rust Belt voters. But we can’t afford it.
    I am truly sick unto death of reading/hearing from people of good will such as yourself that we Lefties are just not reaching out to the Rust Belters as we should, because you just never acknowledge the Funding Problem.

  32. maha  •  Jan 2, 2017 @4:19 pm

    “Who exactly is going to fund our lefty outreach to the average rust-belt voter?”

    The Clinton campaign revealed that Democrats can tap into deep pockets, too. Please read:

    Two Clintons. 41 Years. $3 Billion.” (Washington Post)

    Hillary Clinton Is Outraising Trump 20-to-1 Among Billionaires” (Bloomberg)

    Clinton and Clinton PACs raised $1.4 billion for her 2016 presidential run. (Washington Post)

    The money is there. Maybe now it will be spent on something besides the Clintons.

  33. Auntie Social  •  Jan 2, 2017 @4:52 pm

    Yes, of course, “Democrats” can tap into deep pockets, but they aren’t going to fund really labor-friendly media. Big businesses and billionaires will fund neo-lib DINOs, of course, but who is going to fund ANTI-big business, ANTI-super wealthy causes? Not big business or the super-wealthy, that’s for sure.

    My question remains: who’s going to fund a 45-year blackout-coverage pro-labor, pro-poor people, anti-superrich media blitz?

  34. maha  •  Jan 2, 2017 @5:52 pm

    “Yes, of course, ‘Democrats’ can tap into deep pockets, but they aren’t going to fund really labor-friendly media.”

    If they want Democrats to win elections, they have to help appeal to working class voters. Some of those billionaires actually have reasonably progressive values, you know.

    This discussion of how to reach the rednecks has been going on in liberal/progressive/Democratic conventions and workshops for decades now, and no one ever seems to get a handle on it. The thing is, though, thanks to this newfangled internet thing, building an infrastructure of influence ought to be less expensive now than it was when the Right was starting up the Heritage Foundation back in the 1970s. It’s just that it hasn’t been a priority for the people in the upper echelons of the Democratic Party. Maybe if we can get new leadership, it will be.

  35. Auntie Social  •  Jan 2, 2017 @8:08 pm

    Maha, all due respect, most billionaires do not have anywhere near “progressive values.” I am grateful for George Soros, but he is pretty much alone.

  36. maha  •  Jan 2, 2017 @9:53 pm

    No, Soros is not alone. See links above.



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