The Problem With Great Expectations

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Democratic Party

So far the Democratic convention has gone much better than I’d feared. I thought the speeches last night were particularly good. If this last day goes smoothly enough Clinton should get a nice bounce in the polls. And I think once more Americans focus on the general election and consider their options, Clinton shouldn’t have that much trouble staying ahead of Trump.

That’s mostly because of Trump. He’s unhinged. He’s in way over his head. The debates are going to be painful and/or a laugh riot, depending on how much you enjoy watching someone embarrass himself. Watch him try to get out of them.

However, I want to talk about expectations and projections. I wrote recently that I hoped there would be a roll call vote at the DNC for the sake of the Sanders supporters, and there was. But then I ran into a conversation in social media among Sanders supporters who were complaining that they didn’t like the way the roll call vote was conducted.

First, they didn’t like that the superdelegate votes were added into the state tallies. But that’s when they are added in, some of us explained. They don’t count until the convention, but now we are at the convention. Now they count. Apparently this was news.

They also didn’t like the cheesy little speeches the spokesperson for each state gave, especially the ones that praised Clinton. Sorry, but that’s the way it’s always done, we said. If you didn’t know that, adjust.

Sometimes, if things don’t turn out the way you expected, you need to honestly admit to yourself that your expectations were wrong. Stomping around being mad isn’t going to change anything.

A bigger howler is by Amanda Marcotte at Salon. Amanda thought President Obama’s speech last night was “meh.” I watched the speech and thought it very good. Maybe a little too long, maybe not the absolute best he ever gave, but on the whole I thought he did a good job reminding Democrats why they are Democrats, knocking Trump, and praising Hillary Clinton. But Marcotte didn’t like it.

It’s hard to put a thesis statement into Barack Obama’s speech. He roamed around, hat-tipping Black Lives Matter and Clinton’s hard work, but one never got the sense, from him, of Clinton as a friend. Michelle Obama sold Clinton that way, portraying her as an older woman she had grown close to and come to admire. Bill Clinton had done it, portraying his wife as she frankly, as a human, deserves to be seen: As a kind-hearted woman who loves her child and can set human male hearts a-flutter. …

… Most of us wanted to hear the real story of how these two former foes became friends. Obama could have told that story in style, and made history while he did it. His failure to do so is on him.

First, who says they are friends? I’ve never gotten the sense that Obama and Clinton were friends. They appear to have had a good working relationship and mutual respect and all that, although for all we know they can’t stand each other and just put on a good act in public. But in this case, Marcotte was upset because Clinton was insufficiently praised, somehow, even though I felt Obama did quite a good job of selling Clinton as the best possible candidate for POTUS. Not that I bought it, but it was a good pitch. But the speech didn’t meet Marcotte’s expectations, so she felt let down.

Many of the Sanders die-hards who were certain he was going to be awarded the nomination at the convention are now certain that the REVOLUTION (these people do love the caps lock button) will happen in November when Jill Stein of the Green Party either wins or takes a lot of states or otherwise screws with the status quo.

Stein is currently polling at 3 percent, which is down from 4.8 percent at the end of June, according to Real Clear Politics.

The tendency to see your side as absolutely pure and blameless and the other side as evil incarnate is on full display. There actually is a strong circumstantial case that Vladimir Putin is connected to Trump and the timing of the Wikileaks email releases. I have no doubt that the Clinton team is working overtime right now to dig up more evidence, and they will find it if it’s out there. But many once-Sanders-now-Stein people are dismissing the Putin allegations as so much propaganda.

And while I’m more or less reconciled to Clinton being the next POTUS, the DNC still needs a thorough shaking out. The Wikileaks emails give us plenty of evidence that the Clinton campaign and the DNC were unfairly working together to kill the Sanders candidacy. They’ve got to be held accountable for this so that it doesn’t happen again. However, the purge is going to have to wait until after the general election.

Going back to President Obama’s speech last night, I liked Andrew O’Hehir’s comment:

His long speech wove its way through and around the central issue of this convention: the unpredictable infusion of new activist energy brought by the Bernie Sanders campaign, and the question of whether that is an asset or a liability when it comes to defeating Donald Trump. I remain amazed, and quite frankly insulted, that so many Democrats seem determined to crush internal dissent and insist on a happy-talk spectacle of enforced conformity. What party do they think they belong to, and what do they know about its history? It’s an insult to the collective intelligence of the broader left-liberal tradition in this country, delivered by well-meaning people who claim to be its defenders and ought to know better.

A lot of the young folks who have just been introduced to presidential politics by working for Bernie Sanders are now thoroughly disgusted with the Democratic Party and want nothing to do with it. But I think the Dems are salvageable once we can pry it out of the hands of the Clintons and their neoliberal cohorts. That’s going to be awhile, unfortunately.

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Messy Choices

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Democratic Party, Sanders and Clinton

Last night at the convention went better than I had feared. At least, little of the rancor was noticeable on the teevee.

Later today will come the roll call vote to nominate Clinton. Maybe. CNN reports,

The Sanders campaign is asking the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign to allow the Vermont senator to help deliver the formal nomination — a symbolic gesture that would allow the majority of Sanders’ delegates to be tallied in the convention while also showing that Sanders is behind Clinton.
Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Tuesday that all sides have agreed to let Vermont offer up Clinton’s nomination by unanimous consent but he would not say whether Sanders would be the superdelegate to propose her nomination.

If “unanimous consent” means they’d skip the roll call, IMO that would be a huge mistake. The die-hards still think the vote might magically favor Sanders. The votes need to be public, or else they’re going to forever suspect they were cheated of a victory. And that would be true even if Sanders makes the nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden, who was doing a walkthrough of the Wells Fargo Arena Tuesday morning, said that Democrats need to “show a little class” to Sanders supporters who are still stinging from his loss.
“We have to show a little class and let them be frustrated for a while,” Biden told CNN. “It’s OK.”
I so wish Biden had run. I think he’d be the nominee now, and most people would be okay with that.
We have a seriously difficult thing ahead of us, and I don’t mean just keeping Donald Trump out of the White House. Elect Hillary Clinton, yes, as she’s pretty much what we’re stuck with. But the DNC still needs a thorough flushing out, and having her in the White House is going to make that more difficult. I don’t see how that can be done without hurting her administration, frankly, but that’s how it’s got to be.
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Not a Good Start

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Democratic Party, Sanders and Clinton

Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation as chair of the DNC yesterday, although it’s not clear to me if the resignation took effect immediately or after the convention. In any event, the news this morning is that she tried to address the Florida delegation and was robustly booed. That she is still being allowed anywhere near a microphone at a Democratic Party event indicates the DNC is still out to lunch.

By now you’ve probably heard that Wikileaks published a ton of hacked DNC emails. This revealed that DNC staffers on the whole were the kewl kids from high school who were snots to everybody else. They were snots about Sanders and his supporters (examples) and clearly had their thumbs on the scale for Clinton. But they were also bratty about some Clinton donors who weren’t kewl enough, or something.

In a May 16 exchange about where to seat a top Florida donor, Kaplan declared that “he doesn’t sit next to POTUS!” — referring to Obama.

“Bittel will be sitting in the sh—iest corner I can find,” responded Shapiro. She also referred to other donors as “clowns.”

It is now manifestly clear that DNC staff were derisive of Sanders and sought to undermine his campaign.

Several messages show how the DNC, which is supposed to be neutral during the Democratic primary, undermined Bernie Sanders’ campaign while supporting Hillary Clinton’s.

In one email, the DNC acknowledges, “Super PAC paying young voters to push back online on Sanders supporters.”

Another details how DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz furiously pressured MSNBC after it criticized her “unfair” treatment of Sanders.

Several other messages show how the DNC worked with journalists in a way that favored Clinton.

[etc.]

Any chance of “unity” at the Dem convention is close to gone.

If Democrats expect the Republican Convention clown show last week to automatically make the DNC look like a smooth, unifying parade—they better look out the window real soon.

What they’ll likely see is a sea of protesting progressives who stood behind Bernie Sanders throughout the primary and are now standing against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment.

Why wouldn’t they in the aftermath of the recent WikiLeaks dump of nearly 20,000 DNC emails—which show the supposedly neutral arm of the party campaigning to discredit and mock Bernie Sanders; a fact that Sanders and his legion of supporters have been railing about for months, only to be knocked down as “conspiracy theorists.”

To save face, the Democrats forced Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign as party chairwoman. But unfortunately for the establishment, the gasoline has already been poured onto the ever-growing fire of revolt against the Democratic Party—and there’s no sign of those flames dwindling.

Shockingly, their tone deafness struck again as Clinton decided to name Wasserman Schultz as an “honorary chair” of her campaign.

Throughout the primaries, several times on this blog (example), I commented that if Clinton wanted a “unifying” convention she and her supporters had damn well better change her tone toward Sanders and his supporters. That didn’t happen.  If the Dem convention is a mess, that’s on the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

Bernie Sanders is doing his best to calm things down, but when he told his delegates that it was imperative to support Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump, they booed him.

I’m not happy about the leaking of the emails, however. Wikileaks is not operating in good faith. People are accusing Wikileaks of being a front for Vladimir Putin, who is said to prefer Trump. And given the timing of the leaks, I can’t say that’s a bad guess.

I have more to say on this, but am short of blogging time. Maybe later.

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A Goblin of Nihilism

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Bad Hair, Republican Party

Daniel O’Hehir explains the dark heart of Trump support:

Being impregnable and invulnerable and indeed indecipherable — possessing no inner life, no discernible ideology and no personality — are not bugs in the Trump avatar’s program. They are essential features of its success. If he could fly or read minds or see the future he would be even better suited for the job of American dictator, and given the slipped gears in the reality matrix those possibilities can’t be ruled out. Trump is dangerous precisely because he does not seem like a real person, and the people voting for him do not think they’re voting in a real election with real consequences. He is an empty symbol with no point of reference, a goblin of nihilism wearing a mask of hope.

As an example of “no point of reference,” Matthew Yglesias points out that Trump’s “law and order” speech last night contained no actual crime policies. He spoke of “law and order” over and over, but his only policy statement was —

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done.

But to his followers, this doesn’t matter. “The Government” is to them something unreal and alien, like Mordor, and they need an avatar to go in and straighten it out. Exactly what needs straightening and how it’s done doesn’t concern them.

Remember, these are the same people who perpetually complain that The Government, or Political Correctness, or Liberals, or some amorphous thing out there is oppressing them, but they can never provide a concrete example of actual oppression. Nevertheless, they live in a simmering pot of resentment because someone out there disrespects them. And time after time they follow whatever demagogue du jour gives voice to that resentment.

But back to actual Trump — lots of people are pointing to this bit from a New York Times article

One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?

When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?

“Making America great again” was the casual reply.

Of course. Because Trump has never done anything himself. He’s just the guy who puts up the money to make the deals. The actual building and managing and running of the businesses are done by other people. He seems to think he can be President of the United States and delegate the entire job to others, except for the taking credit part. It’s what he’s always done.

But may I also say that Mike Pence is one of the last people on the planet I’d want in charge of domestic and foreign policy.

Meanwhile, word is that Hillary Clinton is going to pick Tim Kaine for her veep. This is not official yet, mind you. But if so, this tells me she’s still not getting the national mood. Kaine is a very “safe” pick — from an establishment perspective — who will excite no one who isn’t already in the tank for her.

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Ailes Is Out

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News Media

Roger Ailes resigned from Fox News. But Rupert Murdoch will be stepping into Ailes’s job, unfortunately, so don’t expect anything to change.

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Making Derp Great Again

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Obama Administration

I caught a bit of Chris Christie’s speech last night and savored the irony of Mr. 26 percent — that’s the percentage of New Jersey registered voters who still think Christie is doing a good job — calling Hillary Clinton “incompetent.”

It occurs to me that both parties are primarily running on scaring the bejeezus out of the voters. Vote for X, because Y will bring about the Apocalypse. But, true to form, the Right is threatening more violence. Josh Marshall:

As we’ve discussed, it’s not normal for one nominee and his convention delegates to be chanting for the opposing party nominee to be put in prison. I felt a bit silly writing that because that is extremely obvious. But it’s not some silly novelty. You go from opposition, to demands for imprisonment and finally for murder. We saw that case with the state rep down in West Virginia. Now we have a Trump delegate and advisor saying Clinton should be “shot for treason.” This kind of incitement is poisonous to the political process and civic life generally. And let’s be honest, it can have horrific consequences. This has the feeling of the crazy talk that was circulating about President Kennedy before November 1963.

And then there’s this:

According to xHamster, one of the leading aggregators of online porn, traffic from users in Cleveland spiked significantly this week as the Republican National Convention got underway. Viewership in the city shot up by 184 percent from its pre-convention average, surpassing traffic the site gets from people in large cities including New York, Miami and Los Angeles.

“This increase is unprecedented,” said Mike Kulich, a spokesman for the web site. “They’re making porn great again.”

Since the GOP platform declares that porn is a public health menace, perhaps they were doing research.

Although it doesn’t quite rise to the level of Clint Eastwood and the Chair, Melania Trump’s partly plagiarized speech has gotten more media attention than whatever it was Chris Christie said last night. The Trump campaign has offered up a number of excuses, until today when a staffer fell on her sword and took the blame. But the damage was done.

Across the country, slack-jawed Republican political operatives and speechwriters expressed expletive-laden bewilderment at the organizational breakdown allowing such an episode to occur.

“It’s like some guy trying to paddle across a river in a rowboat who shoots a hole in his boat,” said Stuart Stevens, who wrote speeches for Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, throughout the 2012 campaign.

In interviews, alarmed Republican speechwriters outlined the layers of formal scrutiny, apparently disregarded by the Trump campaign, traditionally applied to almost every draft of a major convention address. They described word-by-word fact-checking by a dedicated team of experts and computer software designed to catch plagiarism. Several online programs, like DupliChecker, are available at no cost.

The Trump family: Making Derp Great Again.

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The 2016 GOP Platform

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Bad Hair, Republican Party

Seriously:

The platform demands that lawmakers use religion as a guide when legislating, stipulating “that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.”

It also encourages the teaching of the Bible in public schools because, the amendment said, a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.”
And it goes downhill from there. For example, The Wall:

the Republican platform explicitly states: “We support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

The GOP isn’t just hostile to same-sex marriage, but to homosexuality itself.

Republicans repeatedly rejected efforts to even mention LGBT Americans by name in their platform. Instead, the GOP includes a defense of “natural marriage” and even embraces “conversion therapy”, the controversial and widely banned practice of trying to convert LGBT individuals to being heterosexual.

The GOP is so hostile to LGBT folks that the committee rejected a proposal to condemn Islamic terrorists’ targeting of LGBT individuals.

This is everything the GOP platform says about the environment:

In its entirety, it states, “We believe sound energy, agriculture, and environmental policy can foster sustainable economic growth. We are also the party of America’s growers and producers, farmers, ranchers, foresters, miners, and all those who bring from the earth the minerals and energy that are the lifeblood of our nation’s historically strong economy. We are the party of traditional conservation: the wise development of resources that keeps in mind the efforts of past generations to secure that bounty and our responsibility to preserve it for the future. Now we want to hear from you. What issues are most important to you?”

Global warming? Not an issue. But there is an open question about whether the platform actually calls for ending all national parks (by turning them over to the states) or just some of them. Snopes points out that the language adopted by the platform committee just calls for “certain federally controlled public lands” to be conveyed to states, but doesn’t say which ones.

Random things:

  • The GOP platform opposes adding gray wolves, prairie chickens and sage grouses to the endangered species list.
  • The platform calls for abolition of the IRS.
  • The platform calls for criminalizing abortion with no exceptions for rape or incense.
  • The platform opposes legalizing marijuana even for medical uses.

What do the Democratic and Republican platforms agree on? Two things I know of:

  • Both platform committees refused to condemn the Trans-Pacific Partnership, even though both presumptive nominees (currently) say they oppose it.
  • Both platform committees have called for a return to Glass Steagall. Everybody hates Wall Street. However, if such a thing comes to pass watch Congress water the hell out of it first.
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Notorious RBG Gets Snarky

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Obama Administration

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been speaking her mind about Donald Trump.

Here’s a look at what Ginsburg, the 83-year-old justice appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993, said about Trump in three interviews.

One note: The media that did the interviews did not publish transcripts of Ginsburg’s complete remarks. What follows are all of the quotes that were published.

Interview July 7, 2016 with Associated Press

Asked what if Trump won the presidency, Ginsburg said: “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”

Interview July 8, 2016 with New York Times

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.

Referring to something she thought her late husband, tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg, would have said, she said: “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”

Interview July 11, 2016 with CNN

“He is a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that ….

“At first I thought it was funny,” she said of Trump’s early candidacy. “To think that there’s a possibility that he could be president ….

“I think he has gotten so much free publicity ….

“Every other presidential candidate has turned over tax returns.”

Now, all manner of people, including the New York Times editorial board, has the vapors because Supreme Court justices aren’t supposed to say political stuff like that. Trump himself tweeted that “her mind is shot,” which is hilarious coming from him.

Dahlia Lithwick:

There can be no disputing that this conduct was improper under the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, which prohibits judges from endorsing or opposing a candidate for office, and under basic conventions that prohibit judges from overt politicking during election season. We can debate how improper it actually was, but it’s clear she upset the norms that we generally ask judges to respect. And with all due respect, it’s not a legitimate counterargument to claim that it’s OK because Ginsburg is on a lot of tote bags and T-shirts sporting a crown.

The serious arguments in favor of Ginsburg’s conduct are that (1) the nation faces an unparalleled existential threat, at the nomination of a man who imperils the very rule of law and (2) nobody really believes judges are impartial anyhow, so why shouldn’t we celebrate her for ripping off the umpire mask and telling it like it is.

Under the first theory, Ginsburg is correct to expend whatever moral capital she has accrued to say out loud what most politicians are afraid to say, because we are in an extraordinary moment in history, a terrifying period of racism, xenophobia, and violence, and it’s incumbent on even traditionally temperate citizens to speak out. According to this view, the failure to condemn Trump would be its own form of cowardice, and Ginsburg only did what a sane person facing a fascist leader should do. Under the second theory, nobody over age 7 really thinks judges have no political preferences, and it’s better to have them laid bare than hidden under flimsy claims of oracular impartiality.

Like Lithwick, I applaud that first argument. The Trump candidacy shouldn’t be given the dignity of, well, dignity. It’s a joke. He’s a joke.

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The Sort of Endorsement

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Democratic Party

So today was the big endorsement of Hillary Clinton by Bernie Sanders. Philip Bump points out that his endorsement speech today was very similar to a non-endorsement speech of a month ago. The difference is that he  has been able to push Hillary Clinton to the left on some issues, at least as far as the platform is concerned. Bump concludes,

Sanders’s speech in June bit harder, using words such as “disgrace,” “combat,” “pain” and “starvation.” His comments endorsing Clinton were softer: “transforming,” “fix” and “struggling.”

You can also see where the Democratic platform ended up, based on what Sanders left out. The tuition relief was for public colleges, not all college students. The call for fixing the environment dropped a mention of a tax on carbon (and a ban on fracking, which Sanders also mentioned in June).

This was entirely the point, of course. The goal was for Sanders to make the case to his supporters that Clinton would be a champion for their issues, too — if not all of the issues and if not in the same way. He mirrored what he said a month ago because he was asked to send a message to his team that the revolution would go on, albeit with a new leader.

Except she’ll never be the “leader” to most Sanders supporters. Maybe they’ll vote for her, but they see her more as an obstacle to be manipulated than as a “leader.” I doubt very much she’s going to accomplish anything that the progressive Left wants, even if she tries. Which is another “if.”

William Greider writes,

In this season of political chaos, the party led by Hillary Clinton is holding on to the familiar past it knows—the glory days when New Democrats were the brilliant winners.

Confused and alarmed by the current Republican breakup, the Clinton machine has responded with crab-like caution, maybe hoping to have it both ways. Clinton-Obama veterans agreed early on that 2016 would be Hillary’s turn. She would bring her own assets and could run on her husband’s reputation as the popular, pragmatic centrist. Events did not cooperate. In this season of change, HRC’s new agenda sounds a lot like the same old, same old.

After a review of Bill Clinton’s record as POTUS, which could be seen as a betrayal of blue collar workers and unions, Greider continues,

In political terms, organized labor lost big. It was permanently displaced by Wall Street finance as the most influential constituency of the Clinton-Obama presidencies. The working class has not forgotten this brutal betrayal (pundits scold the losers, urging them to get over it). In fact, desperate working familes are still getting hammered by the ugly consequences.

Millions of high-wage manufacturing jobs were destroyed by cheap labor competition, just as the major corporations had intended. Did Bill Clinton know what he was doing? He’s a shrewd guy, and it’s impossible to believe he was unaware of the domestic destruction he was authorizing. Did Hillary Clinton know? Her silence on the subject is not reassuring.

Political reporters and op-ed economists in the prestigious newspapers continue to dismiss angry workers as deluded or just plain stupid. The tortured denials of what ordinary people know to be true in their own lives drip with class condescension, talking down to people with economic abstractions when their human losses are about real pain. These establishment commentaries typically have two omissions: The reporters seldom talk with the people actually victimized, and the opinion pieces almost never mention what happened to wages.

I still say that the only people who are genuinely enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton are upper-income white people over 50. Others may vote for her, but all the rah-rah is coming from people privileged enough not to notice.

After detailing a lot of ways the Democratic Party continues to sell out working people and blue collar jobs, Greider writes,

I recite these facts to demonstrate how distant the Democratic Party establishment has drifted from the everyday realities of working stiffs. Dem strategists and Clinton advisers, who were cheering progress, didn’t see jobs as an explosive issue for Election 2016. The official unemployment rate was grossly misleading, but it was good fodder or the campaign. The Clinton betrayal was forgotten long ago. Wrong again.

The events of 2016 derailed such optimistic expectations. HRC’s advantage succeeded in scaring off potential competitors for the nomination—all but Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. Not to worry; the Clinton machine would brush him aside. But Bernie’s eye was on something much bigger than winning the White House (always unlikely for him). Senator Sanders aspired to encourage a “political revolution” that would restore democracy for the people and, not coincidentally, liberate the money-bound Democratic Party from its patrons. Clintonistas never seemed to understand that Bernie meant it. He still does. His clarity and conviction stole the show from HRC.

They still don’t think he means it, btw.

HRC’s dilemma looks like this: To vigorously confront the angry zeitgeist of 2016, the new party of Hillary Clinton would have to turn on the old party of Bill Clinton. To seek ownership of this year’s fed-up rebellion, HRC would have to speak for the anger instead of smothering it with platitudes. She would also need to acknowledge (gently) that vast destruction flowed from her husband’s presidency, but that things are different now.

I don’t think she’s got it in her to do that.

Don’t hold your breath. To execute such a hard-nosed leap, the Clinton machine would have to do a back flip that abandons not just Mr. Bill but also the Wall Street power brokers whom she trusts. Given HRC’s natural caution, it doesn’t seem likely she could ever make that break, especially since she’s still surrounded by Clinton veterans who are dreaming of a blowout election victory in November.

What was going to be Hillary’s best asset has turned into an awkward millstone. People will still ask what she really thinks about the family legacy. The GOP will demand an answer. Hillary’s avoidance doesn’t cut it. If Americans wind up choosing Donald Trump as their president, the faint-hearted Democratic Party will have to share the blame.

Back to the enthusiasm thing. Danielle Kurtzleben at NPR reports that Clinton has a huge enthusiasm gap among young people.

There’s a little good news for Clinton in the poll of 18- to 30-year-olds — in a matchup against Donald Trump, she clearly bests the New York businessman, 38 to 17 percent. But that leaves 45 percent of those young adults who said they were either undecided, wouldn’t vote or would vote for someone else (22 percent).

Another stat that bodes poorly for Clinton: Those who chose her aren’t exactly crazy about her — many instead simply dislike Trump. Those who chose Clinton are about evenly split: 47 percent said they “mainly support” her, while 53 percent said they “mainly oppose” Trump.

Young people may not be much of a factor in November, if large numbers of them remain ambivalent enough to stay home. But that doesn’t speak well for the future of the Democratic Party, either. And I don’t think the “endorsement” from Sanders is going to change that.  The only thing Hillary Clinton has going for her in this election is Donald Trump.

Judging by social media, the Dem party base has its share of older, complacent voters who assume that as long as Hillary Clinton wins in November, everything will be just fine. I don’t know what it would take for them to haul their heads out of their asses. But the true-blue Clintonista lives in a state of denial.

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Texas Open Carry and the Dallas Shooting

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firearms

Right after last week’s massacre in Dallas I wrote on Facebook,

Today the New York Times explains why the Texas open carry law not only didn’t prevent the massacre; it made law enforcement’s job more complicated.

The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, described to CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday the amount of confusion the armed protesters initially caused.

He said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder.”

“They were wearing gas masks,” Mr. Brown said. “They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”

When the shooting started, “they began to run,” he said. And because they ran in the middle of the shooting, he said, the police on the scene viewed them as suspects. “Someone is shooting at you from a perched position, and people are running with AR-15s and camo gear and gas masks and bulletproof vests, they are suspects, until we eliminate that.”

There were also some presumably armed men staging a counter-protest to BLM at the scene. I assume they ran also. It’s a wonder it didn’t turn into a regular battle, though.

Gun nuts gun rights activists have long argued that all mass shootings take place in “gun-free zones,” even though that isn’t actually true.

In a 2014 report, Everytown for Gun Safety, a pro-gun control group, said that from 2009 to July 2014, 18 multiple-victim U.S. shootings–meaning any incident where at least four people were killed with a gun–occurred in places where civilian handguns were allowed.

Of 33 incidents in public spaces, the report said, 18 took place wholly or in part where concealed guns could be lawfully carried. Conversely, no more than 15 incidents “took place entirely in public spaces that were so-called ‘gun-free zones,’” the report said.

The gun culties gun rights activists also like to deny that the presence of armed law enforcement officers count. For example, they will tell you that military bases are “gun free zones” because civilians and non-security personnel are unarmed. But the MPs are armed.

But I don’t think even Wayne LaPierre is demented enough to try to argue the Dallas shooting happened because it was a gun-free zone.

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