Primal Scream Time

I woke up thinking of this passage from an article Matt Yglesias wrote for Vox last spring, during the primaries.

But though Democrats are certainly the more left-wing of the two parties — the party of labor unions and environment groups and feminist organizations and the civil rights movement — they’re not an ideologically left-wing party in the same way that Republicans are an ideological conservative one. Instead, they behave more like a centrist, interest group brokerage party that seeks to mediate between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community — especially industries like finance, Hollywood, and tech that are based in liberal coastal states and whose executives generally espouse a progressive outlook on cultural change.

Sanders’s core proposition, separate from the details of the political revolution, is that for progressives to win they need to first organize and dominate an ideologically left-wing political party that is counterpoised to the ideological right-wing Republican Party.

Well, Clinton certainly dominated the liberal coastal states, no question. Plus Illinois. And I understand she’s got Minnesota.

There’s a lot of finger pointing going on today, but until someone has time to do an in-depth crunching of the final numbers we don’t know that the third-party candidates made any difference. Jill Stein only got 1 percent of the popular vote. Gary Johnson got 3 percent, but my impression is that his support came more from Never Trump voters than Never Hill voters.

Here’s a graphic I borrowed from the New York Times that I think speaks volumes about what happened yesterday.

There’s your Electoral College loss, folks. The Dems needed most of those upper Midwest “rust belt” states, and she probably was counting on getting most of them. She got Illinois and Minnesota. Michigan hasn’t been called yet, but she’s behind there.

This map is revealing, also:

These are people the Dems have ignored for decades. The GOP hasn’t ignored them, however. The GOP is brilliant at manipulating them, and persuading them that down is up, the sky is orange and liberals are the boogeyman. It’s true that these voters often are not sophisticated thinkers, so they are easy to manipulate. And it’s true that there’s a lot of racism and xenophobia in this crowd.

But the Dems haven’t bothered to reach out to them in any meaningful way in many years. The Dems were too busy mediating “between the claims and concerns of left-wing activists groups and those of important members of the business community,” as Yglesias wrote. White blue-collar rust-belt folks were not part of that picture.

And yesterday those  white blue-collar rust-belt folks screamed out loud, We are still here. We matter. Pay attention to us.  As wrong as I think they are about Trump, I can’t really blame them.

A day or two ago some talking head on the teevee said that most voters couldn’t name five things Clinton stood for, but they knew what Trump stood for. I had said something like that to a Clinton supporter awhile back, and she pooh-poohed the idea and began to rattle off Clinton’s policy positions, which I knew as well as she did. But, I said, I don’t think most people who are not politics junkies are getting that information. And then I was told that if people were too lazy to study Hillary Clinton’s website to learn how wonderful she is, that was their own fault.

Harry Truman wouldn’t have made that mistake.

But the problem isn’t just Hillary Clinton, but the whole attitude of the Democratic Party. We’ve needed them to be an ideologically left-wing party for a long time. We’ve needed them to go to those rust-bucket states and sell people on progressive economics for a long time. And nobody bothered. The only messages received by most voters not in the liberal coastal states are ideologically right-wing messages.

Having spent most of the general election campaign season in Missouri, I can tell you that people here weren’t hearing any reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton. Almost all of the Clinton campaign ads on television here were intended to scare people away from voting for Trump. Obviously, that didn’t work.

A lot of the discontent here is about Obamacare. This is a state that didn’t expand it, of course, so genuinely poor residents don’t get it. And there’s a lot of genuine poverty here, especially in rural areas. I’m not sure people here in Missouri ever understood what Obamacare even is. They believe that whatever is screwed up about the health care system is the fault of Obamacare, because that’s what right-wing media keep saying, and they want it abolished.

I say the single biggest failure of the Obama Administration is its failure to communicate to most Americans what it was doing and why.

Now, a lot of this is a problem with news media going back many years. Most people get their information on television, and you and I know that books and books and books could be written about all the things wrong with television news coverage. It hardly mattered that the New York Times and Washington Post wrote big exposes on Trump as a failed businessman and cheat. None of that reached Missouri. It wasn’t on the television news that most people watched.

But I am old enough to remember when there were was a progressive Democratic vote even in the rural areas. The state went to Carter in 1976 and to Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Now all the Republicans have to do is run oppo ads with the words “liberal,” “Obamacare” and “Clinton” in them, and it’s over.

We’re probably going to be told (if they haven’t said it already) that Clinton under-performed with millennials and nonwhites compared to Obama. I expected nonwhites to come out and vote against Trump, big time, but I could have told them to not count on millennials. In fact, I believe I did say that from time to time.

For the past several years the Democrats have been assuring us that, some day, all the stupid old conservative, bigoted white people will die off and be replaced by younger, more liberal, voters. And then the Dems will be winners!

But now I’m watching the establishment Democrats kiss off a whole generation of voters, telling them to go home and play with their toys and leave politics to the grown ups. Good luck turning those people into Democratic voters in the future, geniuses.

Probably Clinton wasn’t hurt by Stein supporters as much as by left-leaning young people who just weren’t excited enough about Mrs. Establishment to go out and vote for her. And that’s on her, but it’s even more on the Democratic Party establishment that cleared a path for her to get the nomination.

Jim Newell wrote this morning:

The party establishment made a grievous mistake rallying around Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t just a lack of recent political seasoning. She was a bad candidate, with no message beyond heckling the opposite sideline. She was a total misfit for both the politics of 2016 and the energy of the Democratic Party as currently constituted. She could not escape her baggage, and she must own that failure herself.

Theoretically smart people in the Democratic Party should have known that. And yet they worked giddily to clear the field for her. Every power-hungry young Democrat fresh out of law school, every rising lawmaker, every old friend of the Clintons wanted a piece of the action. This was their ride up the power chain. The whole edifice was hollow, built atop the same unearned sense of inevitability that surrounded Clinton in 2008, and it collapsed, just as it collapsed in 2008, only a little later in the calendar. The voters of the party got taken for a ride by the people who controlled it, the ones who promised they had everything figured out and sneeringly dismissed anyone who suggested otherwise. They promised that Hillary Clinton had a lock on the Electoral College. These people didn’t know what they were talking about, and too many of us in the media thought they did….

…The Democratic establishment is a club unwelcoming to outsiders, because outsiders don’t first look out for the club. The Clintons will be gone now. For the sake of the country, let them take the hangers-on with them.

Dems: In future nomination fights, assuming there are any, let the people decide. Oh, and kill the superdelegate thing. Thanks much.

I was wrong to think that Trump was such a terrible candidate even Clinton could beat him, but I wasn’t wrong to predict that the nomination of Hillary Clinton could signal the beginning of the end of the Democratic Party. That I saw pretty clearly. I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.

41 thoughts on “Primal Scream Time

  1. So what to do in 2018? McCaskill will be up against Sam Graves. Maybe his votes to gut Medicare and Medicaid and FICA could be wedge issue, but the right will just run ads that say yea, you can go back to eating cat food but look at how many African-American have died without insurance and those non college whites will be estactic!

  2. Messaging altogether has been a big problem of the Obama administration. Was just talking about that on the phone with a friend. From Obamacare to the Consumer Financial Protection bureau to a less than 5% unemployment rate, Obama never really pushes this stuff into the American conscious. He lets the media take the lead, always a dangerous proposition. Compare this to Bill Clinton, who was always happy to discuss what he was doing, facts and figures, to anybody, and was always good at personalizing his policies. Combine lack of communication with the ACA’s botched rollout, and you get the confusing situation many voters are in.

  3. “And yesterday those white blue-collar rust-belt folks screamed out loud, We are still here. We matter. Pay attention to us. As wrong as I think they are about Trump, I can’t really blame them.”

    All of the ‘Bubba-red Who’s’ have cried out, and I CAN BLAME THEM!!!
    They are TOO SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPID for WURDS!!!!!!!!!

    And after a few years of a disastrour-t-TUMP mis-administration, these fucking “MORANS!!!!!” will blame…
    THE DEMOCRATS!!!!!!!

    I speak Russian, so I’m covered on the Putin front.
    Is there a good language-learning program for the many dialect’s of China?

    I think I’ll stay blissfully drunk as long as I can afford it.
    And then, if things turn out differently in 2020, and I’m still alive, I might try to sober up.

    • “Trump won Michigan by 13000 votes.
      Jill Stein: 51000.”

      And how many registered voters in Michigan just plain didn’t vote? Probably a lot more than 51,000. This election was a failure of the Democratic Party, not a failure of 51,000 voters.

  4. I guess I’m from the old school where character matters. Evidently I’ve missed something in my understanding of the American people. I truly believe that yesterday’s decision is going to come back and bite them.
    Something is amiss when half of the voting population can find Trump acceptable as our president.

  5. Something is amiss when half of the voting population can find Trump acceptable as our president.

    I disagree.

    I was at a restaurant a few months ago, and overheard a conversation between a woman who obviously had a lot of time on her hands and who was immersed in the right wing bubble. Her poor male companion (and myself) had to endure this very simple conclusion:

    “I’m not voting for the socialist. I’m not voting for the liar. Who wouldn’t want to make America great again?”

    Ian Welsh has a great summary of what happened. In essence, Trump offered a message of hope, and Hillary offered a message about herself (“I’m With Her”). Also:

    This has been coming for years

    Various people, myself included, were warning that a huge populist backlash was coming, and that in America, it would probably be right wing. As far back as the early 2000s. Others were warning of this in the 90s, or even the late 80s, because they saw the inequality data and knew where it leads.

    Elites Have Taken Almost All the Gains for 36 Years

    It’s just that simple. A lot of people have been left to rot for two generations now. The good jobs went away, they never came back, and yes, that was deliberate government policy. Neoliberal globalization was a choice, and it was a choice designed to destroy the future of many many people.

    Who wouldn’t want to make America Great again? vs “I’m With Her”? No contest.

  6. “But the Dems haven’t bothered to reach out to them in any meaningful way in many years. … White blue-collar rust-belt folks were not part of that picture.”

    Right, saving the American automobile industry in 2008, along with all the jobs and businesses dependent on the automobile industry, was not reaching out to the white blue-collar rust-belt folks ! Along with “Keep the government out of my Medicare !”

    • “Right, saving the American automobile industry in 2008, along with all the jobs and businesses dependent on the automobile industry, was not reaching out to the white blue-collar rust-belt folks ! Along with ‘Keep the government out of my Medicare !’ ”

      Those examples prove my point, actually. Clinton won in the Detroit area, but not in rural Michigan. Most Americans here in right-wing land don’t really understand what went on with the auto industry, and I already explained that Obamacare is now a code word for “everything I hate about government.” They still don’t know what it is, and don’t appreciate that it is helping keep Medicare solvent. The Obama Administration needed to do more outreach to people to explain what it was doing and why. Instead, people got the right-wing media version of what was going on. The Democratic Party in general should have been going to people and explaining to them what leftie policies would do for them; aggressively selling them on leftie economics. But they didn’t do that.

  7. “I say the single biggest failure of the Obama Administration is its failure to communicate to most Americans what it was doing and why.”

    When the “liberal media” gives equal weight to a verifiable Republican lie vs a demonstrable Democratic fact, there is little hope. I (we) don’t know how much Obama pushed his narrative – could have been a lot or a little.

    Did any news outlet ever state that Trump advised that the northern car industry be dismantled and moved to Carolina, for instance? Yet the Michiganders actually expect a return from their Trump vote… Did ANYONE research and promote how many lives were saved by the ACA? Did anyone ever ask why, if Republicanism was such a great ideology, it relied on lies to sell it? Where was the continual refutation of any of Trump’s lies (the irony of “Lying Hillary,” repeated over and over on national news snips of Trumps rallies, was never highlighted even once, to my knowledge).

    Republicans are really good at propaganda.

    Clinton could have pointed out that Republicans have run Washington for 22 years, since the 1994 Contract on America. She could have noted that Republicanism ALWAYS creates a boom-and-bust economy, just like we had in the late 1800s and early 1900s, eventually ending in the Great Depression.


  8. I predict that, come mid-2017 or so, Trump’s Presidency will start to collapse, from the weight of his lies and crimes and idiocies; his ever-increasing band of enemies will plot his downfall, and start to put their plan into effect…

    … and then ISIS will attack. Or Al-Qaeda, or whoever else. Right away Trump will claim an emergency and a mandate, and on the strength of that crush his domestic enemies and start yet another forever-war.

    The analogy with Bush Jr. is obvious. I claim no conspiracies beyond shared interests. The terrorists _like_ Trump. They’ve _said_ so. He’s just the kind of President they want, and want to keep President; so they’ll help him, in their way. And perhaps Putin will also offer his kind of help.

    I mention this prediction to you as prophylaxis. Forewarned is forearmed. I hope I’m wrong, but please warn others.

  9. Please don’t get me started.

    “Privazin'” Ryan has an XXXXXXY&Z-RATED boner!
    ‘We, the sheeple, ‘ just gave him the ability to destroy, SS, SSSB, SSDI, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, S-CHIP!!!
    It will be to laugh at.
    It won’t be able to save a Blue Whale, dropped from inches above what is left…..

    And our SCOTUS?
    And Roe v. Wade?
    Well, if you can’t swim, then ”wade,” you f*ckin’ c*nt’s!
    You are your man’s vessel, an’ he already done his part ‘roe-in, ‘ – an’ I know you get what I mean!!!!

    I will be be too sick from…
    what the fuck ever…
    to comment…
    for a…

    Maybe, like the song says, “suicide is painless..”
    I sure hope so…….
    Just not yet………..
    Probably after my Mom goes………….

  10. The right wing media version is made simpler to understand. Plus it comes with swooshy graphics, bimbos and manly simple men.

    The creepy part is how all the supposedly well-intentioned public servant professionals knew less then the newbie failure narcissist. And Trump did it to both parties.

  11. Oh, and I’m sure we can all look forward to the coming great Broadway musical comedy – if we should live long enough:
    “Springtime Fur t-RUMP Und Herr Pence’s ‘A Handmaid’s Tale (Alternative last word’s – Tail, Pussy, Ass, etc…)'”

  12. Good post, maha.

    I imagine in the future there will be less emphasis on data and polling and more on marketing and selling and outreach. All the data in the world doesn’t matter if it’s meaningless garbage.

    The problem with the Democratic approach to appealing to voters has been it is too Ivy-League, empirical, and cosmopolitan. They are helpless and unresponsive to a good Gish Gallop.

  13. I remember the story of a young woman traveling to Indonesia to meet the Dalai lama. She became very ill on the journey and another pilgrim from the region observed that “this will be good practice for dying.”

    I suppose in some way this is an opportunity. We survived Reagan, we survived Dubya. But, this has kicked it up a notch. A few images recur. The hydra of mythology comes to mind. But, there is that moment in “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver where the young girl is bitten by the poisonous snake and her sister recounts that it was a moment where suddenly the world stopped and there is the realization that it will never be the same again. That’s how I feel at the moment. But, I have the good fortune not be among the most vulnerable, so I will have to take up their fight with them. There is a moral imperative, and we have to accept it. I had really grown to respect HRC. I know that some had felt the need to provide a certain distance form her. But, democracy has been a game of compromise for as long as I can remember, it has never spoken with my voice. That is probably fortunate.

    The world will go on and we have to conduct ourselves in such a way to make the world better. You know, the noble eight fold path kind of thing. We may never see if there is any benefit to our actions, but, we have no choice but to do what we can.

  14. @maha

    Do you think if Clinton had made Sanders or Warren VP, the ideological left would have stayed home?

    • “Do you think if Clinton had made Sanders or Warren VP, the ideological left would have stayed home?”

      I’m working on a “How Democrats Screwed the Pooch” post that ought to be up by tomorrow, if not later today. But the short answer is that their first and primary mistake was to put all their chips on Hillary Clinton. As long as she was at the top of the ticket, the outcome probably was doomed.

  15. But the problem isn’t just Hillary Clinton, but the whole attitude of the Democratic Party. We’ve needed them to be an ideologically left-wing party for a long time. We’ve needed them to go to those rust-bucket states and sell people on progressive economics for a long time. And nobody bothered. The only messages received by most voters not in the liberal coastal states are ideologically right-wing messages.

    Herm. “No one bothered” makes it sound like they had plenty of time and resources to spend “bothering”.

    I mean, I’m not saying you’re *wrong* – you’re not, you’re right, no one was out there selling lefty politics, pointing out that “hey, lower taxes make it more lucrative to offshore jobs! Lower regulations means your boss can literally *kill* you and get away with it! No environmental regulations means companies can poison you and when you get cancer in 10 years, shrug their shoulders and say ‘who could have known dumping toxins was so dangerous?'”

    But “no one bothered” phrasing makes it sound like, “you lazy liberals!” rather than “Look, I know they have us outmanned, out gunned, and are feeding these people a constant stream of HATE about us and everything we stand for. But we still have to *try*. Because when they screw up, we need to be the people they turn to.”

    If we’d been out there explaining that “look, all evidence says Saddam Hussein is a toothless tiger, and until we find something, it’s foolish to rush in and start a war” then, when Iraq went badly south, we could have looked good.

    But by all that’s holy, the thought of slogging through all that hate, all that misinformation, and all in hopes that maybe, maybe, the GOP will crap themselves, and we can take advantage of it… that’s exhausting.

    We do need some lefty think tanks, and not the kind who write long, interesting, meaty policy papers. The GOP has proven that you win elections with short, pithy sound bites. So while they’re spending time pretending that tax cuts *create* jobs, rather than encouraging off-shoring, we have to explain how the GOP is the party of offshoring, layoffs, and “gigs” instead of jobs. We need to hang every factory closing around the neck of the “free trade!” GOP. We need to point out every bit of economic bad news and insist that Trump was perfectly happy with this happening, oh, he *talks* a good show, but that’s all he’s ever been, is talk.

    • Herm. “No one bothered” makes it sound like they had plenty of time and resources to spend “bothering”.

      Republicans did it. Why couldn’t Dems? I know part of the answer to that question, but the fact is that Democrats used to “own” the votes of blue-collar white people in the upper midwest, and now they don’t. How that happened is complicated, but if you lived in a “red” state you would know that progressive messages never reach anybody’s ears. It’s all right-wing hegemony, all the time, and it has been since the 1980s, and I’m not seeing Democrats or left-leaning political organizations or anybody else doing a dadblamed thing to change that.

  16. I had really grown to respect HRC.
    So did I. I heard her speak one time about her growing up with middle class values that she learned from watching her parents struggle to raise their family. She mentioned how her rise up the economic ladder had brought with it the illusion that she was distant to those values when in fact those values are core to her being. She expressed her understanding of that perception with a deep regret that her current economic status has obscured her heart and her intent. I sensed her sincerity.
    I knew exactly what she was talking about because I remember with Romney’s campaign thinking how his growing up in wealth and privilege that he couldn’t even begin to relate to somebody of my economic status or circumstance. Therefore I couldn’t make any connection to him personal level.

  17. From what I’ve seen, the think tank at this little blog right here is superior to anything the so-called Dem establishment has demonstrated.

    • “From what I’ve seen, the think tank at this little blog right here is superior to anything the so-called Dem establishment has demonstrated.” Thank you. I’m available for paid consulting work, by the way. But Democratic Party faithful types think I’m crazy.

  18. The democratic party apparatchik sincerely believes in racial equality, women’s rights, voting rights and marriage equality. (All of which cost nothing.) The democratic party leaders are even better at representing Wall Street and the moneyed interests than the Republicans are. Despite her roots with regular people, the trail of money from Wall Street to her campaign prove how the princes of prosperity viewed Hillary as their reliable representative when their interests are at stake.

    “…the studied refusal of Hillary to even acknowledge the fundamental frustration of America with the entitlement and corruption of America’s political elite should prove finally that they are not the future of the Democratic Party (if the party has a future). They are its sad past.”

    That’s Lawrence Lessig from an article in Medium yesterday. But here’s the money shot. Speaking of Josh Silver and

    ” For in South Dakota, voters supported a referendum that will give candidates for state office vouchers to run their campaigns.

    Read that again: In a state that voted 62% for Donald Trump, 52% voted to publicly fund state campaigns.

    Washington state was another victory, but not as surprising. Voters there overwhelmingly (63%) supported an initiative attacking Citizens United. That had happened in many states before—including in the Red State of Montana.”

    If you see the intimate relationship between money and the democratic party as a perversion of democracy you are in the same place as republicans who found Trump exciting because he threatens the republican machine. (This is a huge factor in Trump’s popularity which liberals are selectively blind to.) So maybe is the vehicle for progress in the mid-terms at the state level – promoting citizen-funded elections in the mid-terms to return government to the people, a concept which will reform the democratic party and government everywhere. Let Republican voters also demand democracy, even if they are loathe to use that word, with us at the state level and make 2020 the year voters of both parties make it happen in federal elections.

  19. The single greatest failure of the Obama administration was the obscene lack of effort to prosecute bankers/financiers/brokers in the wake of the great financial crisis.

    Obama appointed Khuzami to head SEC; Khuzami was, prior to the GFC, general council to Deutsche Bank and overseer of that institution’s CDO operations.

    Obama appointed Holder as AG; Holder was, prior to the GFC, a partner at the firm that designed MERS.

    These persons would never (and in fact did not) carry out competent, good faith investigations into the fraud that resulted in the GFC, or the fraud that was ‘robo-signing’, b/c they themselves were complicit in said fraud.

    Don’t take my word for it: read William K. Black

    • “The single greatest failure of the Obama administration was the obscene lack of effort to prosecute bankers/financiers/brokers in the wake of the great financial crisis.” I agree that was a failure, but I still say his failure to get his message across to the American people about what he was doing, and why, was a bigger failure that set the stage for Trump to win. Trump voters aren’t angry with him that he didn’t go after the big banks, for example. They’re angry because they think Obamacare and every other Obama initiative is a failure. They have no idea what he actually did in office, in other words.

  20. Trump Voters Won’t Like What Happens Next by Garrison Keillor.

    So he won. The nation takes a deep breath. Raw ego and proud illiteracy have won out, and a severely learning-disabled man with a real character problem will be president. We are so exhausted from thinking about this election, millions of people will take up leaf-raking and garage cleaning with intense pleasure. We liberal elitists are wrecks. The Trumpers had a whale of a good time, waving their signs, jeering at the media, beating up protesters, chanting “Lock her up” — we elitists just stood and clapped. Nobody chanted “Stronger Together.” It just doesn’t chant.

    The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch…

    For myself, I have been feeling an unexpected, deep sense of peace, that I think is not just me but the whole country. This battle is over, there is resolution.

    Trump is too volatile, egotistical, and inexperienced to make any firm predictions about what happens next. Despite how bad it looks when the Repubs have all three branches of government I am hopeful about some things.

    The culture has come around to the idea that ObamaCare is a wreck, and the Rs will most certainly repeal it. I would bet something else will replace it – Trump earlier in his life was for some sort of universal health care. Getting this past the Congress would a way to bring in disaffected Democrats and establish himself over the regressives and show them who is the boss – he doesn’t believe in the three branches of government and checks and balances. I really expect a Trump to blow up Washington DC, and this is a great way to start.

  21. I still say his failure to get his message across to the American people about what he was doing, and why, was a bigger failure that set the stage for Trump to win.

    All my life I’ve wanted a smart, intellectual nerdy guy to be president – someone who gets it – and in Obama I more or less had my wish granted. And I saw him treated exactly the way nerds were treated in high school, and saw therefore how short-sighted that wish of mine really was. Until you have a guy who is smart and who can get across to average people and connect with them, it won’t work. Brains isn’t enough.

  22. “From what I’ve seen, the think tank at this little blog right here is superior to anything the so-called Dem establishment has demonstrated.”

    Maha.. That’s your cue to put out the tin cup. Maybe Christmas will come early if you do. I’ll prime the pump with a little something coming your way. I still believe in the the New York expression..say it with money!

  23. Maha, you’re pretty smart for a little kid. I can think of a major corporation that desperately needs you. The hard part would be getting those powers that be to have you, knowing that if their boat got rocked they’d fall out for sure.

  24. I had sit downs with three VPs at a name brand global corporation, men in charge of thousands. I came away extremely unimpressed. What I learned is that while all may have started out as shining technical stars, those muscles had atrophied to where only the oily politician-actor remained. The worst part was seeing that they’d lost the ability to care about what was happening at the grunt (productivity) level. Today that corporation cannot survive without significant ‘help’ from government and all the other usual corporate cheats and tricks. Typical tale many places I guess.

    That said, I’m curious about how Bernie seemed to have kept those muscles intact while Hillary lost touch. Come to think of it, did Trump just observe Bernie’s rallies and put a snake oil spin on it? There’s no possible way he ‘feels’ any of this.

  25. Pingback: Stop Scapegoating Third Parties! | The Mahablog

  26. Maha, I agree with what you say again, but you’re also answering part of your question. “Why did the Republicans keep working states where they’re winning and winning big, and why didn’t Democrats spend lots of time and resources trying to establish a beachhead?”

    Well, because the Democrats don’t have the resources to do everything. And… I want to emphasize what I’m trying to say here. Again, I am not saying you are wrong. What I’m trying to say is, okay, yes, the Democrats got it wrong, but in a situation where it was very hard to get it right.

    They had to try to fight for what they could maintain. They should have maintained a version of the 50 state strategy, and didn’t – but they didn’t in the face of a massive wave election by Tea Party Republicans. After getting clobbered in 2010, resources were drying up and they had to choose where to fight.

    And I’ll grant you: in retrospect, there should have been work being done on the assumption that the Republicans *can’t* keep doing well because they *don’t* have a useful ideology. The assumption that they’d nominate a moron like Trump after nominating a moron like George W, should have stuck in everyone’s mind.

    There should have been some lonely voices in the wilderness explaining how tax cuts and free trade and deregulation, and all the things the Republicans love, won’t create US jobs or bring them back. There should have been constant pushback, “oh, there he goes again, he’s going to wave his magic wand and make jobs appear, while backing a party that’s been trying to get people to move them offshore. It’s not going to work.”

    There wasn’t. That was a failure.

    But it wasn’t a stupid failure. Until Trump was the nominee, and the Republicans started using law enforcement to pimp their cause, no one could have predicted they’d stoop so low.

    Why does that matter? Well, because, “hey, dummy, why didn’t you fight harder for the blue-collar folks?” won’t get people to agree with you as quickly as “See, this is why we needed to fight for blue collar folks – to keep them from being suckered by Trump, who’s only going to disappoint them and blame the disappointment on someone else.”

    I’m not sure if this makes any sense, or any difference. But we’re not going to unite and push back against evil people if we’re doing too much infighting. Did people make mistakes? Sure, a lot of them. The biggest one is they are failing to learn the lessons Republicans give us.

    1) Defend your victories. Every whine about Obamacare should have been met by people saying “we’re wiling to listen to Republican suggestions to improve the law, but they just want to take health insurance away from millions of people, including the poor and working class. And at the same time, they’re encouraging offshoring and the gig economy so employers don’t need to offer health insurance any longer. If premiums are rising fast, we’ll listen to how to reduce premiums, but going back to the day when no one who was sick could obtain health insurance is a non-starter, and that’s the Republican goal.”

    2) Defend your *people*. “Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong; she used a private e-mail server because the Republicans dig through everything of hers they can – look at the Benghazi witch-hunt! She made a few mistakes along the way – but she committed no crimes, and that’s obvious. I’m not sure why the media is playing lap dog to the Republicans on this issue.”

    3) always hit back when they hit you. “Yes, President Obama shouldn’t have promised you can keep your plan, he knew some plans would be discontinued by the insurance companies. And George W. Bush shouldn’t have promised we’d find an active WMD program in Iraq – which mistaken promise caused real damage, and the lives of 3000 of our best and brightest?”

    Anyway. You’re right. More attention should have been paid. But if there’s a way to push forward that lets a few embarrassed folks save a bit of face, and allow them to more easily move forward with us, that’s a good thing. And, as a side note, I do think that the face-saving story of “we had to spend resources where we thought they were most wisely deployed” is true – the point now is, “good, now you’ve learned that what you thought was wise, wasn’t – so let’s find wisdom”.

  27. “I was wrong to think that Trump was such a terrible candidate even Clinton could beat him, ”
    He was a terrible candidate, the worse in at least a hundred years.A demagogue, lying hateful male primate display.
    Remember no matter what Trump did, he was still acceptable to white apologistic voters, and despite everything Hillary did she was found fault with. Remember the Loud mouth boy in class who didn’t know the answer but got all the attention while the smart girl got dissed for doing her work?
    Yes the auto workers got millions of jobs saved by Dem Obama, but the Dems did not get the credit . Thr Repubs were the ones that said let the auto industry be exported.
    Yes Obama got 20 million people health coverage and yes he expanded food stamp program so foreclosed people wouldn’t starve, It is easy to criticize when your mouth is full.The Dem party is poor on messaging and reminding people of the facts and of promoting progressive real economics not trickle down mythology. I do not feel sorry for the rust belt. I do not sympathize with the plight of the poor white man or self righteous Christian woman. These people are the product of 30 years of talk radio and talk tv news that gins up false aggrievement.
    And yes green and independent votes do defeat us because a vote is an instrument not self expression. especially when the choice is between bland potatoes and flaming e coli laced yam. when the bullet is coming at you , you protect yourself , you don’t quibble about the choice of Kevlar.

  28. Are those coastal liberals so out of touch with the rest of America that they didn’t know what a hot button the name “Clinton” is? Did they really have no clue that for nearly 25 years the Clintons together have been to Republican and conservative-leaning voters what Emmanuel Goldstein was in 1984 — the “primal traitor”; the Ultimate Boogeyman; the locus of All Evil; symbols of the worst corruption and elitism and global conspiracy-ism all rolled into one? And if you say that isn’t fair I agree, heartily, but it is what it is. A big chunk of Americans have long been conditioned to react to “Clinton” the way George Orwell’s characters turned into a howling mob during the Two Minutes Hate. Donald Trump tapped into that conditioning and exploited it masterfully. Although Jill Stein supporters stupidly got sucked into it, they didn’t start it.

    So true, Maha.. When I mentioned to my wife that Hillary was seeking the nomination for the presidency, she responded to me by saying: “Oh, I think I’ll stay home and bake a cake.” That was telling me that she was still harboring a resentment against Hillary for a statement Hillary made almost 20 years earlier. The statement that was made by Hillary was an innocent comment in trying to explain a woman’s prerogative in choosing a career in the workforce as opposed to having to be locked into a traditional role of housewife and mother. Hillary used the phrasing, “if you want to stay home and bake a cake”. The Christian Right media blew that statement completely out of proportion with the distortion that Hillary rejected family values. I felt bad for Hillary at the time because I understood what she was trying to say, but nevertheless the Christian Right managed to tar her as an evil bitch opposed to family values.

  29. Maha, I did read it, and I want to pause and try to start over.

    Here’s what bugged me: the statement that they “didn’t bother to…”. And the reason it bugs me is it makes it seem like a tiny little thing, “he didn’t bother to make sure he unplugged the iron, and his house burned down.”

    And the reason it bugs me is not that it’s untrue. It *is* true. But the tone… now, hold on a moment, I know “the tone derailment”. I’m not saying you *shouldn’t* say that because it sounds nasty or shrill or whatever.

    I mean, okay, yes, that was *wrong*. But there’s a saying in Texas: no one needs you to tell them they dropped the ball. That’s not entirely true – no one told George W about the balls he dropped, and he needed someone to. But the spirit is still true: when someone has made a dumbass mistake, you don’t need to point it out. Unless they’re really that big a fool (cf: George W) or unless you’re trying to hurt them.

    And you’re right. They *did* drop the ball. And we should make sure, quietly, that they aren’t a George W and can admit it.

    Okay: but, they were trying to do something. It wasn’t stone-cold stupid. It was *wrong* – but it wasn’t stupidly wrong.

    (This is a sticky point. It’s become common to call anything devastatingly, harmfully wrong “stupidly wrong”. But it isn’t always stupid. It might reflect a defective point of view, but people *can* learn to change a bad point of view. There’s no learning past “stupid”.)

    So: what I’m saying is “you’re right. It was egregiously wrong. But that particular phrase strikes me as a scolding phrase. And we don’t need scolding.”

    And maybe you don’t see it that way. Maybe to you, it doesn’t have *any* overtones of lazy stupidity or stupid laziness. In which case, I’m wasting time discussing a particular phrase that grates on me in a particular way, and I humbly apologize.

    (Seriously. I do get fixated on stupid things sometimes, and spend far too much time trying to make other people understand the inner workings of my brain, when who, besides me, gives a damn? (that’s a self-deprecating joke, BTW.))

    It’s just… damn. The Republicans will hang together EVEN WHEN THEIR CANDIDATE IS CAUGHT BRAGGING ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT. And we could end up sniping at each other over whose fault it was or wasn’t, and losing a golden opportunity.

    And yes, it *is* an opportunity. Because suddenly, *EVERYTHING* the Republicans do wrong can now be directed at Trump.

    “We can’t come together in bipartisan comity; we have to protect America against Trump.”

    “Well, the Republicans are planning an infrastructure fund, which we’ve long demanded, but the fact of the matter is, we have to protect America from Trump.” (NB: we all knew they’d want infrastructure – as soon as Obama wouldn’t get any benefit from it, or credit for it. Trump’s just their water boy. But think about the economic suffering they caused over that particular bit of partisan nastiness.)

    “Look, the Republicans have discussed de-regulating before, but now, things are far worse, because the person enforcing the regulations is Trump.”

    See… even if a person felt nervous about fighting everything the Republicans did, we now have a reason.

    I mean, that they completely hounded the past two Democratic Presidents, until they were able to get back into power, is more than reason enough. You don’t join hands with a bully and sing Kumbaya just because he’s stopped beating you up because he has everything from you he wants. But now we have a reason that even the beltway morons can’t deny. We can’t TRUST Trump. Because he threatened to jail people for running against him; because he queried about using nuclear weapons against Daesh. Because he doesn’t know the first thing about governing. Because he’s a serial sexual assailant. Because he threatened religious freedom. Because of his blatantly racist distrust of the judiciary.


    And besides. Paybacks are a zombief*ker.

    (I decided I couldn’t use “mother” so I subbed in zombie. It hits the right tone for me.)

    • LHW– I still have no clue what your issue is. The problem with the Dems being put of touch with and increasingly unable to communicate with working class whites has been ongoing since at least the 1980s if not earlier, and if they’ve been making a sincere effort to correct that I sure as hell haven’t seen it.

  30. Pingback: Dear Sister And Brother Progressives: | The Mahablog

  31. Pingback: Racism Is No Excuse | The Mahablog

Comments are closed.