Since I’m in such a good mood this morning, we’ll be taking a glance as Thomas Frank and Bernie Sanders talk about an array of compelling ideas that local party bigwig Adam Dickey doesn’t want to hear.
However, first let’s take a brief diversion into post-electoral Democratic self-delusion, one of Mr. Disney’s perennial specialties.
Can They Count?, by Jonah Walters (Jacobin)
Blaming third-party voters for Trump’s win isn’t just bad politics. It’s bad math.
In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election day victory, political wonks find themselves in an urgent predicament — apparently, not a single one of them owns a calculator. This crisis is ill-timed indeed. Performing simple feats of addition and subtraction is a vital part of the wonks’ post-election number-crunching ritual. But without calculators, wonks make mistakes.
The calculator crisis has already had an impact on public opinion. Justifiably unnerved by the shortage, data-slingers have flailed in the days and weeks following the election. As a result, they’ve churned out misleading analyses full of bad math.
The worst instances of bad math have to do with the so-called “protest vote,” cast by those voters who, disgusted by the major candidates on offer, pulled the lever for marginal third-party challengers like the Green Party’s Jill Stein. To hear the wonks tell it, these voters were dupes — frauds even — and they cost Clinton the election.
Because what really happened was this.
The Democrats lost because their Republican challenger was able to galvanize voters far more successfully than Hillary Clinton, whose technocratic blend of esoteric policy-talk and milquetoast liberalism did next to nothing to motivate turnout, even with the specter of a Trump presidency looming large.
So, the Democrats drew the short straw, and the reform process begins. Or does it?
How the Democrats could win again, if they wanted, by Thomas Frank (The Guardian)
Labor and economic equality used to be at the heart of liberal politics. Rich professionals expunged these concerns – and have reaped the consequences
What makes 2016 a disaster for Democrats is not merely the party’s epic wipeout in Washington and the state capitals, but that the contest was fought out on a terrain that should have been favorable to them. This was an election about social class –about class-based grievances – and yet the Party of the People blew it. How that happened is the question of the year, just as it has been the question of other disastrous election years before. And just like before, I suspect the Democrats will find all manner of convenient reasons to take no corrective action.
But first let us focus on the good news. Donald Trump has smashed the consensus factions of both parties. Along the way, he has destroyed the core doctrine of Clintonism: that all elections are decided by money and that therefore Democrats must match Republican fundraising dollar for dollar. This is the doctrine on which progressive hopes have been sacrificed for decades, and now it is dead. Clinton outspent Trump two-to-one and it still wasn’t enough.
Leaving aside the question of how this conclusion pertains to Jeff Gahan’s fattened war chest, it isn’t pretty.
This year the Republicans chose an honest-to-god scary candidate, a man who really ought to have been kept out of the White House, and the party’s centrists choked. Instead of winning, the pragmatists delivered Democrats to the worst situation they’ve been in for many decades, with control of no branch of the federal government and only a handful of state legislatures. Over the years, and at the behest of this faction, Democrats gave up what they stood for piece by piece and what they have to show for it now is nothing.
At least we now understand what it really means to swing.
… the real swing voters are the working people who over the years have switched their loyalty from the Democrats to Trump’s Republicans. Their views are pretty much the reverse of the standard model. On certain matters they are open to conservative blandishments; on economic issues, however, they are pretty far to the left. They don’t admire free trade or balanced budgets or entitlement reform – the signature issues of centrism – they hate those things. And if Democrats want to reach them, they will have to turn away from the so-called center and back to the economic left.
Frank doesn’t believe the Democratic Party will be up to the task of introspection and rehabilitation. The party won’t make the necessary changes, and …
This will happen because what leading liberals cannot understand – what they are psychologically blocked from understanding – is that the problem isn’t really the white working class. The problem is them.
For those of an optimistic nature, there’s a potential silver lining.
If the unreconstructed Democratic party is to be saved, I suspect, what will save it is what always saves it: the colossal incompetence of the Republicans. This, too, we can already see coming down the rails. Donald Trump is getting the wrecking crew back together, and before too long, I suspect, he will have the country pining for Hillary Clinton.
Ah, what might have been, but Bernie Sanders is not looking back in anger.
Bernie Sanders: Where We Go From Here, by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)
It feels like a bomb went off in Washington. In less than a year, the leaders of both major parties have been crushed, fundamentally reshaping a political culture that for generations had seemed unalterable. The new order has belligerent outsider Donald Trump heading to the White House, ostensibly backed in Congress by a tamed and repentant majority of establishment Republicans. Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss, meanwhile, has left the minority Democrats in disarray. A pitched battle for the soul of the opposition party has already been enjoined behind the scenes.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won overwhelming youth support and 13 million votes during primary season, now sits on one side of that battle, in a position of enormous influence. The party has named him “outreach chair,” and Minnesota congressman and Sanders political ally Keith Ellison is the favorite to be named head of the Democratic National Committee. This is a huge change from earlier this year, when the Sanders campaign was completely on the outs with the DNC, but many see Sanders’ brand of politics as the Democrats’ best shot at returning to prominence.
Since November 9, the Floyd County Democratic party has continued doing what it’s done best during Chairman Dickey’s tenure: Avoid any trace of content while erecting sanitized facades to hide behind.
Of course, there are times when Occam’s razor rules, and the simplest explanation is the best; as such, local Democrats have absolutely nothing in the tank, and so nothingness is the only path the party can take.
We already know how it’s going to play out hereabouts: