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Subj: You people have to stop watching MSNBC.
Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 at 10:06:49 pm EDT (Viewed 132 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Warning: A Very Long Read
Posted: Wed May 11, 2022 at 12:06:02 am EDT (Viewed 135 times)
Not really. James Carville, who embodies the centrist corporate left of center view, abhors it and is one of the most outspoken against it from the well, relative left. I will admit using “far left” is too vague. Wokeness and cancel culture is more a concern of the academic left, and as such has lots of rules and jargon that many laypeople can’t make sense of from using plural pronouns for non-binaries to the appropriateness of “Latinx”. How much does the academic left overlap with the far left? Well, more than either overlaps with Carville or Bill Maher or Meghan Daum or Lawrence Summers and both groups are to the left of them. (My own position is not that pushing this kind of change is wrong, but that it is not well thought out and certainly executed poorly. I won’t get into the specifics of that here because it’s kind of besides the point and would make an already long post much longer.)
LGDB: So yeah, I think this is basically confused, but you seem to suggest the reason it's confused yourself: i.e. that the word "far left" doesn't really mean that much. And for that matter neither does the academic left. I also think you're cherry picking a few examples here and there of Carville and Maher. Maher's a fun commentator, but easily to the right of most liberals and progressives in term of economic or traditional political issues. He's like a lot of people in entertainment: shoots from the hip with a series of various incoherent political intuitions. Maher in some ways is a libertarian that supports Democrats. It's only social issues that Maher has ever really been much of liberal and in that case he hasn't really moved with the party since the 90s. He regularly bitches about taxes and government spending, hardly traditional progressive. And Carville is an electoral hatchet man, as mercenary as they come. He's spent decades championing the "it's the economy stupid" while working for an administration that regularly pushed economic policies that most Americans didn't agree with or benefit from. And Larry Summers? Larry Summers is the guy who during the 2008 market crash encouraged Obama to make sure to bail out Wallstreet without any serious restructuring of the economy or reforms on banking or the financial sector, saying if I remember correctly that all those people in middle America who were going to lose their pensions and be foreclosed upon would "pad the runway" for the failing hedge funds and too big to fail banks. Larry Summers is about as responsible as any single human person for the fact that the various Wallstreet ghouls avoided consequences of any kind for their part in the Great recession, and that their loses would be paid for my the American taxpayers, while folks on Main street were losing their homes and savings. Does he use the word Latinx? I shouldn't think it matters. My point is these are a murderer's row of political hacks and economic charlatans.
All that being said, I think the left or what I think is more honestly described as left populism doesn't correlate any tighter with woke cancel culture than centrist corporatism. Yeah you can find plenty of blue haired young people (mostly still exploring political identities) who espouse Marxist theory while talking about safe spaces and their multitude of gender expressions and talking about how words are violence... but if we look at the actual formal political landscape weaponized identity politics and smug virtue signally were just as frequent with the Neera Tanden's of the world as they were the Bernie bros, and I'd argue quite a bit more often, and more cynically. What was Hillary's question to Bernie during the 2016 primary? "How are breaking up the big banks going to end racism?" I believe it was
But what I will say, is that I generally agree that woke scolds on the on the internet calling everyone racist and transphobic so on and so forth are only alienating people from the Democratic party. Probably almost as bad as the CNN and MSNBC libs calling everyone that voted for Trump a crazy MAGA racist. Six in one half a dozen in the other if you ask me. You're so concerned with how the left has alienated voters, while describing at least half of them in maximalist terms, describing them not that differently than when Clinton called them a basket of deplorables. I don't agree or advocate for either the zany Portland tik tok warriors OR the venomous types in the MSM who describe the Trump voters the way you seem to. While I don't think we'll convince most of them, I don't want to guarantee we convince absolutely none of them either.
And the truth is I think most of it's to distract people and have them think that the real political division is this country is between conservative and liberals, instead of the real political division which is between the wealthy and everyone else. It makes building a large democratic coalition all the more difficult to form because it encourages people to suspect that their fellow American are actually the "irrational" evil people ruining the country, as opposed to the actual culprits profiting from their misery. And you may not like wokism but you engage in a very similar political distraction from what I can tell: the politics of etiquette and decency. A politics that presupposes that there's some fundamental difference between Trump and the larger Washington consensus. That he's somehow a threat to the latter or that the latter isn't itself every bit as dangerous as that scary orange buffoon.
I think you overestimate the degree to which people are rational and think this through. If people actually appreciated Democrats for what they did, then Clinton’s very prosperous run as president would have led to Gore becoming the next president, not Bush (or if you believe that Bush stole the presidency, at least it wouldn’t have been so close as to come down to 500 or so votes). Bush was disastrous as president between the Iraq War and its lack of WMDs to Hurricane Katrina to his term ending with the start of the Great Recession. Then Obama led a recovery back to prosperity. He passed ACA and gave 20+ million people access to healthcare who did not have it before (mostly through Medicaid expansion). Was there appreciation for Democrats? No. Voters couldn’t be bothered to show up in the midterms and Obama lost Congress. Then Trump got elected, got impeached twice, and mishandled the worst pandemic in a century.
LGDB: I'm not sure how rational YOU'RE being or how well YOU'RE thinking this through. And I'm not saying that to be disrespectful or to goad you put I find that when people talk about how stupid the masses are they very rarely include themselves in it, which is at best curious. What I can say if you know anything about Clinton's presidency outside of the vague belief that the economy was doing well, you'd ask yourself for whom the economy was doing well, because it certainly wasn't the American worker. And it's not to say the conservatives of the era were any better. That's the point, how thoroughly Clinton capitulated to conservative economic theory and to the kinds of institutions that conservatives often represent. Clinton's administration signed Republican free trade deals that predictably lowered wages and made it easier for companies to outsource jobs which among other things undercut union leverage. Not to mention his various other triangulations like cutting welfare, signing the crime bill, and deregulating Wallstreet of course. Now you may have personally avoided in the Clinton years the economic fallout of those kinds of policy decisions. Bully for you. But the point is many people didn't. The workers that were betrayed by the Clinton administration and his brand of business friendly "New Democrat" weren't "fooled" into the thinking that their town factories closed down, and and it wasn't conservative propaganda that made them "imagine" their jobs magically disappeared and reappeared in various exotic locales. That's why they jumped ship to the Republicans or became disillusioned with the political process completely; not because they were fooled... because their party abandoned them. They developed that opinion based on the actual material conditions of their lives. You can think people are as stupid and you like, and that they ought to know about their best interests (from your vantage point of course), and you could have told them that as their wages remained stagnant despite increased productivity, as housing and education inflated almost exponentially, and as the American dream that their children's lives would be better than their own became little more than nostalgic fantasy, and I'm sure it wouldn't have done a lick of good. It would probably be as compelling as it is now to them, which is to say not at all. For my part I think it's pretty condescending to think that while the median standards of living slip slowly into the toilet even through Democratic super majorities, the American people who have lost faith in the Dems' ability or willingness to deliver, are somehow irrational. I think the thought is morally obscene as a matter of fact.
And yes I completely agree about how awful the Republicans have been, and how atrocious their policies continue to be, but the paradox here is that you think that the American working class ought to appreciate as a matter of half baked pragmatism how wonderful the Democrats are for having moved... closer to those Republicans you hate so much. And they did this not secretly, but out in the open all the while convincing themselves how bright they were for doing so. There's a reason Clinton is associated with triangulating. Now it looks slimy perhaps, but in the 90s dem apparatchiks prided the realpolitik of it all. The idea being if Dems courted business interests (usually a natural Republican constituency) especially sectors of the burgeoning new Tech economy and innovative parts of the growing financial sector, then they wouldn't have to worry about fulfilling the demands of the less moneyed political coalitions that were traditionally their province. You know, people like labor unions, the general working class, the bottom half of the country, because as they say "where else are they gonna go?" This has proven a completely fatal error I'd say, but more on that later.
I totally agree that Democrats have not improved lives nearly as well as they could have, but Democrats have at least done it better than Republicans, and if your premise is correct, that should keep them in office at least a little longer. It doesn’t. Instead, both the presidency and the Congress switch roughly every 4 to 8 years.
LGDB: But this calculus isn't really what most people are doing most of the time. When both parties fail them, and I'd argue further when the primary system is meant to alienate the general public--ask yourself why we only really hear this "vote or die talk" during the general election--most people don't award the slightly less filthy political apparatus. They generally regard both as corrupt and either don't vote at all or they vote sort of arbitrarily, "I assume both are lying and so I'll go with whichever candidate seems more honest." Further, the important premise as far as I'm concerned is WHY the Democrats are only a little better than the Republicans by and large for most people most of the time. The belief that the Democrats make the kind of compromises they do in order to beat the Republicans or to appeal to "moderate voters" whatever the hell that is, is I think fatuous and totally unempirical. The Democrats don't pass on abundantly popular policies like universal health care; the child tax credit; raising the minimum wage; debt forgiveness; lowering prescription drugs; a draw down of foreign entanglements; more school funding, the Pro act; expanded social security and so on because it would hurt them with the voters. That's patently foolish and cuts against everything we know about the electorate. Many if not most Democrats don't adopt those policies because their real constituency, their donors and financial backers don't approve. Because it hurts their bottom line, raises their taxes, lowers the yield of their assets, and creates a labor market they find less than favorable.
Politically I agree with the far left more than the center left. Above all though, I am pragmatic, while the far left is too idealistic and seemingly blind to that idealism. I was with Bernie Sanders more than Hillary Clinton, but Bernie lost in the primary. He presented his ideas. Hillary presented hers. She won the primary. I was disappointed, but at that point, the Democrats needed to be fully on board to keep Trump from becoming president. I’m friends with some in the DSA who would not vote for Hillary no matter what. Quite a few on the far left took that position, and if I recall correctly, that included you, although I don’t know if you ultimately stuck by that decision. Trump won by about 70,000 votes across the Midwest. That’s not a lot. It could have easily gone the other way if more people voted instead of refusing to vote for Clinton on principle despite despising Trump. The result has severely damaged the country, not least because the Supreme Court would now have a super majority of liberals instead of conservatives due to Trump’s 3 picks. That Texas abortion law would have been struck down so fast and we wouldn’t even be talking about Roe getting overturned.
LGDB: I think this is quite the contrary the opposite of pragmatism and the height of ideological thinking. And just look where we're at the Dems whose sole virtue (their ability to win elections) are about to get massacred in the midterms liking losing both the House and the Senate; have no reason to expect they'll keep the White House in 2024; and have wrought a SCOTUS that is 6-3 conservative and is about to overturn Roe V. Wade. These are not what I call "practical results." Furthermore, as it happens, there's nothing pragmatic about failing to hold together a popular coalition because you've systematically sided with corporate money and the relative PMC minority. Or thinking that somehow that Republicans wouldn't find away to appeal (however deceptively) peel off these abandoned constituencies.
And what I find almost galling is the suggestion that all these failures are somehow the fault of leftists and progressives. The Democratic establishment so far as I can tell have almost total institutional power, while progressives, outside of a dozen (at the most) or so in the House and one in the Senate who might I remind you vote WITH the establishment about 90% of the time, are somehow to blame. This sounds like a formula for evading responsibility to me. This belief that if Democrats are losing it's that they are too progressive I think is almost completely without logic. Most people are not BETWEEN the two parties. Most people are BENEATH the two parties, beneath their attention, their notice and their interest. Most American want ONE of the two parties to help them in ways that are more than symbolic, oblique, or only okay when you compare them to a worse party. You can't feed your family on the "not enough money, but still more than the conservatives were offering." And you still get evicted from your home if you "have almost enough rent and honestly rent would have been higher under Trump."
Now as for whether or not Bernie people supported Clinton sufficiently, I suggest you check your history. If you do you'll find the inconvenient data that a greater percentage of Bernie supporters voted for Clinton in the 2016 election than did Hillary supporters vote for Obama in the 2008 election. I in fact DID vote for Clinton in the 2016 election. The difference between you and I apparently is that while I voted for Clinton I didn't blame the people who refused to. Call me crazy, but I think that powerful people ought to be held accountable for the consequences of their actions MORE than the powerless. One of the chief objections to Clinton getting the nomination was on her being so damn unelectable. But her supporters didn't want to hear it, low and behold she lost, and then it was everyone else's fault. And if you want to look no further to the vote she failed to capture, don't look the Bernie supporters, the vast majority of which DID vote for her. Look instead to the industrial Midwest. One of the BEST predictors for what states Clinton would lose were those states that were most seriously affected by free trade agreements like NAFTA. Another classic examples of Democrat policies alienating the voters their policies betrayed, and then being AMAZED that those betrayed weren't as willing to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of the two evils.
Democrats try to win over working class voters by talking about job training programs. Republicans actually win them over by telling them falsely that Mexicans are stealing their jobs so they will build a wall to keep them out. You seem to think many Trump voters are looking for some massive status quo change giving them economic justice and that they would have voted for Bernie Sanders had they been given a chance when they actually voted for Trump because they don’t want minorities becoming the majority, they want guns, lots of guns, but most of all, they want to own the libs, because they think liberals condescend to them. That’s where Trump excelled because he would say anything to troll the opposition, regardless that Trump could produce anything whatsoever policy-wise, which he pretty much couldn’t.
LGDB: To be honest this a totally classist smear job of what most American people are like. You've managed to reverse engineer what you think most of them (which is to say what most of us) must be like based in the kinds of decisions they've been forced to make. And personally, I'd say you make an awful stenographer or empath for your political enemies. Yeah, I think this [job training programs] are really great example of something that is an absolutely paltry excuse for fighting for the interests of workers. "Oh yes let's just teach the 55 year old coal miners to code. Only 6% of jobs in the economy are STEM but I'm sure business will be raring to hire the just past middle aged blue collar laborers instead of the 22 year old child who has been weened digitally and doesn't have a family to support and doesn't expect medical." Of all the bald faced lies Clinton ever peddled this has to be the dumbest on its face despite it also being the most widely repeated. If Democrats want to help workers they can fight to increase wages, fight for better workers conditions, fight to help them unionize, fight to help them receive a greater portion of the ever shrinking percentage of the value they produce.
Now... and I want to be very clear here... when both parties are offering very little in way of a material gain or benefit, voters will have to make their decisions on other discriminating bases. Namely they'll vote according to the culture war. Saying that most American wouldn't choose economic prosperity over owning the libs is I think profoundly mendacious (unintentionally so, I'd hope), because as it happens they haven't been given that choice. Generally speaking people are well aware that they aren't being given the choice between putting food on their table or reducing the cost of prescriptions or the orange man who loves guns and bibles. They're being given the choice of a polite FU by the party of middle management or an entertaining circus ringleader who kisses their asses and craps on their enemies. Hmmm I wonder who they might chose? Compare the way you've described these people to how Trump might talk about them, and you're surprised they don't want to join up with you!? It's embarrassing to not make this connection. This liberal attitude that "we've given the poors nothing, but I bet they wouldn't even take it if we did, cause they're so racist" again I think is virtually transcendentally out of touch and classist by its open character.
In many red states, having a D next to your name is a kiss of death at the polls. Somehow you think having “socialist” next to your name is better? For these voters, that’s even worse. I was born and raised in Arkansas. I grew up around these people. If I recall correctly, you live in Texas, so you should know better too, but I think you’re in Austin, the bluest patch of Texas. Biden passed a $1 trillion infrastructure and jobs act and was attempting a $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, before compromise brought it down to $2.2 trillion, which is how it passed the House. People forget that it’s half way through. That’s monumental social spending. Where are all the people on the right who want the economic and health benefits in this bill that include lots of the stuff you say people want? Polls show roughly half the country opposes it. So Democrats failing here is not for lack of trying. The voters simply didn’t give them enough of a Congressional majority to overcome the existence of a Manchin and a Sinema.
LGDB: Actually I'm NOT for socialist branding. And I don't even think Marxist categories are necessary for understanding the political world. I think more than anything, I'm a left populist or just a populist, and fundamentally I think a populist democratic politics is what the people of this country sorely need. And lived in Austin TX and New York for twelve years, but I spent the first 19 in Augusta, Georgia, 5 years in the Army. and I live in Columbia, South Carolina now, and I'll take the Pepsi challenge with your white trash red state bona fides any day of the week. And while red states might hate words like liberal or socialist or whatever buzz word they've been taught to be threatened or annoyed by, what they DO agree with are progressive policies. Look no further than how they feel about social security. Or if you want a strong recent example, at the same time that crimson red state Florida was rejecting supposed liberal Joe Biden they were voting to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The very kind of economic populist policy that we are assured by centrist Democrats are FAR TOO progressive... and never mind that money they receive from the Chamber of Commerce.
Now I followed VERY closely the two bills and how the Biden administration more or less allowed that second Build Back Better bill to fail by delinking it from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I watched as Biden failed to pressure anyone to overturn the filibuster, failed to pressure Manchin or Sinema in any serious way to vote for it, and for some mysterious reason, decided to bow to the non-binding recommendation of the Senate parliamentarian. I would encourage YOU to look into how that bill developed and then basically was allowed die. And when you talk about those polls that 50% people didn't support it, that really depend on which polls you mean. When voters were asked about the component parts of the bill, a majority of voters approve of the various spending proposals. It's when people were just given a blanket figure with very little explanation as to what was in the bill that they disapproved.
And YES, you're right the voters didn't elect enough Democrats. But this glosses over the way in which DCCC funding during those congressional primaries helped to ensure that Republicans would face milquetoast, unpopular corporate Dem competition. And it also fails to recognize that many of the voters who didn't show up for the libs might not have because many of them lived through Obama's feckless super majority and have over decades lost faith in the "party of the people's" ability or inclination to represent their interests. You talk about voters not showing up the Democrats as if it's completely divorced from the 50 year history of Democrats slowly selling them out for Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance since the Carter administration. Corruption by a thousands paper cuts eventually catches up to you at the ballot box.
So you think people won’t vote for Democrats because they haven’t done enough for them. Trump failed in his promises left and right. He failed to repeal ACA. He failed to build a wall. He didn’t lock Hillary up. He failed to lower the national debt but instead did the opposite. Nearly half a million Americans died from Covid under his watch. So many Republicans STILL worship Trump while excommunicating far right Republicans like Liz Cheney because she opposes him. Kevin McCarthy still kowtows to him. MAGA voters are still enthusiastic about him despite Trump achieving squat legislatively except for a tax cut that ballooned the deficit.
LGDB: Oh this is trivially easy to field. I don't think people voted for Trump because he did MORE for them. I think when neither party substantially delivers for the working people (which is to say most people), those people will vote according to nonmaterial criteria, i.e. for the culture war. And the culture war is ostensibly by design something that divides the country down the middle. Ultimately Trump voters aren't really expecting him to deliver materially for them. Or at least when he fails to as he necessarily does, they don't so much mind, because he's performing his more pointed psychical function. Many of them believe that they're losing a more quasi-spiritual kind of battle taking place at the level of civilization and Trump is the guy representing them in that. Ideological lemonade out of material lemons if you like.
This isn’t because Democrats failed to improve the economy. Again, Clinton and Obama did exactly that compared to Bush I and Bush II. It’s because Trump and the Republican Party are now the alternative to racial justice and gender equality. They are the party of resentment. Anything resembling wokeness or social justice or cancel culture on that behalf just enhances that resentment of the left even as the right engages in its own cancel culture. One just has to look at McCarthyism and the Red Scare to know where the right has stood on cancel culture.
LGDB: No, Obama and Clinton in the broadest terms helped do things like balance budgets, increased the value of stock returns, and raise the countries GDP... metrics which may correspond to vacuous attaboys lobbed by the corporate media and touting a "strong economy" but don't often correlate to the financial solvency or economic security of the median home. While "economic indicators" may have been generally positive in corporate media (because their target audience was doing well)during the Clinton or Obama years, and Democrats usually do oversee slightly more stable economies, all the while wages stagnated, prices for non-negotiable expenses like healthcare, housing, food, and education steadily climbed. And that's in Republican administrations as well, because in the main their economic policies are basically the same neoliberal framework of globalized "free markets," domestic austerity, privatizing the commons, and growing inequality.
---the late great Donald Blake
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