Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/20/template-for-2018.html
Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/20/template-for-2018.html
Give the GOP a break, Cory. How else are they supposed to remain relevant in elections in 2017? With their policies?!
So, in light of this information, will you be changing your thesis that feckless neoliberalism cost Democrats the election, or is that just too useful of a frame for you to give up?
It can be two things.
Dont get it. How did the Russians manage to do this?
Feckless neoliberalism from the democrats are how any republicans get elected, anywhere. If that 50% not registered to a party, or the 50% that doesn’t vote was motivated, none of these races would even be close. Apparently most voters don’t feel represented in the least, it’s not that surprising.
GOP - public enemy No.1
It can be lots of things (misogyny, xenophobia, religious intolerance, institutional malfeasance, cumulative apathy, to name a few), but the question for this particular issue is, how many votes would a more progressive candidate have brought in that weren’t part of the groups being actively disenfranchised–college students and poor people?
And if we’re conceding that there can be multiple causes for an event, how do you explain the single-minded focus on a particular cause, to the point where we are creating an alternate reality where “Bernie-crats” exist as a coherent group outside of the Democratic party? Like, it’s pretty clear that the dearth of policy coverage during the election was a big factor, and the unprecedented intrusion of the FBI director into electoral politics was a big factor, voter suppression was a big factor, the theft and subsequent leaking of campaign correspondence was a big factor, all of these things undercut whatever value we would get out of running marginally more progressive candidates.
A common argument I see these days is that it doesn’t matter how immediately possible a particular political cause is, it’s worth advocating it, for the sake of the Overton window or whatever. If this is true, why is the scope of our reforms limited to universal health care and scant other red meat for self-described socialists? Why no blue-sky gun control bills? Why no amendments to the Constitution to secure the aims of the Voting Rights Act? Why is the range of political aspiration defined around the instincts of one particular 2016 presidential candidate?
a) It’s about 40% that doesn’t vote in presidential elections, and 60% that don’t vote in mid-terms. Sure, those numbers average to 50%, but what’s significant is that for a full half of elections, 20% of people don’t show up. This 20% explains quite a bit about how Republicans get elected, as it’s pretty hard to make an affirmative case for government when you drop the ball and give the opposition a majority every 8 years.
b) Party identification is not as significant as Duverger’s observation that structural factors are a greater factor in party identification than ideological ones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger’s_law). Unfortunately the structure of US government was codified by deeply racist, sexist, and classist people, who constructed anti-democratic bargains like a strong Upper House, and an electoral college that puts a thumb on the scale for Capital. Being ideologically pure doesn’t count for as much as the ability to buy out a state like Wyoming for pennies on the dollar.
Well, let’s check the record, shall we?
1992: Clinton - neolib WON (economy for the assist)
1996: Clinton - neolib WON (incumbency for the assist)
2000: Gore - neolib LOST
2004: Kerry - neolib LOST
2008: Obama - neolib without portfolio WON (economy for the assist)
2012: Obama - neolib WON (incumbency for the assist)
2016: Clinton - neolib LOST
A lot of your other points are specific to Clinton herself, so aren’t probative for either case.
What is probative is the fact that the Clinton campaign slept on those Great Lakes states that she lost, despite being warned well in advance that their technocratic analysis severely diverged from the facts on the ground.
Compare that to Obama’s heavy GOTV ground game coupled with the passion he engendered from his supporters, and you see how someone could have overcome the corrupt bullshit we’ve come to expect from the GOP.
Now ask yourself, which candidate’s primary campaign hewed closer to the Obama 2008 model?
Focusing on presidential elections is the whole point–the game is decided in the other half of elections that don’t involve the president
We have a government with three “co-equal” branches of government, and the amount of time Republicans have enjoyed control over Congress has a lot more to do with the “neo-liberal” direction of Democratic achievements than the particular ideologies of any given candidate. Both Clinton and Obama enjoyed two-year legislative honeymoons, and unlike their Republican counterparts, have a lot more invested in the continuing function of the government, so the remainder of their terms was spent fending off government shutdown and sabotage, rather than presiding over positive government actions that would make the average voters’ life better. The one constant over the past century is that a solid 20% of voters checked out during mid-term elections that would have provided these presidents with enduring congressional majorities that could deliver progressive goals.
“The one constant over the past century is that a solid 20% of voters checked out during mid-term elections that would have provided these presidents with enduring congressional majorities that could deliver progressive goals.”
And I posit that that checking out is a direct result of a string of candidates who either a) don’t run as progressives or b) run as progressive and disappoint their constituency by governing as neolibs. Witness the drop in total votes for Obama between 2008 and 2012.
In the face of political realities, I’ll take b). There is no point in electing a candidate who is already negotiating compromise on the stump with a GOP that will not consider it. But someone who is flaccid enough to take any deal for the sake of having a deal? They can go pound sand in Challenger Deep as far as I’m concerned. And based on how the last primary went, a considerable chunk of Democrats agree with me.
As Truman said, “The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.”
Soon to be permanently outside, if the right wing of the Dems continue to try and maintain their lock on power. “DemExit” is starting to trend.
The Berniecrats are probably the majority of Dem voters, but they aren’t “the left”. They’re solidly in the centre of USA political opinion.
There are plenty to the left of them who have already given up on the Dems (DSA, BLM, most of the street radicals, most of the working class non-voters), and a lot of the Berniecrats are on the verge of jumping ship to the DSA. There’s already a lot of crossover between DSA and the Justice Dems.
Bernie isn’t the leader of the left; he’s just the most prominent centrist-facing advocate. He’s much too conservative for most of the DSA crew.
The DSA are slightly revolutionary socialists, the Berniecrats are extremely moderate socialists, the progressive Dems are social democrats, the corporate Dems range from liberal to conservative, the never-Trump GOP are reactionaries and the Trumpists are fascists.
The centre, as always, lies on the socialist/capitalist split. The functional disenfranchisement of the American working class has twisted the elite Overton window so far right that the left half of the population is almost entirely excluded from Congressional representation.
W continued Reagan’s economic policies, so a neoliberal actually won both those elections.
The 20% drop-off pre-dates the concept of neoliberalism, it is consistent throughout the entire 20th century to the present day. In fact, there’s a lot more evidence that both Clinton and Obama’s attempts to reform health care contributed to the mid-term loss of their congressional majorities, rather than voters being disappointed by neo-liberalism.
The ghost of Harry Truman thanks you for making his point.
We’re talking about neoliberalism, aren’t we? Aka Supply side economics? Reaganomics? Thatcherism?
I don’t see what you’re getting at here. Trump was/is way more of a phony Republican than Clinton was a phony Democrat. Democrats are the party of neoliberalism just as much (or even more so) than the GOP. Clinton stood for that strongly. She was vaguely progressive in other ways.
Maybe your point is that there is no realistic progressive option if you are voting in the US?
Here’s the thing: political alienation is a thing, especially in the US, but the reason isn’t conventionally ideological, it’s the result of population patterns not aligning with the territorial nudge of Upper House / Lower House bicameralism. The Big Sort is a real thing, the EU and the US are on opposite sides of the same problem; what happens when the lines you draw around territory are either too generous or too conservative, and the messy business of sorting it out real-time. What gets my goat is people putting a particular ideological frame around things, amplifying differences for their own sake, while ignoring the second-factor effects of their short-term set-backs. This ain’t your provincial punk rock scene, this is real life for most of us.