Let’s Not Follow Sanders Off the Cliff

Remember last week when some folks were reassuring us that criticism of “identity politics” in the wake of the Democrats’ loss wasn’t code for throwing marginalized people under the bus? Here’s TPM’s report on a speech Bernie Sanders delivered in Boston yesterday:

In a speech Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) urged attendees to move away from “identity politics” and towards policies aimed at helping the working class.

Sanders spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 mostly young people at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, according to a report from WBUR.

“The working class of this country is being decimated — that’s why Donald Trump won,” Sanders said, according to the same report. “And what we need now are candidates who stand with those working people, who understand that real median family income has gone down.”

Sanders also urged the crowd to move the party away from what he called “identity politics.”

“It is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ That is not good enough,” he said, according to the same report. “What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”

Let’s unpack some of the insulting, revisionist implications that follow from this speech. My first “Go Fuck Yourself, Sanders” goes to the implication that Clinton ever asked anyone to vote for her just because she’s a woman. She didn’t, so fuck that bullshit, and fuck Sanders for implying that she did.

The second goes to the wholesale purchase of the cherished and increasingly accepted in some circles wingnut-fomented meme that the Democrats don’t represent “real America” and got what was coming to them for turning their back on the working class in favor of embracing the elites. That’s a lie we believe at our peril.

The DLC is dead, and good riddance. I agree there has been too little attention paid to those hurt by globalization, too much happy talk about the jobs that would flow in from that process, too much eagerness on the part of some Democrats to curry favor with big donors. We’ve debated that endlessly here throughout PBO’s two terms; it was debated endlessly in the primaries, and that message was incorporated into the Democratic Party platform. Sanders didn’t invent it, and he doesn’t own it now.

But since we’re the reality-based party, supposedly capable of handling nuance and complexity, we can — in theory — simultaneously acknowledge the accomplishments of a highly successful two-term Democratic president who pulled us from the brink of a second Great Depression, got an additional 20 million people access to health care coverage, helped make sure marriage equality became the law of the land, turned a catastrophically high flood of job losses into a stable, less than 5% unemployment economy, etc.

During the primary, Sanders shit all over that, as did Trump in the general. But it doesn’t follow that a Sanders-like message — from anyone, including Sanders — would have been a winner. For every one WWC vote an “everything sucks after eight years of Obama” platform might have pulled in, how many votes would be lost from Democrats who believe in this president and have supported his agenda? Greater than Trump’s margins in the Rust Belt, is my guess.

And finally, what I find most infuriating about Sanders’ take is that he’s ignoring the people who actually DID embrace identity politics in this election cycle: That would be Donald J. Trump and the millions of voters who embraced WHITE identity politics. The Democrats ran on an inclusive message. Trump did the opposite. Again, for every WWC vote we’d gain by embracing a very specific kind of identity politics to chase Trump voters, how many would Democrats lose? Well, mine, for one.

Two final thoughts: the first is that politicians are running around trying to pound the round peg of this election loss into the square hole of their own agenda. Yes, we need to examine the causes and learn the appropriate lessons, but they are myriad. Any simple solution, such as turning the party’s soul over to a man who couldn’t win the Democratic primary, would be compounding the problem rather than solving it, IMO. Yes to sharpening the economic message to more loudly broadcast an appeal to ALL voters. Yes to making sure future candidates’ messages — and arguably the candidates themselves — excite people since we seem to be in the reality TV era of politics. But not just “no” but “FUCK NO” to the idea that the Democrats lost because of “identity politics.”

Second, so much of this intramural squabbling is crab bucket politics. We’ve got an unhinged, pathological liar, authoritarian conman poised to take office, and he is shaking out the KKK bedsheets and emptying the armoires where the brown shirts are stored to fill his administration with the very worst pricks imaginable. A man who is openly setting up a kleptocracy to funnel loot to the pack of parasites who are accompanying him to DC. A man who will rage-tweet all night about perceived disrespect shown at a Broadway show to his beady-eyed, bible-humping VP and remain utterly silent about the hundreds of hate crimes psychos nationwide are perpetrating in his name.

Perhaps we have more important things to focus on, is what I’m saying. And it’s flat-out unseemly for a politician with standing in the Democratic Party to focus elsewhere, even if he does have a book to flog.



Saturday Evening Open Thread

TS says:
November 12, 2016 at 8:28 am (Edit)

2008 – Republicans lost the house, the senate and the presidency – they then proceed to impede in any way possible (with the help of a few dems) anything that the President tried to do. They stated it was their goal and they voted 100% in unison. The Media helped them with their non stop attacks on the new President – and the support of the birthers.

Democrats now need to stop talking about why and how & who won the vote and what is wrong with the electoral college & who should lead the party & how they can attract the undesirables. Democrats should be working as a united group to impede each and every thing this government wants to do. Don’t assume they can just “do it” – didn’t work that way in 2009/10.

This lot have NO idea what the President does – nor how he does it. Time to work non stop to show them up every hour of every day.

WereBear says:
November 12, 2016 at 9:46 am (Edit)

@Enhanced Voting Techniques: What are Republicans? CUT TAXES AND SERVICES.

What are Democrats? TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE.

There. Done. You’re welcome.

New tag: Election 2018. Should get a lot of use, I suspect.



Putin’s Puppet and NFLG Harry Reid

Senator Harry Reid has just released a letter to FBI Director Comey that is utterly (and IMHO appropriately) brutal.

It contains two key elements.  The first is a direct assertion that Comey has engaged in partisan political action, and may (by implication, has) broken the law by violating the Hatch Act.

The second is this:

In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

neuville_alphonse_de_-_the_spy_-_1880

Hillary Clinton’s aide’s husband sent dick picks from a computer that may or may not contain emails that may or may not add to our nation’s stock of risotto recipes.

Donald Trump, apparantly, has consequential entanglement with the former KGB thug-led Russian government and its klepto-thug circle of supporters.

We know hair-raising innuendo about the former.

About the latter, from the same institution?  Crickets.

Sauce for the goose damn well ought to be sauce for the gander.  And Comey’s a hack who needs to go at the earliest politick opportunity. (And yeah, that’s not a typo.  I like that old spelling.)

No BS here: if the FBI has pertinent information on Trump’s potential for conflict of interest due to his Russian encounters, we need to know this now.

Here is Reid’s letter in full:

Dear Director Comey:

Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another. I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.

The double standard established by your actions is clear.

In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible.

Moreover, in tarring Secretary Clinton with thin innuendo, you overruled longstanding tradition and the explicit guidance of your own Department. You rushed to take this step eleven days before a presidential election, despite the fact that for all you know, the information you possess could be entirely duplicative of the information you already examined which exonerated Secretary Clinton.

As you know, a memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on March 10, 2016, makes clear that all Justice Department employees, including you, are subject to the Hatch Act. The memo defines the political activity prohibited under the Hatch Act as “activity directed towards the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

The clear double-standard established by your actions strongly suggests that your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.

Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter of yours in the past. When Republicans filibustered your nomination and delayed your confirmation longer than any previous nominee to your position, I led the fight to get you confirmed because I believed you to be a principled public servant.

With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong.

Sincerely,

Senator Harry Reid

Image: Alphonse de Neuville, The Spy1880.



A rolling Constitutional Crisis

And this is Good News for John McCain as it helps him consolidate his Teabagging base.

This is basically saying that any Democrat is fundamentally illegitimate and they are not allowed to do their job. A Senate that is split 51-49 in either direction with Clinton in the White House gives the Republicans plenty of space to haggle over nominees. They could make it clear that nominees X, Y, Z could easily get approved by eighty votes while nominees A,B,C would need either a party line vote (which is a tough vote for Plain state Democrats) or would fail completely.

But no, no to haggling, no to norms, no to anything other than control. This is a rolling Constitutional crisis.

But it is good news for John McCain.



The Election Is Not Rigged & It Is Not Going To Be Rigged

A quick note from Speaker Ryan (R-Profile in Courage!):

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday dismissed Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the November elections will be rigged.

“Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong toldBuzzFeed.

It is important to note and remember that 23 states are led by Republican governors that also have Republican legislatures – both chambers, referred to as the trifecta. Another 11 states have Republican governors and just 7 states are under Democratic control -the trifecta of a Democratic governor and legislature. There are 20 states total that share control – either GOP governor, Democratic legislature, or vice versa. Apparently the Trump campaign is suggesting that the Republican Party is rigging elections against the Republican nominee at the state level… Wait, what were we talking about again?

A somewhat more definitive explanation of the process of just how hard it would be to actually rig US elections has been provided by the Ashby Law firm, which focuses on electoral law and primarily works for Republican clients:


Read more



The Republican Party is tearing itself apart. It’s about damn time.

The following is from a Tweetstorm I composed yesterday in the hours before that shitshow of a “debate.” There are probably some spelling and grammar errors, because for the most part, I just copied and pasted from my Twitter account, @soonergrunt.

Someone asked me recently why I’m a dick to Conservatives who engage me on Twitter. I’m not to everyone. @RadioFreeTom is a notable example. There are others. But I’ll tell you the answer now. I came to political conscience in the age of Ronald Reagan. I liked him as a person, but I didn’t agree with him on much. But I respected him. He was my President, for one thing, but also my parents taught me that the other side were decent people who wanted what they saw as best for the country. They just happened to usually be wrong. And sometimes they were right. That kind of consideration is something I’ve rarely received in return. Rare enough that I remember a lot of those respectful interactions.  They stick out due to their rarity.

Read more



Donald J. Trump Rally in Melbourne, FL

Equal time, both sides, etc…

Here’s the live feed: