You’ll come running back

I don’t understand why it’s vital that Bernie get out of the race and endorse Hillary immediately. I do understand why he needs to do this before the convention. But I don’t understand why it has to happen soon.

It sounds like Hillary can expect about a 5 point, give or take, bounce from bringing the Bernie voters home, and I’m confident she’ll get this sooner or later. In the meantime, isn’t it just as well that she has only a 4-6 point lead in polls instead of a 9-11 point lead, given that a double digit lead might convince Republicans to do the smart thing and find a way to dump Trump?

Every day that Republicans think Trump is in it to win it and go around idiotically tying their fates to his is a good day for Democrats. If Trump were way down in the polls, this wouldn’t be happening the way that it is right now.

And eventually Bernie will do the right thing. In the meantime, we need to just chill them liberals out and wait for the cavalry, which should be coming directly.



In fact, it was a little bit frightening

This is a bit Captain Obvious but, yeah, we can expect a lot of Rasmussen polls where Trump and Hill are neck and neck, and a lot of Chuck Todd pieces about how the key Edible Arrangements moms or liquor store uncle or whatever demographic is shifting towards Trump:

 

Reporters will get bored writing Trump-is-going-to-lose-big stories. Some will want the race to tighten. They’ll look for angles to promote the idea. You can see some of that taking shape already. The media took approving notice when experienced political operatives supplanted Trump’s posse of fanboys, who’d been running things until recently. With a change of personnel has come a little more maturity and message discipline—or what passes for discipline in a willful, insecure, ungovernable personality like Trump’s.

I got very scared during the Sandra Day O’Palin portion of the 2008 election, which fortunately only lasted about two weeks. And I expect to get a little scared during this general election too.



If The Phone Don’t Ring…

Hey everyone!

I’ve got a message for you:

Pick up the damn phone.

The backstory:  I heard last night from a valued reader with connections to the Hill reminded me that there is more this crowd can do than point, sigh, and mock the GOP pants-wetters (abetted by an increasing number of feckless Dems) who so fear the widows and orphans from the latest spasm of our long decade of war in the Middle East.*

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_052

What to do about the attempt to make fear the ground state of American policy?  What to do about the spreading political meme that the proper exercise of US state power is to bar the door to Syrian refugees? How should we stand with President Obama when he says of the fear mongers “that’s not who we are”?

Pick up the damn telephone.

Call your Congressional representatives in the House and the Senate.

You know the drill:  Speak your mind, politely, respectfully, but firmly to whoever you get on the phone.

My reader emphasized, and my own distant memory of an internship on the Hill concurs, that these calls really matter.  House and Senate staffs keep notes and logs.  There are regular reports of how many calls came in, on what side, and with what passion or urgency.  \

Paradoxically, because of the ubiquity of social media, an actual human voice that has taken the trouble to pick up a phone carries a great deal of weight.  So call.

The numbers:

The Senate.

The House.

If you’re feeling extra virtuous — your governor and state legislature representatives would also be worth a call.

We can water the tree of liberty not with blood, but words.

Pick up the damn phone.

*Yes, I do know that the conflict there — and “Great” Power strategerizing through its misery — extends well before 2003.  But the Syrian Civil War of the last few years is (at least to me) both a conflict with deep roots and a proximate consequence of Bush the Lesser’s attempt to remake the Middle East into an model US client region.

Image: attr. to Rembrandt van Rijn, The Flight Into Egypt 1627

 



Open Thread: “I Am Not A Member of Any Organized Political Party… “

Even before Will Roger’s famous snark, there was Finley Peter Dunne, back in the original Gilded Age:

No, sir, th’ dimmycratic party ain’t on speakin’ terms with itsilf. Whin ye see two men with white neckties go into a sthreet car an’ set in opposite corners while wan mutthers Thraiter an’ th’ other hisses Miscreent ye can bet they’re two dimmycratic leaders thryin’ to reunite th’ gran’ ol’ party.

I was born into the Democratic Party, and the 1972 Democratic National Convention was the first to which I paid serious attention. (I was sixteen, and enamored with Shirley Chisholm.) So yesterday’s “shit show” at Netroots Nation wasn’t the shock to my sensibilities that it was to some other people. As described by local outlet AZ Central:

Civil-rights protesters gave Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley a raucous and tense reception Saturday in downtown Phoenix, disrupting and commandeering a forum that was billed as a conversation with the two progressive candidates…

Tia Oso, a Phoenix resident with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said she helped organize the protest because Black-rights issues were not represented at Netroots Nation this year. While events for Latino immigrants were integrated into the convention, black immigrants were ignored, she said…

“They said, ‘Oh we’re doing it in Arizona. We have to be all about immigration,'” said Angela Peoples, a co-director at LGBT inequality group Get Equal from Maryland. “But then they’re only centering the conversation on Latinos, which is important, but we also know that the experiences … are connected and we need people to be connected to Black lives as much as brown lives.”

In a written statement, Netroots Nation said it “stands in solidarity with all people seeking human rights.”

“Although we wish the candidates had more time to respond to the issues, what happened today is reflective of an urgent moment that America is facing today,” the statement said. “In 2016, we’re heading to St. Louis. We plan to work with activists there just as we did in Phoenix with local leaders, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to amplify issues like racial profiling and police brutality in a major way…

Of course, NN15 paid special attention to Latino issues because Markos Moulitsas “and his DailyKos community” were already boycotting the event in protest over its location. The Phoenix affiliate had done a lot of planning, and I’m sure they hoped for more coverage of events like the #ArpaioFreeAZ protest…

… not to mention the general Progressive goal of “dragging HRC leftwards.”

But the #BlackLivesMatter protest organizers understandably have their own goals, sometimes orthogonal to those of the general Netroots Nation “train grassroots workers to better promote and elect more progressive (i.e., Democratic) officials at every level of government.” They feel their concerns are underrepresented, and they have to use the platforms available — which will be Democratic, not Republican, venues — to rectify that. It would seem, from the reports, that they succeeded in doing so yesterday:

“It’s not like we like shutting s— down, but we have to,” Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matters, told the crowd, saying the group’s issues were an emergency.

As a side benefit, the protest identified its organizers (Oso, Peoples, Cullors) to the general media as “leaders”, spokeswomen for the larger issue, and the MSM can be expected to go to them and their group in the future for quotes and stories. This is not nothing, since the very diffusion of social media that makes it possible for movements like #BlackLivesMatter to arise makes it harder for any group or individual to achieve “credibility” with the MSM.

So, what’s done is done, and it is to be hoped that the aftereffects won’t be as toxic as the 1972 convention (which broke Rep. Chisholm’s heart, destroyed McGovern’s never strong chance of taking back the White House, and established a tradition of hippie-punching and anti-feminism that have yet to be exorcised). Never thought I’d be using the phrase “Thank God for Donald Trump’s big mouth” in earnest…



Non-Unified Theory of Electoral Chaos

A theory has been percolating around here to the effect that Democrats in red or purple states who failed to fully embrace President Obama and/or the ACA were idiot DINOs who could have made a better showing by being REAL Democrats and endorsing the Obama administration’s agenda. Here’s why I think it’s bullshit.

Charlie Crist embraced President Obama and sang the praises of the ACA. He lost. Allison Grimes was all “Obama who?” She lost. Grimes in Kentucky may have run a tone-deaf, ham-fisted campaign (I honestly don’t know), but it’s just nuts, in my opinion, to think she would have made a better showing had she embraced Obama. There’s every reason to think she would have lost by an even bigger larger margin.

Here’s the thing: Yesterday’s elections were regional contests on a national map that heavily favored the GOP, and they took place in a time of discontent. So the GOP did the smart thing and nationalized the election. They made it all about Obama, and they won big by trashing the president.

You may not like it. I damn sure don’t like it. But that’s what happened, and people who are saying the Dems in red or purple areas should have just doubled down on support for the administration sound just as loopy as the teaturds who were shrieking that Romney and McCain lost because they weren’t enough like Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz.

We’ll see a very different political landscape in 2016 because there is precisely ZERO chance that the Republicans won’t overreach and make a hash of their control of Congress. They’ve demonstrated repeatedly that they have no intention of governing in good faith, and they aren’t going to magically turn into patriots over the next two years.

And if politics over the next two years follows its usual pattern, the future Democratic nominee, whoever she or he is, would be stupid NOT to embrace the president and run on the accomplishments of the Obama administration, such as the ACA. Does that sound contradictory? It’s not.

In 2016, we’ll be in a presidential election year. It’s no knock on Obama to acknowledge that he’s deeply unpopular in some areas and that Democrats who wanted to win regional campaigns like those decided in yesterday’s election couldn’t afford to be seen as close to the administration.

By the same token, a 2016 nominee who wants to win a national election should tailor her campaign strategy to the unique circumstances of a presidential election year and avoid pissing off Obama’s supporters. It ain’t rocket surgery. And anyone who is peddling one strategy or the other exclusively for every scenario is full of crap, in my opinion.



Don’t Fuck This Up, Crist

A Democrat, and Independent and a Republican walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What’ll you have, Charlie Crist?”
— A joke making the rounds in Florida

The ambulatory dildo who is the current Florida governor, Rick Scott, has launched an ad blitz featuring TV as well as Internet spots. I had to quit TPM last week because I couldn’t read the site without accidentally launching a video in which Scott pops out from behind a newspaper and pretends to be a human being who cares about college tuition, droning on in an adenoidal voice about that and other alleged human concerns.

Scott is a cartoonish villain with sub-chlamydia popularity numbers, so it was widely believed that anyone who could fog a mirror would beat him when he stands for reelection this year, despite his Scrooge McDuck-like cash vault full of stolen Medicare loot. Scott’s election was a bit of a fluke in the first place: He won in the teaturd wave election year of 2010 when the ever-moribund FL Democratic Party was dumb enough to run a former Bank of America executive.

Crist was our widely popular, moderate Republican governor who left office to run for an open US Senate seat as a Republican. He got beat in the primary by ambulatory haircut Marco Rubio and then ran as an Independent. The haircut won and is currently our Senate embarrassment. Now Crist is running for his old job again, this time as a Democrat.

Some of us FL Dems originally wanted to seize the opportunity of Scott’s massive unpopularity to run an actual Democrat for governor. Others felt that Crist’s popularity and name recognition gave us the best chance to put Scott away, and he is acceptable to most Dems since he’s not a bad guy, just an opportunist. And at first, that latter position seemed to be borne out as poll after poll showed Crist crushing Scott.

Now, Crist and Scott are pretty much even [WARNING: HUFFPO LINK]. That could be just the effect of the money Scott is pouring into the race. Or it could be Crist’s announcement that he wants to end the embargo against Cuba (yay!) and would be visiting the island this summer, which caused hard feelings in Miami. Now Crist has reversed himself on that, saying he won’t be sipping rum and smoking cigars in Havana this summer after all, a move that is being characterized as another flip-flop.

Crist will almost certainly crush Nan Rich, the Democrat who will oppose him in the primary this summer, unless he convinces Florida Dems that he’s even more of a weathercock than we imagined. I’m lukewarm on Crist, but I hate Scott with the radiant intensity of 10,000 supernovae. So don’t fuck this up, Crist.



I hate the big decisions

No one could have predicted:

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era—this time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others.

[….]

In Texas, the law could require voters to travel as much as 250 miles to obtain an acceptable voter ID—and it allows a concealed-weapon permit, but not a student ID, as proof of identity for voting. Moreover, the law and the regulations to implement it, we are now learning, will create huge impediments for women who have married or divorced and have voter IDs and driver’s licenses that reflect maiden or married names that do not exactly match. It raises similar problems for Mexican-Americans who use combinations of mothers’ and fathers’ names.

[….]

Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., have introduced in Congress a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to vote. It has garnered little attention and no momentum. Now is the time to change that dynamic before more states decide to be Putinesque with our democracy.

It’s a stupid strategy, because it just further alienates not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others. I don’t know if it hastens or delays the decline of the power of the Republican party, but it makes the decline more certain.

I’m more fond of Khruschev than of Putin, so a (political) message to the would be vote suppressors: we will bury you.