Open Thread: It’s A Million-to-One Chance, But It Just Might Work!

But srsly, Alex Pareene’s got an eye for the Next Big Trend, which gives me hope:

The American right is awash in money. A huge amount of right-wing donor money—much more than many reputable liberal activist and advocacy groups ever see—goes to grifters solely out to enrich themselves, and the movement still always has more than enough left over to fund campaigns at every level of government. The right has more money to spend on electing conservatives than it can efficiently spend. You don’t raise and spend thousands of dollars on college student government campaigns unless you don’t have a more urgent use for that money…

Here’s a fun question to ask the internet if you want to start an endless argument: What should we want Hillary Clinton to do with herself now, exactly? Regardless of whether you voted for her enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all, we must all acknowledge that she will continue to exist in this world for the foreseeable future, and, hence, will have do do something.

One thing rich people love to do is give the Clintons money. Rich people enjoy giving the Clintons money almost as much as they enjoy eating expensive versions of traditional street foods, and causing measles outbreaks. The liberal donor class and the not-that-liberal-but-likes-to-donate class love writing checks to Bill and Hillary Clinton, and increasingly also Chelsea too. The Clinton Foundation was the ultimate proof of that fact.

The good news is, this seems to be what Hillary Clinton has decided to do. Last month, she launched “Onward Together,” her new political nonprofit that will reportedly act not as a launching pad for a future Clinton campaign but as a group dedicated to aiding existing activist groups. The Politico reported just prior to the group’s launch: “The new organization is not expected to have a large staff, but will instead focus on sending money to other organizations at a time that Democratic donors are largely unsure about how they should be spending their cash.”

If accurate, this is exactly what we (pretty broadly defined) should want from Clinton in the Trump era.

The Clintons are a safe “brand” for wealthy donors who don’t want to get their hands dirty doing liberal politics. Donors who do want to do liberal politics are frequently attracted to big shiny races—the presidency, Virginia governor—and neglect state legislatures, House races in far-flung districts, and groups doing on-the-ground organizing throughout the country. A Clinton organization that can act as a clearinghouse for big donor money, and that distributes that money to organizations doing good work, is an eminently sensible idea. With the exception of a handful of mega-donors who determine the course of the movement, conservatives largely have experienced political operatives steer their donors’ money wherever it’s most needed (while taking a hefty cut for themselves and their friends, obviously). It has been, as we can all see, a successful model…

The nice thing is, letting rich donors give their money to the Clintons, to give away as they see fit, doesn’t have to come with any downside for anyone. It does not preclude other fundraising strategies: There is room for the individual, small donor-funded grassroots campaign as well as the giant hose of dark money aimed at every conceivably winnable race. The Democrats will clearly need both…



Open Thread: You Come At the Queen…

Cue the Somewhat Soiled Lady, a day late and a hot-take short — “Nancy Pelosi Tells Democratic Critics, ‘I Think I’m Worth the Trouble’”:

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, strolled before the cameras on Thursday with defeat at her back once more, projecting a well-worn swagger — brash, defiant, more than a little off key — as she insisted that her moment had not passed…

With six words, Ms. Pelosi, 77, demonstrated the self-assurance that has powered her as one of the most successful congressional leaders in the modern era. Yet even as Democrats enjoy a surge of grass-roots energy that could resurrect their House majority, some members of Ms. Pelosi’s own party are impatient for her to give up her 15-year grip on power.

She is the Democrat most crucial to determining whether her party can take back the House and torpedo President Trump’s agenda — an avatar of the kind of coastal excess that Republicans abhor and that some progressives have come to view suspiciously in an age of ascendant populism.

“Everybody wants leaders,” she said in an interview in her office at the Capitol, during which she was often as dismissive of critics in her own party as she was of the Republican opposition. “Not a lot of people want to be led.”
Read more



Friday Morning Open Thread: What Fresh Hell Will It Be Today?…

Somebody is still bitter he can’t find Batman underoos in his size…
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Apart from the inevitable Friday News Drop, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Possible flashpoints:



Open Thread: Rising Democratic Star

I don’t want to make this post any longer, but y’all should definitely go read the Jezebel and Chait links, because they are mood-enhancing.



Peak Dude Bro

As predicted yesterday, Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley commencement speech riled up the usual suspects because Hillary Clinton. But I found the reaction from unpaid New Republic intern (I hope) Graham Vyse particularly irritating.

Not because it was worse than the drivel poured forth at Fox News, etc., but because it exemplifies a particular strain of post-election posturing about Clinton that makes me want to gather the sisterhood and embark on a cross-country nut-punching spree. The first fucking line is infuriating:

Hillary Clinton is auditioning for a role in the Trump resistance.

Motherfucker, do you even know WHY there is a Trump resistance? Do you understand how it launched? It’s because on November 8, 2016, the retrograde racist, sexist, xenophobic, authoritarian element that has sandbagged this country from its founding banded together with Eurotrash white nationalists to push a highly qualified woman aside and deliver the presidency to an ambulatory genital wart.

This outrage was unprecedented in its scale. But it reflected literally hundreds of millions of incidents every competent woman in this country has experienced at multiple points in her life. It was the ultimate confirmation of what women have felt in their bones from toddlerhood: We’ll never be good enough. We are second-class citizens.

Vyse goes on, citing as evidence of Clinton’s overweening ambition tweets from fellow dudes:

Clinton is adopting the language of the Trump resistance, and indeed there are indications that she wants to be a key figure in that movement.

Motherfucker, Clinton IS a “key figure in that movement,” whether she wants to be or not. Trump’s elevation to the presidency was and is a tragedy for the entire planet. Everyone who comprehends that fact has a role to play in mitigating the damage, pointing out the corruption and attempting to roll back this grave injustice.

But you can’t erase the most high profile victim of this crime and delegate Michael Moore or Bernie Sanders to lead the movement that sprang up in response to that outrage. We won’t let you.

And by “we,” I mean the millions of women who knitted caps until there was no more pink yarn. The women who drove all night to descend on Washington DC on January 21 and dwarf Trump’s inaugural crowd. Those who turned up to march in cities all around the world to form the largest single-day protest in the history of the planet. And the millions of women who are still calling, faxing and emailing their elected representatives to this day.

No, it wasn’t all about Hillary Clinton. It never was! But when you try to sideline her, many of us perceive that as a dismissal akin to the one we heard loud and clear on November 8. That pisses us off. And you wouldn’t like us when we’re pissed off.

Vyse concludes:

Clinton shouldn’t be a central resistance figure. What losing presidential candidate, after all, has ever returned to lead the opposition? Not John Kerry, not Al Gore, not Michael Dukakis. The Democratic Party is right to be elevating its younger rising stars. But clearly she still feels the pull of politics, and who’s going to stop her from giving speeches and interviews whenever she pleases? The Bernie Sanders wing of the party might want to wish her away, but only she has the power to decide that.

Kerry, Gore and Dukakis? Just shut the fuck up right there, Mr. Vyse. Kerry, Gore and Dukakis weren’t trying to become the first woman to ascend to the presidency in the 241-year history of our republic. They didn’t win more popular votes than anyone besides Barack Obama only to be robbed by corrupt traitors colluding with a hostile foreign power to install an embarrassing and incompetent demagogue.

And in case you didn’t notice while cherry-picking Clinton’s speech to find triggering evidence of female ambition, the central theme of it was to motivate the enthusiastic young women graduating that day to take leadership and create change. Hell, she even said “run for office.” It’s right there in her speech. We heard her. Did you?

As for the “Bernie Sanders wing of the party,” I can only speak for myself when I say I stand with all Democrats who are united in resisting Trump and the Republicans’ disastrous agenda. I’m glad Clinton called it what it is — a con. I’m glad a $15 minimum wage is now official Democratic Party policy. But no faction within our party gets to tell the other to sit down and shut up. Not now. Not ever.

That said, I would like to offer a piping hot mug of shut the fuck up to Mr. Vyse and the countless other young white fellas in prominent perches throughout our liberal media. But after that, the fucking kitchen is closed. Make your own goddamned sammitch.



Monday Morning Open Thread

Props to Google for reminding us that activism has a long tail!

What’s on the agenda as we buckle in for another week?
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Commentary for the time capsule — John Oliver’s always good, but this is particularly sharp:



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Onward Together (But Never in Lockstep)

On Monday, Clinton described that effort as one to “encourage people to get involved, organize, and even run for office,” while tweeting out the names of several groups that have led anti-Trump or grassroots Democratic efforts this year, like: SwingLeft (which identifies potential districts to turn blue for would-be donors or volunteers), Run for Something, and Color of Change, which does a lot of criminal justice work…

Organized over the last few months with former DNC chair and governor Howard Dean, the group is still in the early development stages…

“We’re not looking to duplicate or replace the DNC or the DCCC or all that stuff,” Dean told BuzzFeed News recently. “We’re looking to give these folks the opportunity to do the building they’re already doing on their terms, but in a more organized way, when the one hand knows what the other hand is doing.”

Dave Weigel, in the Washington Post, “Possible 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls gather for progressive ‘ideas’ conference”:

Don’t call it a “cattle call.” Don’t call it the “CPAC of the left.” On Tuesday morning, the Center for American Progress will host a daylong “Ideas Conference” — its third, as CAP President Neera Tanden points out. It’s just different from the last two in that at least 140 reporters have signed up to cover it, and they’re not shy about calling it a 2020 scouting session.

“We’re focused less on the politics of the moment and more on, ‘What’s the alternative?’ ” Tanden said in an interview. “I expect there’ll be some criticism of Trump, but we expect most of our speakers to provide a positive vision.”…

The conference, which as in the past will take over the St. Regis hotel, will kick off with a speech from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and end with a speech from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), both in their 40s and elected to their high-profile jobs in 2013. About half of the rest of Tuesday’s speakers are considered potential 2020 presidential candidates: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Gov. Terry MacAuliffe (D-Va.). Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), whose 2016 reelection victory gave Democrats one of their few reasons to cheer in a rural state, will also get a set piece speech…

On Wednesday, after most of the media are gone, CAP will host training sessions for “resistance” activists — part of a series that the think tank has organized. One of Tuesday’s panels will bring some of the activists together, as well as Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, whose “Daily Kos” blog has become a major crowdfunding source for Democratic campaigns.

“I LOVE these new resistance groups,” Moulitsas said in an email. “We need to stop chasing after white racists lost to the fake news bubble, and realize that out of the 97 million Americans who didn’t vote last year, the majority is our own liberal-leaning base. We need to get THOSE people registered and active in the franchise.”

Apart from organizing for the future, what’s on the agenda for the day?