The 2020 Presidential Election: Idealism Is Important, Necessary, But Not Sufficient. Realism Is Essential!

I want to focus on something very specific that was part of Ann Laurie’s earlier post about Senator Harris’s and some of the other 2020 Democratic contenders’ campaigns. This is the question about Democrats, the center left to the left of center, and liberals to progressives fighting with each other over raising money to finance campaigns only in small amounts or accepting money in both small and large donations. A lot has been written, from 2015 to today, and will continue to be written, about the need to do one or the other, whether doing the latter is somehow politically impure or a bad thing or a necessity. This discussion, like a lot of the discussions between and among the campaigns, are about idealism in what the Democratic Party is, who it represents, and what should be done if a Democrat wins the 2020 election. Idealism is important. It motivates people. It provides purpose. It is inspiring. It is necessary, but it is not sufficient to win.

As I’ve written about here before, the 2020 campaign is, essentially, occurring at the same time as a largely non-violent, non-lethal, and non-kinetic domestic rebellion and insurgency against the late 19th and almost all of the 20th centuries, as well as the ever more diverse emerging American demographic majority. Though the spikes in violence and lethality have increased recently and I expect they’ll continue to do so. As such, realism is both necessary and sufficient to temper the idealism.

In order to win in 2020, Democrats must fight to win on the terrain that actually exists. And that terrain includes large donations being legal. While we might all agree that in an ideal America, large donations, large corporate donors, dark money networks, and a whole host of other campaign financing that is currently legal would be replaced with something that doesn’t just equate the ability to spend money with protected speech under the 1st Amendment. But that is not the America we currently live in. Nor is it the America in which the 2020 elections will be taking place. If you want to change the system to more closely resemble your ideal campaign finance and election system, you must first mount a successful, winning campaign within the system we currently have. This is simply recognizing reality. And candidates failing to avail themselves of all legal means to win are not dealing with reality. They are also making it harder for themselves to actually win. Part of securing the peace after winning is remaking the system so it is closer to the ideal one you want. The battlefields of the 2020 campaign and election exist in reality as it is, not in the ideal future we would like to get to0. For the Democrats, winning in 2020 means that they must win the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote outcome, retake the majority in the Senate, hold the majority in the House, hold all the state houses and legislatures that Democrats currently have, and flip as many as possible of those they don’t before the next round of redistricting. Anything and everything else is a waste of resources. Nothing anyone wants done on any issue from campaign finance reform to healthcare reform, from the most moderate to the most progressive and idealistic approach to any domestic or foreign policy concern will occur if these battles aren’t won.

Open thread!

The President Has Thoughts! They’re Not Coherent Thoughts, They’re anti-Semitic Thoughts, But They’re Thoughts

Oy vey!

I realize that when the President and his surrogates are called out to explain or respond to this, the answer will be that he’s just retweeting something complimentary that Wayne Allen Root said and/or wrote about him. And that it is part of him counter-punching and punching back at those, especially the Jewish Americans, pushing back against his statements yesterday about loyalty and disloyalty. But the level of sycophancy in Root’s comments about the President and delusion in the President’s repackaging those comments and blasting them out to the world are just astounding.

Here’s some quick background on Root, who is a conspiracist.

Also, on a semi-related matter, if you’re wondering why the President cancelled his Denmark trip, methinks this might have had something to do with it.

Open thread!


The Parkland Peace Plan

As predicted last week, Trump is already caving on his latest feint toward gun safety legislation after promising to “look very strongly” at universal background checks and red flag laws in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres — this despite the fabled moderating influence of Ivanka.

The NRA is at its lowest ebb in decades. Board members and employees are running from the organization like Trump White House lackeys fleeing a process server. Even a Fox News personality called out the epic corruption of the NRA’s Trump-scale tacky-grandiose chief Wayne LaPierre last week. So this cave is the latest data point on Trump’s crap negotiating skills.

My husband is famously bad at negotiating. Our daughter and I still tease him about walking into a Ford dealership several years ago, clapping eyes on his future truck and exclaiming, “Oh my GOD! I LOVE it!” right in front of the salesman. We were fleeced most thoroughly soon after, of course, and the mister is no longer permitted to even ATTEND major purchase events.

But the mister is steely-eyed and canny at the long table in comparison to the credulous fool in the White House, who has handed over our economic fate to China’s Xi, been pantsed by tin-pot dictators worldwide and sports Vladimir Putin’s brand on his ass. In that context, it’s no wonder the weakened sociopaths at the NRA were able to vaporize Trump’s mealy-mouthed resolve to “look very strongly” at new gun safety regulations with a single phone call.

Luckily, the March for Our Lives group, founded by Parkland massacre survivors, isn’t waiting around for Trump to nut up. This morning, they released an ambitious gun safety proposal: A Peace Plan for a Safer America. Here are its main points:

1. CHANGE THE STANDARDS OF GUN OWNERSHIP: Advocate and pass legislation to raise the national standard for gun ownership: a national licensing and registry system that promotes responsible gun ownership; a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other weapons of war; policies to disarm gun owners who pose a risk to themselves or others; and a national gun buy-back program to reduce the estimated 265-393 million firearms in circulation by at least 30%.

2. HALVE THE RATE OF GUN DEATHS IN 10 YEARS: Mobilize an urgent and comprehensive federal response: declare a national emergency around gun violence and announce an audacious goal to reduce gun injuries and deaths by 50% in 10 years, thereby saving up to 200,000 American lives.

3. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE GUN LOBBY AND INDUSTRY: Hold the gun lobby and industry accountable for decades of illegal behavior and misguided policies intended to shield only themselves; reexamine the District of Columbia v. Heller interpretation of the Second Amendment; initiate both FEC and IRS investigations into the NRA, and fully repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

4. NAME A DIRECTOR OF GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) who reports directly to the President, with the mandate to operationalize our federal goals and empower existing federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – agencies that have all been structurally weakened by the gun lobby. The National Director of GVP would begin by overseeing a down payment of $250 million in annual funding for research by the CDC and other federal agencies on gun violence prevention.

5. GENERATE COMMUNITY-BASED SOLUTIONS: Fully fund targeted interventions addressing the intersectional dimensions of gun violence, including community-based urban violence reduction programs, suicide prevention programs, domestic violence prevention programs, mental and behavioral health service programs, and programs to address police violence in our communities.

6. EMPOWER THE NEXT GENERATION: Automatically register eligible voters and mail voter registration cards to all Americans when they turn 18. Create the “Safety Corps,” a Peace Corps for gun violence prevention. The younger generations are disproportionately affected by gun violence. They should have a say in how their country solves this epidemic.

It’s a smart plan that frames gun violence as a national health issue that reaches far beyond mass shootings. And it focuses on political mobilization, which is critical. It also signals that the Parkland group possesses political savvy that morons like Trump, his dingbat daughter and wastrel son-in-law can’t begin to match. Unlike those clowns, the Parkland kids are building on the past work they’ve done nationwide and swinging for the fences when opponents are at a weak point.

Senator Murphy of Connecticut sees hope (The Post):

“My hope is that they focus like a laser on youth turnout,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said of March for Our Lives’s 2020 efforts, after reviewing the proposal. “The election is over the minute young people decide to turn out. The only reason that Trump would get reelected is if young people stay home. The issue of gun violence is one of the only issues that truly motivate young people to shake off their indifference and aversion to voting.”

Democrats, who in the past would at least nod toward gun owners and do photo ops while hunting, are embracing gun control with greater urgency than they have in any election in recent memory, a sign that they are sensing movement among voters. During the 2018 midterms, when Democrats recaptured the House majority, nearly 70 percent of registered voters said gun policy was “very important” to them, ranking the issue ahead of taxes and immigration, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

This is what we’ve lacked — a sense of urgency to match that of the gun nuts. But thanks to the gun nuts’ maximal resistance to commonsense positions backed by 90% of Americans — and the insane among that group’s limitless appetite for mass murder — the pendulum might finally swing toward sanity, and perhaps a lot further than seemed possible even a couple of years ago.

You can read more about the plan, sign the petition and donate to March for Our Lives here.

Meaningless Poll Open Thread

Fresh poll of likely caucus-goers in Iowa has good news for Senator Warren’s campaign:

So, instead of Warren and Sanders duking it out for the lefty vote, it looks like Biden and Sanders are having the Battle of the Retreads.

Excerpt from an article in Iowa Starting Line:

Elizabeth Warren’s early investment in Iowa is paying off…

The horserace numbers reflect a shake-up that those of us on the ground in Iowa have been seeing for a while…

The other good news for Warren is that her support appears to be very broad in the party. She leads every age demographic (even surpassing Biden in the oldest age bracket, 31% to 28%) except for the youngest. Sanders has a 14-point lead here among the 18-34 range with 34%.

The article also notes that Senator Harris is going all-in on the Iowa caucus now, which seems to be the smart play. That’s a fairly recent development, according to ISL. We’ll see how the numbers shake out down the road.

All absolutely bereft of meaning at this stage, of course! Open thread!

Transatlantic Con Job

Right now, the Dow is down 700 or so on recession fears. Hopefully the president tweet-screaming stuff like this will calm the jitters:

“The Fed has got to do something! The Fed is the Central Bank of the United States, not the Central Bank of the World.” Mark Grant @Varneyco Correct! The Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late. Too bad, so much to gain on the upside!

“So far, you’ve had Tariffs imposed on 300 Billion Dollars worth of Chinese products, but you can’t tell me that it has hurt our economy…& it really hasn’t led to any kind of serious rise in prices at the consumer level.” @Varneyco @FoxBusiness And we are taking in $Billions!

Tremendous amounts of money pouring into the United States. People want safety!

LOL! Meanwhile, the corrupt old shitbird commerce secretary had thoughts on tariffs earlier:

The question that elicited Ross’s droning response was whether Trump extracted any concessions from China in exchange for delaying the new tariffs he announced last week. The answer is no, he did not; Tariff Man blinked because even if he’s too stupid to realize it, his low-quality hires know tariffs on consumer goods raise prices for consumers, and a bad holiday season might finally derail the Obama economic recovery and, with it, Trump’s sole argument for reelection.

Speaking of lunatics and morons running economic policy, John Bolton met with Boris Johnson yesterday. Via the Beeb:

Mr Bolton said on Tuesday that the Trump administration supported a no-deal Brexit, and added Washington would propose an accelerated series of trade deals in the event of one…

He said there would be enthusiastic bipartisan support in Congress for speedy ratification at each stage.

Not so fast, said Nancy Pelosi today:

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, whose party controls the House, said the UK’s exit from the EU could not be allowed to endanger the Irish peace deal.

Her comments came after the US national security adviser said the UK would be “first in line” for a trade deal…

“Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland,” Ms Pelosi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Keep fucking that chlorinated chicken, Brexiteers. I’ll defer to UK jackals on the implications of Pelosi’s warning, but from what I’ve read, figuring out what to do about the Irish border is the stickiest of wickets. Sort of related:

Last week, John McDonnell, the Labour Party chief, said that if Johnson were to lose a no-confidence vote and still refuse to step down, he would reluctantly be forced to remind Her Majesty that she is, after all, the head of state. “I don’t want to drag the Queen into this, but I would be sending Jeremy Corbyn in a cab to Buckingham Palace to say we are taking over,” he told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, is a lifelong republican who declined to kneel before the Queen when he was appointed to her Privy Council. That he, of all people, might turn to the hereditary monarch to save Britain from its own government is yet another of the Brexit referendum’s hitherto unimaginable, and now entirely conceivable, consequences.

So, to recap, it appears that “conservative” idiots are attempting to ruin the economy on both sides of the Atlantic for no good reason, and their success in that endeavor is looking more likely by the day. I don’t know shit about economics, so maybe this is all nothing and everything will be fine. But looking at the personnel involved in the decision making doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Open thread.