Monday, December 31, 2018

Oregon GOP power struggle: "Ethically inferior, morally suspect, and lazy."

Who gets access to the names of the voting delegates to choose the Party leadership? 

"The ORP central committee members voted that they do not want their personal information given out, so all communications [sic] is directed through the Secretary."
                          Becky Mills, ORP Secretary, email to Art Robinson

"They--Bill Currie et al.--are not releasing the names of the county chairs, vice chairs, and delegates. It's outrageous, but its not the first time they have done things like this."
                        Sam Carpenter, candidate for Party chair.

Oregon Governor race
The Republican brand means something in Oregon. Republicans vote for Republicans. Democrats vote for Democrats. In 2018, it was that simple. Intense anti-Trump sentiment among Democratic voters meant that Republican candidates with a moderate message hoping to get Democratic votes came up empty. [Carpenter disagrees.] GOP gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler and Jackson County state senate candidate Jessica Gomez voiced pro-reproductive rights, socially moderate positions. The election returns showed they got exactly the votes they "deserved" and nothing more: Republican votes. Few if any crossovers.

But getting Republican votes is important. The brand carries weight. It wins elections in most rural and suburban counties and legislative districts. So what is happening in Oregon is a struggle for what kind of Republican represents the GOP.  The deadline for submitting a slate of officers is January 2, 2019 and an election in mid February. 

On December 28 Sam Carpenter, the second place finisher in the primary election for Governor, submitted a slate to replace the current officers, along with a request:

"With this notice, please email me the list of voting members, delegates and alternative delegates."

The names and contact numbers for the various county voters would facilitate the six-week campaign season of persuading Republican leaders to back one slate or the other. 

Oregon GOP Facebook: 2 photos of Trump
Which slate? Carpenter says the issue is black and white. The current GOP leaders "tend to be never-Trumpers" and "that is the dividing line." 

He said "There is very little support for Trump by the Ruling Class establishment. It isn't what they say. It's what they don't say."

Carpenter is the alternative to them.

The struggle over access to names to facilitate intra-party campaigning is more symbolic than practical. GOP activists know each other, and if they don't they can make the calls to get acquainted. Elected officials in county and legislative districts are well known and easily located, and in rural Oregon most of them are fellow Republicans. Carpenter--or anyone else--can ask around, and find out who is who. County party leaders want to be accessible; after all, they are doing grassroots politics. 

The current leadership is sending a little message. We won't make it easy. 

Carpenter makes no secret of his discontent with them. Carpenter is finishing a book to be published shortly, in time to be read by those voting delegates. He is a sharp critic. Carpenter voices the populist discontent and resentments that has remade the GOP in the Trump era.

In an excerpt of his book released early, Carpenter cites "a Republican Party leadership vacuum" and says "the ORP leadership has done little to cultivate--never mind encourage, coach, protect, or promote -- candidates who can win because they might seem to be just. . . a bit too conservative."

Carpenter speaks to a tone of disrespect he says comes from the "current Establishment leadership."  In the advance text of his book, "There were a whole lot of Oregon conservatives [who] became very tired of being accosted by the leadership of their own party with both the vote-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils theory, and the not-voting-is-a-vote-for-Kate argument.

 . . . We started hearing the Ruling Class Republican Establishment blather about this a month before the general election, with one of the county Chairs sending a 'what its WRONG with you people!?' group message to all of that county's PCPs. . . ."

Carpenter continues, "It's SO predictable! This finger-pointing is completely in line with the Ruling Class conjecture that you and I are unintelligent, and for that matter, ethically inferior, morally suspect, and lazy. (Here's their vision of us: we're cleaning our guns while watching Fox News, pausing now and then to slurp from a can of Budweiser. And yes, on the table next to the Budweiser is a Bible.)"

Tough words. Voting delegates can read the rest of what he has to say shortly.

Democrats who despair at divisions within the progressive left can take comfort in realizing that something just as divisive may be happening within the GOP.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Trump will brand the Democrats

Trump has a strategy. Get people to dislike the Democrat even more than voters dislike him.  

"Crooked Hillary"

Insult them. Brand them.

Trump's strategy fits the current media environment. Humiliate opponents by branding and bullying them. It sends a message that the opponent can be pushed around, and is therefore unfit to be Commander in Chief. A candidate who can't defend him or her self from a bully cannot defend America.

It worked in 2016 and can work again. In 2016 Trump did not win big. Hillary Clinton lost big.  He branded her "crooked" and it stuck, at least with enough people to win 300-plus electoral votes.

He is very good at this. He brands with an insult. The media picks it up. It frames discussion of that person. Just how true is the insult??  It is a tar pit, and the more a person struggles the worse it gets because the subject is the insult. Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, 1% Lindsay Graham, Lyin' Ted, Crazy Ben Carson. 

We saw him name a candidate "Pocahontas." We know who he means, which is my point.

Preview of future insults:

Define Biden as a gaffe machine
Joe Biden:  "Crazy Gaffe Joe."  Trump needs to switch the story about Joe Biden from his extraordinary depth of experience as a Senator and Vice President into a story of his supposed gaffes over a long career.  He can make Biden's son's death a negative for Biden with the implication that Joe Biden is still disabled by grief, he has been through so much.  It turns "experience" into "damage."  Biden detractors on the left will finish the job: he is a centrist.

Elizabeth Warren: "Pocahontas." Trump defines her as a fraud. She uses identity politics to enrich herself! It is outrageous that a politician would enrich herself at public expense, Trump can charge.. Accuse her of what he himself is accused of. This has already worked for him. She is damaged. 

Bernie Sanders: "Socialist Extremist. He will confiscate your money and bankrupt America! He is too crazy left to be a Democrat, much less a president. Your taxes will go up to be given to lazy illegals. Will it work to say Sanders is too extreme?  Ask president George McGovern. Sanders will spend the campaign defending that he won't actually confiscate the wealth of the middle class.

Beto O'Rourke: "Skateboard Beto." Trump will turn O'Rourke's youth and energy against him, highlighting is presumed lack of experience, by trivializing it and him. While Trump was a supposed captain of industry, Beto was a loser congressman from a backwater border town, who lost to Ted Cruz. Lightweight Beto.

Kamala Harris: "California Dreamer." Trump knows he won't win California, so he will demonize it. Tofu. Extreme Climate rules. Yoga classes. It will be a culture war against the easiest to caricature elements of California, and he will position it against heartland states. He will talk about "midwest values" rather than "California values."  It will be Asians and Mexicans against good old regular Americans. He wins the upper midwest with this.

Kirsten Gillibrand: "Feminist backstabber Kirsten." He will turn Gillibrand into a feminist devil, someone who knifed Al Franken at the first glimmer and then turned on Bill Clinton and said he should have been impeached. Trump will start defending Franken as railroaded by Gillibrand in a rush to judgement, and make the campaign all about women out for revenge. Gillibrand is already struggling to defend her tweet saying "The future is female, intersectional, powered by our belief in one another. And we are just getting started." Trump will say he wants everyone to share in the American dream. He becomes the "includer;" she the divider. It may already be too late for her.

Jeff Merkley: "Nice Jeff. Oh so nice Jeff." Trump will turn Merkley's earnest, soft spoken manner into a deep negative with the implication that nice means weak. Merkley will either break his brand by fighting back, or look meek. Lose-lose.

Click: Atlantic
Michael Bloomberg: "Soda Pop Mike."  Trump has already secured the gun rights people, but Bloomberg's attacks on soda pop will define Bloomberg as an out of control tyrant, who uses his wealth to bully people. Trump will position himself as the defender of regular people versus Bloomberg who is out to get people sen for their harmless little vices, e.g. drinking sugared drinks. Bloomberg, the puritan tyrant. First guns. Then soda. Then who knows what? Be afraid.

Tom Steyer: "Mr. Hedge Fund." Tom Steyer went to Phillips Exeter, Yale, Stanford Business School, then Wall Street where he made a fortune, and now he gives it away and tries to convince people to be generous and climate friendly and impeach Trump. However admirable many readers will find that biography, it is the least populist biography possible, and it is too late to fix it. (Teddy Roosevelt did ranch work in South Dakota, then led a calvary charge in the Spanish American War. He fixed it)  Trump will make Steyer's Wall Street wealth a big negative. Mister out of touch.

And so on.

Trump understands that the branding that will stick are the ones that have an element of truth in them. Gillibrand did tell Franken to resign. Tom Steyer is Wall Street rich. Bernie Sanders is a Socialist. Beto O'Rourke was videotaped on a skateboard.  

What can these people do? Is there a defense? Yes, a partial one. Recognize how one can be caricatured to ones disadvantage and then very publicly do things which demonstrate the charge is actually a positive.

For example, Tom Steyer: "Damned right, Trump, I made a bundle on Wall Street. You lost a bundle and screwed over your investors,  and I made my bundle by cleaning up the mess that people like you made."

Saturday, December 29, 2018

This Blog is a "Huge Steaming Pile."

Not Everyone likes what I write.

Lauren Webber: "Pure drek." Michael Teters; "What a load."

Henry Ex: "I know Peter's slant on things, so I don't even bother reading what he posts. They are usually long winded arguments to limit how progressive we are."

Most of the sharpest criticism of this blog comes on Facebook. I consider Facebook chatter to be primary source material: genuine first person data. Some of the criticism is the predictable defense of a candidate or business.
  ***Local candidate Curt Ankerberg sent repeated comments calling me a limp-dick idiot. I had written that he was unfit for office.
Logo from one of many progressive Facebook groups
   ***The wife of the Mail Tribune newspaper editor thought to call me anti-semitic. I had criticized the pricing policy of that newspaper, one which causes vastly different prices to be paid by long time subscribers.
   ***Republican readers disagree with my comments on Congressman Greg Walden. I have written that his achievement of GOP leadership came at the cost of him being captured by the drug and telecommunication interests he oversees.

But the most useful criticism comes from the progressive left. The left is sorting out how to respond to Trump and the economic pressures on the middle class in America. Progressive or liberal. Left populism or left establishment. Young or old. Socialism vs. liberalism. Bernie vs. Beto. The punditry is busy discussing this right now.  Example: Click: NY Magazine and here Click: NBC News

No overlap. McCaskill and Osecia-Cortez.
Facebook criticism puts a vivid, first-person human voice to these disagreements. 

Three days ago I posted on the two very different world views of Clair McCaskill of Missouri and Alexandria Osecia-Cortez on the Bronx. Both are Democrats. Senator McCaskill lost re-election. This blog wrote that McCaskill didn't "get" Osecia-Cortez, and vice versa. 

The post got sharp criticism from the left. 

I think the critics confirmed my premise by condemning it and me.

After all, didn't I see that treating these two world views as equivalent was tantamount to endorsing an unjust status quo? McCaskill isn't an ally. She is the enemy. Hitler.

For example, Keith Hanton said the very discussion of the two world views is tantamount to endorsing one of them, McCaskill's.

"Yet another hot take from a blue dog who says that the party is becoming too progressive. This would make more sense if this wasn't being posted on a forum with 'Progressive' in its name. And this is coupled with Peter stereotyping AOC as an "ingenue". . .  Again, this is Peter agreeing with and helping to propagate McCaskill's and Fox News' narrative about her loss being caused by the party becoming too progressive. And this is the narrative Peter repeatedly spreads on this forum, with 'Progressive in its name. I'm going to leave this group the next post from Peter like this that the Admins allow."

Mike Gardner continues that theme of the bias inherent in supposed "neutrality." One is with the progressive left, or one implicitly validates its opposition, and I am observed to be on the outside.

"Backbreakingly painful attempt at opinionated screed trying to masquerade as unopiniond screed. Attempted construction 'straw man'. . . . False equivalence, progressive wing of democratic party and corporate/establishment win are fighting for what's left of the soul of the party.  . I've taught myself to read through condescending and patronizing sideways comments that read between the lines. . . . 

How much sanctimonious, self imposed virtue is there in pure neutrality (if such a thing exists)? Swiss neutrality, WW II? 'FDR, you have a point. Hitler, you have a point, too.'"

I consider comments like these a heads up for the left, and very useful to this blog.

Division is deeper than observers among the "regular" Democratic party might realize. The populist and progressive impulse is a revolt against the status quo. In this view, Obama was not an improvement; he simply put a kinder face on a deeply broken system, and was in fact part of the problem. They don't want incremental improvement in the status quo in which wealth is concentrating at the top and the middle class is disappearing. "Reform' validates an economic system too broken to fix. It needs to be replaced, with something bigger and bolder.

2020 prediction: The Democratic electorate will not settle on an acceptable Democratic candidate, because there cannot be one. I predict something like the 1968 convention. 

I expect to write about it.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Showdown at the GOP Corral

"The Oregon grassroots vote was, and is, as powerful as ever, but my Republican Ruling Class primary opponent's election victory was secured through vote-splitting manipulation, personal attacks on me, and big dollars to fuel it all."

                                                          Sam Carpenter, candidate for GOP State Chair

Sam Carpenter

Division on the right.

He says the GOP can be the majority party in Oregon if they embrace Trump. Embrace their own platform. And nominate real conservatives.

Sam Carpenter, a Bend area businessman, lost the Republican primary election for Governor. He is a man with a mission. He is running for state party chair, an office currently held by Bill Currier. Carpenter refers to the current party leadership as the "Ruling Class." He doesn't mean it as a compliment.

Sam Carpenter spoke with me for 45 minutes and two big messages emerged. 

One is explaining his loss of the GOP primary election. He says GOP leaders stood by while the conservative vote split in two, denying Carpenter the nomination, and arranging that Knute Buehler would emerge with a plurality of votes. 

The second theme is that the Never-Trump Buehler wing of the GOP is out of touch with GOP voters and that there is a solid pathway to victory for the GOP if they embrace true conservative values and policy. That means open, full throated support for Trump.

Carpenter says he is meeting opposition from the establishment "Ruling Class.' They informed him that they inserted rules requiring him to submit a slate of candidates for new officers by January 2. The GOP convention is February 15-16. Carpenter told me they want the slate early so they can prepare to smear and discredit his slate. 

He said he understood that this might sound oddly conspiratorial, but said it was in fact their practice. He cited his own experience, being accused of having unpaid debts and mis-stating his military service--"stolen valor." The charge was utterly unfounded, he said, but the accusation was a drag on his campaign for the May primary. Click for more: Accusations/Response  He said he was concerned similar things would happen to his slate.

He said good, professional polling showed he was winning as of April, 2018, notwithstanding being outspent some 10 to 1 by Buehler. "He spent 2 1/2 million. I spent $250,000." Then the establishment GOP encouraged a third candidate, Greg Wooldridge, to enter the race, for the actual, but unacknowledged, purpose of dividing the conservative vote. Wooldrich's focus was on attacking me personally, Carpenter said.

The party strategy worked. 

Carpenter lost, Buehler won. And then Buehler lost the general election.

Buehler was essentially a Democrat, Carpenter said. He had Democratic policies and projected a Democratic style. Shortly before the election Knute Buehler attended a Gay Pride parade in Portland. "Why was Knute Buehler in a gay parade in Portland? It's insane to move to the left. They are never going to vote for you. It infuriated the base."

Carpenter said Buehler did the same thing on abortion: "Why did he have to slap the base on abortion. He tried to ingratiate himself to the left." 

Republican voters want to vote for a real Republican, Carpenter said, one who supports the Party Platform, including the planks on abortion. Abortion: "The party believes that every person has a fundamental right to life, beginning at conception. The party also opposes taxpayer funding for abortion."

That is where the people are, Carpenter says.

Trump versus Never Trump. Carpenter said the establishment party is uncomfortable with Trump so they qualify and hedge and nominate people a Republican in Name Only. "It turns off the 89% of Republicans who support Trump," Carpenter says. 

Carpenter photo on Facebook
Carpenter takes his stand. He is pro-Trump, proud, and unwavering.

I mentioned the Access Hollywood recording. Surely you can't fully endorse Trump, I said. 

He said that when you have a leader, you back him. "I will not qualify my support for the president. I'm not qualifying the guy. I am not apologizing for him."  He added, "What he is doing on the Wall has pumped up the base. Oh, my."

On Facebook, Carpenter writes in full praise of Trump. 

"Overseas, strength has replaced appeasement. Nationally a surging economy has replaced economic malaise, and the rule of law is paramount. Obama's 'fundamental American transformation' of reduced freedom, anti-constitution rulings, and apology is flat-out over. Sanity has returned, and people all over the country have noticed."

In final edit
Republicans are working out what kind of Republicans make sense in Oregon. Sam Carpenter says that Oregon is actually a red state, if the GOP actually listens to their own voters. In that case a Republican would not lose 6 to 1 in Portland--as did Buehler--a margin that destroys a Republican's chance to win.

Carpenter says he is speaking up for Republicans and quiet Trump-supporters in other parties, who would turn out for a real conservative.

He is writing a book to make that case, and says it will be available in the second week of January, 2019.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

In Praise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The future belongs to the young.

"All your private property is target for your enemy. And your enemy is we. We are the forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are, we are. And we are very proud of ourselves.

We must begin, here and now. A new continent of earth and fire."

               Jefferson Airplane, Volunteers to America, fifty years ago.

She Guevara

I am no longer young. I used to be young.

This blog is roundly criticized by people in progressive groups in Facebook. "This is neo-liberal BS," some observe. I am understood to be white, male, presumably financially comfortable, and therefore inherently "centrist," like Joe Biden, or, worse, Hillary.

From my point of view, this makes me a useful ally in the effort to change America. I figure people like me are necessary to fund the campaigns of candidates progressives like, and perhaps to bring along my age cohorts to the voting booth. After all, people my age vote. Young people are full of energy and indignation, but hardly any of them vote, alas. So they get screwed, stay angry, but say "Heck with politics. It is done for the benefit of the wealthy." I agree. Old rich people vote.

My many progressive detractors say it is impossible for me to understand the world as they do. They forget I used to be young. Candidates are suspect--or condemned--if they get support from the likes of me. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

I consider Guest Post author Thad Guyer to be a disrupter by habit. He posts things on this blog that surprise and irritate people, and get me in trouble. He writes original, out of the box things, and I think he likes shaking people out of their bubbles. His professional life involves representing people who do exactly that work: whistleblowers. Disrupters.

Whistleblowers get in trouble because they reveal things that people in power don't want said. Not all white, male, financially comfortable people are powerful, but in America in 2018--and for generations before--they had a near monopoly on power. Such people are invested in the status quo. Claire McCaskill, whom this blog wrote about yesterday, understood how to navigate in that world. She didn't "get" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez, I wrote, and A O-C is a disrupter. 

She is too young to have settled into the world of comfortable white men, and she is Latina, and her power came from the charisma of youth and smarts and connection to her neighbors who are, like her, on the outside looking in and up. She is a whistleblower.

Thad Guyer writes about her in this Guest Post, which he titled "She Guevara."

Thad Guyer:
"I am inspired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka "She Guevara", and not just because of the cool clothing line you can buy on Amazon with her image above that nom de guerre 

Shehearkens me back to when 26 year old Julian Bond was refused his seat in the Georgia legislature because of his civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activism. We were awestruck and inspired by the rise of that young charismatic Black leader.  Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is engaged in an equally important struggle for wealth redistribution, a socialist philosophical footing she solidified in the Bernie Sanders campaign.  She infuses it with an immigrant liberation theology (Jesus as refugee) undoubtedly ignited during her internship with Ted Kennedy's immigrant outreach program in Boston where she went to college. 

Everything about "She" has a James Dean feel to it.

She has remarkable political instincts and agility, and pushes back with a kind of charming blade to the "obsessive" ridiculing of conservative media, each time seeming to assimilate lessons and growing still stronger. 29 is very young, mistakes are going to be made, and a fund of knowledge to undergird our youthful worldviews takes time to build. But the grit, the charisma, the deep wellspring of commitment to the have-nots, that is all there in Ocasio-Cortez, supercharged from the start. 

Donald Trump has made Democrats look hungrily at every new (and re-imaged) political face for signs that she or he "is the one". Could it be Kamala, Corey, or Beto who leads us to safety, how would he or she measure up in that screening?  

And when we easily conclude that "She" is too young, too socialist or too impulsive to coalesce a national leadership following, our eyes move on in search for "the one" elsewhere. What we need to be doing is drawing inspiration from Ocasio-Cortez, not prospecting for our own salvation in her aura. She and the constituents of her new world district ousted the establishment and the status quo in celebration of new political meaning and hope.  

After a fortuitous 2012 gerrymandering, She's 14th District shed the ever more white and affluent voters in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and East Village, with the new reconstituted district being made up only by neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens.  There half of the population is of Hispanic or Latino heritage, especially Puerto Ricans like her.  She showed her people how to use that new found political power.

We don't just need national leaders in the age of Trump, we need regional heroes too. Unfortunately, once an inspiring regional leader gets the presidential primary bug, they lose some that selfless patina, and with it some immeasurable amount of inspiration will be lost to us. We need models of what is politically possible, especially when those possibilities synthesize out of thin air as Ocasio-Cortez did. 

We need to just watch this woman blossom as a Congresswoman, and be thankful that Art. II, Sec. 1 of the Constitution will make her wait until age 35 to enter some crowded Iowa primary with grandeur in her eyes."  

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Two realities: Claire McCaskill and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“She's now talked about a lot. I’m not sure what she's done yet to generate that kind of enthusiasm, but I wish her well."

                                          Claire McCaskill, on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Claire McCaskill doesn't quite get Ocasio-Cortez.  And vice-versa.

It should not be a big surprise. McCaskill is 65 years old, a lawyer, has three children, and has been elected several times statewide in Missouri. She just lost her re-election to the US Senate getting 1,101,000 votes in a 45-55% loss. Trump had won the state by 18.5%

Alexandria Osecia-Cortez is 29, and she is the newly elected Member of Congress for the New York 14th Congressional District, representing part of the Bronx and Queens in New York City. Her big upset win was the Democratic primary, when she won with 15,900 votes over the incumbent Democrat.

Ocasio-Cortez is young, photogenic, media savvy, and she makes news. She was talked about because she cannot afford an apartment in DC until her Congressional salary starts. It's a good story: millennial woman cannot afford the rent. 

She said the media follows everything she does, so her media criticism became a story. She led a protest at Nancy Pelosi's office, which became a story. She proposed organizing a primary to oppose a black Democratic congressman who wasn't progressive enough. Another story. 

She proposed a Climate Change Committee, which would have moved jurisdiction of some matters from existing committees to the new one. She said she could not support Members who got campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies. She said climate change was so obvious there was simply nothing to discuss. She is on fire, a media star to rival Trump, only female and single and new.

Meanwhile, Fox News is keeping her in the news, doing a "gotcha" today. She had said Jesus was a "refugee" in the nativity. Fox observed that, yes, Mary and Joseph were traveling and were strangers in Bethlehem, but it was for a census, so birth Jesus was not technically a refugee. That wasn't until shortly later when they went to Egypt to escape Herod's command that Jewish infants be killed.  See how clueless she is? Look at the Democrat! Focus on that!

McCaskill was making her own news, in a CNN exit interview. She was reflective. "I'm a little confused why she's the thing. But it's a good example of what I'm talking about, a bright shiny new object, came out of nowhere and surprised people when she beat a very experienced congressman. . . . I hope she also realizes that the part of the country that are rejecting the Democratic Party, like a whole lot of white working class voters, need to hear about how their work is going to be respected, and the dignity of their jobs, and how we can really stick to issues that we can actually accomplish something on. Rhetoric is cheap. Getting results is a lot harder."

The weary and experienced woman observes the wildly successful ingenue. We have seen the movie a hundred times. Sometimes the ingenue crashes and burns. Sometimes she triumphs.

There is a generation gap being exposed here, a gap between two media eras, a policy gap, and a cultural gap between two very different parts of the world.

Ocasio-Cortez joyfully uses the word "socialist." For people McCaskill's age, "socialist" is associated with Soviet Union brutality, conformity, and failure. It doesn't conjure up social justice and middle class empowerment; it brings up the Cold War and long lines in front of grocery stores. 

NY District 14
Ocasio-Cortez is pushing the edge of what is politically possible, saying that of course there is "no debate" that fossil fuel production should stop, that we should accept nothing less than single payer health care, that there should be free college tuition, that we should abolish ICE. She represents a thoroughly reliably Democratic urban district, and her voice of impatient leadership on those issues worked for her.

Those policies are inconceivable in statewide Missouri. McCaskill's reality is that voters understand those policy ideas and reject them as expensive, dangerous, and impossible. Her association with them doomed her re-election. Ocasio-Cortez saw and experienced a different reality. The ideas motivated young, impatient, activist Democrats. See what is possible, she said. The media watched and activists cheered and agreed we should accept nothing less.

Each woman has her own experience and her own reality. Missouri is not the Bronx but Democrats cannot win the White House or legislative majorities in Congress without them both.

The concern of this blog, voiced yesterday, is that the two reality bubbles may have no area of intersect. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Present: A mirror

All is not calm. All is not bright. And Santa Claus is pretend. Time to face reality.

Christmas Gift for Democrats

Democrats need to notice that they are acting like the party of exclusion.

Today we open a Christmas present: a mirror.

Democrats think they have Trump on the run. They think they have the luxury of fighting each other while they get their identity politics just right. I see examples of it constantly within my friends on the political left. Women de-legitimizing men: patriarchy and rape culture. Blacks de-legitimizing whites: white supremacy and prejudice. Gentiles de-legitimizing Jews: wealth and Wall Street. Jews de-legitimizing Palestinians: destiny. Progressives de-legitimizing liberals: corporate sellouts. Liberals de-legitimizing progressives: socialist. Young de-legitimizing the old: shopworn and old hat.  Middle income against the billionaires: out of touch predators. Green Democrats against politicians who have received donations from fossil fuel producers: tarnished. Self-funded or internet-funded against politicians who have large donors: corrupt sellouts.

Black women feel especially entitled--after all, they turn out to vote. White women feel especially entitled--after all, it is now the "women's" party. People of color feel especially entitled--after all, they suffered greater discrimination than others. Progressives feel especially entitled--after all, Hillary stole the nomination from Bernie. 

The net result is the opposite of the intended message of inclusion and welcome. Our lives matter. Yours, not so much

So our kind, not your kind, had better be the face of the political left.

Too many Democrats are busy pointing out who is not good enough. And there is near universal consensus of condemnation and contempt for the very people that the left says are essential to re-include in a Democratic coalition, white men in that old FDR coalition, those working people who voted for Trump. Those white men are illegitimate because they are presumed to sit atop a mountain of privilege and historic predation on others. They aren't "woke" enough. They cannot possibly understand real suffering.

Perhaps they can be shamed and scolded into supporting the Democratic candidate. Perhaps if Democrats explain often enough how wrong they are, they will come to vote Democratic.

Readers of the NY Times last week saw the circle firing squad underway in the American left. It is a grim picture. Click below and read. Frequent Guest Post author Thad Guyer comments on it below.

I consider the article and his comments a kind of Christmas gift to readers. It is a mirror. It is a warning and picture of Christmas-future. Trump is on the run, but the Democratic posse is shooting at each other, not at him. 

Guest Post by Thad Guyer

"Democrats Perfect the Art of Self Destruction" 


If you want a nice encapsulation of why Trump appears headed to re-election (apart from the very high historical statistical probability that he will be), read the New York Times, "Women’s March Roiled by Accusations of Anti-Semitism" (Dec. 22, 2018, ). 

Activists who led the post-inauguration "Women's March," who are now in civil war with each other, are quoted as saying:

"[W]e’ve all learned a lot about how ...white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy ... [W]e really couldn’t center Jewish women in this or we might turn off groups like Black Lives Matter.” 
This is the Democratic infighting that follows strongmen GOP first-termers like Nixon and Reagan, with low popularity, who get reelected in landslides as Democrats bloody each other with leftist vs. centrist and identity rages. The cries that have already started in Iowa and New Hampshire that the party cannot hold together if it nominates a white male or  
centrist-- are undoubtedly true!  The two front runners-- way out front-- are Biden and Sanders, and white males O'Rourke, Donnelly and Casey are close behind. This does not even consider the emerging white male billionaire class led by Bloomberg and Steyer. 

This looming identity bloodbath is why establishment whites Schumer and Pelosi-- the whites who wield 100% of Democratic Congressional power-- don't dare trade the Wall for DACA, indeed the Wall for anything at all. A million desperate DACA people of color are easily expendable in our party, but the Wall rhetoric and invective are not.

Trump may not have a second term. But it won't be because a dysfunctional Democratic party beat him in a general election.