Category Archives: Elections
So, what, if anything, do last night’s election results mean?
It seems that the American people are out for incumbent heads once again. Non-presidential elections always seem to be bloodbaths for the majority party. And while I am glad the pendulum is swinging leftwards-politics being what it is here, nothing will get done that helps anyone because of the incredibly steep hill we as a Democratic Party must climb to triumph, and when we don’t make it to the summit, then the pendulum will swing right again (sorry about the mixed metaphors). If there’s anything you can count on in this world, it’s the shitty memory of the average US citizen. It doesn’t help that they are being lied to by half the radio dial, hundreds of crap dailies, and a major “news” channel either about what’s good for them. We’re a perpetually unsatisfied bunch, on the whole, and that is probably by design.
That’s my cynical take. I could be wrong, last night’s blue wave might be a harbinger of things to come. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, because we’ve gotten to the summit before(2008 until we lost Ted Kennedy and got Scott Brown). Really, the big important takeaway is that Donald Trump is really only good at one thing, and that’s alienating people. If there is any meaning at all to yesterday, it’s that Trump is not magic like he’d have you believe. In his mind and his stunted supporters’ minds, it was his charisma and vision that propelled him to victory in 2016. His statistically improbable win gave rise to a variant of The Trump Effect, which posited that his upset victory made him and Republican candidates who hewed to him invincible, all the way to 2020 when he would be elected again.
Now I was dead wrong about 2016. I fully expected an establishment election, with Bush losing to Clinton. But because of the weaknesses in the Republican field there was room in the national conversation for a blustering, self-promoting demagogue to turn the right wing in this country into a cult of personality seething with hatred and resentment towards its neighbors and anything else that wasn’t ‘Murican, which is to say white, male, straight and Christian. But I don’t think I’m going to be monumentally wrong again in that manner, and if I am, I should just turn in my pundit pin and go think in a dark room for a few months. Donald Trump is a fraud, a phony, a Pied Piper for idiots, and most of us have already figured that out. There will always be that perpetually blind 25% or so of people who really are Nazis, alt-righters, supremacists and racists, to whom Donald Trump seems like a godsend. But no one who wants to keep their job in Washington really wants to get any closer than arms length to Trump, and Republicans may forgo the huckleberry vote in a bid to hold the center, which is the sweet spot every perennially successful movement wants to be in.
That sweet spot is currently held by Democrats, if we can impose a little discipline on ourselves( looking at you, Donna Brazile, Bernie-hangers on, etc.). My best self is socialist, but I will wait patiently while we discover ways to make its principles palatable to a country obsessed with outmoded caricatures of “individuality”, which may have made for good novels while we were still
stealing land expanding as a nation but is wholly incompatible with the modern interdependent society where we don’t have to leave our neediest behind, work our lives away and grossly enrich ourselves as others struggle simply because they weren’t born fortunate. Now, I’m white, male and straight, and taken care of by the Veteran’s Administration and so I realize that my ability to “wait” is privileged to the point of being odiously gauche. But there it is; calls for revolution will not sit well at the center. We must nudge and not shove. It’s either that or a second civil war, one that crushes all the oppressive forces of patriarchy and racism and sexism and superstition and lack of understanding. I mean, I know what side I’ll be on if it goes down, but do we have to get to that point before we tolerate each other? Who of us will be counted when we do? Most of us have work in the morning.
Let’s hope politics is the answer. Indeed, it may be our last.
OK, Liz Warren, you win.
I think I’ve finally been ground down.
It’s not really the special election losses. We came damn close here in Georgia with Jon Ossoff, even though I knew he wouldn’t win. The only reason that Ossoff had any juice (well, besides the allegations that the election was a referendum on Trump and it became a national campaign as a result) is that he almost cracked 50% and nearly won in the first election against a fractured Republican field.
It’s not the daily thinkpieces about Democratic dithering when it comes to picking hills to put troops on.
It certainly isn’t Greens or Bernie hangers-on that are starting to make sense to me.
There was so much intrigue that caused Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016. Voter suppression, hacking of machines, Russian skulduggery, the Comey Bomb and good old fashioned American sexism were proximate causes. So hold your horses with the corruption nonsense and the DNC plots etc., ad infinitum.
Since we are a party in the woods, I say it’s time to get the hard left swing out of our system and find out once and for all if Democrats are truly losing elections because they fail to inspire. It’s an experiment whose time is come, since we truly have nothing to lose cause we ain’t got nothin’ at the moment. Perhaps I will be vindicated in recommending a slow hand and creeping gradualism. Or, and I hope this is the case, perhaps I will learn something new about the character of this country. But we will not know the answer unless we try.
Parties are generally heavily change-resistant. There is a hierarchy and a career path to obey, and you don’t usually get your shot by not putting in your time. Let’s think about Sanders for a second. Firstly, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. Secondly, he has done nothing significant within the party machine. And after a brutal slugfest with Barack Obama in 2008 and dutifully serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton deserved that nomination more than anyone. Now I was no Clintonite that season-I thought her followers were off their rockers, and I had to write off several capable bloggers like Taylor Marsh and the folks at Corrente because I couldn’t brook the resentment and the conspiracy, not dissimilar at all to the way I reacted to the Bernie brigades.
But there’s a contemporary hole in this rule about the conservative nature of parties, or so it would seem. Donald Trump showed you could come out of nowhere, go full retard and win. Now of course, the same forces that caused Hillary’s defeat that I outlined above were in play for his victory. Yet, perhaps in his unorthodox win there’s a message to us on the left-that there’s room to move, that people are hungry for rarer species (or, this could simply mean that Republican voters are stone cold stupid-maybe both things are true). There’s certainly no better time than now, when people are having more trouble than ever making ends meet, to tell them that the government is coming to the damn rescue using all available trucks to meet the emergency. That dynamic may be a major factor in Trump’s win-the straightwhitechristianmale supremacist axis is getting out-birthed and out-educated and the people who support that system were looking for a savior, not a politician-and Donald…and it makes me grit my teeth to say this…played the part with aplomb and people bought it.
People are generally panicky in America right now, no matter who they are. A level of responsiveness, immediacy and throwing off of caution could benefit anyone willing to say the right things-and with any luck, carry enough people with them to do the right things. I’m willing to stop the fretting that I have been doing to see if the idealists are actually onto something, and should that gambit fail, I’m gonna riot.