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January 11, 2022

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the right of blacks to vote was generally either taken away or significantly restricted in most states over the first half of the 18th C. This wasn’t just a southern thing, many / most northern states limited the franchise for blacks (and others).

My exception was to the statement that "our democracy was rigged from the start in favor of the white and wealthy." [emphasis added]

To be clear, I take "the start" to be the implementation of the Constitution.

My exception was to the statement that "our democracy was rigged from the start in favor of the white and wealthy."

All good, wj.

I was not actually singling out any of the things that you were feeling the need to defend there, GftNC. The RadFems are similar to the pacifists in that tricky calculus thing. Which is to say that I don't expect the RadFem contingent to give up their opposition to many things for which the Trans Rights people are campaigning (even if I think the RadFems are wrong on those issues). I would, however, expect them to show up to protest police brutality against trans people, and to welcome help from trans activists when it is freely given.

When I wrote that bit I was actually thinking about the difficulty that minority activists have in getting suburban whites to show up for any public action for farm workers or for protests against ICE detentions and the like. Or the people who balk at trying to help the homeless because the camps or shelters are being put into their own neighborhood and they are worried about crime, drugs, and property values.

Limousine liberals make horrible allies - all take and no give.

Limousine liberals make horrible allies - all take and no give.

Still, better horrible allies than active opponents. Enough better that it's probably worth a bit of (psychological) effort to avoid gratuitously offending them. No matter how frustrating (very!) they can be.

Sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate.

Trump said this in AZ this weekend.

Limousine liberals make horrible allies - all take and no give.

but they make such a nice scapegoat.

(sorry, PA, not AZ)

Still, better horrible allies than active opponents. Enough better that it's probably worth a bit of (psychological) effort to avoid gratuitously offending them. No matter how frustrating (very!) they can be.

Always the attitude taken by the people in the middle with the least at stake, with absolutely no compassion or empathy for what it is like to live on the margin and be told that you have to defer to the ones with privilege.

It's another form of supremacy, wielded with uncaring, deadly effect. And I've done it myself and have to work to not do it. Listening is hard, and it requires active and voluntary restraint with no room for resentment or ego.

Always the attitude taken by the people in the middle with the least at stake, with absolutely no compassion or empathy for what it is like to live on the margin and be told that you have to defer to the ones with privilege.

But also the attitude, as in this case, of those who think it is important to win for those on the margin. Rather than enjoy this kind of gratuitous insulting of those who might help that win happen.

Or, if you insist on insulting them, decide to pitch in to defeat you. And that is, whether you quite realize it or not, exactly how your comment comes across.

Candor wins against political strategy when commenting on an obscure blog.

Candor wins against political strategy when commenting on an obscure blog.

Certainly, if it stays there. But all too often, it surfaces in far more public venues.

It may be wise to practice restraint even here, just to build habits against the next foray out in public. Although I can see the merit of having someplace to let off steam in relative privacy.

Huh. I guess just mentioning limousine liberals counts as a personal insult, even when it’s not aimed at anyone specific.

I can’t prevent anyone from seizing hold of a complaint about a class of behavior and owning it as a personal rebuke. But that sensitivity too is wielded tactically, and again with a complete lack of empathy for the position of the other who is being asked to forebear and continue to suffer long so as not to discomfit.

Huh. I guess just mentioning limousine liberals counts as a personal insult, even when it’s not aimed at anyone specific.

Well, there was the part about "horrible allies"....

Note also that "limousine liberal" is routinely used as a personal insult. You never hear the term applied to, for example, FDR. Even though, given his combination of wealth and liberalism, it would seem to fit.

(sorry, PA, not AZ)

I was wondering if Trump had somehow overcome his aversion to the western 75% of the country.

They are, for the very reason I mentioned. And your own follow up about them abandoning the field if they feel slighted reinforces why they are horrible allies.

It is indeed fortunate when they choose to lend support. But they cannot be relied upon.

wj - you fixate on the strangest and most peripheral things sometimes when you choose to object to characterizations. We have two such in this thread with the objection to suffrage being historically skewed towards the interests of white male property owners and now to wealth being the defining trait of the limousine liberal (rather than the refusal to sacrifice privilege).

I’m never quite sure what you intend to help tease out with these objections, or how you think they distort the arguments being made. It is a mystery.

And your own follow up about them abandoning the field if they feel slighted reinforces why they are horrible allies.

cast your memory back to the early summer days of 2016 and 2020 when it seems like every other self-descried "progressive" on the web (including, IIRC?, some here) was threatening to sit out the election because Sanders didn't get the nomination.

how they refused to be held "hostage" by the possibility of a Republican takeover of SCOTUS.

how, since Sanders didn't win, both parties were really the same and the only thing that mattered was the leftmost edge of American politics.

how Clinton had to fight not only the GOP, but endless torrents of bullshit from the left.

such great allies! much supporting. so worth courting.

Candor wins against political strategy when commenting on an obscure blog.

Agreed.

nous @12.41:

I understand. And speaking as a definite limousine liberal (although far from suburban, and definitely not about to abandon the field if I feel slighted), I understand and sympathise with your frustration, and hope I am a better ally than those you describe.

I would, however, expect them [a] to show up to protest police brutality against trans people, and [b] to welcome help from trans activists when it is freely given.

I absolutely agree with you on [a], and regarding [b] the decision would depend on the specific help, the specific circumstances, and the specific trans-activists.

I call myself a limousine liberal because of growing up privileged in most ways, not because of wealth. I wish.

cast your memory back to the early summer days of 2016 and 2020 when it seems like every other self-descried "progressive" on the web (including, IIRC?, some here) was threatening to sit out the election because Sanders didn't get the nomination.

Yep. The Jacobin purists are horrible allies too, and they don't show up to help any of those other groups either. They always find an excuse to ghost if it's not their personal hobby horse in the queue at the glue factory.

I don't count on them for solidarity any more than I do on the NIMBYs.

We need good faith, and a commitment to fairness that goes both ways, and to courage. The rest can be worked through.

I’m never quite sure what you intend to help tease out with these objections, or how you think they distort the arguments being made. It is a mystery.

Part of it, no doubt, is all the time I spend proof reading and editing at work. It gets to be a habit to spot, and call out, the kind of errors which will undercut the point that is trying to be made. (Especially when said point is a sale.)

But another part is that I keep seeing statements which seem outright self-destructive. See cleek's at 3:48. It's not so much that they distort anything as that they are totally unnecessary to support it -- and cause some listeners to close their minds to that argument. Frankly, you appear to be among those who do it most often here. (Albeit nowhere near the worst offender in the wider world.)

My view, confirmed by a lot of experience, is that words matter. Clinton's "deplorables" comment, for example, did her campaign more damage than any dirt that Trump came up with. Not because she was wrong about the people she intended to speak of, but because it was done in a way which offended a bunch of folks who might well have supported her otherwise.

Let me try to lay it out this way.

nous, you are perfectly capable of making solid arguments for your positions. Sometimes, you even persuade me; sometimes not. But even when I don't find the arguments persuasive, I can see some reason for where you're coming from.

But while you can, more often than not** you lard your arguments with negative comments about moderates, not to mention moderate conservatives. Comments which contribute nothing to the case you are making. Not always flat out insulting, but certainly disrespecting them and all their works.

The result of that is a huge inclination to go counter to the position you are supporting, without even considering its merits. I make an effort to stay focused to the substance, but it's hard. And most people, reading it, will just stop listening. Which is counterproductive. Not damaging to the substance of the argument, but definitely damaging to the (presumed) persuasive intention of the argument.

** No, I haven't run a study. ;-)

I understand the reaction that you speak of, wj. That reaction is the subject of most of my criticisms. That reaction is the heart of what LJ was pointing to when he wrote about centrist as a worldview and an identity.

The lesson at hand is that offense is something that progressives and minorities cannot afford because they need moderates and centrists on their side or else we end up with monsters in power.

To what extent do the moderates and the centrists need those on their left? To what extend do they need to try to avoid offending them? To what extent do they need to try to empathize with their concerns?

It is as if moderates believe that there is a sufficient supply of potential, non-monstrous allies just to the right of the moderates who can keep us from evil so long as the people on the left don't scare them or offend them, and that the key to avoiding evil is figuring out how many on the left can be ignored to get n+1 swing voters on the side of not being monstrous.

The last five years have shown me that those swing voters that have taken offense at the left are perfectly willing to support monstrousness. I don't think that should be a controversial position to take after Jan. 6.

Is the lesson we are supposed to take from this that, sorry, the center needs monsters more than they need the marginalized on the left so the marginalized need to stay quiet?

That seems an abusive dynamic. And I see no evidence that the monstrousness-enablers are willing to be soothed out of their support for monsters.

Are we certain that there are no more votes on the margins of the Democratic party that could counter the part-time-monstrous? I don't think we've tried hard enough to find out, and I don't see any concern for how the search for center swing votes reinforces the marginalization of the groups that are being told to stay quiet.

It sucks.

I probably just offended a bunch of people by calling out the monstrousness of our current political climate and pointing out their complicity in that monstrousness.

I guess I should be more politically correct.

Note also that I did not call any moderates and centrists who are not supporting The Orange Menace "monstrous," just the people that they appear to hope to win over.

Clinton's "deplorables" comment, for example...

Tone deaf? certainly. Cost her a good number of votes? I tend to doubt it. It does not strike me that folks will suddenly switch from being for Hillary and then go vote for a fucking racist fascist thug like D.Trump simply because they thought she was referring to them. They were most likely predisposed to vote for him anyway.

I am a self confessed lefty/socialist loon deeply critical of the capitalist system, and all forms of hierarchy. But I must admit that I get a bit disappointed at my good liberal friends who get all wrought about "defund the police" denser zoning regulations, or "good schools"...or "how are you going to pay for it?" trotted out as what they think is a serious critique of my public policy preferences...but whatever. Despite that, I have voted straight Dem in all local, state, and national elections since 1972*, and most likely shall continue to do so in the few remaining elections I shall be around to participate in.

Because right now, in these times, there is no effective decent alternative. I shall vote for Dems because Republicans, as a group, are orders of magnitude worse (despite there being "nice" ones here and there).

However, I do reserve the right to criticize moderates as much and as heatedly as they criticize folks such as myself.

I think that's just the way it is, and will continue to be.

*yes. even when my candidate did not win the primary.

how Clinton had to fight not only the GOP, but endless torrents of bullshit from the left.

Much as George McGovern and Jeremy Corbin had to put up with endless torrents of bullshit from the center, the center that gave us Richard Nixon's second term and Boris Johnson.

It goes both ways.

Note also that I did not call any moderates and centrists who are not supporting The Orange Menace "monstrous," just the people that they appear to hope to win over.

Gotta admit, when I first read your 4:09, it certainly read like you were saying that ALL centerists/moderates were, if not monsterous themselves, at least enthusiastically embracing monsters. Not, you say, what you intended to convey, but definately how it came across.

The thing is, my sense is that most moderates are as repulsed by the monsters as you are. (Not, mind, those who are not moderates so much as without principles beyond a will to power for themselves. But real moderates.) That said, if they get the sense that the left is trashing them, their willingness to believe that they can control the monsters goes up. There were a lot of those in 2016. Many learned better; that's part of why Trump lost this time. But there were others who found that they would rather tolerate Trump than accept being equated to him -- which is how they would read you.

Is it unfair that you have to accomodate the moderates more than they have to accomodate you? Sure. But the question isn't fairness here. It's how do we maximize the chances to taking down the monsters. As cleek notes, there were a lot of progressives threatening to sit out in the last two elections, just because their preferred candidate didn't get nominated. Fortunately, they mostly didn't. But there was never a chance that they would feel so upset that they would support Trump. Whereas the chances of losing the center to Trump was far larger.

Simply put, reality isn't symmetrical. And since it's not, progressives will end up having to do more, and give more.

It goes both ways.

yes, it does.

and the fact needed pointing out.

so long as the people on the left don't scare them or offend them

"defund" really did scare them! like, it totally fucking freaked them out. and not just our horrible limousine liberal moderate centrist oppressors, either:

In a year-to-year poll, Pew found more Americans want to increase police funding in 2021 compared to 2020. The most notable drops in support were among Black adults and people age 18 to 49, both of which had plurality support when Pew asked the same question about police funding last year.

...

Just 23% of Black respondents said they support decreased police funding this year, down from 42% in 2020. For young adults, support for decreased funding went from 34% to 23%.

if the shit you're pushing turns people off, it's not necessarily their fault.

It does not strike me that folks will suddenly switch from being for Hillary and then go vote for a fucking racist fascist thug like D.Trump simply because they thought she was referring to them. They were most likely predisposed to vote for him anyway.

Not, I think, predisposed to vote for Trump. But open both to the idea of voting for him and the idea of voting for Clinton. It wasn't them switching who they would vote for. It was them deciding, where they were previously undecided.

Like you, I have trouble understanding how anyone could even consider voting for that despicable conman. But I recognize that there were quite a number who, while not particularly racist fascists themselves, were willing to consider him. Their votes weren't certain, but even keeping half of them away from Trump would have flipped a couple of close states. States which, in 2020, did flip.

Not, you say, what you intended to convey, but definately how it came across.

Not what I said, intent or no. It was how you read it. So if you wish to fault my rhetoric, then perhaps you should also take care for your own reading of things as well?

I find it hard to believe that a meaningful number of people who were even the least bit open to voting for Clinton were pushed over the edge to vote for Rump over the “deplorables” nontroversy. It got plenty of press, sure, but it was BS being preached to an already-converted choir, another grievance on the pile for the oh-so aggrieved. And many of them were just playing along. It was half joke and half source of pride for them, but they put on their offended faces for the cameras. Meh…

No Jacobins, no limousine liberals, no centrists or moderates. It’s getting kinda lonely in progressive land.

I say take your allies where you find them.

It needs repeating: Hitler had a lot of Jewish supporters in 1932/3 too. They were conservative (and often hyperpatriotic) law-and-order types that saw Hitler as the man to wield the iron broom to get rid of that dysfunctional democratic republic (and did not take his antisemitic rhetorics seriously).

I find it hard to believe that a meaningful number of people who were even the least bit open to voting for Clinton were pushed over the edge to vote for Rump over the “deplorables” nontroversy.

Could be.

Also could be that a number of folks who found Trump clownish and might have just sat it out found Clinton’s comment offensive and decided to show up and vote against her.

I’m pretty sure it didn’t help her, at all.

Not what I said, intent or no. It was how you read it. So if you wish to fault my rhetoric, then perhaps you should also take care for your own reading of things as well?

It is sad but true that most people read rapidly by not super carefully. A luxury which, as a teacher, you don't have. If you hope to be persuasive, you have to couch your rhetoric accordingly.

Not fair, of course. But as noted, the goal is to persuade. Which will have to be done on the terrain as it is, not as it should be or as we wish it was.

The idea that an endless torrent of bullshit rained on Jeremy Corbin by the centre gave us Boris Johnson is absolutely enraging. All the moderate to centrist lefties I know begged the more far left not to make JC leader, that he was unelectable and that it would inevitably lead to prolonged Tory rule. And so it did. And not just because he was (or was perceived to be) extreme. He was a dim, ineffectual, ideological apparatchik who could barely put a foot right on anything.

And this has been rewritten three times, to avoid showering you all with a torrent of expletives.

It needs repeating: Hitler had a lot of Jewish supporters in 1932/3 too. They were conservative (and often hyperpatriotic) law-and-order types that saw Hitler as the man to wield the iron broom to get rid of that dysfunctional democratic republic (and did not take his antisemitic rhetorics seriously).

A rather similar phenomena is seen in the level of support for Trump among Hispanics -- definitely a minority, but a much bigger one than one might expect. Apparently his anti-Hispanic words are outweighed by his conservative, law-and-order rhetoric.

Indeed, the GOP could probably run up big majorities among Hispanic voters,** if they ever got over their racism. (Of course, that would be a very different party. But still a conservative one.)

** Black voters, too. But apparently actual conservative positions are less important than the racism of the Dixiecrats.

How many undecideds, moderates, middleoftheroaders, and pragmatics who were called limosine-liberal, latte-drinking, Sandinista, camel jockey, pinko socialist, gay-leaning, immigrant-sympathizising, four-eyed, coastal elites by the malignant conservative movement and their fascist killer-cop-loving deplorable, armed candidates decided to vote for Hillary Clinton and Democrats down ticket to show the filth on the right a little lesson in courtesy.

Hell, the so-called moderate middle, including more than one both-sides-do-it characters here quoted nearly verbatim from Putin disinformation farms in Eastern Europe and Russia regarding Hillary being near death during the campaign and other horseshit.

Oh really, they thought they were quoting from the Drudge Report?

What happened to Drudge anyway? Did the conservative movement shoot his dumb hat off for becoming .... a deplorable MODERATE on Trump.

None, in answer to whatever the question was leading off this screed.

OK, one. wj.

Case closed.

Clinton was a dumb politician. Calls for defunding the police, even though a cursory look beneath the rhetoric revealed a modest moving around of funds were dumb politics.

But so was the hapless von Hindenburg and his alternative desperate ticket of moderate anti-Semites who he thought might staunch .. soothe.. the delicate feeling of the fence sitters to ward off utter fucking monstrous murderous evil.

I don't give a fuck who runs the Democratic Party nor do a care one shit any longer about the relative moderation or radicalism of their proposed policies, which exclude, unlike the c*nts on the side of evil, burning the entire fucking place down.

I want the Trump republican party and the conservative movement wiped off the face of the Earth by every and all means necessary.

You may have America or you may have the conservative movement and the Republican Party.

There's never been a clearer political choice in America since April 12, 1861.


It is sad but true that most people read rapidly by not super carefully. A luxury which, as a teacher, you don't have. If you hope to be persuasive, you have to couch your rhetoric accordingly.

I think I might have kinda noticed this as a teacher of first year college students, and a former tech writer, but thanks for pointing it out.

Not fair, of course. But as noted, the goal is to persuade. Which will have to be done on the terrain as it is, not as it should be or as we wish it was.

And I'll keep that in mind when I decide to write an op-ed. Here I'm exchanging ideas with others who are here to discuss issues and try to come to some understanding. If I do not write here as if I am communicating with the average USA Today reader that's because I have faith in my audience's ability to read what is actually written, and in their willingness to engage and not just be appealed to.

This is a discussion forum with a well educated and well read commentariat, not a news outlet or a webpage with wide public viewership.

GFTNC,

You may be totally correct about Corbin (I respectfully disagree in part), but that is not what we are trying to discuss here. The left is being tasked with fealty to the 'team' no matter who the party coughs up as the candidate (Take warmonger Tony Blair, please).

If I were in your shoes, I would have voted for both Blair and Corbin when the time came, because the Tories are an abomination.

Everybody wants to build a coalition until they decide it is their ox that is getting gored.

Don't bother with the shower....I've heard all those words. Many times. :)

I agree with GftNC about Corbyn, except that we may as well spell his name right.

I've got a story about him which I've kept to myself every since he became leader, for fear of giving succour to the other side...

Oops...my error on the spelling.

Boy...that must be some juicy story! Something along the lines that in private he claims to have been abducted by aliens?

All the best.

The left is being tasked with fealty to the 'team' no matter who the party coughs up as the candidate

There is frequent annoyance here when the left is told that their messaging is offputting, or that they should be more careful in their strategy or tactics so as not to empower the monstrous right. Claims have been made that it is the responsibility of the right to see off the monstrous right, not the responsibility of the left.

But the terrible, unfair truth is this. When the right fails to see off the monstrous right, as is now always the case, and the left have not made themselves attractive enough to win elections outright, the consequences for everyone (bar the top 1%) are catastrophic.

We seem to have established that the right in the US no longer has a concept of the common good. (The UK is not as far along the same road, though it has started.) But there is a common good, and if the left are the only people with that concept, and the will to act in its interest, then the left must do everything they can to avoid the triumph of the monstrous right. And that means it must eschew purity politics, and appeal to the greatest number of potential allies.

I long for a return to a reasonable right and a left which can again afford the luxury of infighting. But first, we must try to avoid a descent into a post-democratic world.

Oops...my error on the spelling.

Mine too. I kind of half knew it, but didn't care enough to check.

Pro Bono, you tease. I think you should spill.

I long for a return to a reasonable right and a left which can again afford the luxury of infighting. But first, we must try to avoid a descent into a post-democratic world.

True, dat.

From Lincoln's Cooper Union speech:

But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"

I am so very tired of hearing about whose fault it's going to have been if/when the fascists take over. Practically everyone who can string a coherent sentence together seems to know how other people need to behave in order to stop them. I'm sure that if I, as a gay person, am loaded onto a box car one of these days (I had a dream about that once), someone will be running alongside the train wagging a finger and telling me that if only I had moderated my rhetoric and hot temper on the blogs, none of this would have happened.

Fie. I'm trying to keep my spirits up by taking pictures.

On the subject of Democratic messaging (which is not, as I see it, a grassroots organizing concern), I don't see a single example of poor messaging that should, in and of itself, have had any impact on the outcome of any major election.

"Deplorables" was a problem because Clinton had two decades of anti-Clinton propaganda to fight. Biden would likely have survived such a gaffe with a tiny blip in support for one news cycle.

"Defund the Police" was never a Democratic party issue. It was a sign being waved by angry African-Americans in the background at protests that was picked out and elevated by the RW propaganda machine to be used as a cudgel. Which is to be expected. But it never should have become a Democrat issue because it was entirely peripheral to the central narrative. The Dems failed to assert control over the media narrative and the mainstream media allowed itself to be used as an essential cog in the RW propaganda machine when it treated that propaganda as a worthy news subject, rather than a cynical bit of propaganda being tossed out by bad-faith opportunists to distract from the glaring problems on their own side. Our mainstream media is busy chasing the RW narrative rather than making the actual news into a compelling counter narrative.

The Dems need a functioning propaganda arm themselves, and they need to grasp that their propaganda has to play by different rules than the RW propaganda machine to achieve their ends, but they still need to be relentless with message and dismissive of the other side's narratives (without being dismissive of their audience's concerns - that's the hard bit).

The left needs to stop apologizing and start hitting the economic fairness propaganda and the standing-up-to-bullies propaganda and the sí, se puede attitudes. If that is going strong then there is less opportunity to force them onto the back foot with tone policing.

It's not on the blogs the battle can be won or lost, so you won't have to put up with that accusation in your boxcar. Candor (or even candour) online is why so many of us are here.

It's going to be the fascists' fault when the fruits of their taking over are catastrophic for so many of us. But the fault for their being able to take over, while mostly the right's, may be spread a little bit more widely.

I say take your allies where you find them.

Recent by election results in the UK suggest that the electorate at least have begun to work this out. Where Labour have been in second place, they have won; where the much smaller LibDem party has had the cleanest prospects, they have done so - with the non Tory votes splitting disproportionally to the winner compared with the last election.
In both cases with the tacit acceptance of the other party that they wouldn’t campaign too hard.

I don't see a single example of poor messaging that should, in and of itself, have had any impact on the outcome of any major election.

"should"? I quite agree.

"did," however? Not so sure.

Also, I would suggest not focusing on "major" elections. A focus on, for example, state legislatures would pay huge dividends down the road. More recently, it appears that little things like county elections commissioners are becoming important as well. They damn well shouldn't be, since those are properly nonpartisan positions -- and that has been the practice for a long time in most places. But the world seems to be changing for the worse there as well.

Agreed on the media/propaganda issue, nous.

"I’m pretty sure it didn’t help her, at all."

Undoubtedly. In a closely divided polity, such matters may perhaps be given undue consideration as to their importance (Corbyn can't tie his shoes, some street demonstrators shouted 'defund the police'-a call taken up by, um, nobody, and on and on).

what's most important is that nearly half voters in this country are perfectly OK with an authoritarian narcissistic nihilistic racist psychopath running things, giving the rubes a good show and shoveling all our wealth to the already wealthy.

I would wager that what changed a lot of good republican minds in 1932 was the fact that folks were unemployed and starving while the GOP blathered on about preserving the gold standard, and "liquidate, liquidate, liquidate".

Roosevelt convinced them that their voice was being heard. Trump similarly, but under circumstances that are entirely different (relative prosperity and stability).

Perhaps we should look further into the nature of that appeal and its apparent success.

As Crane Brinton offered in his well known book, The Anatomy of Revolution, if desperation was the main driver of revolution, India would have seen a revolution many decades ago.

what's most important is that nearly half voters in this country are perfectly OK with an authoritarian narcissistic nihilistic racist psychopath running things, giving the rubes a good show and shoveling all our wealth to the already wealthy.

I'm not sure that it's nearly half, although admittedly the number is horribly high. Rather, I think that nearly half of the voters are willing to tolerate, however reluctantly, an authoritarian narcissistic nihilistic racist psychopath running things because they have been convinced that the alternative is worse. The good news is, that means they can potentially be unconvinced.

Also, I would suggest not focusing on "major" elections. A focus on, for example, state legislatures would pay huge dividends down the road. More recently, it appears that little things like county elections commissioners are becoming important as well. They damn well shouldn't be, since those are properly nonpartisan positions -- and that has been the practice for a long time in most places. But the world seems to be changing for the worse there as well.

Agree, and this is where the grassroots become more important than the party propaganda campaign.

Get the folks of good will together - as much together as the issues will allow - and get them working together on the shared goals and committed to the big-picture success of their side. Where ideological clashes occur, agree on a middle party that can act as a bridge between the groups, which both groups can support.

The process of working together on those non-divisive issues will do a great deal for compassion and empathy.

Simply put, reality isn't symmetrical. And since it's not, progressives will end up having to do more, and give more.

At this time, in this place, I could not agree more. You will notice that is what actually mostly takes place when the political heat subsides and the dust settles. I get it. But you have to admit it is a bit grating to hear all the complaining while winning. Whining while losing, well now, that is just human nature!

If the shoe were on the other foot, what would you do?

If the shoe were on the other foot, what would you do?

In a way, the shoe is on the other foot right now. I know that getting the crazies back to the fringes will require pretty much everybody to my left. So I try to make what I innocently hope are constructive suggestions. No matter how disconnected from reality I find some of your or nous' policy positions, I try to stay away from that discussion. Except to point out when I think downplaying one of them will help keep voters on my end of the spectrum on board.

I concede that I may fail in this from time to time. But that is my aim. Someday, God willung, we can get back to the point where we can dispute actual policies. For now, we all need each other. Otherwise we get nothing, and less than nothing, for a long time to come.

I am so very tired of hearing about whose fault it's going to have been if/when the fascists take over.

Seconded, emphatically.

The people responsible for Trump having a political career at all are the people who support and vote for him. The people responsible for the bankrupt state of the (R) party and American conservatism in general are the people who support it.

They need to change.

If I had a meaningful lever to change their point of view, believe me when I say I would use it. I have no such thing.

Want to be the party of personal responsibility? Take personal responsibility.

I'm not sure that it's nearly half

2020 POTUS popular vote results:

Biden: 51.3%
Trump: 46.9%

Maybe we can quibble about the meaning of “nearly”. But it looks like nearly half, to me.

they have been convinced that the alternative is worse

People are responsible for what they believe.

The situation we are in at the moment will not change until the people who support the (R) party at large require that party to change its behavior. And by “the (R) party at large” I include Trump, but it goes far beyond Trump.

The (R) party is a rogue actor at the moment. I can’t change that. I doubt that utter political defeat would change it very much, and that’s not gonna happen anyway, there are too many people who are on board with the (R) agenda.

The people who can turn that around are conservatives. Not me, there is not one (R) voter or Trump supporter I know who has any particular interest in what I say.

Conservatives of good conscience and good faith need to stand up and visibly speak against the direction of their party. Clearly and unequivocally.

2020 POTUS popular vote results:

Biden: 51.3%
Trump: 46.9%

And that was after seeing the guy in action as POTUS for 4 years. There’s no “just giving the guy a shot” defense the second time around.

Russia is evacuating it's embassy personnel ... wives, and families in Kyiv, the Ukraine Capitol.

All of this is coordinated with Trump's and the traitorous Republican Party's kickoff this month of the 2022 stolen elections and the 2024 stolen Presidential election.

Tucker Carlson and FOX News are cheering Putin's invasion on behalf of their fascist subhuman conservative movement candidates.

If not now, when?

Meanwhile, here's a character sketch of the 80 million republican Trump conservatives in fucking America who will kill all of us:

"Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, his deputy and three of Roger Stone?s bodyguards exchanged calls during Capitol riot. "Tasha Adams (estranged wife of arrested Oath Keeper, Stewart Rhodes): "He is very dangerous. He lives very much in his own head. He sees himself as a great leader... He's a complete sociopath, he does not feel empathy for anyone around him at all.""

People are responsible for what they believe.

Yes. I have a big issue in relation to who's being framed as having agency and who isn't in this discussion. Lefties have agency but the people who voted for Clickbait are a bunch of passive dupes? The more rightward you go, the less agency anyone has, and the more it's incumbent on people to the left to walk on eggs to placate their tender sensibilities.

Greasing the skids of the Overton window as it slides ever rightward...

There are liberals, there are conservatives, and they both supposedly have to appeal to "the center" to prevail.

To do this center-appealing thing, liberals have to be politic in their speech, modest in their demands, and deferential to traditional norms.

Conservatives, not so much.

The inference is inescapable: "the center" is a bunch of people who will vote Republican given the slightest excuse to do so. Any failure by liberals to muzzle their own "extremists" is an adequate excuse, for instance.

"The center" will deserve what's coming to it. Sadly, "the center" will probably like it.

--TP


I have a big issue in relation to who's being framed as having agency and who isn't in this discussion. Lefties have agency but the people who voted for Clickbait are a bunch of passive dupes?

Obviously the people who voted for Trump are responsible. They had all the agency they needed, and made the choice they made.

However, it seems to me that the question for the rest of us is: How do we turn around as many of them as possible? Establishing that they are at fault for electing Trump is fine from a historical perspective. History will not be kind to them.

But right now, I think it's more important to focus on winning early and often. That's all I'm saying. Not to excuse what they have done (or still might do); just to win.

The inference is inescapable: "the center" is a bunch of people who will vote Republican given the slightest excuse to do so.

That works . . . as long as you carefully define "the center" in order to make it fit. On the other hand, some of us manage to be center, or even center-right, without acting that way. I'm center right, and the last time I voted Republican for President in a general election was a quarter of a century ago. Sounds like it takes more than a slight excuse.

Well, that just means you're not part of 'the center' as understood currently.

And this should increasingly be considered a badge of honour given that such terms have been completely warped.

However, it seems to me that the question for the rest of us is: How do we turn around as many of them as possible?

apologies if I'm misreading this, but it seems like you are assuming that the total vote is all eligible voters, which has you argue that those who voted for Trump have to be 'turned around'. However, Republicans have been successful by harnessing a range of emotive issues which has them vote for a Republican candidate. A perfect example of this is the Evangelical vote.

Also, while getting voters mad enough to vote for their guy, they work to tamp down the Democratic voters. Not simply through various schemes of voter id, opposing simpler voter registration, etc., but simply by making the debate so toxic that less committed don't want to vote.

67% of eligible voters voted in the presidential election, add another 6% to get the total number of registered voters.

Perhaps my pessimism is showing, but if someone positively cast a ballot for Trump, I'm thinking that to 'turn [them] around' is one of those panglossian suggestions. It seems that what needs to be done is to get the remaining 27% registered and voting. Perhaps some of these may need to be 'turned around' , but I'd rather take my chances with them rather than trying to take someone who made the affirmative decision to vote for Trump. Buyer's remorse is a thing, but I don't really see it happening much, nor do I see anyone giving Biden any benefit of the doubt.

If cages on the border and separating kids from their parents, followed by a pandemic response that was totally inept and an actual attempt to overthrow the government doesn't do the trick, I'm not really sure what could be done to 'turn around' those voters. This is why the question of fighting fire with fire comes up. It seems to me that Dems have to get their side as angry as Trump voters have been, but they are under the bind of not being able to make up things from the whole cloth. I'm not sure it can be done, given the SNS and media landscape.

I do think we are (or at least I am) reaching a point of Macron's invocation of 'pissing off the anti-vaxxers' starts to make sense.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/04/macron-declares-his-covid-strategy-is-to-piss-off-the-unvaccinated

(as a side note, the whole linguistic aspect of what Macron said is fascinating
https://theconversation.com/piss-off-annoy-shit-on-why-macrons-use-of-the-french-swear-word-emmerder-is-so-hard-to-translate-174627

Here, focusing on the word itself instead of considering the whole utterance leads us to miss an important feature of Macron’s statement: he not only wants to have the unvaccinated eat shit, he also wants to tell them to do so and go to hell, in his capacity as head of state.

Everything here is linked to the choice of a deliberately transgressive word by a very powerful person – the breaking of ordinary language rules by a head of state is already a signal that a demonstration of strength is underway.

What makes this statement remarkable from the point of view of language is that, as a speech act, it forms a highly consistent whole. All of the loose meaning features associated with the use of emmerder are tightly linked with and support one another: hassling, swearing and the capacity to enforce are shown to be one and the same thing. Some would call this power.

And it seems to me that this is the point we have to reach, where we emmerder the Trump supporters and not really care that anyone else is offended.

"the center" is the 200K or so people scattered in a few purple states who can be persuaded to vote one way or another.

nobody else actually matters.

Some riffing on Balloon Juice/Twitter content:

Seems chicken wing lovers stuffing their gobs down at the Wing Depot are up in arms regarding the rationed wing count in the wheelbarrow of wings all you can eat special.

There have been shortages of wings off and on for years since the fowl appendage became a thing, but now obese conservatives blame Biden:

LethalityJane is always good:

https://twitter.com/LethalityJane/status/1482786810711314432?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1482786810711314432%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=htt
pps%3A%2F%2Fwww.balloon-juice.com%2F

We'd better invade China. Maybe set some fascist Texas hairdressers on the chink physics doctoral candidates
at Texas universities.

Arizona. We'll take the Grand Canyon, thank you, and the rest of em can go fuck themselves:

https://twitter.com/Devilstower/status/1482397099413184519?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1482397099413184519%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.balloon-juice.com%2F

OMFG, a pandemic! Let's not break up the maskless, vax-less death-spreading Trump festivo with goddamned national guard gunfire.

April has been designated BYOB Smallpox month in Phoenix.

They want John Wayne to play MLK in this time around's sequel, but not even in blackface:

Also isolated from LethalityJane's feed:

The sweetly sentimental DeSantis wannabe:

https://twitter.com/michaelgwaltz/status/1483154845364367366

Sample dialogue from the new Regnery film "Green Beret II: Shaft, He Do The Police In Different Voices".*

General Martin Luther "Rooster" Cogburn:

"We're gonna kill us some gooks, you gooks, and who you callin boy, Boy? I'll turn you over my knee like Maureen O'Hara and give you a whoopin. She liked it and so will you, but that hussy had some content to her character. Now, get me Colonel Malcolm X on the blower so's I can get some everlovin air support.

Now, get out there and spread the love.

*The original title of T.S. Eliot's Poem, The Waste Land.

Those damned socialist gummint giveaway programs:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/up-to-three-quarters-of-the-800-billion-ppp-flowed-to-business-owners-instead-of-workers-study-finds-11642418448?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

They just givin it all away to the niggers and the wetbacks, aren't they?

Never fails.

Now, where's my Obamacare subsidy? I spose the gummint's taking that over too.

Unfortunately, the monstrous right have tons of agency. Behold what they have wrought with it. And, as russell noted, around half of the voting public seemed just fine with that last time, whether they are monstrous right with agency or passive dupes, or some hybrid.

I don't know about the reasonable right, and why they can't push back more. Maybe they are too few, maybe they are paralysed with horror. Apart from ones like wj who can bring themselves to vote D (and I think the fact that he does qualifies him to talk about what would stop him or people like him from doing so), I suppose one has to hope the rest of them sit it out.

So that leaves the left, and maybe, as lj says

to get the remaining 27% registered and voting. Perhaps some of these may need to be 'turned around' , but I'd rather take my chances with them rather than trying to take someone who made the affirmative decision to vote for Trump.

But relying on the right to wake up and turn things around seems like a hopeless strategy to me.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2022/01/cdc-guidelines-give-unvaccinated-preference-over-vaccinated-for-lifesaving-treatments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bI8n13IQfU

Done for the day, and if we're lucky, the week too.

Shorter lj: Dems need to GOTV!

Yes.

right now, I think it's more important to focus on winning early and often

I don't disagree.

As a practical matter, I don't see "don't offend conservatives" as a high-value strategy to make that happen.

High-value strategies would be:

1. fight all attempts to restrict access to the ballot
2. fight all gerrymandering efforts
3. fight all attempts to replace election officials with partisan actors
4. get out the vote, everywhere, all the time

So - lawyers, money, and making the case for all of the above loudly in public.

And if the (D)'s come out of the 2022 cycle with enough clout to make it happen, get rid of the filibuster in its current form, if not altogether. Whatever purpose it might once have served has been lost.

Shorter me: forget about trying to win over people who are, at best, marginally inclined to support you. Focus on getting your actual supporters to the polls, and make sure their votes get counted.

It would also help a lot if the (D)'s threw all available resources at running everywhere, for everything, all the time.

Support your existing supporters, and don't waste time worrying about offending folks who don't support you. They're gonna be offended no matter what you do, or even if you don't do anything at all. Indignation is their steady state, I don't think there's anything the (D)'s can do about that.

Re. Macron's choice of language. It's hard for a non-native speaker to be sure about this, but it seems to be the case that transgressive words can be used much for freely in French than in English. One can sing "Je me fous du passé" in polite company.

I think the fact that he does qualifies him to talk about what would stop him or people like him from doing so

FWIW, agreed.

via BJ, a discussion about the importance of local political races.

Run for everything, everywhere, all the time.

(R)'s are able to dominate beyond what is justified by their numbers because they've been building from the bottom up, for 50 years or more.

Build from the bottom up.

What hsh said.

GOTV will be critical. (Pangloss say: At least the folks who do voter suppression are simultaneously, albeit inadvertently, discouraging their own supporters from bothering to turn up. Every little bit helps.)

... but they inspire their opponents to turn out, which gives them cover to try even more suppression!

"how can we be suppressing the vote? look at these numbers!"

As a practical matter, I don't see "don't offend conservatives" as a high-value strategy to make that happen.

You will note that what I said was "don't gratuitously offend moderates". Not saying you shouldn't voice your views. Just refrain from being deliberately obnoxious when doing so. (The challenge, sadly, is that I'm less and less sure progressives have a clue what that means.)

It would seem to be a no-cost strategy. Maybe not a huge return. But we're in an environment at the moment where every little bit helps.

You will note that what I said was "don't gratuitously offend moderates".

fair enough.

overall I think people on "my side" spend way too much time thinking about what the people on the "other side" think and say. they're gonna do whatever they're gonna do, and I actually don't think they pay all that much attention to what "people like me" say or do.

IMO we should just take a page from their book and focus on the long game of building infrastructure from the ground up.

focus on what you want, not what you don't want.

FYI, you can now get four free COVID tests delivered by USPS (4 per household) :

https://special.usps.com/testkits

Gay characters in mainstream films - gratuitously offensive SJW crap.

Female main POV character for franchise that previously had male POV character - gratuitously offensive SJW crap.

Adding unisex bathrooms - gratuitously offensive SJW crap.

Kneeling at a football game - gratuitously offensive SJW crap.

Teaching about racism - gratuitously offensive.

"Black Lives Matter" - gratuitously offensive.

Yes, there have been gaffes and missteps, but the strategy on the right is to take any critical statement made by women and POC and portray it as a gratuitous attack. *The RW operatives talk about this openly.* So it's okay for the left to voice their views, just not where anyone can hear them.

"Fuck your feelings!" - voicing their views.

"SJW Crap" - voicing their views.

It's just the frustration talking.

We should just keep our heads down and make sure that dinner is perfect so they don't take offense and lash out.

Abusers get voices. Survivors have to keep quiet. We need the abusers' votes, and the poor dears are dealing with trauma.

Thanks, nous.

Reminds me of a story from a writing group I was in one summer (maybe 2006?) when I was working in Cambridge.

There was a young guy in the group who became a pal of mine -- we walked the mile or so back to Harvard Square together every week after the group meeting. He was a serious Christian but not a proselytizer, at least in that context; had spent a year living and working in a homeless shelter in Boston; maybe was studying for the ministry? (I forget that part.) He was a nice guy and made pleasant company for those late-night walks.

I wrote a snippet of a story that involved coming out to a high school friend -- fictionalized autobiography. When we discussed my story, he took me aside during the break and said, "I don't think it's a great idea to put homosexuality in a story, especially right now, when everyone's doing it."

I am not quick on the draw in conversation, especially when I'm knocked off balance a bit. But as I thought about it over the next few days I wished I had said, "Philip, I didn't put homosexuality in the story. God did."

Like, okay, now we're sort of allowed, a little bit, to start coming out of the closet, but heaven forbid that we should want to tell *our* stories, though we're swimming in an ocean of romantic stories about heterosexuals.

And this was obviously the very, very mind version of what nous summarized in his 1:11. But it's completely automatic and accepted that a male half my age could lecture me in that way, and in that vein.

We need the abusers' votes

No, we don’t.

We would benefit from, and should welcome, people like wj’s votes.

People wearing a “f your feelings” shirt or reacting in the other ways you list are probably not going to be persuadable. So be it.

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Meanwhile:

https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/18/politics/trump-administration-officials-against-former-boss-2022/index.html

More of this, please.

IMO we should just take a page from their book and focus on the long game of building infrastructure from the ground up.

Totally agree.

Types of swing voters (according to sociologists):

-People who want praise and attention for not being sheep. Wait until they know what their social group believes and then follows the trend while announcing their decision.

-People who are actual followers who are caught between closely split social groups. Motivated by fear. Usually land on the side of authoritarian appeals.

-Contrarians with security and a sadistic streak. Go against the prevailing winds to demonstrate their autonomy and feel superior.

-Actual critical thinkers. Pay attention. Decide early. Stick with their choices.

The last group has already resigned itself to having no real choice starting in 2016 and aren't actually swing voters, but they still see themselves in those terms because they do not feel at home on the left.

GOTV, secure voting rights, worry about LW morale. The swing voters are sorting themselves, and most of it has nothing to do with candidate messaging. It's all responding to existing social networks.

"SJW Crap" - voicing their views.

Absolutely none of those qualify as gratuitously offensive. I would hope that you know that, but perhaps not. (See "I'm less and less sure progressives have a clue what that means" above.)

"Black Lives Matter" may offend some. But it's not gratuitously offensive. Gratuitously offensive would be proclaiming something like "Only racist fascist scum would fail to turn out in support of BLM!"

One could go similarly on any of your other examples.

We should just keep our heads down and make sure that dinner is perfect so they don't take offense and lash out.

is your goal to persuade them or not? if it is, you have to consider their reaction.

i assume you know how rhetoric works.

"Black Lives Matter" may offend some. But it's not gratuitously offensive. Gratuitously offensive would be proclaiming something like "Only racist fascist scum would fail to turn out in support of BLM!"

The RW media goes out of its way to portray any statement linking support for BLM as a claim that the elitist left thinks the right is a bunch of racist fascists, and they go out of their way to find obscure voices on social media that do say such things and broadcast them everywhere as representing the whole of the left.

There is no way to prevent this from happening in a networked social media world.

Given this, the answer needs to be finding communication strategies to counterbalance these tactics and to break the anger cycle with your own messaging.

is your goal to persuade them or not?

I don't think it is. It's to convince other people, who actually might be persuadable, not to stay home on election day. Invite some non-abusers to dinner.

...and they go out of their way to find obscure voices on social media that do say such things and broadcast them everywhere as representing the whole of the left.

Even if you can find them, you can always pay people to play-act as cartoonish lefty loons. Some people might do it just for the laughs.

I don't think it is. It's to convince other people, who actually might be persuadable, not to stay home on election day.

then you have to consider their reaction.

Sure, but it's a different consideration, depending on who "they" are. Motivating people who might otherwise sit home is a very different effort from getting MAGAts not to be MAGAts.

is your goal to persuade them or not? if it is, you have to consider their reaction.

i assume you know how rhetoric works.

I do. I also try to understand how abuse cycles work and the steps needed to break those cycles.

I also try to understand cult psychology and the ways that people can win back cult members to our shared reality.

Neither of those things happen in media cycles or on social media. Both of them only happen through personal networks and take years of patient work and communication. And you have to wait for them to seek and find voices outside their bubble that draw them back.

So do that with your loved ones if you can, and be prepared for it to take far longer than four years for it to bear any fruit.

But all this social media tone policing does squat about any of that. The only venue where we have any sway is in actual personal contact.

I encourage everyone to go and read more about these two subjects yourselves.

wj,

Are you quoting, paraphrasing, or imagining the gratuitously offensive "Only racist fascist scum would fail to turn out in support of BLM!"

I'm sure you can cite real examples of "progressives" being gratuitously offensive, just as sure as I can cite "conservatives" doing the same.

What matters, I think, is how willing "the center" is to either condemn or rationalize gratuitously offensive slogans or comments. If "the center" reacted to "Defund the police!" with "I know what you mean, but you're saying it wrong", that would show something different about "the center" than if the reaction were "How dare you disparage the cops?" If "the center" hears "Let's go Brandon!" and shrugs, dare I hope that its reaction to chants of "Truck Fump!" would be equally blase?

When "the center" talks amongst themselves about what counts as gratuitously offensive, how does the conversation go?

--TP

The swing voters are sorting themselves, and most of it has nothing to do with candidate messaging.

And the sort goes on...

"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On average, Americans' political party preferences in 2021 looked similar to prior years, with slightly more U.S. adults identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic (46%) than identified as Republicans or leaned Republican (43%).

However, the general stability for the full-year average obscures a dramatic shift over the course of 2021, from a nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a rare five-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Story Highlights

• Preferences shifted from nine-point Democratic advantage to five-point GOP edge
• Average party preferences for all of 2021 similar to past years
• Largest percentage of U.S. adults identify as political independents"

U.S. Political Party Preferences Shifted Greatly During 2021

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