The reason that two clowns are getting all the media attention in the Republican race is not just because Republican primary voters like clowns–it’s because media reporting on Trump’s clowning gets clicks, and because you don’t need to think very hard to write a story about that lying fuckup Carson.
Kevin Drum on the easy clicks:
[…] Donald Trump’s “discovery,” if it can be called that, is that the American media is a sucker for anything outrageous. That’s it. They aren’t covering Trump because he’s Trump, they’re covering him because he says Mexicans are murderers and rapists and politicians are all losers and Carly Fiorina is ugly. Whatever other virtues and faults Jeb Bush has, he’s not willing to say stuff like that—so the media ignores him.
Allison Hantschel on the easy reporting:
This wasn’t supposed to happen, like happen happen. Ben Carson was supposed to give a few speeches, and appear in a couple of debates, and pack his book signings, and then he was going to drop out and nobody would be the wiser. Nobody would vet his every public and written statement. Nobody would call up West Point. Nobody would ask him why the pyramids were built.
Nobody would nitpick all the minutiae our political press likes to nitpick so they don’t have to learn about actual policy, and by the way, fuck everything forever for THIS being the stuff that takes Carson down. He doesn’t know what the debt ceiling is, he thinks Jesus is genuinely hanging out with him on weekends, and he has no idea what he’d do if somebody set off a nuke in downtown Memphis, but sure, he made up a story about high school this one time UNCLEAN UNCLEAN.
The pyramid thing is actually the least insane thing he believes.
Neither of these guys is in any way qualified to be President. In Trump’s case, I think that deficit could be remedied by Trump hitting the briefing books, but he’s clearly too lazy to do that, so he’ll be done as soon as everyone is bored with his predictable, one-size-fits-all answer (some variant of “I’ll be the greatest”). Carson’s is an idiot savant with a messiah complex–like a lot of surgeons, he’s already Jesus in his own mind, so he doesn’t need to learn anything to become President.
I think Drum gives Trump too much credit and Hantschel gives Carson not enough. Carson’s next book tour is still going to be YOOGE. And is there evidence that he is in fact going down?
Well, I don’t think Ben Carson is a lying fuckup, as such. I think he’s a confabulating fuckup. Other than that, though, I agree with you 100%.
As true as this is, mm, the prospect of covering the other candidates must really trigger the gag reflex with anyone with half a brain.
So I’m honestly surprised the DC press corpse noticed.
Which candidate has sensible policies that would be worth daily coverage?
Trump provides the only practical path for the disaffected on both sides to come together against the status quo you are indoctrinated and enslaved to.
The best you and Hillary have to offer is another 8 years of divisive partisanship. Americans want more.
Another Holocene Human
@Amir Khalid: Carson threw his biographer under the bus. That’s not cool, man.
I am already tired of this eternal never ending campaign. The eternal campaign may have something to do with the extremely low turnout, the non-Presidential elections get.
I have to defend the press just a little. How do you cover these incompetent, unqualified Republican candidates? Every single one of them is a complete loser that is impossible to take seriously. They are the most unbelievably incompetent and unsuitable candidates any political party has ever put up in the US in recent years, though the Republicans were pretty awful last time. Its an insult to our country to even give these people any serious consideration. They deserve ridicule and to be tortured daily with questions that they should be able to answer but don’t know the answers and don’t care. This has to be the nadir of American politics. Alls that is missing is for someone to throw a pie in the face of these clowns. I know that would make me feel better and matches the value of these jokers.
After following the Bihar elections for over two weeks I have found that the English language press in India is more clueless and obnoxiously stupid than the Beltway Punditubbies. Fossil fuels may be finite but the supply of stupid on this planet is seemingly infinite.
Iowa Old Lady
@Elie: Hey, don’t you see the deep bench?
BJ lured me into watching Morning Joe rip into Carson. One interesting moment came when Nicole Wallace said that with Trump[, Republicans were in the “acceptance” phase of their “OMG what happened to our party” moment. They’ve decided he’s not so bad, and he’s getting better.
Carson should go full 1984 and release new version of his autobiography with the facts updated for today.
Neither of these guys is in any way qualified to be President.
Okay, now back up there slick. Which of the GOP clown car is qualified to be President? And how would their tenure in office be all that different from Trump’s?
And can you really tell me with a straight face that Trump is less qualified to be President than George W Bush was?
How? Easy. Here’s what you write:
They don’t do policy analysis because if they did they would have to write that repubs are insane and delusional and that would be taking sides.
Discuss policies, compare the policies of different candidates, do basic research to check on the accuracy of candidates’ claims about policies, and explain to the public the effects those policies have on the public.
The national media range from ‘don’t understand anything I just said’ through ‘would rather stick icepicks in their eyes than be so gauche and idealistic’ to ‘like traditional Republican policies and don’t want anyone – including themselves – to think too hard and ruin the illusion.’
@NonyNony: That appears to be the crux of the problem, none of them would be any better and many of them could be much worse. Watching Trump on SNL was a weird experience, because I alternated between the feeling that the whole thing is the world’s greatest punk (e.g., in his inauguration speech, President Trump says “you believed all that? I was just kidding . . . ” ) and the feeling that we’ve entered a dark phase in which open sectarianism is normalized and even satire is ineffective. If the latter is true, no president will be able to fix it. We had the world’s greatest post-racial president for the past 8 years, and all they did was spit in his face.
Moral of the story: Never take the wheel of the clown car.
Great. And now your audience has changed the channel and is watching the outrageous things Trump is saying on CNN instead.
There’s an audience for the above, but it isn’t large enough to fund a 24 hour cable news channel. OTOH – the audience for a good freakshow or car wreck is huge. And so that’s what the cable networks are going to migrate towards every single time. They cannot afford to do anything else really.
(Reason #1,256,321 why the commercial television model is incompatible with the kind of informed citizenry required to make democracy work. Collect them all!)
Man, Message in a Bottle is a sweet little tune.
@Elie: I suspect that covering the Klown Kar is humiliating for reporters– but they can’t admit it without giving the game away. So, there’s a lot of horse race stuff. And if budget proposals don’t add up- let the nerd desk deal with that by writing articles for page A17.
@Amir Khalid: I suppose so. But it’s important to bear in mind that, in fact, some people are just liars.
Policies! They aint got no stinkin policies! You could take words and just scramble them into gobbledygook that would provide as much meaning. There is nothing — Truly NOTHING to cover.. Except — how and why did a major political party end up with totally ignorant, unprepared bottom rung candidates, some of who are truly insane or temperamentally unsuited in any way to even be dog catcher, much less President. I have to say, I would be tempted to ask such questions as “do you pick your nose sometimes?” “Where do you get your hair done, Mr Trump? What is your favorite movie and why? If you were on Mars and a creature from Pluto was trying to land on the planet, what would you do? Yep, questions like that.
@BGinCHI: Jeb Bush is just Donald Trump without the pizazz. I’m still not seeing how Trump can really be considered more crazy or less qualified than the other idiots running for the Republican nomination.
Send in the clowns … don’t bother, they’re here.
People – especially Democrats – need to internalize this.
Presidents cannot fix the fundamental flaws of society. Especially flaws that literally stretch back to before the fucking Revolutionary War. They are not Tyrants and they are not Magical Sparkle Ponies who can Heal Divisions just by the power of their office. No president can do that, and none ever have. There needs to be an end to the idea that the President is there to be anything more than an administrator over the various arms of the executive branch. This idea of President as Magical Superhero goes back at least to Reagan – if not before – and it needs to end.
@schrodinger’s cat: Yes, the eternal campaign gives democracy a bad name. People are seeing it as a really trashy reality show and have tuned out in droves. This is a feature, not a bug.
That’s what Sanders said when asked about Carson the other day, and for his troubles he was called an idiot — by idiots. His focus on the issues was “admirable,” we were instructed, and yet insufficient.
When he said the same thing earlier about Clinton (and her e-mail), he was hailed as a true patriot by many of the same idiots.
You have to laugh.
how about simply treating them as honest candidates and tactfully analyzing what it is that they say and do and discuss the relevant repercussions therein to the voters and allow the Public to decide if they should be running the show.
I WANT the media to take these guys seriously. WHY? Because I happen to think running for the highest elected office in the land should be taken seriously. A SERIOUS review of their statements and policy stands should make it clear why they should never be elected but for the media to simply treat them as un-serious candidates appeals to that strain of American voters that don’t take the media serious anymore because it’s all about the disaster of the moment and chasing the next revenue producing click. We need to reach those people once again and work on informing them instead of the media separating everyone out into the blue team, the red team and the group that doesn’t even know that we’ve broken out into teams.
You could not be more mistaken.
Iowa Old Lady
I lived through the presidencies of Nixon, Reagan, and W. I look across the border to Kansas. I don’t know. It’s hard to laugh.
@Elie: Sure they do:
“Cut taxes on the rich” is a policy. “Make war on brown people with funny sounding names” is a policy. “Strip the planet of every usable resource” is a policy. “Cut all regulations” is a policy. “Put any of the black or brown people who get out of line in prison.” is a policy.
See? They got lots of policies!
“Save us Obi Wan The Donald, you’re our only hope.”
Muchas gracias for the best laugh of my still young day.
@OzarkHillbilly: Don’t forget “Shoot first.” And “Shoot second, too.”
Okay. Fine. Another sixteen years of divisive partisanship, but that’s my final offer.
@Cervantes: You are not allowed to say something stupid. That is where the press needs to be. I am 46. Just like when I was ten if I say something stupid in front of my parents they call me on it. How my parents, who are just becoming liberal, were able to raise a huge liberal. You were just not allowed to say stupid shit in my household.
Ok. I’ll play. They have pronouncements and sound bites but no policies like a serious plan with goals and rationales etc. Deporting 11 million Hispanics is not a policy. Its crank talk and sound bite. Substituting a tithe system for taxes is not a policy — its just more spouting off.
We are in the era of complete ridiculousness promoted on reality shows. We are reality show America filled with semi-literate to ignorant characters who spend all their time fighting with each other about nothing and completely destroying any custom of civility, competence or self-respect. I wish that I could say that it was just the Republican party that deserves what they will most surely get, but its all of us, unfortunately.
@beltane: no one participates in democracy anymore. It’s too crowded.
Just try and stop me.
Jebbers at least held a constitutional office and presumably knows how that pesky gummint stuff works. The Donald is doubtless versed in tax avoidance and how to get around real estate and games-of-chance law and also, too, how to put on a beauty pageant and star in a reality teevee show, but his knowledge of governing, law, public office, etc. aren’t evident in the least.
He would clearly “have people” to do all that annoying governing for him. We got to watch a certain Governor Arnold do that for six years–up close and personal. I guaran-goddamn-tee it’s not a recipe for success.
@Hoodie: Its not like we haven’t had fierce sectarian divides before in this country. Early in the nation’s founding, the divide between the Hamiltonian Federalists and the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans was fierce and incredibly nasty, to the point where the durability of the new nation’s government was quite on edge. It eventually faded with the collapse of the Federalists, followed by the Era of Good Feelings (likely brought on in part by the fact that there was only one dominant party)
Partisanship would eventually come back in the mid-1800s between the Democrats and Whigs. Lots of weird third parties at that time. Including a virulent anti-immigrant faction – the Know-Nothing Party. Whole thing would devolve into this thing called the Civil War. After which, the fierce partisan divide would fade again – because there was only one dominant party after the Civil War (the Republicans).
We got to enjoy a relatively stable period, with the divides of the day crosswise from party divides (women’s suffrage, the wet vs dry battles leading to Prohibition). But again, the periods where things seemed less “partisan” oddly coincided with one party (generally, the GOP) being dominant.
Then we got the Great Depression / WW2 upending everything and another period of “stability” and lower partisanship rates. Again, oddly, coinciding with one party (the Democrats) being dominant.
Ever since the Gingrich Revolution we’ve been in a period of tug of war, with the GOP being more dominant but not completely. The White House has flipped back and forth. The House has flipped a little, but not as much. The Senate has flipped more (that is, Democrats took the Senate back for a longer period of time). We are in a period of overall GOP dominance (the Sixth Party System), but its emergence was less tied to clear point in time and its end is possibly coming due in terms of how long these periods of single party dominance tend to last. The ever growing partisanship may be pointing to a coming fracture point and the emergence of a Seventh Party System. Only time will tell – but I personally feel we are at a cleaving point – but if the Democrats don’t get their act together at the state levels – stuff could get really effed up and we could be looking a BIG sea of red.
Mike in NC
By appearing on SNL the other night, Trump had the opportunity to poke a little bit of fun at himself, maybe show some self-deprecating humor, and even come across as a genuine person. Instead he just reinforced peoples’ feeling that he’s a yoooouge pompous dickhead and egomaniac who’d staff his administration with crooks and sychophants. The guy has absolutely no redeeming qualities, though the same goes for the rest of the klown kar.
At least we know how we’re to store all that pesky grain, going forward.
To me, the real unreported story so far is why is the Republican electorate so insistent on radical changes to American society?
From supporting positions ranging from deporting ten million people to a huge semi-militarized border wall with Mexico, to dismantling Social Security and Medicare, to supporting hair-brained military adventurism on one hand and diplomatic isolationism on the other, and rolling gains in working conditions over the last 100 years, it really seems conservative voters are clamoring for a major revolution.
The question is why?
Trump’s popular because he may bring about the Great Conservative Revolution, since actual Republican politicians have failed.
You seem to be working under the assumption that today’s Republicans feel some sort of obligation to be honest and verbally explicit with you about what all their policy goals are. Consider re-examining that assumption.
@Mike in NC: I like to think one of my best qualities is I can make fun of myself. Self-deprecating humor as you said. Trump showed no ability to do that. Telling for me.
This might also be relevant: https://hbr.org/2013/08/why-do-so-many-incompetent-men
@trollhattan: W was also elected governor of a large state and his presidency was an unmitigated disaster, one which this country’s psyche has yet to recover from. Given the track record of “qualified” Republicans, I can’t see how an ineffective loudmouth could be any worse.
A few days ago Robert Reich wrote on his FB page he called a Republican friend, a member of Congress he had worked with in the ’90’s on legislation wanting his take on the R candidates. His R friend gave Reich his unvarnished opinion that they’re all nuts, bonkers, bizarre, like a Star Wars bar scene. It’s a disaster, chaos.
Re: Trump and Carson, if either elected, this country going to hell. And the rest aren’t much better.
Reich: Who’s to blame for this mess?
R friend: Ailes, Koch bros, Murdoch, Limbaugh. I could go on. They’ve poisoned the American mind and destroyed the Republican party.
Just last night, those along the southern tier of North Carolina (where there’s spillover from South Carolina) were subjected to the first minute-long Jeb! ad, in which he was pimped by an array of Florida Republican state politicians stating how tough he was in insisting on doing right by his conservative principles, and tough-minded generally – including the former female Fla state Senate President vouching that Bush had even vetoed some of her legislation. And the ad labored hard to depict Bush in serious hard-ass principled mode, even while trying to simultaneously portray him as an empathetic defender of the interests of ordinary people – the serious type of person voters should turn to for actual conservative governance, seemed to be the central message. Doubtless this was an early ad for the SC primary.
@Cervantes: The Republicans running for office are merely the inarticulate puppets of billionaires who have some extremely well defined policy goals. Since these policies are hugely unpopular with voters, it is in the interests of the puppet-masters to have their candidates be as vague and silly as possible.
@Gene108: Because the majority of white people wish all the brown people would leave the country. That includes the brown people who the white people dragged here in chains involuntarily.
Its not like we haven’t periods of time in this country when paroxysms of virulent xenophobia have seized the lower classes which the upper classes then piggyback onto and attach their own anti-labor agenda to. See long period of American history from the mid-18th century onward. The “Gilded Age” of the anti-labor Robber Barons also featured waves of mass immigration coming from Southern and Eastern Europe (as opposed to earlier waves coming from Britain, Germany and Scandinavia), as well as from China – it was at this time that the immigration center on Ellis Island opened. Was also a time of incredibly repellent xenophobia (Chinese Exclusion Acts anyone?)
The upper classes have always seized on and exploited racism and xenophobia – a racism and xenophobia that permeates upper class culture. Its how they get the lower classes to go blind and support their agenda that involves screwing over the lower classes.
@bemused: Judging by the life expectancy stats of middle-ages white people, Ailes, Murdoch, and Limbaugh have poisoned more than just the minds of Americans, they are driving them to early deaths.
@bemused: It is hard to watch. I often talk about my parents here. Totally sane people. Republican until recently. Pro-choice. Super rich and they think they should pay MORE in taxes. Climate change is real. You might read that and wonder how they could vote Republican. I do not know.
But as you noted Robert, the people on the right are bat shit crazy at this point. I’d like to talk to them, but not sure how,
@bemused: The Republican Party has been so destroyed that is enjoys the largest GOP House majority in a generation, it has a solid control of the Senate, it controls a sizable majority of state legislatures, and a majority of state governorships AND has gerrymandered the country to lock them into control until 2020 at minimum.
We need to stop focusing on the sideshow antics during this downtime period before the real primary season starts. And start focusing on why the Democratic party is so weak. I’m bored of the nonstop FP focus on carnival candidates whom nobody actually believes are going to get nominated. Its a waste of time and it blinds us to how incredibly weak our party is right now.
Iowa Old Lady
@bemused: I’m guessing that’s Alan Simpson.
Villago Delenda Est
The MSM is concerned with one thing, and one thing only: attracting eyeballs that can be monetized. It’s all about the benjamins, and nothing else.
The model of our information delivery means is severely flawed, so that irrelevancies are more important than actual substance. This is no way to run a civilization.
Since at least the early 1800s, manifest destiny demonstrated that the US had fully internalized the notion that european, Christian males were the rightful stewards of all things. Putting slavery aside, the widespread genocide of native americans in our westward expansion, denial of rights to women to own land, vote, and so on are all visible today in different more muted forms. The modern Republican party is pretty much entirely defined as the residual holdout for manifest destiny, and much of their so-called hatred of big government is how government regulates and enforces laws to protect women, ethnic and religious minorities, and so on. Their loyalty to the gun culture is their last holdout for manifest destiny, that if they cannot prevail within government for their opposition to fair pay, gay rights, segregation (which is all their anti-immigrant policy really amounts to) then they can achieve those things through personal empowerment and organization – threat of violence, effectively. That’s what the Klan was and that’s what the GOP is today. I’d like to give them credit for not seeing it that clearly, but Lee Atwater certainly made the case that they do see it that clearly.
Within the GOP they see their actions as preventing radical changes to America by stopping the results – and conservatives by their nature care more about the results than the process. Liberals see the opposition to long-established processes (civil rights, etc) as the radical change, and aren’t worried about the results figuring that a good process will always lead to good results. We just happen to live in a period where old processes are leading to different results, and the debate is really over which should prevail – the process or the result.
Denali Parton @eclecticbrotha
BREAKING: Chris Christie Vetoes Legislation Making It Easier To Vote In New Jersey http://thkpr.gs/3720574 via @thinkprogress
If Trump get elected, NBC will have a lot to answer for, for not extending his Apprentice contract.
The crux, I think, is we aren’t allowing ourselves to envision an administration worse than W’s. I have grudgingly concluded not only is it possible, it’s likely were a Republican to win. The entire nation would emulate Brownback’s Kansas.
Agreed, a military analogy to the political situation is our side has the numbers and favorable terrain but we are one battle going awry (Presidential election) from abject and total defeat.
I think the Democrats have a real advantage going into 2016 but I do find the left strangely optimistic considering what’s at stake if things go bad next year.
Sam SteinVerified account
The Koch Brother’s $750m campaign in 2016 isn’t enough. Paul Singer’s setting up his own network to compliment it http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paul-singer-marco-rubio_5640ca23e4b0411d3071b673?u23xr …
@Elie: Agreed, the reason these two look plausible to other Republicans is because the rest of the Republican field is also crazy. So they say crazy things and propose totally implausible policies? So do the rest of them. They are a function of the brain-disease that has gripped the Republican party, not the fault of the media.
Democratic party needs to figure out why the turnout is so low and try to improve that.
@Cervantes: That there is apparently no difference between Clinton’s email brouhaha and Carson thinking (and doubling down on) that the Pyramids were used to store grain shows who the idiot is here.
You are correct. Do you have any ideas about how to change the course we seem to be on? At least seeing the crazy for what it is brings out the need to change direction. And how is the bigger issue to happen without people seeing a need for change? Should we focus on better candidates that met our desires? Isn’t that what the republicans are doing? Where do we find better candidates to focus on?
I share your very valid concern about the “sea of red” in the states and your warning to we Dems/Progressives. I do have to take out a small piece of time to celebrate our progressive win here in Whatcom County local races– and in a very low turn out election with lots of ballot measures that no one could understand. Not resting on laurels but there was plenty of money and ad buys by the red team but in this low turn out election, we were still able to win… thanks be. Lots more work to do. Lots of apathy and confusion. These races are so called non partisan, but they are indeed partisan. I worry that so many of our volunteers (inc me), are middle aged or older and we have to keep up with what is happening with our younger people raising families and trying to keep jobs in a tight job region.
From what I read, when Republicans started taking control of state governments in the South, in the 1990’s they issued an ultimatum to business donors: Stop making contributions to Democrats or else you won’t get what you want.
Basically, business interests are basically apolitical, with respect to who is in power. They just want what they want passed, so they gave to Democrats and Republicans, though a bit more to whichever Party was in power.
Republicans killed that.
Add on to that the media machine right-wingers have built over the last 40 years, and the Citizen’s United spending that took off in 2010 and Democrats are just over matched with regards to money in elections.
It doesn’t cost much for a third Party group to start running ads for a state legislature seat accusing the Democrat of raising taxes or marrying a hamster or whatever they need to say, because those races get very little press and it is hard to undo any misinformation from T.V. ads.
The reason Obama is different is because he personally raised record amounts for his election and re-election campaigns, but this was never translated by the Obama people into a model to rebuild the Democratic Party at any other level, because the Obama people did not see it as their job. I think it is one reason the Obama people shuttered OfA after the 2008 election, because it was Obama’s operation and not a tool to be used by Democrats.
Thought after the beating in 2010 that started to change, but the damage had already been done.
The Other Chuck
@Ruckus: Undoing gerrymandering would be a start. Push for independent redistricting commissions. California has one, and it’s bluer than ever. Get out the vote. If everyone voted, the Republican party would cease to exist except in a few backwaters.
@The Other Chuck: Get out the vote must be the first step. Without that, there is no hope of undoing gerrymandering.
Does anyone think all the bad press on Carson will equal a drop in the polls? Who will get his supporters? Cruz or tRump? I’m sure tRump is getting ready to bring it up for the debate but if the moderators do, that equals liberal media bias even though its on Fox.
I see an analogy here in my Marine sargent friend who had to send men up hills to die in Vietnam. He knew it was pointless because they would eventually win the battle and the hill and then upper management would move on to the next hill, leaving the one they just won, unprotected. The north would come back, get situated and they would have to die once again to take over a meaningless hill. Upper management thought that winning once was enough, it never entered their picture that the losers wouldn’t agree with them.
@goblue72: To drive the point home, during the expansionist 1840s John Calhoun said the following about annexing all of Mexico:
So even when presented with the option of expanding the US all the way down to central america, there was opposition to the idea simply due to who was being invited into the nation.
We tend to reduce this to racism in the context of slavery, but this white/male/christian supremacy is everywhere in our history. Obama both by policy but also just as an individual icon has done more to threaten that than anyone I can think of in US history. He’s more powerful than MLK was, and more personally representative of the effort than Lincoln was. I think decades from now we will look back at Obama as a clear inflection point for civil rights in our history. This is sort of the extinction burst for Calhoun’s view of the nation, encapsulated in the GOP. They will lose in 2016 to a white Democrat, lose all hope of white supremacy, and have to face some extremely difficult decisions as a party.
@Archon: Precisely. We only have to lose one branch of government (President) to be in total deep doo-doo. They can afford to lose the White House and still control 2/3 of Federal government (Congress and SCOTUS), AND the next step down, control most of the states.
This does not translate to state level elections, states that are around 90%+ white, such as Kansas and Kentucky.
Used to be, if an incumbent under performed neighboring states economically, the electorate showed him/her the door and put in the opposition party.
This did not happen in 2014.
Your theory also does not explain how “browns” like Haley and Jindal got elected in heavily conservative states. They said the right things to appeal to the electorate in SC and LA, but Haley ran against another Republican candidate in the 2010 primary (a white man, with more experience in SC politics), but (I guess largely to Palin’s endorsement) was able to win. Not sure, who Jindal beat out in the Republican field to become LA governor, but something trumped tribal loyalty to whites because I doubt either of them ran unopposed, by fellow Republicans, for what were open governors seats.
I really think something has thrown conservatives into wanting a revolution that is beyond just racism. Reagan and Bush, Sr. tapped into racism to win elections, but neither of them were radical revolutionaries the way modern Republicans are.
Reagan floated the idea of privatizing Social Security, but the Senate unanimously shot that down, so Reagan got on board with a compromise solution with Congressional Democrats.
That sort of basic, normal, governing would get a Republican run out of office by Republican voters today for failing to uphold Conservative principals.
There’s something off with a large part of the electorate that is distinct from racism.
I really think people should poke around to find out what that is, because it is the reason we are where we are right now with our current state of political dysfunction.
EDIT: We are not in a period of declining labor standards either. This varies by region, but the minimum wage for example, has been raised in many places. The just-in-time staffing model for retail employees is also being dropped in some places, because having hourly staff on stand-by has been seen to be abusive.
I just do not think your theory of tapping into racism to kill living standards holds.
@schrodinger’s cat: Yeah, and up here in Canada we were bitching about a seventy-eight day, YES PEOPLE…THAT SAID DAYS, federal campaign. Ours are normally forty-two days long.
I would lose it if I had to put up with that kind of crap for over a year like this. I know our MPs [like your Reps and Senators] are technically always trying to win your vote for the next election, but they normally do that up here by, you know, being competent and governing.
Iowa Old Lady
@Renie: I saw a poll result somewhere that said his followers would mostly go to Trump, despite the way I’ve seen people argue that their bases are different.
Ha! You could well be right. I always have a thought when a Republican goes on a rant about his/her party, there is sure to be a caveat that is basically all would be right in their world if they could just get back control from the lunatics again.
Carson’s is an idiot savant with a messiah complex–like a lot of surgeons, he’s already Jesus in his own mind
He’s not an idiot savant. He’s a very intelligent man who also happens to be a hardcore Protestant fundamentalist of a particular flavor: end timer Apocalypticism. (That’s basically the creed of the 7th Day Adventists.)
That’s what the entire pyramid thing is about: biblical literalists believe *strongly* that the Bible must be true. In response to the Enlightenment and the rise of skepticism a counter-reaction of said literalists formed and they went looking around for evidence to *prove* the truth of the Bible. And one of the notions is that the Pyramids were the center of the graineries built by Joseph as described by Genesis 41:33-35: “Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it.…” (A version I found was the link I sent to Josh at TPM – http://www.arkdiscovery.com/joseph.htm.)
Carson’s with those guys that go climb all over Ararat looking for Noah’s Ark, or who try to figure out where the Jews crossed the Red Sea (they’re looking for the artifacts of Pharaoh’s army), and a bunch of stuff like that. They are sincerely (and wrongly) committed to idea of the absolute truth of the Bible and so they look for it, hoping to prove to the unbelievers that the the Bible is *accurate*.
Now you can call that foolish or crazy or demented or what have you, but the people who believe it and think up these convoluted theories aren’t stupid in any literal sense (or they wouldn’t be able to get started on trying to prove what they’re trying to prove because it wouldn’t occur to them to need to), just extremely dedicated to a particular irrational belief. See Sam Brownback and tax cuts.
Aside from that Carson is clearly … very narcissistic (and narcissitically deprived). Quite probably clinically. As such, the need to maintain both the irrational belief system & his fucked up self-image forces him into some serious fibbing and confabulation.
(The guy plainly suffered psychological damage from segregation & racism, and apparently that grew and morphed over time into the issues he has now. Basically, I’m thinking manufacturing an internal artificial image of Ben Carson as Super Surgeon & Beloved of Jesus, was a catastrophic psychological adjustment mechanism he undertook as a boy, to counteract the message of society he was getting of Ben Carson, Worthless Subhuman Nigger Child. That probably explains his somewhat strange affect & his overreaction at the news conference.)
[‘Kinda feel bad for the guy – he doesn’t need a presidential campaign, he needs a goddamn therapist and some time off.’]
@The Other Chuck:
I believe we should have mandatory voting, at least for national office although I’d prefer for all political offices. Election day should be a paid national holiday, national elections should be run by the federal government. Your state wants to join in and have their items on the federal ballot on that day, that’s OK but it’s national format. There should be a paper trail for each and every vote. They can be counted electronically but recounts are done on the paper ballots.
I am less concerned because I believe these people have no where else to go. He and Trump have the most visibility (not stature) and if they are no longer around, the other choices are even weaker or at least present no positive alternative. They have no where and have truly no one to support. I would bet that all of these “poll” results are softer than shit
This is because we spend too much time on the defensive, protecting past gains from Republican attacks to push very hard on our own agenda. The defensive isn’t always a bad thing- you do need to protect past gains, and in principle it can wear the enemy down if they face a long series of defeats, but you can’t win that way. Eventually, you have to attack and push your own goals rather than just protect against the enemy achieving his.
By the time this is over, our American friends will have spent two years on the presidential election cycle — i.e. they’ll have been at this for the whole second half of Obama’s second term.
Somehow having the words practical and Donald Trump in the same sentence don’t fill me with a lot of confidence regarding the intelligence of the writer/speaker. And you also believe that the Donald will bridge the difference between the parties and ideologies?
No, let me take a guess……..because he is so……practical?
One could also argue – dunno if we should – that if this is what gets clicks, then it’s our own fault – the media is just serving us what we serve them back. We keep saying we want real reporting, but there’s no business model that works which provides real reporting…
@Amir Khalid: FYI – there was more than a little animosity against the Conservatives, and especially their leader, regarding the length of the election campaign. It was seen by virtually everyone as a strategy by the Conservatives to run their opponents out of money by the end of the campaign. If you don’t know what happened up here, it completely blew up in their faces. They might have been better off with a short campaign which would not have given people the time to think and realize how awful the Cons were.
I’m not sure where the dividing line is between serious journalists and what passes for journalism on the teevee and too many newspapers. They are not interested in policies. They are not interested in providing context. They are not interested in correcting falsehoods. They are a gaggle of gossipers who have internalized the idea that they are thought leaders with exclusive access to the people in power. It’s all gossip that circulates within their media bubble and the “conventional wisdom” is just what they hear from each other and from politicians and operatives. They love to give their opinions about how the candidates “played” that day but I don’t think they ever talk to anyone but imaginary voters or focus groups to find out.
Not that I get much opportunity to talk politics with a Republican nor do I seek out ruining my day listening to clueless Fox bots unless I’m in a stabby mood but probably would talk about Social Security and Medicare a lot. If not, I’d probably say in a pitying tone that I didn’t think they’d want to talk about what has to be a very sore subject knowing how terrible they must feel at their party going completely bonkers and btw what do they think can be done to stop the party crackup.
Leave out the most in that and you are correct. But best of the worst is still best in some way. We all know that any of the republican candidates is unqualified for the job, as we see the job requirements. Our presidential job requirements are not the same as the crazies. But they will have to choose one of them to be presented as the republican candidate. Which one is the least crazy and is closest to meeting our job requirements? In my mind it’s actually tRump. Do I think he’d be in any way good at the job? Not in the least bit. Do I think he’d be better for the country than any of the others? Only in the very least bit. And in case you think I’m being a lunatic, ask yourself, “Is he as crazy in a way that would make your life massively worse?” Because the rest of them are. YMMV.
Another Holocene Human
@goblue72: you do you and keep fapping to that disaster porn
GOP may have a lock on the House (thank you gerrymandering/pesky geographical sorting) but they do not have a lock on the Senate and will in fact have to fight hard to keep it. Next year is going to be critical.
Commit suicide, or sign up to phone bank. Your choice.
Only problem with this, citizens don’t want to be informed. There is a fair amount of analysis to be found. People avoid it like the plague.
ETA: newspapers and magazines are dying out at an increasing rate. The media that many rail about here soon simply will not exist. This may be the other great threat to democracy, but again, the public does not much care.
The Democratic party is weak because it has always been a collection of disparate interest groups. In the ACA fight you had the anti-corporatists (kill-the-bill) at odds with the health care access advocates (coverage for all). You have environmentalists, civil rights, labor rights, and dozens of other groups all in the mix. Only during presidential elections do they find common cause.
By comparison the GOP is practically a one-note orchestra – kill the federal government and in that you get what you want on taxes, abortion, guns, and a host of other things – but you have a common goal from local to federal elections. You can project your own desires onto it.
Dems don’t explicitly fight for strong government. They fight for the specifics of what a strong government will bring, but not for government itself. It’s why Dems have had to rely so much on broad coalitions – why African Americans and Latinos vote Democratic but have serious, non-trivial issues with the Democratic party – they are just weaker members of this coalition. It requires a lot of coordination, a lot of compromise, a lot of cheerleading. The GOP has outsourced a lot of that work to Hannity and Limbaugh and the NRA. Dems don’t really have those kinds of agents.
I wonder just how much of the Preznitshul campaigning is basically a premeditated act of misdirection? More specifically, by giving the people an absurdist reality show filled with loony nonsense, they’ll ignore what’s going on at state level (via things like ALEC-written draft legislation and Congressional redistricting, all facilitated by news media orgs slashing their statehouse coverage), as well as the day-to-day crap that the U.S. Congress pulls. On the latter, we of course have the likes of Steve King (R-IA) and Louis Gohmert (R-TX) providing clownish misdirection at the national level, in addition to those red meat issues (abortion, gun safety regulation) that overwhelm all else.
Congress and statehouse control matter far, far more than most people realize, and there are a handful of very wealthy and powerful folks who would like to keep it that way.
xoxoxo, Sharl (who is still bitter about Citizens United, bless my eternally naive heart)
@gene108: If you actually, seriously think that because a small handful of large cities have adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage that we are in some kind of positive labor environment, you really need to rethink things.
Organized labor is at its weakest point in decades. And you draw a straight line between the declining fortunes of the Democratic Party and the ever shrinking percentage of the workforce that is unionized. Why are Republicans in the Midwest (and elsewhere) so hell-bent on destroying public sector unions? Because its the only sector of the workforce that still has decent rates of unionization. Break the unions and you break the Democratic Party.
As for Jindal and others like him – (see Ben Carson), white conservatives today are perfectly happy holding up an Uncle Tom who mouths all the right code signals – its “proof” you see, that they aren’t “really” racist. Its the Cosby effect – conservatives LOVED his “pull your pants up, right up through your bootstraps” talk. They LOVE hearing conservative black folks talk about how its not white folks fault, its the fault of young black men being lazy and young black women having too much sex. Shit, we have an Uncle Tom on the SCOTUS whose name is literally TOM, who is one of the least qualified, most intellectually incurious jurists to ever sit on the Supreme Court, who was put there in the most brazenly race-based bit of Uncle Tom-ness in living memory – “Quick, find us a Negro for Thurgood’s seat – just make sure he’s one of our Negroes and will do whatever we say”.
But the voting patterns are clear, and there is a stark racial divide in terms of whom whites vote for between Republicans and Democrats. It doesn’t matter how white Kentucky is – if you polled the average white Kentucky voter, you’d probably find that they think there are a lot more black folks in Kentucky than there really are, and that they think they are all getting rich on welfare.
@? Martin: That’s just excuse making. Total B.S. and weak sauce.
Another Holocene Human
@gene108: Labor standards have gotten worse in my life time, what the eff are you talking about? The modest pushback since Occupy started a convo and SEIU bankrolled Fight for 15? Modest improvements for labor since Obama was prez and has done what he could to stop and roll back W’s devastating gutting of FLSA?
Haley and Jindal are model minorities, same as it ever was. Just like Herman Cain was toast of the GOP as long as he was shuckin’ and jivin’. Get real. And SC may not have the sheer racial animosity going on of a border area like MO or KY. (I don’t know about LA. Scary place.)
I talk to coworkers all the time who are angry about “Obamacare” and Medicaid expansion (even though Fla didn’t do Medicaid expansion and qualifying is nigh impossible). It’s all just resentment, resentment, resentment. Our employer makes us pay through the nose for family plans (which _sucks_) and it’s not fair other people get yadda yadda for “free”. The underlying problem is these folks are working fucking hard for a living and not making very much money so that payroll deduction HURTS.
Another Holocene Human
I could walk down the street from here and point out the address where college students were doing data entry, not as employees, no, as Schedule K shareholders. Of course, the owner had 99% of the shares. The pay was piecework, no minimum wage backstop.
They were there last year but a new big tenant arrived so I don’t know if they’re still there (they didn’t believe in a sign on the door) or if they moved to another storefront or if maybe Jesus called and they got busted for one of their 500 labor law or IRS or ethics violations.
@cmorenc: Man, are you late to the party!. Here in Boston, where local TV reaches the part of New Hampshire with people in it, that ad has been on for weeks, part of a months long Jeb! ad barrage that almost, almost makes you glad when a DraftKings or FanDuel ad comes on. Net effect: None detected. Jeb’s sinking like a stone in New Hampshire, too.
And, reporting on religion has degenerated into asinine fusses over a coffee chain deciding to put out plain red cups for the Holiday Season (OMG am I a depraved secularist. or what?), instead of one with snowflakes or sleds on it. The baby Jesus cries because there is no reference to pagan Northern European folklore in His seasonal coffee cup design. Surely He does!
The mega corporate cheap jack amateurish reality show that still calls itself ‘news’ in the US is a national disgrace.
@beltane: There’s a lot of circular causality. We know a lot of things that would improve turnout (automatic registration, early voting, vote by mail, etc.), but Republicans block them in most places, and we need higher turnout to overcome that.
The trick is to find ways to break that circle, so that those changes can be implemented to maintain it longer term. That’s the hard part.
Another Holocene Human
@Iowa Old Lady: If Carson’s supporters move to Trump, all that means is that everything the detractors of White American Evangelicals have said about them is true.
But, hey, check out their facebook and twitter feeds. Nothing but jingoism, xenophobia, and gunzzz all day long.
@Another Holocene Human: The path to the Democrats taking back the Senate is quite narrow. Democrats needs to win most of the toss-ups, AND defeat a few GOP incumbents. In addition, Democrats actually need to run up the score, because in 2018, the playing field for Senate seats up for election favors the GOP.
You also conveniently ignore the situation at the state level.
@MomSense: The coverage of international news is even more pathetic. The Snooze hour has one dedicated person for international news, Margaret Warner, hardly any reporters on the ground. Compare that BBC’s world news.
@Another Holocene Human:
When I’ve replied to comments like that I say we need Medicare for all of us. I’ve only had the chance to use this a few times but people are quiet, don’t know what to say. It’s as if they’ve never considered that and don’t know what to think.
@piratedan7: Because if any journalist in a fit of idealist fervor were to do exactly as you wish, the affected candidates would immediately bleat far and wide that their words were being twisted and that the journo was just trying to discredit them. That there must be some ulterior (read LIBERAL!!) agenda at work because they were afraid (AFRAID!) of what the righteous candidate was bringing to the people. And of course, said denials would be dutifully trumpeted and amplified by the remainder of the media for whom trolling for eyeballs (and clicks) was the bottom line.
One of the excuses trotted out after every midterm election is how the poor don’t vote because its difficult to do so. Surely the average voter in the red states is not worse off than average voter in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. The turnout was between 55% and 60% in all the phases of the Bihar elections conducted over the last month.
I hope someone in the Democratic party apparatus is trying to figure this out.
ETA: AFAIK India does have a holiday on the polling day when people are actually supposed to vote
@Another Holocene Human:
The White House is a great place from which to tear stuff down. Repair jobs are a lot harder though, unless you have an informed and angry electorate on your side.
Last month the very anti-establishment Hamilton Nolan at Gawker found himself in a place he probably never expected to be invited, when he participated at the White House in a “Worker Voice Summit”.
Another Holocene Human
@goblue72: I don’t think Clarence Thomas is unqualified and incurious. I think he’s smart, entitled (oh, so entitled), and embittered. Embittered and defensive. And as the angry, bitter jerk he has made himself the enemy to the Bill of Rights along with arch-authoritarian ally Scalia. Thomas thinks anyone who interacts with the police must have done something wrong to deserve a whoopin’ and Scalia believes everything cops and guards do under color of law is licit on its face.
@schrodinger’s cat: When turnout is only 30% of registered voters, it’s more than just the poor who aren’t showing up to vote. This is something the Democratic party needs to get a handle on immediately.
Another Holocene Human
@goblue72: The Dems’ diverse coalition is a fact, it’s part of the reason the parties are so very different and in some sense why our politics are so polarized.
Understanding and accepting reality isn’t excuse making. It’s the first step to finding solutions.
Another Holocene Human
@goblue72: I’m not ignoring it. Seems to me that the states with growing populations are growing more blue and the states that are shrinking are going more red. More reason to have a strong federal government to redistribute wealth and provide a social backstop that states can’t and won’t muster.
It’s atrocious. I listen to BBC streaming and try to read some foreign papers just to find out what is going on outside the US (sometimes better coverage of what is going on inside the US).
Another Holocene Human
Holiday on voting day is a BFD. Why do you think the GOP has systemically gotten rid of early voting on Sunday where it has been instituted????
@Another Holocene Human: Hilolry should make it one of her issues. Of course it would help if we didn’t have elebenty elections almost every year.
Another Holocene Human
Labor activists and some Dem activists are furious at Obama to this day over EFCA. Two things:
a) The Dem Senate flip flopped, passing it against W’s veto but refusing to pass it for Obama. This is Obama’s fault how—? Green lantern in the vault at Fort Knox, he should have cracked it out? Right, and Jennifer Lawrence just texted me, wants to go on a date with me tonight.
b) Not even union rank and file understood what the FUCK EFCA was or how it helped them or unions. That left them open to quite effective propaganda blitz by Kochs, US Chamber, et al. Fuck it, to this day I couldn’t explain to you how it helped except something something card check. Current private sector organizing rules are being exploited by private sector for some sort of loophole that makes getting a successful vote to unionize nearly impossible. But the “fix” is needlessly confusing and was just shredded by the Wall Street shills.
c) Nobody in the labor movement will take responsibility for this faceplant. It’s just all variants of the “Obama sold us out” ditty.
@Redshift: Where I stand on this is that liberals are way too obsessed with magic bullet, tote-bag solutions. “If only we would Get Out the Vote, we’d win!” Or, “If we can just overturn Citizens United, we’d win!”
When the reality is a lot more complicated and a lot more boring and a lot more hard work than that. Our party apparatus is quite weak and downright broken in parts. And there’s isn’t some feel good, goo-goo solution to it. Institutions matter a lot – and the building up organizational infrastructure is important. And the Democratic infrastructure in many places is far too weak. We used to have this really solid institutional infrastructure that contrary to popular myth was actually a key standard bearer on progressive issues and was the primary institution of power for working people – its was called labor unions. They had the organizational apparatus, they had money and they had a well trained army of foot soldiers. But that patient is dying on the operating table right now – and we don’t have a replacement.
Politics is messy and dirty and hard work. State level politics is not flashy or exciting. In some ways, liberals seems to get interested in the big flashy national elections and in the really hyper-local ones. Go visit your average “Blue” city during election season and you’ll find a dozen propositions on the ballot. Ask those same liberals who their state senator is and you get a blank look.
At that critical mid-level – the states – its like pulling teeth. State politics is the frumpy bureaucrat in the off-the-rack suit with the $15 haircut and orthopedic shoes who went to some state university. Bright eyed and bushy tailed Future Leaders of Meritocratic America from Ivy League U. don’t get interested in that stuff – they want to go work in DC for a think tank or the White House or work on bringing a bike-sharing program to Cleveland or reforming the NYC public schools or whatever.
We need to be pushing the Powers That Be in our party to start investing in our state parties. And that means holding folks like Obama and the Clintons and whomever accountable for it. And as activists, it means making those demands consistently – because its not just about “phone-banking” or whatnot. Parties are the system by which platforms are established, by which resources are collected and allocated, by which an electoral bench is developed, and through which voters are incentivized to vote.
Hectoring voters that they just need to phonebank and go vote is not how it works. An infrastructure that has vans ready to pick up the grannies on election day and has spent the last 12 months making sure somebody shoveled their walks last winter is. Its about party infrastructure and organizational development.
Another Holocene Human
@beltane: US voter participation has always been embarrassingly low. But since Reagan, that working class middle class has been squeezed into non existence. The same tranches are there but the inequality is much deeper. The middle class are now “working families”. They are working long hours and not following politics much (unless it’s RW hate radio, which is also less popular than it used to be). They follow sports. Less depressing. They miss a lot of small, off cycle elections.
And–this is a long term problem–plenty of them have given up on politics effecting positive change in their lives. Especially if their communities are dying. People who live in growing cities naturally see this differently and a lot of really exciting organizing is going on in big cities in America right now.
Another Holocene Human
What the hell, the biggest phonebank volunteers were DRIVING the van to the polls last election cycle–where were you?
And yeah, a lot of those petition pushers have no idea who their state senators are. You’d find things would be very different at your local Democratic party HQ. I’m not anti petition by any means (although they DO have issues) but there are a lot of people who are into the petition thing who have a lot of, er, shall we say unrealistic beliefs about the world and who don’t interest themselves in messy, impure, frustrating things like state legislatures.
This times a gazillion. A fine post.
What would be the ratio of OPs here which point and giggle at the clown car vs. OPs which actually discuss Democrats and their policies? About 25 to 1? BJ is on pretty thin ice lobbing bombs at the media over their political coverage.
Ha! Wrong, I’m literally Disaffected and I’m not a Trump Fan. And anyways as a Liberal I’m voting for Ben Carson because as every right-winger knows, Liberals hate “Merica and a Carson Presidency is the surest way to destroy the Nation.
I can’t see how an ineffective loudmouth could be any worse.
Really? You don’t even need to have an imagination; a familiarity with history will suggest a myriad of ways in which an incompetent ego-driven fool can damage a nation
That one is fun to try in a doctor’s(‘) office waiting room, when there are people on Medicare in the room.
Have you done this? I’m trying to imagine the various reactions..
What, the guy promising to ethnically cleanse the United States?
In most ways, he’s actually less extreme than most of them. But I can’t get past the both crazy and horrifying plan to load ten million people into cattle cars, and somehow force Mexicans to pay to build a giant border wall. It might not directly affect me and my family, but I have a feeling there would be knock-on effects.
You can very plausibly argue that this is a fantasy Trump could never actually execute on, but you could argue that about a lot of things Republicans say. And it raises the question of what he would do instead, to scratch that nativist itch that turned him into the Republican front-runner. There are all those incidents of his fans beating up Hispanics at campaign rallies while he sort of looks the other way and talks about how passionate his people are. That Trump supporter who figured he might legalize hunting humans at the border got the impression from somewhere.
@Iowa Old Lady:
Never said it was easy!
The Democratic party needs to get it through the collective heads of their base that it’s not just important to vote for the President. I live with an example of that and it makes me want to pull my hair out.
And Dubya was?
I’m gonna demur here from the general groupthink “the media is a bunch of morons and America is fucked becuase of it.” Seems to me that the major difference between this election and the 2000 election is that the press is actually doing its job this time.
The lunatics running for president in 2000 were every bit as demented as the current Republicans, every bit as incompetent, every bit as ignorant. The turd that floated to the top of the Republican cesspool in 2000 was just as crazy and clueless as Ben Carson. The only difference is that this election has something at stake, and everyone in the electorate knows it.
So this time around, the press is actually poking and prodding the Republican loons. And the Repubs are self-destructing.
If the American press had done its job back in 2000, president Al Gore’s second term would’ve involved major global warming initiatives and a massive push to shift to electric cars. And maybe, just maybe, some re-regulation of the financial markets that would’ve prevented the 2008 global financial meltdown.
Instead, we got bullshit distortions and lies about Gore and nothing but fluff pieces about how charming Dubya was.
Source: “Going After Gore,” Vanity Fair, October 2007.
@Another Holocene Human: Look, I’m a lawyer. Thomas’ legal writings (whether in the form of opinions written for the majority, concurrences or dissents) are not held in high regard by the profession. Scalia, traditionally, yes. Roberts is perfectly capable (not a leading intellectual light from the right side of the dial, but perfectly capable). Thomas – not at all.
@Another Holocene Human: That’s just excuse making. And the GOP is diverse in its own way. Just because its so much more WHITE, does not mean it is not a coalition of a fairly disparate coalition. The current fights in the House are a product of that.
Don’t say that. It can always get worse.
I’ve done it (mentioned the possibility of Medicare for all) once, to a mostly thoughtful/silent reaction. My wife has done it a few times, the first time when she was complaining that Obama wasn’t doing a good job of selling Obamacare. Nobody has reacted negatively yet.
This is very true, and it is not just Republican obstacles keeping non-voters away. A PEW survey in November 2012 showed that non-voters favored Obama and the Democrats. And yet many of these voters don’t see that the Democrats are actually helping them. Much of this can be laid at the feet of the GOP, but this doesn’t change the bad outcome that many non-voters see.
Battles between the crazy and the batshit insane and the belongs-in-Bellevue-scrawling-crayola-manifestoes-insane does not qualify as “diversity.”
@Another Holocene Human: The states with growing populations are states in the Sunbelt and the Mountain West – states that are more Red than Blue. In the last reapportionment of House seats, Blue states lost, and Red states gained.
In 2010, these states lost at least one House seat: Massachusetts, New York (2 seats), New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio (2 seats), Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Louisiana. More blue than red.
These states gained at least one House seat: Washington, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida (2 seats), and Texas (4 seats). More red than blue.
I have seen projections that predict for 2020, these states will lose a House seat (and thus also an Electoral vote): Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Except for WV, those are blue or blue-ish purple states.
These states will likely gain a House seat: Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Virginia. Texas gain of two. Those are red states, or reddish-purple states.
@goblue72: The GOP is a coalition of fewer (but individually larger) interest groups, but galvanized by a single, shared common goal to weaken the federal government and shift power to the states. That’s why they believe that state control matters, and its why they vote.
Dems have no such single, shared common goal. You could say a stronger federal government serves all groups, but Dems do not campaign on that idea – and it’s not an idea that works widely enough for Dems. And if you toss your lot in for a strong federal government, those state elections matter less, so why bother showing up for them?
Interesting. Same quiet, mulling over reactions.
@mclaren: The GOP is a party that includes Christian fundamentalist/evangelicals (aka “social conservatives”), Libertarians (esp the Western states), corporate/wealthy, Main Street small business owners, disaffected working class/lower middle class “white ethnics” (the proverbial “Reagan Democrats), and piece of suburban professionals (typical profile is middle-management suburbanites with a college degree from a state university, but no graduate degree)
Are there some things which are more uniform in the GOP than Democrats? Sure. But it’s not the monolithic myth that Democrats like to console themselves with. And the Democrats have become much more ideologically monolithic over last 10 years than previously. We like to tell ourselves these myths to console ourselves for losing. Doesn’t make it true.
Just to get a perspective, in WA state, ALL our ballots are by mail, arriving 2weeks or so before they are due. No postage is required, they can be put in drop boxes around the city of Bellingham and around Whatcom county. Supporting literature comes to your door via mail, we doorbell feverishly, and have forums. I am precinct captain and give my folks my email if they have any questions. Still there was only 35% turnout overall this election!!! It will be hard to get at the relative Democrats and Republican numbers since our local stuff is supposedly non partisan, but you can’t get more convenient than this. No one needs to be driven anywhere. There is plenty of time and information. It is deeper than convenience issues…
@bemused: I’m a big fan of the Medicare for All concept. For one thing, Medicare provides a decent health insurance coverage system. Its an existing program, so the infrastructure is in place. It has a positive image. And its easy concept for people to grasp and understand.
Its makes for taking a potentially complicated proposals and boils it down to an easy 30 second elevator speech. “You know Medicare? Good. Now just imagine everybody being able to get Medicare, not just old folks.”
@max: This is the most sensible description of Carson that I have seen. It is also sort of frightening that a man with these psychological problems could be polling so strongly, even though it is in the Republican primary.
@Another Holocene Human: I was going door to door as a precinct captain, that’s where I was last election. But I live and have always lived in big cities. In the big cities, we don’t lack from a Democratic machine.
Elsewhere in the country, the local apparatus is not nearly so robust. And my example isn’t meant as “just fix this one thing”. There’s a lot more that needs to done. And its not going to be accomplished because a bunch of gray hairs show up to phonebook.
It’s hard to successfully pitch principled pragmatism to GOP primary voters who are watching the teevee while sharpening pitchforks and heating cauldrons of tar.
@goblue72: @Elie: That was what I observed when I lived in Seattle. It was easy as pie to vote. You literally got your ballot mailed to you well in advance of Election Day and voting meant dropping a ballot in the mail. It could not be any easier.
Yet, voter participation rates weren’t all that much better than anywhere else. Poor people don’t vote. Rich people do. There’s lot of data out there – I’ve posted it in other comment threads – that show that the higher your income, the higher your voter participation rate. Regardless if its a Presidential election year or not. And white people vote at higher rates than Asians and Latinos. Blacks in the last 2 Presidential election cycles voter equivalent to whites, but it dropped off in each mid-term cycle. And it remains to be seen if A-A voter participation rates in Presidential election cycles will match recent rates when Obama is not on the ballot.
The GOP represents whites and higher income households. Those two demographic slices vote at higher rates. The Democrats represent – amongst others – nonwhite and lower income households – two slices that vote at lower rates. That’s a systemic issue, because it bakes in an obstacle to victory that is function of whom each party has selected as part of its base. To fix it, you either have to change those voting rates, or you have to change the party platform. Or both. (And for the record, I’m not advocating kicking non-whites to the curb – just making an observation.)
So totally agree. Its not some goo-goo problems demanding a goo-goo solution like an Election Day national holiday or making every state have vote by mail or making Election Day fall on a weekend. Could we see some improvements on the margins with those ideas? Possibly – but not gonna move the needle much.
Only possible goo-goo solution I have seen that could have some merit is mandatory voting like they have in Australia, where there is a financial or community service penalty for not voting. In some studies I have seen, compulsory voting favors liberal policy positions & candidates. (So of course, Republicans would oppose it.)
@trollhattan: He would clearly “have people” do that for him indeed. And then hear all about how he’s got all these unelected czars running things, right? Right? (crickets)
All of what you say…
@Iowa Old Lady: My guess is Tom Davis, formerly my congressman from Northern Virginia who decided to retire when he saw the writing on the wall of where his party was heading. Now my congressman is Gerry Connolly (D).
@goblue72: WTF is a goo goo solution? Whatever you don’t agree with?
@Elie: I never said it was only a convenience issue. I have not studied this problem systematically, but Democratic party had better be doing that.
Hell I don’t know, I’m just guessing which one of the morons will be left standing and I don’t speak or understand moron. Him not being a politician I think is a point in his favor but if he is in power with the congress we have or even the one we could get if everything goes well in a year, he will be at least as bad as W, possibly worse. The rest of the Klowns? Worse than W no question. And that’s a scary thought.
@schrodinger’s cat: Goo-Goos is slang for “Good Government” types. Its a political slang that goes back to the Tammany Hall era. The Goo-Goos of the era – typically high-minded middle and upper middle class reformers – had “good government” political clubs that aimed to weed out the corrupt urban machines that controlled local government in big cities at the time. The phrase was resuscitated in the late 20th century in connection with similar high-minded Good Government types. John Kerry was labeled a Goo-Goo early in his career. Its a term of criticism about certain kinds of process oriented, totebagger-type political reformers who feel like if you just clean up processes of the system, everything else will resolve itself – ignoring the often brutal bare-knuckle, deep in the mud, politicking that is needed to win elections. The 20th century President that got more progressive legislation passed than anyone except possibly FDR was LBJ – and he owes at least one, if not more, elections in his career to outright electoral fraud.
I would insert a link to a Balloon Juice FP post by Anne Laurie involving Goo-Goos, but the new site is so borked when it comes to links, I am afraid this comment will get stuck in moderation.
Just google: “Return of the Return of the Goo-Goos (or, The Best Candidates Money Can Buy)” The first link will take you to the BJ post.
@goblue72: Thanks for the explanation!
@? Martin: Being in favor of a Federal safety net does not preclude being in favor of a State safety net. There are many aspects of the social welfare safety net that liberals are in favor of (or at least, some liberals) that are primarily state functions. Spending on public universities and college is primarily a STATE function – if states spend more money on their public universities to bring tuitions down, we wouldn’t need to look to the Feds to provide bigger student loans to students to attend them. K-12 education is also a state function. States are also venues for higher state labor law standards, higher minimum wages, progressive maternity leave policies, etc, etc.
We exist in a dual sovereignty system. Focusing on just a strong Federal government only gets us halfway there.
So, yes, its just excuse making.
Yes and it starts the wheels churning in the minds of people who have been riled up by Obamacare bad, Scandinavian health care bad messages. Heck, most average folks are definitely going to apply for Medicare. They watch their parents on Medicare getting their hips, knees replaced, etc, etc. while they’re grinding their teeth over their high deductible, high monthly payment employer health care plans and they need hip, knee replacements, other surgeries that they need right now but can’t afford.
The Fat Kate Middleton
@goblue72: “Hectoring voters that they just need to phonebank and go vote is not how it works. An infrastructure that has vans ready to pick up the grannies on election day and has spent the last 12 months making sure somebody shoveled their walks last winter is. Its about party infrastructure and organizational development.”
This. exactly this. I’m 70 years old, and I did the snow shoveling (snowplowing, actually), and helping elderly and disabled get to the polls, and anything else I could do to physically get them there. It was only a handful of votes … but it paid off in thanks and gratitude on the part of family and friends of those voters. Pro tip: when you canvass, it’s easy to find out just who those folks are.
In 2014, Washington state was in the middle of the pack with 38.6 percent turnout. Oregon and Colorado, which also have mail-in, did even better, with 52 and 53 percent participation apiece.
California, by contrast, had 31.8 percent turnout, near the bottom of the pack, and we had a gubernatorial election.
States with mail-in ballot have better participation.
Assumes facts not in evidence. Where’s the proof?
Doctors have average IQs, 100-110, and and surgeons score in the midrange among doctors by specialty. Surgeons have lower average MCAT than Emergency Medicine specialty residents or Orthopaedic residents, for example.
The claim that surgeons are necessarily smart or that becoming a surgeon requires good grades is simply not true. The statistics prove otherwise.
Of course the usual flood of ignorant cranks will deny these documented facts because “everyone knows” that “surgeons are really smart.” This is yet another myth with no basis in fact. Ben Carson left a surgeon sponge in a patient’s brain. How smart is that?
Next, Max goes on to psychoanalyze Carson with unsubstantiated claims about how Carson suffered from terrible racism and created some bizarre persona to make up for that. Hogwash. Where’s the evidence? Show us your proof, Max.
Ta-Nehisi Coates suffered equal or worse racism than Ben Carson, but Coates doesn’t talk as though he’s dosed with Haldol and Coates doesn’t make bizarre counterfactual assertions about the Egyptian pyramids and Coates doesn’t feel the need to constantly lie about himself in public in ways that are easy to check. So if racism causes black people to become psychotic and develop some bizarre personality disorder, why doesn’t Ta-Nehisi Coates exhibit these pathologies?
Occam’s Razor, Max. The simplest conclusion is that Ben Carson is a stupid incompetent crank who is on some kind of powerful psychotropic medication and/or some kind of narcotic. That would explain his constant lies, his stupid easily-debunked false assertions, and in particular it would really explain why Caron seems totally zoned out when he talks. This is a guy who is not 100%. Whether it’s alcohol or psychiatric medication or hard drugs, I don’t know, but the guy is not alert and focused and all there when he speaks in public.
In India’s case, I think American term of “machine politics” help describe how they drive turn out, especially among the poorer segments of the population. The political parties push people in those poorer areas to vote, with promises of some sort or another.
In America, the era of the Democratic Party machines in urban areas has all but disappeared, as this may have gotten people to the polls, but it also created a strong level of corruption and graft, where those connected with the Party bosses got favors in contracts from the city.
I’m not sure, if there was ever that sort of political machine in rural areas, where Democrats seem to have the most problems in getting votes.
But the larger point that rates of voter participation in America are very low is an issue, but it is not solely a Democratic Party issue. Yes, low turn outs seem to benefit Republicans, but it is a society wide problem that skews how this country functions.
It cannot be fixed by Democrats alone. It really will require both parties to be on board, but Republicans have staked out a position that will reduce voter participation, by such things as voter ID laws and reducing early voting.
So I do not see a lot happening anytime soon.
The GOP is a shared coalition of 0.1%ers who want to immensely increase the power of the federal government to limit women’s access to abortions, to immensely increase the power of the federal government for panopticon surveillance on its citizens, to immensely increase the power of the federal government to shut down lawsuits against corporations and malpractice suits against doctors, to immensely increase the power of government to kidnap and torture and murder U.S. citizens without a trial or even accusing the victim of having committed a crime.
The GOP is all about big government. Big government surveillance, big government police state, big government military spending, big government foreign wars, big government non-stop, big government as far as the eye can see.
You need to avoid telling these kinds of stupidly ignorant lies, Martin, if you want to be taken seriously. Then again…the time for that has long passed. As your repeated claims that “Snowden is a paid Chinese agent” have shown us all.
Then you’d better be prepared to get reviled and insulted and showered with envenomed verbal attacks by ignorant cranks like Richard Mayhew. Because Medicare for all is effectively nationalized single-payer health care. And Mayhew and the other DINOs like him have repeatedly assured us (in tones of punitive hysteria) that nationalized single-payer health care is impossible in America, that it can never happen, that anyone who espouses such a policy is insane or “on LD-50 lethal doses of LSD” or unrealistic or dreaming or living in a fantasyland.
Any system that switches to a single government provider for all health care in America automatically gets the power to dictate prices for medical equipment and medical procedures and doctors’ salaries, the same way Japan did and France did and Germany did. And that drives corrupt thugs like Mayhew wild with rage because it threatens their income.
So you’d better toe the Balloon-Juice line, boy, and repeat after Richard Mayhew: corrupt greedy medical devicemakers and corrupt greedy doctors and corrupt greedy hospitals and corrupt greedy imaging clinics and corrupt greedy health insurance providers are the best America can do, so if you don’t like it, learn to like it, because the self-serving beneficiaries of those corrupt greed grossly inefficient systems have assured you it must be your only choice.
@Another Holocene Human:
The post I replied to stated we are in an era similar to the Gilded Age, wherein the wealthy use racial resentments, fear of immigrants, etc. to pit working class people against each other, thus driving down living standards for those people.
I do not think you can so glibly explain the problem of wage stagnation over the last 40 years as a product of a crab-bucket mentality among workers caused by workers tribalism against outside groups.
Income inequality over the last two generations is a global phenomenon that is occurring all over the industrialized world. It is just more acute in the USA.
There are other things going on that are more complicated than that explanation. What they are I do not really know. Lots of economists are trying to figure this out.
The whole idea that what is going on in American politics right now is just tribalism, where people vote for their own just does not hold up. Nikkie Haley beat out a good old southern white Christian man to win the Republican nomination for SC governor in 2010.
Whatever sort of actions or reactions by conservative voters that are being attributed to knee-jerk tribalism are a lot more nuanced than liberals usually care to admit.
I’m not sure what the reasons are, but it just isn’t stone cold 1950’s era racism anymore.
I’ve been shopping our company’s medical plan for the last 17 years. It’s a no win situation. Rates keep going up and the only thing we can do as a company is to carve out benefit option, i.e. reduce the number physical therapy visits per year, for example, and / or raise the deductible. When premiums go up 10% in a “good year” and 25% in a bad year and literally fucking double in catastrophic year, options get more and more limited.
If there was an easy solution to the death spiral the American health care system has been in for the last 50 years, I’m sure someone would’ve thought of it.
Obamacare addresses the access portion of the problem, but the medical inflation part that hurts companies still has not been seriously dealt with.
Tl, dr: Your employer may not be evil, they may not have many affordable options anymore with regards to health insurance.
Is the resentment driven by racism, or is it driven by economic insecurity?
I do not think we are in a Gilded Age level labor environment either.
I think some of the forces that have hurt the labor market are a helluva a lot more complicated than what you attribute as being due to racism among middle and working class Americans voting against their own interests.
There are real problems in the industrialized world, with regards to wage growth. America has its own version of this problem, but it exists to various degrees all over the world.
I grew up in North Carolina, which has had the lowest rate of unionization in the country for a long time.
Democrats were in control of the state, until voter backlash at what as perceived as “good old boy” type corruption scandals helped usher in Republicans in 2010.
Democrats were also competitive across the South, in states with very low unionization rates, into the early part of the 00’s, so I do think the loss of unions has hurt Democrats in the Midwest, it does not explain their losses in the South, where unions were never big players.
As stated above, Haley beat out a white male Republican politician for the Republican nomination for governor in 2010. I think a lot of it had to do with Palin’s endorsement of her.
Jindal beat out a bunch of white guys to win the Republican nomination for governor in 2003 and then the governorship in 2007, by beating out white guys.
By your theory, sure a Republican will tolerate a “darkie”, but how do you explain, when push comes to shove they vote for the “darkie” over one of their own?
Uncle Toms were accepted or tolerated, but they were never voted into positions of authority. The racism of today is a lot more complicated and nuanced than it was even 25 years ago.
Agree with you about Thomas being a “hey, lets replace Marshall with a black guy or we’ll look really bad” moment for the Republicans. From what I’ve read though is Thomas was not just pulled out of nowhere. He was being groomed for a Supreme Court nomination. If Marshal had not gotten ill, I believe Thomas would’ve been nominated to some level of the Federal court, so he would have judicial experience before getting his shot at the SCOTUS. Marshall’ sudden illness just accelerated their plans for Thomas.
@gene108: I would give the Bihari voters more credit than that. These party machines were present last year too when Modi won big. What changed this time was that Modi made the election all about himself. BJP had no CM candidate and they had benched popular Bihari politicians from the BJP. He and his sidekick Amit Shah repeatedly insulted Biharis.
The opposition coalesced into one group, so those votes did not get divided. Nitish Kumar’s decision to withdraw from the coalition with BJP was a principled one — he could not stomach Mr M as the candidate for PM. Lalu took the fight to Modi and his chamchas (rough translation cronies). He is no saint and he gave as good as he got. His Twitter feed is a hoot. He can run rings around Modi in Hindi, after all it is not Modi’s first language. I wish we had feisty Dems like Lalu.
One thing Indians can’t stand is a person from another state coming and giving them lectures and telling them to their face that they are stupid. The Bihari vs. Bahari (outsider) issue got lots of traction too.
This is BJP’s second drubbing in the Hindi heartland. I am also enjoying the infighting between Sena and BJP in Maharashtra.
@srv: I would argue that Sanders is a far better vehicle for widespread discontent, but the scary thing is you may actually be right.