Kevin Drum made an interesting point yesterday about the Senate, which is getting harder for Democrats every cycle because working-class whites are increasingly more Republican, and they’re a majority in many rural states:
But perhaps there’s another way. I know this will sound ridiculous, but hear me out: Democrats could figure out how to appeal to working-class whites.
I know that many progressives would rather move to Canada than even consider such a thing. After all, working-class whites are racist! They hate gays! They love guns! They go to church! They oppose liberal immigration laws! They want to ban abortion! They drive pickup trucks! They like low taxes! They don’t understand intersectionality!
Well, yeah. That’s true of many of them, though certainly not all. And “not all” is a key point here. It’s not as if Democrats have to appeal to stone racists or lunatic gun nuts to win in rural states. They just have to ease up on some of the things that rural voters think are important. Doing this doesn’t automatically mean that you want immigrants in cages or black men to be the targets of mass incarceration. Nor does it mean you want to force women to give birth against their will or fry the planet via climate change. It just means you accept the reality that sometimes society moves more slowly than you’d like.
In 2008, Democrats won Senate seats in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virgina, and North Carolina. Places like that seem like nothing more than dreams these days. But they aren’t. If working-class whites can move into the Republican camp over the course of only a few years, they can move out in just a few years too. But progressives have to actually care about them and be willing to compromise here and there to win their votes. This is what politics is all about, and always has been.
What does it mean to “ease up” and how do you do it? Since I know the Dakotas, let’s start there. Historically, fairly liberal Democrats (McGovern, Daschle, Dorgan; Conrad and Johnson on a good day) have won Senate seats by going against their party on issues like guns, and arguing that they were better at securing important funding in farm bills, rural health legislation and the like. States that never voted for a Democrat for President would regularly elect these Senators. These Democrats were also well known and well liked throughout the state and voters would split tickets to elect the person over party.
What’s changed in the last decade or so isn’t the willingness of Democrats to “ease up”. The few remaining Democrats in those states were the bluest blue dogs in the bunch, easy like Sunday morning, and they still got beat. It’s the environment that changed, not the politicians. There’s no such thing as making an exception for a person anymore – they are all liberals, and as such, they are all evil. Liberalism, for a Fox News viewer, isn’t a set of policy positions that, if eased sufficiently, will become palatable to them. Rather, liberalism is treated like a religion that worships Satan, and any compromise that comes out of a liberal’s mouth is worthless because of who said it, not what was said.
My quick and dirty heuristic for deciding whether a state will ever give us a Democrat in a federal position is to look at demographic changes and the size of the blue dots in the state. If the state has a growing non-white population, that state will ultimately flip. In addition to North Carolina on Kevin’s list, Texas and Arizona are two other states that we can flip after a battle against voter suppression. As far as the blue dots go, it’s the explanation for why Minnesota and Colorado are purple and the Dakotas are red – there just aren’t big enough cities in the Dakotas to satisfy the desire for urban living that exists in the younger, more progressive children of the old, white Fox viewers, so they move to Minneapolis or Denver instead of Sioux Falls or Fargo.
As Cheryl’s post yesterday showed, the notion that we can appeal to white working-class rural voters by some kind of pandering jujitsu is evergreen, and it fundamentally misreads the situation on the ground. The people who could be convinced in the rural states either have already left for a city in another state, or they have congregated in a blue dot in the state that just isn’t big enough to outweigh the red rural areas. The Democratic party in these states is almost non-functional, which is a huge factor in the ability to execute any political strategy. In South Dakota, for example, the Democrats are so poor that they can’t even keep a physical office in any town in the state.
It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a little bit of easing up to counteract the fundamental change in the voting population that has landed us where we are in rural America.
Where exactly do we need to ease up where we don’t already? It’s the part always missing from these
The most important thing with regard to the Senate is making sure the House stays under Democratic control.
And holy fuck. He actually wrote this sentence non-ironically?
To me, the problem is that the Democratic Party never offers a counterargument addressed specifically to people who hear this sort of propaganda. Obviously it won’t persuade the majority of rural-state voters, but it might soften the impact a bit, and persuade a few people.
That might not help in rural states like the Dakotas, but it might help tip Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, and a past effort in this direction might have kept Missouri, Ohio, and Iowa purple.
Treat this problem the way the people who made Tylenol treated the Tylenol killer: How do we improve the reputation of this brand that people now think is tainted? But Democrats don’t acknowledge the problem and do nothing to try to ameliorate it.
This right here. Are we supposed to ‘ease up’ on social support for the poor and vulnerable? ‘Ease up’ on government control of women’s bodies? ‘Ease up’ on racism and voter suppression? Exactly which core value(s) of human decency are we supposed to compromise in the hopes that maybe Bubba will think Dems are bowing down to his prejudices and insecurities enough to vote for them?
I read Kevin all the time. He is an Orange County Democrat. He could easily be a liberal Republican. I don’t agree with him more than I agree with him.
In this case he’s right only kinda. Demographics of rural states is changing too and not just the manner he says. Immigrants are moving to rural states. Are they mentioned by Kevin? No. They aren’t. Are the dying off of the olds discussed? Not really.
Democrats can’t win by becoming Republican Lite and that is what I’m seeing far too many ‘Democrats’ saying right now. Bloomberg voters. About 1% of the Democratic electorate. I don’t agree with Kevin’s solutions. Sorry, I don’t.
Major Major Major Major
Colorado is purple partly because of politicians like Hickenlooper and Polis and Bennet who do, in fact, “ease up” on things like fracking.
I didn’t like the reasoning in Drum’s piece, and said so. Winning redish-red states in 2008 happened because the GOP blew up the US and the world economy, and a whole bunch of other horrible things (Iraq, Katrina, etc., etc.). It’s not an example of how to win in more normal times, and I would hope that we could win a substantial Senate majority without having to come in after a crisis.
Yes, Democrats need to tailor their messages to their audience, and the 2018 House and 2019 Virginia races shows that they know how to do that.
But the Senate really does need substantial reform, and there need to be more House members. It’s not clear that we can win 60 Senate seats again any time soon. We’re not an agrarian society any more, and great tracts of land should not have a veto on what the majority wants to do. The structural impediments in the Senate are substantial.
To me, “ease up” sounds like throwing some constituency of the Democratic Party under the bus. I get that we need to cut red state Dems some slack on a few issues, but the Democratic Party itself should not do that as a whole.
I guess “many” is doing a lot of work here but before the 2016 election, the dominant progressive position was that Dems had to apologize to working class whites.
To me that’s the literal elephant in the room.
I live outside Austin. Bluest blue dot in Texas. Last election cycle was the first time a Democratic canvasser knocked on my door in the 15 years I have lived here.
During Obama’s first run, I was an Obama delegate to the county convention. In my little town, there were 5 whole people that were part of the active party group. No support at all from the party in Texas. Now it’s a million times better and it’s showing in Texas.
If the party could just freaking try in the rural areas, we really could get somewhere.
There’s a very simple way to win back a lot of those voters: a 2008-like economic catastrophe while the Republicans are in power. In that type of situation, some rural white voters will look past the culture wars stuff and Fox propaganda and vote for a more pragmatic choice. Short of that, there’s not much point in try to win them over.
This strikes me as the sort of problem that we urbanized liberals in other states really could help to address. Could we have ActBlue drives for the actual Democratic Parties of small, rural states? Yes, the Republicans will rant at out-of-state money flooding into rural areas, but (a) they’ll do that anyway, and (b) who cares?
And Georgia. There are two Senate races in Georgia in 2020. Two chances.
@Baud: Sounds like you and Drum have different notions of what constitutes a “progressive.”
At this point, I see nothing that Dems could do nationally to make inroads with working class whites, apart from becoming overtly racist.
As of 2016, the “economic anxiety” argument has been shown conclusively to be arrant bullshit.
@Llelldorin: I agree with this suggestion. A little money will go a long way there since they’re starting with almost nothing and little support.
That’s part of what the DLCC does. I send them some money occasionally – they do important work.
@rp: The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Cathie from Canada
I have often thought that the worst mistake Obama ever made in 2008 was to get rid of Howard Dean as chair of the democratic party — Dean understood the long-term value of the so-called “50-state” strategy, he knew how to organize, he could generate incredible enthusiasm, he knew how to talk to conservatives and the media, and he would have had democrats in place locally to speak out against republican and tea party ideas. I don’t think Obama understood during those early days the depth of opposition to him and how important it would be for democrats to have this kind of help. Sigh.
I think you’re right here. I also think Drum’s piece, as others have pointed out, is lacking in specifics about what rural outreach means. I get that you can’t run an AOC in every district in Missouri, but does it mean you run people who largely embrace GOP framing and, if sent to Congress, would not be a reliable caucus?
I’m an old white dude. I’ve got a pickup truck and I’m not opposed to hunting. I do have issues with semi automatic weapons. Tennessee used to be a progressive state. We had both Albert Gores as Senators, as well as others. We just have to have the message.
The bright-red rural state problem is a result of the Wurlitzer problem. Those states’ rural population has been marinating in rightwing propaganda for decades. You’ll never get those states back by pandering to their worst instincts.
The rightwing media establishment (aka the Wurlitzer) will prevent any attempt to re-establish sanity in American Politics. Allowing that media to go on its merry way for decades was a huge mistake. Allowing the Fairness Doctrine to lapse was a mistake. Allowing Fox News to be a mandatory part of every cable package was a mistake. Treating Fox as a news organization (having prominent Dems go on it, allowing it in the White House press operation during Dem presidencies) is a mistake. Allowing Project Veritas to assassinate Acorn was a mistake. Ever referring to any RW outlet as anything other than a river of lies and blatant propaganda is a mistake.
Right wing media are at war with Democrats, and have been for decades. Dems should do everything they can to disparage and degrade all of it. At every opportunity.
Well, I used to think gun control and equal rights for minorities were “progressive”, but thanks to Bernie I now realize that those things are “neoliberalism”.
I read Drum pretty frequently and I have to agree with Kindness @6, he’s almost like an old-fashioned Republican, the kind they don’t make any more.
I appreciate his love of data and graphs, but he doesn’t have the soaring imagination about how things could be different that animates us lefties.
I was feeling guilty about not attending the impeachment rally last night so I called a few of my Republican Senator’s offices this morning to ask that he live his oath of office, put country before party, follow the rules, and bring a fair and open mind to the hearing in the Senate.
Those interns are so perky, polite and impenetrable. True believers. I told them the reason I call is mainly to plant seeds in them, that I hope my explanations will help one of them re-evaluate their allegiances. But it’s hard today for me to be optimistic.
We’re a broad spectrum.
don’t appeal. You appeal if they’ve shown they can change their vote with your actions. They won’t.
After the market crashes the ones who might change their vote will be amenable, others will become politically active, the vast majority of these people will drop out (voting is a luxury like rooting for a favorite team). Then maybe think about policies benefiting them.
For example, if these people honestly believed it was a “witch hunt” they’d want people to testify and the Senate to call in everyone. They don’t which implies they believe he is guilty AF and are lying about what they want. Politically catering to a segment who lies about what they want is a recipe for disaster.
you have to cater to what they really want, and what they want is for immigrants, for people who worked hard in school when they didn’t, for people who left dead towns for better jobs, for women (if they are men), for the majority of America to suffer. That we cannot give them, but the Republicans can.
Having lived in South Dakota for the first 33 years of my life I can confidently say that the guy from SoCal writing for Mother Jones doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. I’ve long since moved away but every time I’ve returned it just gets more and more Fox News conservative. Struck me even after leaving for a couple years that my hometown just didn’t feel the same anymore. Mainlining Fox has turned that place into a wasteland. The overwhelming number of pro-Trump t-shirts in even tourist traps in Deadwood two summers ago really brought home (so to speak) how far gone the place is; they don’t even care about alienating out of state visitors and their sweet, sweet money.
they wanna cling to the Whiteness….above all else.
No edit button and no paragraph breaks. I am beginning to long for the day I had to type my Nym and email in constantly.
And their kids are moving to the cities, including those in the same states. My nephew just bought in the Bozeman exurbs. The zip is probably coded as the hay field that used to be there, but he’s not rural
Omaha, Des Moines … the ‘burbs of those are the parts that are growing population, and they live where the Buffalo Wild Wings roam.
What kind of effort can we do, without alienating our existing base?
The backlash against Black Lives Matter, in 2016, among whites was very intense, for example.
They just didn’t give a damn about police shooting people, and especially police shooting black people.
We are debating, whether or not the police should try harder not to shoot civilians. And this was a rage inducing to a lot of white of voters.
How do we appease these voters, while not alienating black voters, who are the core of the Democratic Party?
The problem we have is we aren’t debating the finer points of anything anymore.
We’re debating, whether or not a President can enrich himself, while in office, like Trump is doing or whether or not, we should allow asylum seekers, as stated under current law, to even be allowed in the USA.
I’m not sure how to convince someone, who is not convinced that (1) seeking asylum, in the USA is legal, (2) asylum seekers have protections under U.S. law, and (3) Trump’s treatment of asylum seekers on the southern border violates current law.
We’re not trying to convince people that Colgate toothpaste works better than Crest, we’re trying to convince people that brushing your teeth, with fluoride toothpaste, prevents cavities, versus not brushing.
Ruff the Dog
For me accepting a diversity of opinions (or at least tolerating them) is important, so that we’re not a mirror image of the tea party. Let people know that when they send a Democrat to Congress that person is still representing their interests.
I lived in Waco TX for a decade in the early 2000s and watched it go from blue (Dem mayor and very good Dem Congressman in Chet Edwards) to bright red as a result of Tom DeLay’s gerrymanders. I was there in 2008 when for the first time in living memory the Dem caucuses actually meant something and the Obama vs Clinton Democratic caucuses in my exurban rural area were packed and downright exciting.
What I discovered in 2008 was that even in bright red areas there are Dems and progressives everywhere. They are teachers and nurses and college students and lots and lots of ordinary folk with progressive ideals. The difference between a red and blue county is often 55/45 vs 45/55. There are more Democrats in Texas, for example, than all of New England.
What absolutely WILL NOT WORK is for young urban activist types to parachute into rural red areas to tell folk what they need to think. They will get about the same reception as some right wing Baptist preacher would get by going to a college campus and harranging students in the square about Jesus dying for their sins. Which they do all the time.
What needs to happen is for Dems to do the very hard work of building up local institutions, town councils, school boards, county commissions, etc. etc. One by one. Working on local issues. And then your local school board president runs for the state legislature, and so forth.
@Chyron HR: I think it’s as counterproductive to attribute a caricature of Bernie Sanders’ views to all progressives as it is to assume every Democratic moderate is cast in the mold of Joe Lieberman.
More House members would soften whatever structural issues were deliberately built into the Senate, when the Constitution was drafted.
More urban and suburban districts would force Republicans to find a way to appeal to those populations, or otherwise lose control of the House for a long, long, long time.
Here’s Robert Reich after the election practically gloating at Trump’s election and conflating working class, which Hillary won, with white working class.
Accurate depiction of today’s India
@Baud: If only the Uber lefties attacked their opponents with such vigor.
I don’t think that this is as terrifying as people think. If we look at 2018, Democrats made a lot of inroads in rural states. Part of that is the GOP shooting themselves in the foot–we can thank Sam Brownback for having a Democratic governor in KS–but it also shows that there are ways to move forward. I think the goals should be:
1) Don’t give up on the most-rural rural areas. Maybe we won’t win those districts, but statewide races can be turned by getting 30% of the vote instead of15-20%. And having more people being visible as Democrats makes others less afraid of Democrats, and allows more people to hear what Democrats are doing for them. It’s a good short-term and long-term strategy.
2) Keep doing the hard work of trying to build up and run in local institutions. Again, have visible Democrats, who are responsive to local concerns and part of the community. Run everywhere.
3) Fight for voting rights. This is essential, and should be part of who we are anyway.
4) Run up the score in the urban districts. That’s where the population center is, and it’s how Democrats won in Louisiana. It’s how we started winning statewide in Virginia, too. All the population centers were blue, and we did a lot of work to make sure they all got out to vote.
None of this is moderating, because if you have a primarily Republican area where people are only listening to Fox and to their neighbors who think Democrats are going to ban Christmas, it doesn’t matter what the Democrats actually say or do because no one will hear that. What we do need to do is make sure there are out and proud Democrats everywhere, talking directly to the community, to cut through the lies.
Who is Drum telling us to throw under the bus? The trans people? It’s the trans people, right?
I am not willing to let other people die just to pander to the spoiled brat rural white people who would not be fooled by pandering Democrats anyway.
We could bring back earmarks or some more transparent horse trading where compromises got money for back home. I think the ending of earmarks made the Senate and even the House more extreme. I was for ending earmarks. It always sounded corrupt in the news. Now I have seen the results and I think I was wrong. There is no reward for compromise now, so all that’s left is rabble rousing trying to out compete others for increasing competition. Nuts are rewarded, not sober logic. Long ago I thought term limits sounded good. Some places tried it, and now many can see it’s not so good.
I don’t hear anyone else bringing this up.
Sure, there were no Presidents before Bill Clinton. You’d think Robert Reich would be old enough(he is) to remember that we had 12 years of Reagan/Bush prior to Bill Clinton being elected.
@Ohio Mom: No paragraph breaks? What does that mean? You press return and you stay on the same line?
is this on your phone? What browser and device?
@acallidryas: I’m with you. Dems are making progress. It’s somewhat slow and methodical but it’s working. Don’t forget, in a special election Alabama elected a Democratic Senator. It can happen in a regular election in any number of states that are less red than AL.
The Moar You Know
Want rural/red state voters back? Restore earmarks and then make it party policy to use them lavishly. People don’t give a shit about the government spending money if it gets spent on them.
There are probably a host of factors that play into this, and Drum’s solution seems to be based on a very reductive understanding of states dominated rural voters. Rural population is generally declining, which would seem to eventually work against Republicans in statewide races. However, this gets muddled in places with voter suppression, e.g., places with heavily gerrymandered legislatures. So, while it might be worthwhile to target some rural areas (for example, rural areas with significant immigrant populations), you’re generally chasing a declining demographic.
It’s also a demographic that is more vulnerable to right wing propaganda because of its geographic isolation, so you’re kind of fighting with a cultural disadvantage. A lot of these places were primed for FOX because for years cable TV was about their only contact with the rest of the civilized world. It’s harder to propagandize people with ready access to brewpubs, Starbucks, etc., and restaurants other than a single shitty Hardees.
You could look at this problem as analogous to that the US faced in dealing with the old Eastern bloc in Europe. Guys like Steyer and Bloomberg would be more helpful investing in jobs in cities in Montana or Wyoming than running for president. It wouldn’t take all that much to overcome the rural votes in these places, since there aren’t that many to begin with.
This is an odd list:
There are still Democrats representing Montana and WV in the Senate. And Iowa could easily elect a Democrat, as could North Carolina in the near future.
One thing I’ve noticed is that kids liberalize their parents, at least if the parents are 30 to 50. Even here in Nebraska where I don’t expect a Democratic senator for a while, but there are a couple of house seats that will soon be in play. And even here, the rural areas are losing population as people move to cities within the state. That too will have an influence. Without having to pander to stereotyped white voters.
Why do people use the term “working class whites” then deny that racism is their motivating issue?
If you’re a white truck driver and yet you see your interests as diametrically opposed to those of your black co-worker, then by definition your issue is race.
In all these “Republicans are wining the blue collar vote” stuff no one ever bothers to talk to black women gathered in Ohio diners or Hispanic farmworkers in Carhartt jackets.
@Cathie from Canada:
I agree. That set us back a couple decades/
@HinTN: Kentucky electing a democratic governor, and also Louisiana, are notable divergences from expectations.
texas trending purple is a big deal.
@schrodingers_cat: many of the replies are horrendous.
@Baud: Reich was wrong to conflate the working class and white working class, but do you think his criticisms are completely off base? We don’t need to win over the MAGAs, but tens of millions of eligible voters don’t bother voting at all because they think both parties are captured by plutocratic interests in the way Reich describes. They think no one has their back. I don’t believe that, but lots of people do. Those are gettable voters. That’s who we have to reach.
@CliosFanBoy: Yes BJP employs armies of paid trolls to hound journalists, artists, politicians, activists etc who have large Twitter followings and who don’t toe the line.
@schrodingers_cat: This is weaponized propaganda. Democracy will have a hard time withstanding the onslaught.
The retirees are marinating in the alternate media whether it’s Fox News in the doctors office or tire shop. They hear Rush and Hannity on the way to where they are driving on the car radio.
The working farmer has right wing radio on in his harvester. There are billboard often hand made depicting anti-abortion messages. Their churches tend to be evangelical.
There is tremendous work to be done and I think it will have to be done face to face using shoe leather. Mainstream media is fake news to them now, there is no credibility to them in hearing what the NYT has to say.
Beto went into the counties and met people face to face and made as much progress as anyone has recently when he was running against the odious Cruz. We need people on the ground. At first it will be out of state folks but they have to find the blue voters and get them supported and up to speed on organizing.
A lot of the rural state I drive around in (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas) have more and more non-white folks living there doing the farm work or meatpacking work. Identify who are citizens and get them registered and then get them to the polls. Work the working class whites. We don’t need a majority of them, we just need to stop the decline of support and increase it a bit.
Why do you believe that? Why are the people who think both parties are the same any more gettable than any other group of people who don’t vote for us?
@WaterGirl: I think the paragraph thong is mainly user error. I’ll get the hang of the new site eventually. In much happier news, I am seeing my comment as I type it!!! I’m always on my old iPhone, hardly ever use the laptop for anything anymore.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: The more important thing was that, even in those 24 years, there were only 4 years with control of both Houses
of Congress. Change requires new laws. Obama changed the overtime rules by executive order – it got changed back by Trump.
@Yarrow: That’s why I think the protestors are so brave. Don’t forget that the Modi-Shah duo has successfully carried out a pogrom against Muslims in 2002.
ETA: I have reported 100s of accounts to Twitter got some banned but it feels like a drop in the bucket.
I live in a red state, have for most of my life (Oklahoma, if it matters…).
One thing I’d like to see broken down is the voting participation of rural, red states. I know here in OK we’re like 48th in voter participation. Yes, the Trumpers suck up all the oxygen, and they probably outnumber Dems in sheer numbers. But I also know there are Democrats here. They’re a little/lot more interested in owning guns than Dems are in most of the rest of the country. White Okies are typically more racist, homophobic, and nervous about immigration, Muslims, and whatever bugaboo Limbaugh and Fox has decided to hype up this week.
But there is NO Democratic Party here. And what is here, is a complete joke. I’m not super-interested in most of what the national party leadership decides is important; their plan to keep any more AOCs out of the running (support incumbents at all costs) is just maintaining the status quo, and there’s no quo to keep status of here.
I agree Howard Dean had the right idea; build up the party, in all 50 states. I guess that’s obvious that I’d say that.
In places like OK, we need to develop both branches of the Democratic Party. Devote money and time to the party infrastructure, appeal to the true blue Okies that vote for Warren, Bernie, and Obama, and at the same time find candidates that aren’t corporate shills; if people want to vote for a business type they’ll just vote for a Repub anyway. It’s tough, because no one w. any talent or ambition wants to devote their time/energy/savings/career to the losers that run the Democratic party in deep red states.
The hot takes about Bloomberg, Snyder et.al. really ring home to me. So much $ being spent on vanity campaigns, when dropper-fulls would go so far here, the plains states, the intermountain west. But of course, who do you give it to? Not the local party. Plus it’s a long term project, it’ll take several election cycles, and we’re just not any good at that. We need to do better.
But it is doable.
And as to Reich, no I don’t believe the “economic insecutity” election analysis he’s peddling.
hearing the articles of impeachment read aloud is unexpectedly powerful. The language is strong and confident.
MisterMix @ Top:
Yep, but I don’t see how we do it. We need some way to counteract against the propaganda onslaught from Fox News, right-wing radio, and Russian intelligence agencies.
Why do we even ask this question. It’s everyone who isn’t White and Straight.
Why this isn’t clear to everyone else sort of puzzles me. Cause, to me, it’s obvious.
The history of THIS country…nothing in its history would make me think otherwise.
If Drum doesn’t mean this….then, I’ll wait for him to expressly spell it out.
Given that the Republicans have constructed their brand explicitly on white identity politics, “compromise” would literally mean surrendering the equality and dignity of someone else.
I’m pretty unhappy with the billionaires running in the Democratic primary. They could spend even half the amount they’re spending on their own vanity campaigns and we could have a good shot of winning the Senate. They’re selfish, egotistical, vain and my take on them is they’re dedicated spoilers. I don’t know if they’re such narcissists that shame won’t work on them but if they’re not quite that bad then shaming them into supporting Democratic Senate efforts is what the response to their candidacies should be.
I think they’re worse than just neutral. They’ve shown they’re willing to throw around millions on politics. They just don’t want to spend it where it can actually do any good. As a result my conclusion is they care nothing for this country. They may actively be working against the US. Maybe billionaire spoilers is the 2020 version of Jill Stein.
@schrodingers_cat: Unfortunately it is a drop in the bucket. It’s going to take more than individuals reporting accounts for things to change. It’s essential that you and others keep doing so, though.
clap clap clap
@Baud: I do agree with Reich to a limited extent, but the decline in unions that he pointed out predates Bill Clinton or Obama. This really started in the late 70’s and early 80’s. As far as trade goes, he’s right about displaced workers, but both Bill Clinton and Obama had to work with Republican congresses in all but their first 2 years in office and Republicans aren’t going to be in favor of income maintenance for workers displaced by trade agreements.
(And I’m back to not seeing comment box when I try to respond to someone else.)
Yes to everyone who said bring back earmarks. I am convinced that one day I will read that the effort to remove them traces back to ALEC, or someplace similar (If I remember correctly, Boehner considers earmark removal a crowning accomplishment).
Ditto for term limits on the state and local levels. For one example, Cincinnati hasn’t been the same since term limits, the constant turnover has weakened Council and strengthened the local corporations. They’re reveling in reshaping the city for themselves, damn the average citizen.
It’s offensive to even suggest outreach to rural whites.
I am an active political blogger an approximately 30% of my posting repertoire is snarky comments about “old white guys” or “white guys”.
Dropping that rhetoric would put me out of business!!!
The Assassination of Howard Dean by the Coward Rahn Emmanuel
Throw women and reproductive rights under the bus. He is angling for easing up on the misogyny that is the base of fundamentalist xtian voters.
This could be fixed if our national leadership and a few moneyed Democrats *cough*Steyer*cough*Bloomberg sorta* would decide that it needed to be done.
he didn’t. just NO!
@Baud: I think we stand a better chance with voters who don’t feel represented by either party than with voters who hate Democrats, i.e., Republicans. It’s easier to inform than deprogram.
I question the assumption that if the white working class had not been facing an economic erosion for the last 40 years, they would be more participatory in elections and more inclined to vote Democratic. I also question the depressive value of plutocrats on their turnout for us. Maybe it’s all true, but I have seen precious little evidence to support it.
I do think the decline of unions as an organizing force has hurt Democrats. And I favor putting more resources into basic organizing, which does not require is to compromise our values.
It’s this kind of nonsense (along with his insistence that poor Al Franken got railroaded by Kristen Gillenbrand) that made me stop reading his blog.
To paraphrase Jamelle Boule (responding to Andrew Sullivan’s wankery after the UK elections): “I would like him to say which parts of the Democratic coalition should be sacrificed.”
@Betty Cracker: Yeah, and we should consider moving the “deprogramming clinic” away from the abortionplex.
I just wonder how many of the “both siders” aren’t programmed too, just in a different way.
From the viewpoint of a blue state (and two blocks over from where Kevin lives so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), it’s complete bullshit.
The coasts from what I see are reacting to a set of circumstances the pace of which we do not control. Yes, there’s the civil rights angle, but that’s almost impossible to negotiate. Once you see a transgender person as deserving of full rights of other humans, you can’t compromise off of that point. Just try and argue that white working class voters should have to use their own bathrooms and you’ll see how far that gets you. That’s why the 60s was so volatile.
But the coasts are generally reacting to global economics (which, as 4% of the world population, we have outsized, but minimal control over) and climate change (which, as 15% of global emissions, we’re overly responsible for). Sure, we can slow down on climate change, and more of us will die, more of our communities will burn, will flood – or the crop your family spent 4 generations growing you won’t be able to grow any longer. That’s not really an easy point to negotiate.
And we have some real warning signs on the economic front. I don’t think people have quite internalized this but China didn’t really take US jobs in the way people tend to think. China solved the problem of the global durable good. That’s a new concept, just in the last maybe 15 years. Sure, Ford sold cars all over the world, but they were different cars in each market, made locally. There wasn’t one Ford, there was a dozen. Fords assembled in Ohio didn’t go to France, because the Fords in France didn’t really even look like the ones from Ohio. They were different models with different configurations, etc. so French or German Ford workers couldn’t offset what Ohio was making. Some of this was market segmentation – tailoring the car to the market, but some of it was just supply chain management. Auto supply chains are wickedly complex, and doing that globally was just fucking impossible. China solved that. They solved it by having 5x more workers than anywhere else on earth. They solved it by taking a city of 30,000 people and in 30 years growing it to a city of 20 million people that are dedicated to one industry. China took the populations of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, packed them into Detroit, and said ‘this is our car building city’ and moved jobs from North Carolina and Ohio and everywhere else in the US into that city – built ports and airports to ship goods out (generally fully automated, I might add) and all the other infrastructure needed – high speed rail, housing, etc. Effectively all consumer electronics on earth come from that place. Even 15 years ago, cell phones were segmented as cars were – different models in different reasons for among other reasons, supply chain purposes. But today a PS4 sold in the US and one sold in Singapore are identical other than language localization. They came out of the same factory, because they could be made at that scale. Transportation is now an easier problem to solve than juggling multiple supply chains. The iPhone is the highest volume durable good ever made – by a factor of 10. They are identical world wide. That’s a brand new phenomena, and one the US has not come to terms with.
I’m not arguing that the US needs to do exactly what China did, but the US at least needs to understand and respect what China did. We have similar industrial centers, but they’re a bit different. We have as similar a lock on software as China has on certain manufacturing sectors, but that’s largely accidental, and I’m not sure the US can be competitive if we are relying on serendipity to get us there.
I appreciate that midwest senators and midwest voters want to protect a given job sector, but you have to be clear eyed on whether it can be protected. Coal was lost 15 years ago. Anyone not underground at the time could see that, yet that fight is still being fought. We can’t look at protecting soybeans while ignoring the existence of Brazil, and once you acknowledge Brazil, how you protect those farmers changes. Denying a global economy doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it run you over even more. Denying climate change doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it harder and more expensive to solve later.
We’re unwilling to negotiate for a slower pace, because we’ve been doing that for 30 years. This is the slower pace, and it’s still not slow enough for some people. It never will be.
Some Democrats have. They tend to get defeated, because of two problems:
1. The people that the Democrats are trying to address seldom even hear the intended message, because they are either very low-information voters, or are trapped in the right-wing epistomological bubble
2. If you give people a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat trying to act like a Republican, they mostly choose the real Republican
Go slap him!
Its funny how these concerned articles explain that Democrats are doing it wrong, rather than the white working class is voting against their best interests and should reconsider.
They also tend to ignore gerrymandering, which was put in place by people who needed to win at any cost.
These are people fueled by those that hate Democracy because rather than admit they are part of a dying demographic, they’d rather pretend the ‘game is rigged’, which it is, but its rigged for them, which they also conveniently ignore.
Major Major Major Major
I’m so old I remember when Tim Kaine’s “I am pro-choice and vigorously support abortion rights even though as a Catholic I find it morally troubling” opinion made him UNACCEPTABLE!! as a VP to much of the activist left.
Are purple/red state Dems not even allowed to say things like that? Does it count as an underbus now even though it’s a widespread belief? Isn’t it Biden’s stance?
Okay Drum, give me a hundred “Assumes facts not in evidence” on the chalkboard and report to me when you’re finished.
Students chant Jai Bhim (Bhim == Bhimrao Ambedkar, Chair of the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution. He was a Dalit, went on to get two PhDs one from Columbia and one from LSE.
Chants of Azadi (freedom) at Jamia Milia in Delhi, where police brutalized protesting students over the weekend.
Hmm. I’m seeing remarkably little support in the OP or in the comments for Drum’s advice that the Dems should stop being so damned liberal.
Drum’s an older white man living in Orange County. Sometimes that blinkers his vision.
Also, he’s always been a squish, very reluctant to say things in blunt terms except in the rare posts he composes while genuinely angry. The angry Kevin is the best Kevin, but as he’s aged, we see that side of him less and less frequently. Back in the calpundit days, when the object of scorn was W/Cheney, he was less circumspect.
@Baud: Unions became really resistant to change in the late 60’s with pressure from an influx of workers caused by both the Boomers* entering the workforce. Civil rights laws and more women entering the workforce also had an effect as well. In some respects, in the late 60’s and early 70’s they were a reactionary force and pretty corrupt as well. It really hurt their image and they did things like the Teamsters endorsing Nixon for re-election.
*It’s all the Boomers fault. //
South Dakota was even more hostile to Democrats before McGovern, one of the true heroes of the 20th century, pretty much built the party from scratch in the 1950s. Check out the voting maps on wikipedia—it was one of the few places even FDR couldn’t win.
It can definitely be done. Kentucky just elected Beshear and it wasn’t simply animosity to Bevin; all the other statewide candidates were invisible except through the Beshear campaign’s legwork.
I do think Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and maybe even Alabama are more hopeful targets because of cities and suburbs.
Despite 2018, I don’t think national Democrats have really contemplated what it means to go after previously-red suburbs instead of white rural voters. Economic populism certainly won’t do the trick, and socialism is toxic for people heavily invested in the myth of meritocracy. But there’s no need to pander on guns or immigration; locking kids in cages at the border is part of why the suburbs are disgusted with Trump. I also think we need to run hard against Trump’s sexual assault history and the horrible example that he sets for children.
@Matt McIrvin: Those would be the fewest votes… (/snark off)
@?BillinGlendaleCA: The other problem is that US unions are largely fragmenting, rather than unifying. I appreciate that auto workers want to negotiate from their narrow viewpoint, but if the autoworkers went on strike because the food service workers were underpaid, the power of unions would be vastly stronger.
Because the unions are all carved up into their own little cohorts, they have no collective power. There’s a general solidarity between union members, but nothing was shut down to help Loyolas food service workers, other than possibly Loyolas food service operations, which isn’t really that impactful when I believe their final exams were last week so there’s literally nobody around other than the DNC to see that picket line.
Two ways you could help do this TODAY, from the comfort of your keyboard/credit card:
@Baud: Because we actually give a shit, and will work toward their needs, and they will see that, given that they show any real interest, which it would take, to get them to vote….
@kindness: I agree with you. I live in Ohio, which has become pretty red, but we still keep electing Sherrod Brown. He is a proudly old–fashioned liberal. No Republican Lite about him.
I don’t know. There are folks who insist that these people can never be reached and should be ignored, because we’ve got the numbers. But we don’t, not in some red and gerrymandered districts, and there is of course real attempts to suppress Democratic votes.
But the divisions may not be as intractable as some, especially conservatives, want to suggest. Most people want reasonable gun control and support background checks. There may be other areas where supposed differences are exaggerated.
One thing I see is that the right wing keeps pushing points that emphasize supposed differences. Even in the recent UK general election, I would see right wing UK media insist that Labour was concentrating on leftist elites in London and ignoring the concerns of real working class people. Sound familiar? And yet real working class people interviewed often said that they preferred Labour policies, but did not trust the Labour leaders. Again, sound familiar?
There are GOP supporters who believe the lies, but there may be people who can be reached if they see that Trump is not delivering what he promised, and is in fact, hurting them and their families. This does not require pandering or surrendering any principles.
This just in:
@RoonieRoo: Yes x 1000000000
The Pale Scot
@Cathie from Canada:
Oh Yea, the Bernie-Bros at Naked Capitalism who call Obama a raving neoliberal had a good point about this . I was WTF when I heard. Having to defend far flung areas makes the Thugs lose focus
That all is worth thinking about. Nice comment.
@jheartney: I agree with you 100%.
@joel hanes: Yeah, Drum isn’t Lefty McLeftish on most things.
But his We Need to Start a War on Climate Change NOW NOW NOW piece yesterday was excellent.
Unfortunately we’ve tried that. Repeatedly. They would still rather hear the easy lie that Trump will save their factory than the difficult truth that the factory is doomed but with retraining or relocating they can find better work.
The people that heard the Democratic message up and moved to NY or California, which is why Clinton won by 3 million votes. The people that refused to hear the message stayed put and delivered electoral votes.
We haven’t had a generational political split this severe since the 60s, between the boomers and their parents. There’s no avoiding going through the painful process where the boomers are now on the other side of the equation. These changes aren’t being driven by the DNC, they’re being driven by millennials finding their political voice, just as the boomers found theirs 40 years ago. There’s no going back, we have to go through.
@Martin: Union fragmentation is more of a recent phenomenon, they were much more united pre-1980. You’d have sympathy strikes and no union member would cross a picket line.
@Another Scott: This is what I would mention to him if I ran into him. The war on climate change is the war on red states. If you want to make progress on climate change, you’re going to plow under a lot of red state voters in the process.
@Ohio Mom: Drum does have the advantage of living smack in the middle of the region—Orange County—where Democrats made the most sweeping and shocking gains compared to 2016. We won over a bunch of obnoxious and selfish suburbanites who had voted solidly red until Trump made them recoil, flipping the whole county blue. It wasn’t just an influx of new voters who came to Jesus on policy. Now that the stone-cold racists are lost forever, we are stuck with suburban whites as coalition partners if we want a national majority. And that means pandering to their fear of socialism.
@Martin: You’re not wrong about the lack of coordination, but Taft-Hartley made sympathy strikes illegal.
I’m watching the impeachment hearing, and had to listen again to a Republican mention the “63 million” who voted for Trump- it would have been nice to have a Democrat follow up that 66 million voted for the Democratic candidate, and 75 million voted for someone other than Trump.
I wish there were somebody live-blogging the impeachment debate. I can’t watch it, but it would be nice to have some commentary. Aaron Rupar and Kyle Griffin have chosen this moment to go offline, and I guess BJ has too.
@Major Major Major Major: My recollection was that it was Biden’s statement back in 2008, made on Ash Wednesday IIRC so his Catholicism was unmistakable. Kaine just repeated the attitude (probably a bit more succinctly and elegantly, though less folksy)
This is literally the only part of what Reich says that is complete, absolute bullshit. (and you can simply leave out ‘white’, he has no business specifying it). And, the problem is that Trump LIED loudly and often about how he wanted to fortify America etc, which was not true.
Everything else Reich said there holds up. I’ve seen it myself. What he said doesn’t hold for the newest cadre of Democrats, though.
@Martin: You’d have to elaborate quite a bit before I signed on to that view.
If one is going to be spending the kinds of dollar figures on crash research programs that Drum advocates – starting at $700B/year – , then every state is going to be involved.
And depending on the metric, Blue states can look like a huge part of the Climate Change problem, also too.
So I tuned in and of course it’s some cracker-ass idiot braying about how “Speaker Pelosi doesn’t trust our citizens to decide who should lead our great country!”
I’d like to see Balloon-Juice highlight and fundraise for some local Democratic candidates on a regular basis. Maybe every two weeks now and once a week once things really get going. Take nominations in a post, set up an Act Blue thermometer for a low goal like $400 or something and get them a little Balloon-Juice cash. At the very local level a small amount of money makes a big difference.
We spend a lot of time on presidential candidates here but rather than the umpteenth post on Warren or Buttigeig, how about one post a week on a deserving local Democratic candidate in a red state or red area of a purple state who can start making a difference in their community and build our bench.
@Major Major Major Major:
I remember people saying that, but not many if any elected officials, and certainly not any elected officials from marginal districts.
If the requirement to win rural areas is that every last left-of-center person everywhere stops saying mean things (while right wingers can continue to threaten to kill us, natch), then I suspect that this isn’t a viable plan.
@zhena gogolia: A lot of strident screeching from the ‘gentlemen’ on the Republican side of the aisle- I’m starting to suspect many of them are waiting for a second testicle to descend.
@The Pale Scot: The thing about Dean and the Fifty State Strategy is that the people who revere it are usually the same ones who get frothingly mad at the Blue Dog Democrats who were elected as part of that strategy.
That is a good piece, and seems on point throughout.
Australians are calling out their PM on lack of climate action, as they endure 1. deep drought 2. truly vast, uncontrolled wildfires (“bushfires”) and 3. the hottest day in history. He waves them off with scant acknowledgement. Gosh, I wonder why?
When developed nations end their coal and other fossil fuel exports the developing world will necessarily do the right thing. It won’t happen without this kind of action, and is part of the reason it’s important to fight new coal and LNG port facilities.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Dude, I hate to bring it up, but 1980 was closer in time to the great depression than it was to today, so ‘recent’ doesn’t really apply. The AFL-CIO merger was only 25 years earlier. The unions fell victim to their own corruption as you noted.
James E Powell
Agreed. But consider the challenges in drafting the counterargument. Which solid Democratic constituencies will have to be disparaged or demonized in order to attract the people who not only hear this propaganda, but take great delight in repeating it.
It might take decades to get the message through, but I’d like to see somebody tell them straight out that their bigotry is wrong. It seems that every cycle the Democrats have to invent another set of euphemisms to avoid hurting the feelings of some of the most evil people in the country.
@zhena gogolia: wonkette.com
Evan Hurst at Wonkette is live-blogging it.
I think that’s true, and one major component of the generational split is — tada! — economic anxiety. Millennials and Gen Z have it, for real, not as an excuse to vote for a racist.
@Cacti: Agreed with your point, and I wonder why so much official page space is given to pundits and not more given to say, Rep. Davids and others who JUST WON in very red states.
Ah, Kevin Drum. The guy who will never understand the argument made here in this posting so clearly and so well that you’d have to be deliberately obtuse not to understand it.
This amounts to about five hours until a vote. And Republicans will certainly find ways to stretch it out.
I like that idea, Yarrow.
I did find a more interesting read here on the topic than mister Drum:
I’m watching CSpan and may have to stop. What I’m learning is that Doug Collins and Gym Jordan look like Montesquieu compared to these backbenchers.
Worse?!? You just frightened me deeply. Hope you’re happy with yourself. :-P
Prescriptions like Drum’s fail to recognize that Democrats are already making those compromises. That’s why Biden leads the field. Too often these suggestions are made in the face of arguments from activists and they are basically useless there. Activists are going to advocate for their policies. You weigh their concerns along with everyone else’s. Let the people decide.
Things can change:
It’s particularly striking that “very unfavorable” at 45.1% is a lot more than “very favorable” at 24.5%.
Some yahoo from Louisiana got up with a big red map. We’re scared of all that red dirt out there.
@Betty Cracker: I think Reich is mostly wrong because conflating working class with white working class is such a fundamental error that he fails to describe the problem. Among other things, this error has the effect of conflating “work” with a certain kind of work and thus evaluates what is “wrong” with Democratic presidents only in light of the kind of work that is apparently deserving of Robert Reich’s consideration, and the workers who do that kind of work. Tom Edsall does the same damn thing time after time.
Going forward, I don’t see how Democrats can rely on the old electoral strategy (coasts + midwest) and still win. It seems like the best path forward is through GA and NC on the east coast and TX and AZ in the southwest. I don’t think we’ll win Georgia in 2020. There are too many electoral challenges with Kemp as Governor. AZ seems like the most likely pick up. Texas would have been in play with Beto on the ticket but that ship has also sailed. The Electoral College really does allow a tyranny of the minority.
Hakeem Jeffries was brilliant.
Karen Bass hasn’t gotten the memo on “the” Ukraine.
And yet we all saw Republicans running from angry voters, ducking Town Hall meetings, hiding in their offices when confronted about their lies regarding health care. The truth broke through, because people could easily see that the GOP had failed to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better.
The lies about the economy are a little harder to deal with in part because Democrats are still damned clumsy in presenting information clearly (although Warren is better than most, and even Sanders knows how to keep banging a simple message.
Trump has an advantage when he lies about jobs: “I will bring back and protect your jobs.” This is easy for people to understand.
But this is not reassuring: “We are going to invest in infrastructure and a new green economy. This will not bring back your old job, or your old wages, and you might have to get retraining and even relocate. And in the end, you might only be making minimum wage, but at least it will be $15 an hour. Maybe. And how will you support yourself and your family in the meantime? We don’t know. Good luck with that.”
This may be more realistic, but it is not hopeful or inspiring.
I don’t know about NY, but California has had net out-migration for the past several years, and follow-up studies suggest that more conservative people are moving from CA to Nevada, Arizona, Texas and other states.
I don’t care that we might be losing more conservative people, but there is also a growing income chasm, and rising costs of living are creating a barrier to younger people with families. Pasadena is closing 3 schools because of declining enrollment. And of course, there are cities which are becoming unlivable for people with moderate income, and is one of the factors in the increasing number of homeless.
There are plenty of young conservatives. The larger divide is one of education and to some degree, income, gender and social class. White people without a college degree are more likely to be Trump supporters, and I think this holds for most age groups.
Peter King, “no crime has been charged, let alone a high crime!”
@Another Scott: One thing I REALLY take issue to with all of the Democrats on their climate plans is that they seem to believe that urgency is correlated by how many billions you’re willing to spend on it.
California has made the greatest strides on climate change by spending, effectively, no money. We’ve done it through regulation, mostly by attaching financial costs to normal externalities. This provides signals to all parties as to where best to direct their dollars. The net result is this seeming contradiction – CA has the 3rd highest electricity rates, but the 4th lowest electricity bills. The signal here is ‘put your money into LEDs and a more efficient refrigerator rather than on having your utility burn more coal’.
Does that count as spending? All I’m doing is redirecting money, not adding money. Yes, I put $10K into solar panels, but my monthly bill last year was $3. My system will pay off in 6 years. Even if I had taken out a HELOC it would have been worth it because once the loan was paid off, I’d still have $3 bills. This is why SolarCity works as a business.
Californians aren’t throwing away perfectly good cars to buy EVs, they’re choosing EVs at their next buying decision. They can buy a Charger or a Bolt, and they’re choosing a Bolt. The state has set up a ton of regulatory incentives to get to that point – automakers need to sell a certain percentage of ZEVs in the state. We fully account for the cost of fuels, including emission costs, which is why gas is still over $4 here, etc.
There’s really no new dollars going into solving the problem, just dollars shifting from one place to another. The country could announce a similar policy – a certain percentage of ZEVs each year until 2030 when it’s 100%. That costs nothing. All of the costs are incurred by the automakers, to adapt their production, and consumers to make different choices.
Even on power we don’t necessarily need to make major R&D investments. There’s a pilot natural gas plant in Texas that has zero emissions. It sequesters CO2 as part of its normal operation and its cost comparable to traditional plants. Production plants are currently being built in CA and a few other places. The feds can offer financial incentives similar to how CA does. In CA we have programs for industry to upgrade to more efficient equipment. The state works with the company and the utility to calculate what they’re currently paying. The state gives the company the money to replace equipment. The company keeps paying the same monthly amount (which they had already priced in) and the utility takes their now lower amount due to the efficiency and the difference (the savings from the efficiency gains) goes to the state to pay off the loan. As such, every business has a different loan duration. Once the loan is paid off, the business just pays their normal rate.
In all, there’s very little taxpayer cost. There’s very little economic cost. But there’s a large shift in where the dollars go.
@Martin: I take it you haven’t read Drum’s piece yet. It’s worth the time.
tl;dr – The US is too small a piece of global CO2 emissions to have an impact on its own. For all of the good California is doing, it’s in the noise. Except by driving the technology to make power substantially cheaper than fossil fuels so that China, India, and the rest of the developing world choose it instead of burning stuff. That’s why we need a major R&D effort now.
I mentioned in an earlier post that Reich has regularly posted some short, effective YouTube videos on economic and political topics.
He also seems to like Sanders big time. He recently posted a video suggesting that the ideal presidential candidate would be “Warren Sanders.”
I was under the impression the US is #2 in GHG emissions behind China. Is that no longer the case?
@gvg: I agree with you on earmarks, looked bad at the time, getting rid of them is worse. Same as with term limits.
@Ohio Mom: Ah, so you’re on the laptop now?
California may be doing well on electric vehicle sales, but it’s still a tiny aspect of the market.
I agree with your larger point that it is not just about spending money, but making smart energy decisions.
As far as North Carolina being one of the states projected to “ultimately flip”, that reminds me of one of the running gags on the show “Men in Blazers” (a program hosted by two Brit ex-pats offering humorous soccer commentary) is: “Soccer – the sport of the future in the US since 1976”. – North Carolina has for three decades been closely divided within a small single digits of a moderate-progressive coalition becoming ascendant over reactionary conservatives, yet we never seem to reach the crossover point. Despite the Ds intermittently winning a governorship or senate seat here and there, and even Obama winning the state narrowly in 2008, the Rs seem to sustain an average advantage of apx two or three points, enough to persistently win the big races more often than not.
Since you’re in the hood, I’ll note that in this long and busy thread, my post jets me to the top and I have to refresh and navigate down to see it.
The fresh and still small post upstairs worked correctly–instantly posting my comment and leaving me at the end.
My SWAG is size and/or traffic are impeding correct function.
@trollhattan: That’s my guess as well. Busy/long threads mean a problem with comments posting correctly.
I’ll also note that for me the comment box is only showing the Text option (no tabs) and the up/down arrows at the very top only take me part way up or down. I have to click them several times to get to the top or bottom of the thread.
@Barbara: Fair point on Reich’s misdiagnosis. Kay had a brilliant suggestion to counter the continuous and stupid (IMO) focus on “working class” as a stand-in for blue color white men: talk about nurses, home health aides, retail clerks, etc. — workers who are often women and women of color.
But while Reich isn’t telling the whole story to the extent that he blames Trump’s election solely on the “economic anxiety” of a specific subset of white men, I think he’s right that economic anxiety and disaffection and distrust are real things and that Democrats have to find an effective way to talk about that.
It’ll be easier in 2020 than 2016. The party that’s out of power can throw more rocks.
@Another Scott: is like to defund the Red taker states to be honest. I mean fair is fair
@trollhattan: The US is #2 behind China.
But the US and the EU’s emissions are flat or falling, while China’s, India’s, and the rest of the world (in particular) are rapidly rising.
Growth in the developing world (as a whole) is going to continue to swamp the US’s emissions going forward. But, of course, we have a long, long history of being #1 in fossil CO2 emissions, so we have a big responsibility in helping to solve the problem.
To be clear, I’m all for what California has been able to do. But even if California went from 359 M metric tons of fossil CO2 per year to 0, it is a drop in the bucket. We need to do much, much more (as a planet).
@Another Scott: But he’s wrong. The US is a small place, but we’re still the 2nd largest emitter, and by a mile the largest emitter per capita for any developed nation.
The technology is largely in place. The problem is that the economics are out of whack. That’s the part that needs to change. If the US can implement that, given that we have the most overhead to use to do that implementation, then the economics will come in line.
His assumptions are just wrong.
China is farther ahead on transportation emission than the US is. The US has proudly deployed 300 electric buses. China has deployed 400,000. They put 300 on the road every day. The 300 on the road in the US were bought from China. They’ve electrified their rail system, and deployed it at such scale that it’s a serious offset to car and air travel. The US has less high speed rail than Africa does. China is the largest EV market on earth, growing at twice the pace of the US EV market, and that’s with Chinese made EVs.
High speed rail is not a technological problem. It’s not really even an economic one since it’s unquestionably cheaper on any per utility metric. It’s a political problem. EVs are a political problem. Clean energy is a political problem.
China is caught between the dirty US energy path and a clean one. They get it half wrong, and half right. India is lining up to be more right than wrong – they’re basically going straight to renewables/nuclear right now, as are most other developed nations. We don’t need R&D to address global shipping, we know how to do that. We lack the regulation to force it to happen.
We’re not even making the most basic, primitive steps to solving this here in the US. The free ones. The ones that would cause us to stop exporting emissions and start exporting clean solutions. The research will happen organically if only we realign the incentives and get the politics in line.
@Brachiator: FWIW, we had a goal of 10% of new cars sales being ZEVs by 2020 and we hit that goal this year. There’s no technological reason that can’t be higher. There’s no technological reason the rest of the nation can’t match CA.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
It’s like John Cole and Kentucky, at some point those voters are going to get so screwed by the Republicans that they will get their head out of their south ends and start voting Blue because that’s the only other option to more clown car grifter politics. The change has to come out of their mouth.
@Betty Cracker: I spent Thanksgiving with my MAGA neighbors. They’re all white, blue collar, 50ish and 60ish types involved directly or indirectly in the home building trade. All are doing well financially. Some were always rabid Republicans, others were sympathetic to the GOP in the past but not unhinged. Trump has radicalized all of them. They don’t think the govt is corrupt. They think Democrats are corrupt. They don’t think the system is rigged by Republicans giving favors to the donor class. They think Democrats rig everything to put ‘hard-working folks’ like themselves down and to raise the fortunes of minorities. They are deeply resentful that no one but Saint Ronnie and now Trump appreciated that they in their mind power the economy.I don’t know how you reach my neighbors politically but Reich’s analysis strikes me as naive.
I believe the things that killed the small state Democrats was the ending of “pork” funding. With nothing tangible to offer the electorate, the only thing left are social issues that many rural whites don’t think Democrats will deliver on.
Also, Mistermix, you missed James Abourezk from Democratic Congress people in the Dakotas. From 1972-1978 South Dakota probably had the most liberal Senate Delegation with McGovern and Abourezk
@Another Scott: But CA will not go to 0 alone. The mechanisms that allow CA to go to 0 will infect other places as well. One thing that CA companies are starting to discover is that it’s pretty great to shift electricity from a marginal to a capital cost. And these moves have knock-on effects on the whole industry – such as influence on EV ownership. Most EV owners have their own solar. Once you come to terms with the economics of one, you get the other pretty much at the same time. And CA serves as a blueprint for other places. Our EV adoption is driving the costs of EVs down, to where it’ll be easier for other states to pick up.
The reason we locally adopted electric buses is that China drove those costs down to where it was economically sensible for us to jump on.
The thing that bothered me about Drums article was that it kind of assumed that the US was the technological leader. We aren’t. We’re not even close. Germany on wind, China on solar and EVs, multiple nations on rail. We lag in almost every category, so much so that we’re massively overspending on fossil fuel solutions relative to clean alternatives. We’d be economically better off if we could shift our thinking, and Drum kind of glances right past that.
So in other words: Democrats need to do what they are already doing. Thanks Drum, great suggestion.
I read Kevin too, and also appreciate his love of data and graphs. But I disagree, somewhat, with the lack of soaring imagination part of your statement. Kevin works from original data and reports than any generalist political blogger I know. So, his conclusions are arrived at more independently than most other bloggers — as opposed to reacting to other news items or other bloggers. He tends to make more of what I think of as mistakes (like today), but he also arrives at original conclusions as often or more often than anyone I read. So, it means he is wrong more often, but it also means I have read things there that are unique and often very smart, and read for there for the first time.
Evan Hurst at Wonkette is doing a snarky paraphrase.
He has live-snarked every hearing for weeks now.
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: I’ve given up on them changing politically. The south never came around on slavery. We had to crush them economically for that change to take place, and that dynamic has not changed – we’re still doing that to the south. After 150 years, they haven’t come around.
I don’t think you can convince those Kentucky voters. But we can put the coal companies out of business without the voters or workers consent. That’s the only way it’s going to happen.
The old Ford quote comes to mind:
They aren’t going to change. We move ahead regardless.
@The Moar You Know:
@patrick II: I agree. If we want novel ideas, then you’re going to get the full spectrum. We shouldn’t knock down wrong takes made in good faith. Drum consistently acts in good faith. Sometimes he’s wrong. Sometimes he’s alone in being right. I hope he doesn’t change his approach.
@Martin: I’m not as sanguine as you about China’s and India’s progress in cutting emissions.
The story mentions that the number 1 selling EV in October registered all of 7623 units.
EVs still aren’t cheap enough and require subsidies for substantial sales. The technology still needs to be much cheaper to drive people to buy them in F150-type numbers (1M+ a year).
And China and India are still very poor countries outside of the cities, with hundreds of millions of people, and those areas burn a lot of coal, etc.
On balance, I think Drum makes a surprisingly good case that we need to spend much, much more to drive down the costs and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels everywhere.
With respect to Kevin Drum….please be aware that in his version of a Democratic utopia there is tons of funding for airports and highways. Kevin HATES (with a passion) any funding for passenger rail transport. If you try to tell him why you do support it you are immediately a feeble idiot in his eyes.
It’s an Orange County thing. I voted for the bullet trains here in CA even though they won’t go by where I live. Kevin can’t support trains no matter what.
I think you’ll find it goes from the Jarvis-Gann tax revolt through Reagan and then through Grover Norquist
@kindness: Yeah, I can see Kevin rubbing his hands in glee every time he posts one of his doom and gloom stories about California’s bullet train being more expensive than planned.
As if (almost) every single major infrastructure project in the US hasn’t been more expensive than planned, but (almost) always ultimately been worth it.
@tobie: I wouldn’t waste one hot second on MAGA outreach. My point is that economic anxiety, anger about corruption and suspicion that the economy is rigged in favor of fat cats is real, and I suspect it depresses more votes than it turns out for a demagogue like Trump. That’s the problem, and those are the people we have to pull off the sideline to vote for Democrats.
Mike in DC
I kinda feel like when pundits and politicians of both parties refer to the “white working class”, they’re using it as a euphemism for “illiterate bigots”. Not that all the WWC voters are, but a lot of the suggestions re wooing their support seem to have that as an underlying assumption. “Don’t support Black Lives Matter or open borders, that will alienate them. Etc.”
Agreed, esp. re: MAGAt outreach; among “gettable” disillusioned MAGAts, yer gonna get who yer gonna get by just following your principles — somes come round, somes don’t. But if you wanna depress turnout, one sure-fire way to do it is to try’n do back-bends to put more aggrieved white-male worms in yer bucket at the expense of yer, you know, dedicated fucking base.
It ain’t, or shouldn’t be, the Dems prob to deprogram the brainwashed. Too heavy a lift. More fruitful ground to register voters n engage them’s that ain’t been appealed to with messages that hit. Guaranteed minimum wage. Health care. Legal weed.
Maximize turnout. That, to me, is the winning Dem strategy, irrespective of candidate outcome.
The aggrieved white economically-insecure (among other probs!) male is the Dem unicorn. Not to put too fine a point onnit, but:
Fuck his feelings.
Thanks for your excellent evaluation. I would suggest another major driver of the change you describe is the evangelical movement. A recent book by Anne Nelson (Shadow Network) lays out the historical details of the evolution of that movement into the political powerhouse it is today. As rural newspapers and radio stations folded, mammoth evangelical organizations swept in to become the replacement source of information in these rural areas. They were/are not unbiased. When seen from that perspective the modern Republican party makes much more sense.
The great depression was in the 1940s?
@Another Scott: I’ll note that EVs are 40% of sales in Norway, so clearly there are solutions. EV build costs and ICE build costs are now at parity. The only issue is scale.
I’ll also note that the solutions aren’t going to be 1:1. The winning solution to gas cars may not be electric cars. It may be electric bikes, which are selling an order of magnitude more than cars. They are fantastically cheaper than cars, not just on acquisition, but also ownership (insurance, parking, etc.) These are not binary either/or options, but form a spectrum of options.
Mike in DC
Technically the GD lasted until the US entered WW2. Even with the New Deal unemployment rates remained high until the 40s.
@Aziz, light!: It basically ran right up to the war.
I’ll leave the same remark I left on LGM … It will take money and hard work that national Democrats are unwilling to invest in rural districts. The northern plains and Rocky Mt. states were blue when urban states were sending Santorum and other frothy substances to the Senate. The may not have been the best progressives but they were a lot better than the Trump lickspittles we get these days. Those states need resources to support local organizing and media to respond to all the right wing foolishness that is drowning out debate these days, and on a consistent basis, not just a few months before the general election every two years. It would be cheap too, with rural media markets starving for content and advertising. Maybe a million a year in each of eight states could net 10 or 12 Senators in ten years.
J R in WV
Evangelical Protestants were largely apolitical, and were not engaged in opposing abortion, until 1979, when Jerry Falwell sold the soul of the evangelical movement to the Republican Party in exchange for political power, through
agent of SatanRepublican bagman and political operative Paul Weyrich, when those two founded the “Moral Majority”
An early ’70s doctrinal statement by the Southern Baptists recognizes the need for and the legality of early abortion.
But Falwell and Weyrich needed an emotionally-potent cultural wedge issue to frighten and enrage the sheep so that they could be herded, and they chose opposition to abortion as their tool.
@gene108: Well put. Related to your point about the basic benefits of toothpaste, one of the things that’s frustrated me about this most ridiculous of eras is how far we seem to have regressed in the most basic communal understandings. Like our basic, fundamental moral precepts have to be re-established because of collective brain rot. There is no shared sense of right and wrong, or of what this nation’s identity is, anymore.
So, instead of cogently explaining what exactly Drumpf did in his perfect call with Ukraine for those who won’t pay attention and then getting “Wow, that’s crazy and appalling!” you get blank looks and shoulder shrugs. We’re being forced to struggle to explain why it’s a bad thing in the first place. Lying = bad, stealing = bad, becoming a laughingstock on the world stage = not a good thing for a nation, separating adults seeking asylum from their children = immoral, WHY THE FUCK DO WE HAVE TO EXPLAIN THIS SHIT IN 2019?
J R in WV
Quoted for truth… Them AND the rarely voting Red MAGAots.
@Cathie from Canada:
I agree about The dumping of Howard Dean. That creep, Rahm Emmanuel, hated Dean and he had Obama’s ear. Howard can be a pain in the butt but a brilliant and hard working fields strategist.
I like what was said about Texas and I agree. There are strong Democratic counties emerging around Houston due to the hard work in the field and GOTV.
Tom Perez is a tactician and an almost total failure.
How do we get them to want what we’re offering?
How do we get them to want what we’re offering?
@gene108: Talk constantly about what we can do for them, without talking about anything else unless it comes up.
The thing about “economic anxiety” is that I think the conventional pundit line is not “People voted for Trump due to economic anxiety”, but “The Democrats can get enough of those voters back to make the difference by addressing economic anxiety”.
i took a look at population by state. 17% of the USA population elects 52 US senators. Some of the big states need to be broken up IMHO and turned into multiple states to make the Senate more representative.