Something #Basta This Way Comes


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Question is, was he planning to run and then found Stormy Daniels, or the opposite?

    His policy positions are pretty boilerplate. Definitely not an agenda I am likely to support, but also nothing too outrageous. Very much looking forward to seeing who declares in 2019. (BTW – Joe Biden restarted his Instagram account last week and seems to be gearing up. He would be a couple weeks shy of 78 on election night 2020).Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I’d go further and say that his positions don’t fulfill his stated objective:

      I think the reason why a lot of these voters that make up (Trump’s) base are not abandoning him is because we don’t have a reasonable alternative.

      He’s so bog-standard NE NYC Liberal Dem that there’s not an ounce of Leftist-Populism or Rightist-Populism in any of his stances. He strikes me as an obnoxious Rubio of the Left (or maybe akin to Cruz)… a guy who senses something is afoot, but completely misreads what exactly is afoot and thinks that by saying the same things in a slightly different way, he’ll catch the wave.

      I expect him to be crushed by the left-populist wing of his party long before he is completely ignored by the right-populists. In either case, he’s delusional to think he’s offering an alternative to populists (based on his current stances).

      Meanwhile Levi Sanders was trounced in Vermont… so what do I know of Left-Populism’s future?

      On the contra-side, there’s still enough time for Avenatti to hire consultants(!!) and change all of his positions to a more populist bent… I’m sure he’s flexible in these matters.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Levi Sanders was trounced in NH, which is a totally different bunch of New England weirdos from Vermont.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to pillsy says:

          Sure, but those are good batch of weirdos for left-populism… but only reading the post-mortems it seems Levi is not charismatic even on the Sanders curve.

          Plus, identity politics>populist politics?

          He also tweeted that he isn’t in favor of “white privilege garbage” arguments and criticized MSNBC’s Joy Reid for employing “identity politics.”

          At an August debate in the primary race, Sanders had his microphone turned off by the moderator after refusing to stop talking when his allotted time expired. He was also booed by the crowd for attacking his fellow candidates.


      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Marchmaine says:

        And there I thought Sanders and the Bernie bros were nutty unelectable populists for endorsing medicare for all. Has it gone from fringe populism that will doom the paty and requires the full weight of the DNC to undermine anyone proposing it, to tepid party orthodoxy, in just two years? Is there some kind of cyclical presidential year / off year thing going on?Report

      • Avatar Jesse in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Levi’s so wacky even his Dad didn’t endorse himReport

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Avenatti is a less crazy Eric Garland. He’s at best, this guy but with national, rather than just mayoral, aspirations.Report

    • As Mike pointed out, his actual stated policy positions are pretty standard Democrat stuff. IDK how crazy Avenatti is, but he’s good on TV and says the right things to people looking for someone who is doing so. All I am saying, as an observer from the other side, is the Democrats should not take him lightly, and better decided what they think of him now. Waiting, then deciding he isn’t what they want, might be too late.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I have to agree on two points made:

        1). Democrats indeed need to decide and decide early. It didn’t go well for the Republicans to have 16 initial candidates, and t he contortions they have had to go through since then to support Mr. Trump may well cost them both Houses of Congress in a few weeks time.

        2). Mr Avenatti isn’t breaking policy ground. The problem for me with the “standard Democratic fare” that @Mike Dwyer points to is its classically centerist or ever so right of center economically. Part of Hillary’s Problem in 2016 was her economics were neoliberal (As apparently are Mr. Avenatti’s) which don’t favor working people staring down a fourth decade of stagnant wages, compounded by the opiod crisis and thirty years of Trickle Down nonsense designed to turn white workers against People of Color. Democrats tried that message in 2016 before Hillary switched to “I’m not him” and it was a disaster.

        while I strongly believe the House will flip, and I think hope is rising the Senate will as well, Mr. Avenatti’s rise in the Democrats presidential hopeful ranks points out how broken the party actually is, and why focusing on the White House for so many years while ceding the governorships to the Republicans was a colossally bad idea.Report

        • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Philip H says:

          “…and why focusing on the White House for so many years while ceding the governorships to the Republicans was a colossally bad idea.”

          Totally agree with Phillip’s assessment here. I am a huge believer in the states being laboratories for democracy. Right now, the only people doing any experimenting are the mad scientists of the far Right (my governor being a good example). And that is because of the hyper-focus on the WH and ignoring everything else. Having a hip, cool president was great for 8 years (even I enjoyed it) but didn’t help the country a ton in the long-run.

          I will also say, I am DONE with Baby Boomer presidents. I would have to be extremely impressed to vote for anyone over 60 next time. Time to give Gen X a shot.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Eh. This goes to show how a lot of political punditry really doesn’t get the mindset of the Democratic base. Or they want the Democratic base to be just as prone to craziness as the GOP because Both Sides.

    I make no predictions on whom will be the Democratic nominee except that it won’t be Aventii. The big reaction I have seen from Democrats about his dipping of the toes is a long and heavy sigh of exasperation. There are plenty of more experienced politicians for 2020 like Gilobrand, Harris, Warren, Etc.

    For better or for worse, Democrats prefer experienced pols who rise up the ranks. Do you remember Sandra Fluke? She gave a big speech at one of Obama’s conventions and was a liberal icon for a bit. She tried to run for an open Congressional seat but discovered her brief fame was not enough for voters. She changed her goals to run for state legislative office instead. No idea if she succeeded or not.

    There can be upsets as we have seen in NY with AOC, Florida with Gullium, Massachusetts with Presley but these winners were still experienced politicians. AOC worked behind the scenes for Sanders. Gullium is the mayor of Tallahassee, Preseley is a long time Boston City Council poll.

    I do think a lot of right-leaning dudes really really underestimate Democratic anger. I don’t see this leading to someone like Aventii becoming the nominee in 2020.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      That’s been my impression over at Reddit. It’s been “Way to go hammering on Trump. Don’t run for office. Nobody wants that kind of crap.”.

      And that’s from his fans on a pretty heavy liberal and young crowd.

      There’s a pretty wide distaste for the idea of, effectively, a political nobody trying to run for President entirely on the grounds of “I sued a guy you hate”. Well good on you, especially since it seems it’s a legit lawsuit and you’re legit ticking him off and we’re all good with that, but if you want to run for office maybe City Council? I mean something commiserate with your absolute lack of political experience.”Report

  4. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Watch for the DNC to shoot themselves in the foot, repeatedly, until the gun is empty, and then call for more ammunition.

    What if Sanders had won the 2016 primary? He’d have gone into the general wth the weight of his own party’s attack campaign weighing on voters’ minds. What if Nixon had won the primary over Cuomo? She’d be a Democrat trying to get out the base in NY after her own party called her an antisemite.

    So, either the DNC is horribly inept, or they look at a choice between a progressive Democrat and a Republican winning the general, and go “we’ll risk the Republican, we can’t possibly let a leftist win.”Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Sandra Fluke lost her 2014 election to be State Senator.

    The BSDI is rather strong this morning. This group contains a lot of people who seemingly can’t give up the Dems in Disarray cliche.Report

    • I do not think the “Dems in disarray” is the right way to frame current events. Even in the intramural sniping within the party, the overall ideology is much tighter than say, the divisions on the right is at the moment. I do, however, think the current leadership is a big problem for that party, where you have a change coming but older powerbrokers not ready to hand it over yet, a DNC that under Perez has been a disaster, and no overarching leadership. It’s not unfair to think those factors could be problems if left unaddressed.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I am really not seeing it. There seems to be a lot of middle aged white guys who need to believe the Democratic Party is just as screwy as the GOP. I am seeing that.Report

        • Perhaps. Who then, in your opinion, is the leader or leadership of the Democrat party right now? Everything rises and falls on leadership, and while opposing Trump is a unifying force in and of itself, at some point someone is taking the reigns.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            Taking the reigns is part of the problem. The reins of the old donkey need to go to different hands.

            (Or so it seems from a disinterested outsider).Report

          • Avatar Jesse in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            Who was the leader of the Republican’s in mid-2010?

            Who was the leader of the Democrat’s in mid-2006?

            Who was the leader of the Republicans in mid-1994?

            The truth is, the way American politics work, the party not in the White House rarely had an actual leader. That’s why we have primaries. To figure out who that should be.Report

            • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Jesse says:

              To point, the following presidential elections to the years you cited the incumbent was reelected. The lesson would seem to be if you want Trump to be a one termer waiting till the primaries to find leadership, at least historically, will not work out well.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

                I was unaware George W. Bush or the Republicans were re-elected in 2008.

                Regardless, for example, Bill Clinton was not the leader of the Democrat’s in 1990, Donald Trump was not the leader of the Republican’s in 2014, and so on, and so forth.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jesse says:

              Unlike parliamentary systems, Presidential systems rarely have the institution of shadow government where the opposition presents an alternative cabinet to the nation. The closest example we have to an opposition party having a clear leader was Newt Gingrich during the Clinton administration. What we don’t have is a system where the public gets a preview of who the next President is going to be when Trump is out of office.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Jesse says:

              Technically isn’t Tom Perez the leader of the Democratic party, and Ronna McDaniel the leader of the Republican party?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

                From a technical point but party leader is different in the United States. What Tom Perez and Ronna McDaniel are really just something like CEOs hired to run the party. They aren’t political party leaders like Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May are in the United Kingdom. Neither of them are supposed to get out in Most Americans will have no idea who they are even if they are committed Democrats or Republicans, let alone what they do.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            “I’m not a member of an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”-Will Rogers.

            The leadership would be Schumer in the Senate and Pelosi in the House plus their whips. The leading figures who are looking to forge new policies and ways are Warren, Gillibrand, Harris, and Cory Booker.

            The Democratic Party does have a bit of having a leadership that is a bit too old for my liking. However, this is changing and it looks like the 2018 election is going to bring in newer and younger faces. However, the Democratic base is just not as enamoured as the GOP base with Boy Wonders. We don’t have the kind of apparatus or real desire for a CPAC kind of atmosphere.

            I think Kevin Drum’s hack gap thesis covers this. Whenever the GOP has a new “idea”, there is a whole apparatus of people who will just come out and support it and say it is the best thing since sliced bread and will lead to unicorns and rainbows everywhere. This just doesn’t exist on the Democratic Side. Look at what happened with the BEZOS act from Bernie Sanders. Every center-left think tank and policy wonk came out and smashed it as horrible policy. They just could not help themselves.

            TL/DR: The Democratic Party is a bigger tent coalition party that largely believes that government is and can be a force for good. We are also a party filled with people whom think the GOP is insane and nihilistic. This includes everyone from minorities and/or working-class activists like AOC, Randy Bryce, and Presley to people hoping for partnerships at the top-consulting companies in the world. It is hard to craft broad-based policies with this kind of coalition. There are things that some Democratic politicians say that really annoy me like Amy Koubacher promising to keep Senate “norms” alive in the face of GOP nihilism but I also know she is one of the most popular politicians in her state and the residents of MN want her to be procedural.Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Yeah, I don’t see Avenatti as anything more than a blip on the media radar, and one to be approached warily.

    I see Gillibrand and Harris as the rising stars, but 2020 is an eternity away in political terms. In 2006, Barack Obama was just making a name for himself in Illinois.Report

    • Fair enough. My main point here was I see one person with a plan and about it, while others wait or, much worse, flail. I am very curious at how Sen. Harris came off to those she would most need support from. Social media is a poor barometer for such things, but even still more than a few, including friends of ours, were not blown away. Like you said, more to come so we will see. I wonder if we aren’t under the new rules fully, and some might be grabbing them quicker than others.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        A lot of the online left and heterodox right and center are particularly suspicious Harris because her history as Attorney General of California, and the attendant (almost obligatory) authoritarian positions that come with it.

        I wouldn’t read that much into it. These really don’t seem to be high salience issues for most of the party (or the broader political world). More’s the pity, I suppose, but thinking otherwise seems to be the Pundit’s Fallacy talking.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        On one hand, I can see how it must seem like a vacuum, where there isn’t an Obama who serves as the figurehead and standard bearer.

        On the other hand, it looks like we are going to take the House, and possibly the Senate without the need for a messiah.

        It could be that instead of an leader producing a consensus, a consensus may produce a leader.

        In other words, there seems to be a gathering consensus that the economy isn’t working to produce widespread prosperity and security, and something must be done.The GOP responded to this by producing a Great Man on Horseback who promised to fix it.

        The liberals responded by producing a Great Idea, democratic socialism, aka a New New Deal.
        Alexandria Ocasio Cortez appears to me to be this sort, the person who becomes famous by appearing at the spear tip of a popular idea. She herself isn’t a charismatic figure, but embodies an idea.
        Gillibrand looks like she is maneuvering to do the same.

        Or so it seems to me.Report

        • Thats is well laid out and may prove to be the case. My concern is a lack of a leader will result in a finding of a messiah. Not everyone is as measured in their views. Kavanaugh being confirmed and Senate staying R, if that happens, will likely drown out the success of taking the house. You may be right, I just see some frustration on the horizon along with the much discussed “blue wave” and think that could change things more than anticipated.Report

        • @chipdaniels

          “The liberals responded by producing a Great Idea, democratic socialism, aka a New New Deal”

          It feels to me like either Democrats need to rebrand socialism or do a better job of explaining it. The choice isn’t socialism or no socialism, it’s just how much socialism.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            Explaining it to who?

            Doesn’t it seem like a lot of what powers Trump (besides racism) is a fury and frustration with the economic elites, and the structure of trade?

            Isn’t much of what he promised (to thunderous applause) essentially the idea the it is government’s role to produce jobs and prosperity and to manage the economy?

            Despite the scorn that his base has for “socialists” and “the left” they seem to eagerly embrace its ideas.
            I’m not seeing much love for the Reagan/Thatcher/Friedman idea of “let the market handle itself”.Report

            • I would say it needs to be explained to Generation X. Sanders proved the Millennials like those ideals. My generation still believes that socialism equals unfair handouts. I have this argument with my brother all the time. He rails against encroaching socialism while putting his kids in public schools and using any number of public services every day. When I point that out he says, “You know the kind of socialism I am talking about.”

              I don’t want us to become Sweden or France, but I’m okay with moving the needle in that direction if it means more income equality and less people being left on the margins. Someone is going to have to do a better job of packaging it. Or I guess they could just acknowledge that Generation X is much smaller than the Boomers or Millennials and ignore us.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I’m referring to the low info voters I see who angrily rail against unfair handouts, and in the same breath, demand that Trump make a better deal with China and deport all the illegals so as to lift American wages.

                In other words, everyone hates handouts, but everyone loves when the government rigs the economy in their favor.

                This isn’t new; whats new is the fading stigma of the word which describes this.Report

              • I don’t disagree with your analysis of those voters, but there’s also a basic lack of understanding among the electorate on just what the government is supposed to do.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                At the end of the day, past all the gloss of fancy talk about civics, the government is supposed to do what the electorate demands…or else said government will be replaced, either by violent or non-violent means.Report

  7. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    Oh, good. Then there may still be someone out there worth supporting that I just haven’t heard of.Report

  8. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    Now that we’ve had a taste of amateur hour in the White House, why on earth would we want another, different party notwithstanding?Report

    • Avatar Jesse in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I see the jump in 2017, basically being current #Resistance Dem’s (ie. suburbanites in Virginia, Colorado, etc.) saying, “OK, we lost, we haven’t been listening to the middle of the country, we have to give Trump a chance”, then Trump and the GOP being who they thought they were and said Resistance Dem’s turning hard against compromise.Report

  9. Avatar Philip H says:

    Mike Dwyer: I don’t disagree with your analysis of those voters, but there’s also a basic lack of understanding among the electorate on just what the government is supposed to do.

    I actually think its the opposite – most people know what government is supposed to do – and they know what government actually does. Some people (many liberals actually) want those two things aligned. Others like what government actually does as long as it advantages them or their preferred in-group (republican politicians and white nationalists). The problem seems to come in when the second group is confronted with the government helping the first group, and doubly so when the government seeks to correct past injustices. That’s not a lack of knowledge its a fundamental difference in ethics and world view.Report