Vote Beto Because Why Not


Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of

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  1. Avatar Ozzzy! says:

    This was marvelous for a Sunday morning. Thanks KD.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    ctrl-f “furry”
    no matches found

    The thing about Beto that I find so very interesting is how vital and important and Kennedyesque he was when he was running against Cruz and then, like, *THE SECOND* it became a National Fight, he stopped being vital and important and started being representative of a problem. Here, check this out: “The Unbearable Male Privilege of Beto O’Rourke”.

    Now, while I, personally, think that Beto would be a pleasant enough placeholder for any given “real” president to show up, the pivot from “Kennedyesque” to “Privileged” is simple enough… I mean, if I wanted to come up with a “nice” way to say “Privileged”, “Kennedyesque” would do it… but just seeing the kid gloves turn into long knives is always fascinating.

    Especially when it takes place in a timespan of about two years.Report

    • Avatar pillsy says:

      I think there are two actual reasonable dings on Beto there.

      One is he hasn’t even won a statewide office. This is also a reasonable ding on Buttigieg. And it really kind of does smack of entitlement even more than just running for President does on its own.

      The second is that a lot of people were hoping he’d take another crack at winning a TX Senate seat for Team Blue.

      Less reasonable, but no less real, is that people don’t want him to be an obstacle to whoever their preferred candidate was.[1]

      Finally, the “no clear beliefs” thing is good when you’re running as a Dem in Texas, and good when you’re appealing to right-leaning non-Dems (but I repeat myself), and not so good when you’re trying to win the Democratic nomination.

      Anyway, none of that actually would have mattered one whit if people had decided they really liked the guy.

      [1] Mine was Gillibrand but it’s hard to blame her failure to launch on Beto, who has fared no better. And he’s no threat to my current first choice, Warren.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Oh, there are *PLENTY* of reasonable dings on Beto.

        I’m sure that, were he frontrunner, we’d hear no shortage of them from The Right. I am not certain that “hasn’t even won a statewide office” would be one of them, given Trump, but maybe one of the NeverTrumpers would point it out.

        That said, wrapping the present of “Beto Criticism” within the wrapping paper of “Male Privilege” is one heck of a signal that the criticism is not coming from The Right.

        I mean, there are a ton of criticisms that you could give any candidate and do them in such a way that it doesn’t do harm. “Beto O’Rourke is charismatic, sure, but he’s never held statewide office” is a solid criticism that can be argued against (e.g., “but what about Trump!”). “Beto O’Rourke is the embodiment of Male Privilege” is a criticism that cannot possibly be overcome. Beto might, maybe, win an election here or there and get in the State Senate of Texas and give some really good speeches and maybe even be instrumental in the passing of a law or two.

        But the Male Privilege thing is one heck of a shotgun blast. It does damage that doesn’t strike me as being something that could be overcome… I mean, sure, maybe in theory he could do a struggle session and get a pass. But without the struggle session, it’s also a reason that he shouldn’t run for the Texas Senate in 2020 either.

        The Great Hispanic Hope of 2018 is now someone perfectly expendable.

        Overnight. (Well, two years.)

        That is *NOT* a good sign.Report

        • Avatar pillsy says:

          “Beto O’Rourke is the embodiment of Male Privilege” is a criticism that cannot possibly be overcome.


          Perhaps not.

          Ignored and dismissed?

          With ease.

          Even at the margins it wouldn’t move many Democratic primary voters. 11% of Dems say they would be less enthusiastic if the nominee were a man.

          Anyway, I don’t think the article was written as a serious argument against voting for Beto. If it was, it was a pretty superfluous one, especially since Kristin’s argument is the first argument I’ve seen for Beto in ages.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Kristin’s argument is the first argument I’ve seen for Beto in ages.

            From my perspective, it’s the first argument I’ve seen for Beto in two years. When it was vitally important that he be in office.Report

            • Avatar pillsy says:

              When he was running for Senate, “He’s a Democrat,” sufficed.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, it’s fascinating to see that, when he’s running against Trump, it’s not.Report

              • Avatar JS says:

                He’s not running against Trump. He’s running against 19 other Democratic candidates in a primary.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I appreciate that the nomination process is one great big crab bucket.

                It’s the ease with which people pivot from “Isn’t he great?” to “Beto is a Republican” that has me blinking in surprise.Report

              • Avatar JS says:

                Beto was running for a statewide office in a very conservative state. He is now running for national office with an entirely new voter pool, one that is not state-limited and likely considerably more liberal.

                The fact that, by Democratic standards, he’s very conservative meant far less when he was running to represent a single, very conservative state.

                He has changed both the electorate he’s seeking the approval of, the office he’s choosing to run for, and you’re surprised that the judgement is different?

                And to be honest, while I’ve seen a number of complaints about Beto’s conservatism, I have not heard any real voices calling him Republican. What I have heard is that he’s both too conservative for the party, too untested for the office, and brings very little to the table that other candidates don’t bring better.

                None of this should be surprising, with just an iota of thought. Beto was just as unlikely to play well outside of Texas as Manchin would outside of West Virginia.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                He has changed both the electorate he’s seeking the approval of, the office he’s choosing to run for, and you’re surprised that the judgement is different?

                I’m not surprised that the judgment is different, necessarily.

                I’m surprised that the judgment is *HOSTILE*.

                If you see the distinction I’m making.

                It’s the difference between “so-and-so is untested” and “so-and-so is the embodiment of male privilege”.

                Please note: that last part about “so-and-so is the embodiment of male privilege” is not a strawman that I made up.Report

              • Avatar JS says:

                “I’m surprised that the judgment is *HOSTILE*.”

                So you say.

                I’m quite active on Reddit, to give an example, which has no shortage of very passionate people thinking a lot about the primaries, and while I see plenty of drama and arguments about the primaries and people’s favored candidates, Beto is rarely even mentioned.

                After all, he’s not exactly leading in the polls. The general consensus was “It’d have been better for him to take a run at Corwyn, he’s great for Texas but not for the White House.”

                Like Google tailoring it’s results to your previous searches, perhaps your sample is skewed. I’m quite sure that, if I were to search for it, I could find quite a bit of anti-Beto Democratic hysteria.

                That wouldn’t make it a widely held opinion, and I’d be quite foolish to decide it meant anything other than the ubiquity of social media and the adeptness of search engines.

                It’s also possible my sample is skewed. But I’m not making claims that Beto is being treated with some massive deluge of hostility. As I said, my experience in a very active and large site that very much leans left even for Democrats — so anti-Beto — is that Beto is mostly ignored.

                Which is a change from him being very talked up in 2018, but again as I noted — he had a surprising change of taking a Senate seat in Texas.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I suppose The Daily Beast is just another social media blog twitter. (We should have a list of sites that we should be able to point to and avoid the criticism that we’re cherrypicking examples.)Report

              • Avatar JS says:

                Was it an official op-ed for the Daily Beast staff? Was it an op-ed by a single person? Does the Daily Beast speak for all Democrats? Some of them? Most of them? No. It’s a single article by a single person.

                It’s a data point, Jaybird. I can find an op-ed arguing any silly old thing from every news agency in the country, but that doesn’t make their point universal, or even common.

                And what you’ve done here is hang your hat on a single op-ed that wasn’t even particularly hostile — the piece itself was entirely “A woman wouldn’t be able to get away with this” and be about double standards against women — not so much criticism of Beto — and decided this represents some massive, party-wide shift in thinking.

                Your own best evidence is an article about how Democrats are treating Beto really well, in a way the author thinks they wouldn’t for any female candidate. That’s hostility from the whole left?

                I’d say you built a house of cards, but it’s more like you imagined a house of cards after playing with a random one you found on the street, then demanded a construction company justify the architectural soundness of building a house out of cards.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                While I appreciate that it is possible to find an example of anybody arguing anything on the internet, what I find interesting is how long it takes to find such examples in higher-profile places.

                If I find a post complaining about Kamala Harris being a cop on r/ChapoTrapHouse, I think we can all agree that such is not representative of anything, particularly.

                But I just noticed the change in tenor of coverage and, like others have pointed out, once he was a great idea for Texas (but not the country) and now we’re seeing that in real time.

                But the criticisms I’ve seen are not criticisms that are easily walked back if he drops out and says “okay, I’ll try Texas again”.

                I mean, sure, maybe they are. It’s easy to find examples of anybody saying anything online.

                But using the “male privilege” card on Beto seems… well, it’s a signal, isn’t it? Even if it’s only online and you can find examples of anybody saying anything.Report

              • Avatar JS says:

                Except again, the only criticism you offered was a piece that specifically talks about how well Beto is being treated, and how most female candidates wouldn’t get that treatment.

                Your sole, linked source of hostility was a piece talking about how Beto was treated well.

                I have to ask — you did read the piece, right? Not just the title? Because I’m starting to think you haven’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Please understand, I saw the article and read the tenor. Sure, it’s an article talking about how many kid gloves he’s being treated with because he’s got Male Privilege.

                But I have spent a lot of time in the last few years reading articles talking about people who have Privilege and were I to conclude that the articles that talked about Privilege were articles that weren’t hostile to their topics, I’d like to think that someone would have criticized me for not understanding the point of the article.

                So, too, this article about Beto. Sure, it’s talking about how much male privilege he has and how this means that he’s being treated well.

                This doesn’t make it a good article for Beto. You don’t walk away from that article thinking “man, he’s obviously being treated well because he’s That Damn Good.”

                He’s being treated well because he’s male. Because, let’s face it, he’s a *WHITE* male. Because White Males Have Privilege.

                And spinning that as being an article that talks about how well Beto is being treated is…

                Well, I hope Trump doesn’t get re-elected in 2024 and 2028. I don’t have the strength.Report

  3. Avatar JoeSal says:

    Beto is just another socialist who likely has ties to the southern cartels.Report

  4. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Why should the Democrats want your vote?

    You obviously are indifferent as to the results of the election; regardless of which party takes power, you don’t seem to have any stake or interest in the matter one way or another.

    For others though, the outcome of the elections will be profound, and lead to either justice or injustice, suffering or relief, and for many people literally life or death.

    Someone who is indifferent to these concerns will never be worth courting, because there isn’t a sense of solidarity or compassion, (meaning to “hurt with”).

    It wouldn’t be wise or pragmatic to place the fate of our republic or freedom in the hands of those who regard it as an option, rather than a priority.Report

    • Avatar Ozzy! says:

      Do you wake up angry? Cmon man. It’s a Why Your Candidate Sucks listicle that was admirably written.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Someone who is indifferent to these concerns will never be worth courting, because there isn’t a sense of solidarity or compassion, (meaning to “hurt with”).

      From a mere three days ago:

      You’re using solidarity as a buzzword, meant to deceive and manipulate.

      Is there any actual idea underlying this, an affirmative statement of what would be a good outcome for WV and America?

      In the absence of any actual concept or vision, Using the word solidarity is just sophistry, trying to persuade with wordplay rather than genuine reason.

      Reader, ask yourself this:
      Did Chip remember saying this 3 days ago?
      Or does he not remember saying this 3 days ago?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        You don’t see a difference in how we use the word?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          You don’t see the assumption that we must be using it differently?

          (Assuming you remembered saying this three days ago, which I’m not sure I do.)Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            Yes, we are using it very differently.

            I mean solidarity as part of an actual concept of racial harmony and peace, an affirmative statement where we accept each other as equal citizens.

            Solidarity isn’t a word that ends a conversation, it provokes one. It is an action word, a verb that demands things of us.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              Solidarity: What people don’t share if they can’t agree on whether solidarity is a noun or a verb.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Would you say that “solidarity” would be a word more likely to be honest coming from the mouth of someone who is arguing:

              A: What people need to do in order to get people to work with you and vote for you?

              B: Why the Democrats shouldn’t even bother to try for the vote of one’s interlocutor?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                You keep thinking that getting votes is the highest good like selling vacuum cleaners or something.

                If someone votes for white supremacy, I can’t be in solidarity with them because to do so would require me to break solidarity with everyone else, and act unjustly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                In the absence of any actual concept or vision, Using the word solidarity is just sophistry, trying to persuade with wordplay rather than genuine reason.

                Do you even remember that this sentence is in this thread?

                I find myself scratching at my scalp and wondering “surely he’s doing this deliberately”…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                You need to explain what you mean, because I’m not grasping it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, I know. This isn’t a ruse on your part.

                But look at it from my point of view: Kristin wrote an essay talking about what it’d take to get her to vote for a Democrat. You said, effectively, “we don’t need your stinkin’ vote” and are explaining how you shouldn’t be expected to vote for White Supremacist candidates IN THE COMMENTS TO AN ESSAY ABOUT WHY KRISTIN COULD VOTE FOR BETO O’ROURKE.


              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I was going to make a comparison between Kristin and the Ents in Lord of the Rings.

                You know, how like the Ents saw themselves as detached from the petty disputes of men and orcs, seeing them as indistinguishable from one another.

                And after pleading, they dithered and debated, in complete indifference.

                Then, when they saw the destruction of their tree friends, whom they had “known from nut and acorn”, they suddenly became enraged and sided with the Fellowship.

                But see, the underlying message here is that the alliance of the Ents was always going to be fragile, because it really had nothing to do with their grasping the injustice of the situation.

                Had the orcs not cut down their friends, they may just as well have sided with Sauron. Or watched impassively as Sauron enslaved the Shire.
                After all whats the difference between the two sides?

                When we liberals call ourselves The Resistance, do you think that’s a silly marketing ploy?

                We see this as an existential battle for our republic, for liberal democracy. A battle between justice and injustice.

                Maybe there is some issue which could turn Kristin’s vote. Maybe some tax thing, or wonky policy thing, or this thing or that thing.
                But it will always be a precarious vote, one which could just as easily peel away.

                So I’m not seeing this demographic- the Ent demographic- as being worth a tremendous amount of sacrifice and compromise to get.

                We have much more to gain by energizing our own demographic and boosting our own turnout.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Pippin and Merry actively tried to get the Ents to vote for Hillary and the Ents got out their vote and Trump lost his election as Gollum fell into the fires of Mount Doom.

                Arguing that Pippin and Merry shouldn’t even have tried to get them to vote for Clinton is a recipe to have Trump win.

                This is such a bad analogy that I can’t believe you gave it to me to do that to.

                It’s like arguing “Neville was really kind of a lump. I don’t know why they fought so hard to get him into the Order of the Pheonix.”

                You know what you’re doing, Chip? You’re Poe Dameron willing to lose the entire bomber fleet in order to destroy a meaningless star destroyer and now your party can fit in the Millennium Falcon and you’re bragging about how, at least, you didn’t pander to get Kristin’s vote.

                You don’t win by destroying what you hate, Chip.

                You win by saving what you love.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                In order to win the Ents and enlist their mighty power, all it cost the Fellowship was a couple of hobbits who couldn’t fight anyway.

                So it was well worth the effort!

                What would the Democrats have to spend to win the Kristins, and what would we get in return?

                Well, here is what she is demanding as a precondition:
                “I need some sort of reassurance that this president-elect will be a peacemaker and not an activist. If the goal here is to press on with the progressive agenda as hard and fast as possible to hopefully beat the cons to the punch, enacting as much leftist legislation as possible as quickly as possible because soon all their voters will be dead hip hip hooray, I’m voting Trump. ”

                Wel, ok. So we have to abandon Medicare for All, free college, any strengthening of the ACA, the NLRB, and the courts.

                Essentially, the guts of what make us Democrats.

                And what do we get in return for this sacrifice?
                That is, how many of her fellow Ents does Kristin bring with her?

                Would they offset the number of Democrats who sit home, since their party is now just Republican Lite?

                Why is this a good deal for us?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Wel, ok. So we have to abandon Medicare for All, free college, any strengthening of the ACA, the NLRB, and the courts.

                Hel, no. You don’t. My suggestion in the past was to not talk down to people. Like, when giving speeches, communicate solidarity rather than hostility.

                There might be a *HANDFUL* of small tradeoffs you might have to make… but Democrats won California with more than 60% and New York with more than 55%.

                If you can imagine a tradeoff that might only cost, oh, 4-5% of California and only 2-3% of New York and pick up, oh, 1%ish or thereabouts of Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania thereby, it might be worth doing.

                And, let me say this: the 5% of Californians that you’d lose by not sneering?

                You don’t want those people in your party.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                You seem to think “talking down to people” is somehow a big problem.

                That isn’t what Kristin said. She literally said she wants us to stop being so progressive.

                And on the very day that the President is screaming hatred at the American citizens who live in large cities, you seem to think that “sneering at people” is somehow a thing Democrats are doing.

                I don’t know why you keep circling back to language and tone and rhetoric and ignoring content and meaning.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                And if a “progressive Democrat who speaks with compassion and communicates solidarity” is what you are looking for, why don’t Warren, Harris, Booker, Biden fit the bill?

                I think Warren’s cheerful face would seize up if she ever tried to sneer.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m a fan of Yang, myself.

                But we’ll get to that when we get into the other essays folks have written for this Symposium.

                (If you have a candidate that you would like to endorse, please throw together 500 words and mail them in!)Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                My feelings on Yang are very complicated so I’m really looking forward to being a jackass in the comments.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m sorry. I won’t be able to hear you over my ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You seem to think “talking down to people” is somehow a big problem.

                Is Trump winning an election a big problem?

                If you’re willing to say, okay, maybe it’s not one, I guess I’ll concede the point for the sake of argument.

                She literally said she wants us to stop being so progressive.

                This might work too.

                This goes back to being willing to lose 5% of California in order to pick up 1% of the Midwest.

                It certainly seems to be a lower price than the “stop sneering” one. Is it still too high a price to pay?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                “I don’t like politicians that sneer and speak with contempt, so I’m voting for Trump!”

                Said no one, ever.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Was turnout a problem for Democrats last time around, Chip?

                Yeah, yeah. I know. “Not in California or New York!”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Nope, we did pretty well in 2018.Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                “… So, my only choice to fight white supremacy is to vote for the party that went to war to preserve perpetual race-based human slavery!”

                Ironic, isn’t it?

                Well, you’ll be happy to know that actual white racism has declined significantly since Trump took office.

                University of Pennsylvania study

                About the only major sign of white racism is a few crazy former-Obama voters doing Nazi salutes, such as the ones who showed up in Charlottesville, and the press going crazy with purity hysteria, similar to when people were running around screaming that there were Satanic cults everywhere.

                One party wants everything to be based on race, and one party wants almost nothing to be based on race, except measures to redress continuing problems that trace directly to previous institutional racial injustices perpetuated by Democrats who based policies on race.Report

        • Avatar Ozzy! says:

          Stir Stir, then let it simmer.
          I’m waiting on your reply
          I never know, OT’s demeanor,
          But, at least, say why?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I think there is this great lie we like to tell ourselves about elections in the United States and I think the media helps sell this lie. The lie is that Americans are not really partisan or political but are just looking for “common sense” solutions to whatever issues are facing the nation. The media tends to treat the American people as a vessel that gets drained every two or four years and can then be filled up with whatever and then will vote for the candidate with the “common sense” solutions.

      During Trump’s racist tirades against the Squad, Matt Y wrote an essay on Vox about why old media was so unwilling to call Trump a racist. The short version is that they are stuck in an old economic model where you get profit by appealing to the broadest possible audience and this means using “objectivity” as a shield for “we don’t want to risk losing half our audience.” Or as Michael Jordon once said “Republicans buy sneakers too.” Newer media has a smaller and more partisan audience.

      I don’t really get this appeal of a bland and non-partisan country. I find it kind of scary that voters can so easily swing from one party to the next without any ideological or logical consistency.

      But there are too many people whose huge paychecks depend on appealing to a bland and non-partisan “common sense of the American people.”Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Everybody wants “common sense” but just assume what they want it equal to “common sense.”Report

      • Avatar Ozzy! says:

        I would agree to this, with one addition:

        I think there is this great lie [wonks who care about thinking about thinking about that this is important] like to tell ourselves about elections in the United States and I think the media helps sell this lie…Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Even in the worst authoritarian regimes, people go about their daily lives. The regimes make it easy to do so.

        We like to imagine that everyone in the Soviet Union suffered horribly, but most didn’t. Most just got up, went to work, and came home without ever encountering the secret police or gulags. If you kept your head down and didn’t get political, if you kept your watercooler conversations confined to celebrities and sports, you could live a pretty decent life.

        I am living a very quiet Sunday, happily drawing and painting and commenting on this blog, but just a few blocks from where I am sitting is a federal detention facility with hundreds of immigrants who are in a horrible Kafkaesque nightmare.

        Yeah, the media likes the old model where we all just sit around and chat about Tip & Ronnie and gas on about optics, like it was some sort of sporting event. To ignore those people in detention, to look away and think about something else.

        They aren’t set up to deal with this tectonic change where liberal democracy itself is under assault.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          I’m not sure if this is entirely true. The worst authoritarian regimes like Hitler’s Germany or High Stalinism and High Maoism really did want to get rid of everything they saw as a vestige of ordinary, daily life. Everybody felt the regime to one extent or another even if they never had a close encounter with secret police, gulags, or laogai systems. Mao gave us “making love is a mental disease” meaning that romance as practiced by two people dating and getting together is wrong and needs to go. Stalin imagined the entire Soviet Union as a barracks where people were either at work or in their dorms. In Hitler’s mind all Aryans only existed to further Aryan might. Everything else had to go.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            True, but I think those are not the models we should fear the most, if only because they were so freakishly unique.

            The far more common model are things like the various East Bloc nations, the USSR under Brezhnev, or the Latin and South American dictatorships like Chile and Guatemala, or Indonesia under Suharto.
            They were repressive but within such “normal” ranges that they are actually a more realistic threat.

            I have a hard time envisioning a Holocaust or Cultural Revolution in America (not impossible, just unlikely) but a drab, Putin-style unfreedom seems frighteningly possible.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

              You are thinking still too harshly. There are even “softer” authoritarian countries like Malaysia.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yes, and Hungary, Poland, Franco’s Spain.

                Or even 19th century America. If I were a black man, or a Native, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say I lived in a repressive regime.
                And for a lot of Republicans, that era is one they cite as the Golden Age.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                My wife grew up in Poland. She has stories. Every member of her family has stories. Being arrested for daring to try to make a profit. Absurd gov micromanagement. That’s over and above the whole “85% of her home town was murdered” which was a Nazi thing.

                My strong impression is it’s nonsensical to compare what life was like under these systems to “normal” or “sane” if you’re not one of the “oppressed”. Everyone was oppressed. You could survive, but you knew darn well “not surviving” was a serious option. Not just if you ended up on the gov’s bad side, but it was a serious option in general. Food might or might not be available next month. Money might or might not be useful next month. Rule of law was pretty optional.

                The number of political enemies Trump has arrested is zero. This number isn’t expected to increase. That’s “zero”, not “as long as you don’t get more political than posting on OG”. Not only am I safe posting on OG, but I’d be safe if I were a Congressional Dem calling for Trump to be impeached and/or arrested. Similarly, Trump is appointing well respected serious judges, not cronies.

                Make this election about stopping White Nationalism and you’re not going to win. The rest of the nation isn’t going to treat this like a purity contest. The big example of authoritarianism you can point to is him attempting to enforce the law.

                If that’s “authoritarianism”, then I can list where Obama greatly went past that, but mostly you’d agree with the policy goals so presumably you’d be fine giving him a pass on them.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                “… it’s nonsensical to compare what life was like under these systems to “normal” or “sane” if you’re not one of the “oppressed”

                Isn’t this what I keep saying about life for minorities in America?

                I’m not joking.
                Would you be impressed if I were to cite a bunch of statistics about how yes, actually, life was pretty good for the average Pole under the Soviet thumb and no, your wife’s experiences don’t count as anything but anecdotes?Report

              • Avatar George Turner says:

                Last week Ukraine’s highest constitutional court upheld a law that treats all vestiges of communism the same as Nazism, on the grounds that the two systems weren’t any different.

                In both cases many people were slaughtered and the rest lived under fear and oppression, etc.

                It was an interesting ruling from judges who’d “lived the dream.”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Isn’t this what I keep saying about life for minorities in America?

                “In America”? Are you going to you bring out examples of what happened under Obama and claim it’s Trump’s fault? Ferguson perhaps? Maybe Baltimore since that’s in the news because of Trump?

                Would you be impressed if I were to cite a bunch of statistics about how yes, actually, life was pretty good for the average Pole under the Soviet thumb and no, your wife’s experiences don’t count as anything but anecdotes?

                By all means. Please do so.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I think the memoirs of black people under Jim Crow and those of the Soviet Era would sound amazingly similar.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                I think the memoirs of black people under Jim Crow and those of the Soviet Era would sound amazingly similar.

                I would be surprised if they didn’t.

                But have any of Trump’s Supreme Court justices indicated that they’d let Jim Crow come back? Has Trump indicated that?

                If you’re trying to draw a line between Trump and Jim Crow’s recreation, you need something other than “not a Democrat”.

                If you’re even trying to paint Trump as more of an authoritative President than Obama; Obama did things like get rid of rules of evidence in colleges and created “The Dreamers” via executive fiat.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yes, there is even a book called The New Jim Crow.

                And yes, Trump is vastly more authoritarian than any modern President.Report

      • Avatar George Turner says:

        What if the really partisan split we’re in is the result of a change in network news more than actual politics?

        Cronkite, Huntley, and the rest were delivering the news to both Republicans and Democrats, taking care not to insult anyone because doing so might drive half the audience to a competing network. But over time, as the political leanings of journalism majors started tilting left, Fox News stepped in to sweep up an abandoned market segment. Instead of balancing their coverage in response, stealing some oxygen from Fox, the other networks decided to just pander to the half the market they that remained.

        There was no longer a need for either side to avoid offending the other because instead of an audience of undifferentiated TV (or radio) customers, similar to electric and water customers, there were now two markets, akin to natural gas customers vs. home heating oil customers, with no overlap.

        But one big difference remains. Fox News doesn’t have a competitor on the right, so they can stay “fair and balanced”, whereas ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN are all competing viciously among themselves for the share of Democrat eyeballs. So that creates sub-markets, where some might get outrageously partisan to win the hard-core Democrat viewership, while others might go for a broader, centrist appeal just to avoid becoming a smaller niche with lower ratings and less ad revenue.

        But over time, that would fragment the Democrat party because the ones that watch the far-left programs would become unwilling to compromise with the centrists, and the gap in opinions, expectations, and goals could grow unchecked. The divide between the squad and Joe Biden is almost certainly bigger than the divide between Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell.

        And as I said at the start, this may have more to do with the way the TV news market split up than with anything organic to Washington. The Republicans might be so much more unified than the Democrats not because of deep-seated philosophical positions that date back countless decades, but because no other major news network was willing to compete directly with Fox for Republican eyeballs, so there’s only one Republican view getting air time instead of half-a-dozen starkly different ideological flavors.Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      I’m not sure the Democrats want anybody’s vote. They seem to hate just about everybody who isn’t from Central America or who isn’t jihadist-adjacent.

      “Free US healthcare for everyone but us!” seems to be their new motto.

      If you want to “hurt with” people to show your compassion, I’m sure the government can find a way to accommodate you, but most of us would rather skip the pain. For decades, left-wing socialist moralizers were in power all around the world, and they were extremely good at delivering “hurt with”.

      The belt-tightening, sacrifice, and pain were always in the here and now but the rewards for all that suffering were always twenty years in the future, promised to appear once their moral universe started having positive effects on the real-world universe. They waited in vain. Their only reward for all the suffering, oppression, and endemic poverty was more of the same.

      And yet they did get to feel morally superior the whole time. As the Ukrainian Youtuber Sergei points out, he felt proud that the Soviet Union beat the United States into space, as it showed what they could accomplish when they came together and focused on something important. Nobody in his grandparents village of 3,000 people had indoor plumbing (and they still don’t), but toilets weren’t important compared to fixing the world’s big moral problems.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      From the OP:

      “My vote is winnable but the thing is the Democrats need to EARN my vote rather than shaming me into giving it to them.”

      I actually think that MOST Democrats do want to earn the undecided votes, moderates, etc. The Democrats on this site (Chip being Exhibit A) have mostly decided that this is an existential test so they know who to blame if Trump gets reelected or who to classify as hoi polloi for the next four years if they win.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I’d object that there’re a lot of Democrats on this site and Chip doesn’t speak for all of them. Likewise there’re a LOT of people in the Democratic party and the very online, very vocal left faction doesn’t speak for the party either.

        It’s very odd to me when I try and think dispassionately about the matter that an unelected blob of twitterati, journalists provocateurs and ivory tower academics are given more weight in voicing the positions and attitudes of the Democratic party than is given to the elected representatives and leaders of that same party. When I let my cynicism kick in, of course, it makes plenty of sense since the media desperately wants to present both sides as equally unhinged and right wing inclined individuals really would prefer not to vote for Democrats.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          I represent the Online Left Agitators, Local 241.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          I think it’s a little more complicated than an inclination towards view from nowhere centrism, though that probably contributes some. Most people in the media are part of or very close to that extremely online class. I think they legitimately believe the progressive faction is the fault line because that’s what their social/cultural bubble reinforces.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Yes, the media alignment has a lot more overlap with a liberal/progressive world view than a conservative/right wing world view; granted; which is why conservatives have such an easy time claiming they’re one and the same. But a media alignment is distinctly different from a liberal/left wing alignment in a number of ways:
            -Media aligned people will congenially heighten drama and make mountains out of molehills in order to make a story more interesting.
            -Media aligned people will bend over backwards and then crawl through broken glass to equalize the two sides of a given issue. They do this both because they desperately wish to give the appearance of impartiality and because having the two sides being relatively equal heightens the drama and, again, make the story more interesting.

            Media aligned folks do this even when, or especially when, it’s detrimental to liberal or progressive interests. This is excluding the right wing media who operate according to the first principle but have a really warped version of the second one.Report

            • Avatar InMD says:

              Again I don’t disagree but I think there’s more than just the framing. The conservative caricature of the MSM as ultra left wing has always been off or at least woefully lacking in nuance. It misses the fundamental corporate bias, the statism, and also the classism involved.

              Like I sort of think most media people live and operate in ultra blue professional urban enclaves where they aren’t much more likely to know or interact with regular liberals and moderate Democrats than they are Trump supporters.Report

      • Avatar George Turner says:

        I think part of what we always see regarding activism is people coming to the forefront who would rather be lead dog in a small pack than staring at some other dog’s behind in a big pack.

        Protest activism tends to foster that behavior. The most acid tongued and violent radicals get all the attention and accolades from an ever-dwindling but increasingly devoted group of violent followers. Ambitious and committed believers vie for leadership of a band of 200 activists, competing to see who can be the most extreme and controversial, until one is finally left leading the fifty that remain, the rest having left when they were turned off by all the self-destructive, attention-seeking behavior and violence on the part of the leadership.

        As long as AOC leads her squad and their small number of fanatical followers, she’s in charge of something important, even if it wipes out the other Democrats in the House. Indeed, that would likely make her an even more prominent figure because it would have knocked out most of the leadership competition when the larger group was routed at the polls. In contrast, if she simply kept her nose to the grindstone like a normal Representative, she might get a middling committee assignment in ten or twenty years.

        This behavior has at times shown up disastrously in military units. During one of the US Navy’s early engagements a captain, appointed for political reasons, figured that instead of dutifully following the squadron commander in line of battle against the British, he’d hang back, let the commander’s ship get shot to pieces, and then sweep in to save the day so that he’d have a reputation as a hero and be put in charge of more ships. He was happy to let the larger force get destroyed to position himself as leader of whatever remained. His behavior infuriated everyone and he was cashiered out of the service as an embarrassment to himself and a disgrace to his state.

        But there isn’t a clear chain of command to do the cashiering, all kinds of ego-driven narcissists splinter off with their own little factions. That’s one reason the battle between Pelosi and AOC is so important.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          “The most acid tongued and violent radicals get all the attention and accolades from an ever-dwindling but increasingly devoted group of violent followers. ”

          Mm Hmm.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Yeah it’s actually a pretty good analysis. Of course the right has been utterly consumed by that same phenomenon but that isn’t a reason to be wary of it on the left.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              There would be exact parallels to it on the far right among various neo-nazis, skin-heads, KKK members, Aryan Nations types, and strange people who build compounds in Idaho. Plus drug gangs and such.

              It’s similar to primitive war parties deciding who will be war chief. They’ve got no real credentialed social structure and few have actual careers, so figuring how who’s in charge is similar to the age-old metric of “Who is the boldest fighter?” But whereas all the tribe’s hunters were stuck in the tribe no matter who was picked, tiny self-selected groups in a vastly larger community can easily dwindle away to nothing.

              Anyway, there was a former Antifa member who finally crawled away from the movement after a series of epiphanies and bad encounters, and he called into a Youtube show hosted by Stefan Molyneux, who is a philosopher. Their discussion went on for an hour twenty minutes.


              He details the crazy things that he went through as a total believer, along with deep background on what he thought and why, digging into Marx, Bikunin, and other writers.

              It is a fascinating interview.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Oh no, but using the far right is deflecting. The stuff you’re talking about devoured the middle right. The middle right establishment thought they could harness their crazies in the 90’s, in the end their crazies ended up shredding them. The big sellout in the aughts were followed by the deranged purges and endless right wing primaries during Obama’s years and finally the great primal squall of Trump’s nomination and fingernail’s breadth win.

                As for Antifa? My contempt for their ilk is exceeded only by my contempt for their right wing counterparts. To hell with em.Report

  5. Avatar Ozzy! says:

    I would agree to this, with one addition:

    I think there is this great lie [wonks who care about thinking about thinking about that this is important] like to tell ourselves about elections in the United States and I think the media helps sell this lie…Report

  6. Avatar CJColucci says:

    I hate Trump and will gladly vote against him if the Democrats nominate a Republican. Chapter 9,642.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      We need you in the Harris thread to write this comment with “Chapter 9,643”, please.

      (Also, when we get to Biden, will that be Chapter 9,644 or was that one of the earlier chapters?)Report

      • Avatar CJColucci says:

        No, you don’t. I’ve read the Harris post. Tod said he would vote for Harris. He did not make his vote conditional on agreement to substantive policy demands that Harris become, in effect, a Republican. When we get to whoever is writing the Biden post, we will see whether it is the next chapter or not.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

      Boohoo. Please, please nominate a Progressive. Seriously. I’d love to put that experiment to rest for another decade.

      Most of the stuff moderates are looking for would be Obama 2.0. No one is asking for Ted Cruz.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci says:

        Most of the stuff moderates are looking for would be Obama 2.0. No one is asking for Ted Cruz.

        I’d be OK with Obama 2.0, and so would the vast majority of Democrats. But Obama 2.0, like Beto and any of the plausible Democratic candidates, would be as unacceptable to the people who are looking for The Right Kind of Democrat (TM) as Obama 1.0 was — another gun-grabbing, baby-killing socialist.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Michelle Obama 2020!

        I am Chip Daniels and I approve of this message.Report

  7. Avatar Fish says:

    Boy, I could really feel my hackles start to bristle (YEAH MY HACKLES BRISTLE SO THERE) when you started talking about reconciliation, but then I kept reading and…yeah. How refreshing would it be to not be throttled into the red all day, every day. It certainly has it’s appeal. Good post!Report

  8. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    As a fellow GenX’er I feel like I should have a strong reaction; but nah.

    Fortunately the comment thread alleviates any concern I might have had for not caring about Beto by helping me recognized I haven’t earned the right to care about Beto.Report