Pete Buttigieg’s High Hopes

Luis A. Mendez

Boricua. Florida Man. Theist. Husband. Writer. Critic. Oscar Predictor. Godzilla Fanboy. Member Of The Critics Association Of Central Florida And The Puerto Rico Critics Association

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97 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    Mayor Pete found himself in the unfortunate situation that if he was going to level up in elected office and not move, he had to jump all the way to going for the Presidency. For a state legislative seat, he would have had to primary the Democratic incumbents. His US House district is pretty solidly Republican. The statewide seats look even more solidly red. He’s done remarkably well, I think, given that he can’t even claim — as Bullock, who dropped out today, can — that he can win statewide in a red state.

    I still think he’ll eventually run into the “We’re going to run the mayor of South Bend, IN for President?” problem.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I still think he’ll eventually run into the “We’re going to run the mayor of South Bend, IN for President?” problem.

      This will quickly and efficiently be silenced as a topic of discussion by the “OH WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING TRUMP???” line of questioning.

      Sadly, it won’t resolve the problem… but it will silence the discussion.

      (I’m beginning to suspect that the requirement that journalists have a journalism degree from a sexy university has a lot (I mean a *LOT* a lot) of unintended consequences and Buttigeig’s coverage is one of them.)Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    He strikes me as one hell of a VP choice for someone like Harris, in a universe where Harris did not fail to launch.

    If it were Trump vs. Buttigeig at the top of the ticket, I’m not seeing Trump losing… I don’t even know who Buttigeig’s VP could be to change that (hey, is Lloyd Bentsen still alive?).Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      So if the Dems nominate a coastal liberal they’re doomed; and if they nominate a midwestern moderate they’re doomed. Guess they’re stuck with Yang eh? Fruitloops is the only hope.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Well, before this weekend, I would have said “Biden wins 2 out of the 3 states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania which means that Biden wins the election”.

        But now I’m seeing how journalists are covering his playful moment with his wife at a campaign stop in Iowa and thinking “damn…”


        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          You only just noticed the media has a major hate on for Joe Biden? The centrist media can barely contain their dislike and the further left you go the worse it gets. Left leaning media almost burns him in effigy.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            I’ve been noticing the minor hate-on for a while but thought it was merely the whole preference thing. The fact that it’s major is surprising to me and making me say “what the hell?”Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              Wow, yeah, you really are outside the left Jay me lad. Among the twitterati, the woketariate and the journalists the attitude towards Biden has ranged from exasperation that he’s running, to outrage that the Democratic electorate is so fond of him and most especially fury those three mentioned parties slings and arrows have generally bounced off his campaign with limited effect.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

          We-Hate-Creepy-Uncle-Joe Twitter certainly hated the nibble, but I didn’t see it go much beyond that myself, Jay:

      • Dark Matter in reply to North says:

        So if the Dems nominate a coastal liberal they’re doomed; and if they nominate a midwestern moderate they’re doomed.

        His platform includes support for reducing income inequality, pro-environmental policies, cooperation between the Democratic Party and organized labor, universal background checks for firearms purchases, the Equality Act, a public option for health insurance, and preserving the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) for children of illegal immigrants. Buttigieg also supports reforms that would end gerrymandering, overturn the Citizens United v. FEC decision, and abolish the Electoral College.[10][11] (wiki)

        Doing a deeper dive on his positions… expand the Supreme Court to 15 members, solidly pro-choice, Marshal plan for the black community, Green New Deal, pro-single payer.

        What is the difference between a “midwestern moderate” and a “coastal liberal” supposed to be?Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Dark Matter says:

          The teeth. And they tend to be over 15 hands high.Report

        • North in reply to Dark Matter says:

          Pro-religion, no immediate imposition of single payer, no elimination of the private healthcare industry, no gun confiscation, no legalizing border crossings etc. Yeesh, I could go on all day but you know this too.Report

          • CJColucci in reply to North says:

            That puts too much issue substance into it. The objection to coastal liberals is that they’re liberal and live on the coasts. Therefore, they aren’t Authentic Americans (TM). Period. The love for midwestern moderates is that they are midwestern. So whatever their actual policy positions, they are Authentic Americans (TM) and, therefore, cannot be liberal or coastal. If Mayor Pete were the Mayor not of South Bend, but of Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon, he would lose his Authentic American (TM) cred instantly, without changing his policy positions or sexuality. As a life-long New Yorker who has cheerfully voted for 5 midwesterners and 4 southerners in my 12 Presidential elections, I get tired of the regional bigotry.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

              “The average American” is one of those things that gets people to start screaming about definitions and whatnot.

              We *CAN* discuss the Median, Mean, and Modal American for certain categories.

              What’s the Median American Income? According to Google, it’s just a hair south of $60,000.

              And so, with knowing what the Median American Income is, read this tweet:

              So what’s the Mode? Again, according to Google, it’s either $0 or somewhere between $5000 and $9999. Okay. Maybe that’s not useful.

              What’s the Mean? Again, according to Google, the per capita is $48,150 and the household one is $72,641.

              So I think that that is part of the regional “bigotry”. (Is it bigotry if it’s bigoting up?)Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s all very interesting. To whom are you responding? What regional issue do you think you’re addressing?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                I suspect that the objection to coastal liberals is that they say stuff like… well, read AOC’s tweet again.

                And if you want to argue that we can’t really compare Coastal lifestyles and lifestyle costs to flyover, I’m sure that most would be down with that… if that sentiment also attended the sentiment that “maybe we shouldn’t have jurisdiction over each other”.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                Is AOC actually incorrect? In NYC, that would be the income of a middle-aged cop-schoolteacher couple. Most NYers are perfectly well aware that their NY salaries would go a lot further in, say, Akron or Bloomington — if they could get them in Akron or Bloomington. I’m quite sure that “flyover” people — by the way, I’ve never heard “flyover” used by coastal elites except to quote people who accuse them of despising flyover people — are smart enough to understand that. Any state, coastal or Real America (TM), with a city of any size has a similar dynamic between the metropolis and the exurbs and rural areas. Are you really suggesting that we carve up not only the country, but the individual states?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Are you really suggesting that we carve up not only the country, but the individual states?

                I’m really suggesting something like the 10th Amendment.

                (I don’t know if that’s more radical than carving up the individual states or whether it’s merely carving up the country, less radical, or equally radical.)Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                Maybe one of these days you’ll explain what you think the 10th Amendment does, your basis for thinking that it does what you think it does, and its relevance to the issue at hand. (There’s a fair amount of actual law on the topic.) Otherwise, it’s just name-dropping.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                “The average American” is one of those things that gets people to start screaming about definitions and whatnot.

                And screaming about it is akin to explaining a joke. Things like “average American” are simply political verbiage, no more factual than saying Moral Majority or Popular Vote. It doesn’t mean anything, but people sure get hot under the collar about it.Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to CJColucci says:

              The objection to coastal liberals is that they’re liberal and live on the coasts.

              I’d say it’s more of an urban vs rural/suburban thing although it probably comes from how easy transportation/trade is on the coasts because we see similar effects in other countries.

              Gun control makes sense in the context of behind every wall stands one of your neighbors and you have easy access to the police. Gun control makes no sense if you don’t have neighbors and the police are multiple hours away with dangerous animals around. The Coasts are expensive and a $15/hour min wage is chump change… but it might be a fine job is a place which is less expensive. A 55 mph speed limit makes more sense in NY than it does in Colorado. Animal rights. Agriculture. Access to public transportation. Access/exposure to other cultures. Access/exposure to other people, i.e. if my church kicks me out, how easy is it to find another church and how important is this?

              Throw in there a smug assurance that their way is correct because everyone they physically encounter is in the same situation. Everyone knows X is the correct way to view/think about something and all they have to do is point that out to the stupid people who haven’t thought about it yet. Then of course those stupid people who can’t possibly be right should just be made, via the power of the government, to do the right thing.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to North says:

            Pro-religion, no immediate imposition of single payer, no elimination of the private healthcare industry, no gun confiscation, no legalizing border crossings etc.

            RE: Pro-religion
            No, he is religious. He’s also opposed to everything the religious right is for.

            RE: no immediate imposition of single payer
            Out of the box he was indeed in favor of “immediate”. He’s softened that somewhat but whatever.

            RE: no gun confiscation
            “Voluntary buyback program”, “Universal background checks”, “gun licensing”. (politico).
            This is short of confiscation but it’s also the tools to enable confiscation.

            RE: no legalizing border crossings
            Untrue. He wants to repeal Section 1325, i.e. decriminalize crossing the border. (politico).

            RE: Education
            “Students shouldn’t have to take on debt”, “cancel some student debt”. Charter schools growth should be restricted. Boost teacher pay.

            He wants to “bring the troops home”.
            He supports legalization of weed.
            Federal min wage of $15 (which makes sense on the coasts but less so in Indiana).
            He supports nuclear power.

            The only daylight I see there is his support for nuclear power.

            Granted he’s WAY more moderate than Warren or Sanders, but both of them are burn-the-economy-down radicals I don’t consider serious candidates. If we exclude the loony fringe then Pete looks like a coastal liberal and not an Indiana moderate.Report

            • North in reply to Dark Matter says:

              Ahh ok, so Dark’s defintion of “moderate” is fealty to the religious right and the GOP’s current frothing deranged policy prescriptions (such as they are). Then yes, by that scale about 60% of the country and all Democratic party voters and politicians are non-moderate. I, of course, think that metric is utter bunk but eh…Report

  3. North says:

    There’s definitely no denying that Pete has a minority outreach challenge and it’s clear he’s aware of it and is trying to address it. Luis has a point, as well, that after Iowa and New Hampshire Pete faces a daunting challenge in Nevada and South Carolina. What I’m puzzling over is… so what?
    If Pete sweeps Iowa and New Hampshire and with his poll numbers being so bad in the following two states what will it matter if he loses them? Winning the first two will give him money, momentum and credibility; if he loses in the following two that merely means he won’t get many to any delegates from there. That doesn’t mean he’ll fold up shop and drop out. It just means he’ll shrug and move on to the Super Tuesday states. Big deal.
    That said, I think it’s over determined to make too many prognostications about Nevada and South Carolina. The African American base of the Democratic Party is extremely pragmatic; remember that they didn’t swing over towards Obama until AFTER he demonstrated his capabilities in Iowa.
    Still, if Pete crippled Bernie and Warren and turns this into a contest between two moderates that’ll be a remarkable service he’ll have rendered to the party regardless of whether he gets the final prize.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      “black guy from Chicago wins Iowa caucus” is a lot more convincing to minority voters than “White guy from Indiana wins Iowa Caucus.” Same if it is “Old Jewish, White enough guy from Vermont/Brooklyn wins New Hampshire.

      Suppose Bernie has another heart attack tomorrow and drops out? Where do his supporters go? Suppose Warren drops out after New Hampshire? Where do her supporters go? How about Harris and Booker?

      I honestly have not thought much about whom I would vote for if Warren drops out before the California primary. I suppose Mayor Pete. Maybe Bernie.Report

      • The issue Pete has: with Obama it was “wait and see” and then they saw and the move to him was immediate and sustained, carrying through to what was then thought of as an upset against HRC. Buttigieg’s problem with minorities is not that they are waiting and seeing, they are telling you right now they will not support him. Tough hill to climb.Report

        • North in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

          I think saying they won’t support him, period, is overstating the matter. The racial identity left won’t support him pretty much for sure but that’s maybe a couple tens of thousands of voters mostly packed onto the coasts where they don’t matter. The vast majority of minorities? Probably depends on the alternatives and how Pete does on outreach.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

            Serious question-
            Has there been any interviews with any real live black people about this?

            I saw that caustic commentary over at The Root, but other than that, most of what I’ve seen is white folks talking about black folks.

            And given how the media fails to understand actual white folks, I don’t have a lot of confidence in their reporting of what “black people want.”Report

            • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Well I know Pete has recently been to a Disciples of Christ church in SC to worship and then stayed after to take questions from the mixed race congregation. He seemed well enough received but the AA folks I usually see interviewed seem to be from the racial identity contingent. So I am not sure how to answer your question.
              I mean, if ya go off my husbands family who’re all “real live black people” then they have no idea who Pete is because they’re mostly focused on, ya know, life.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                Isn’t South Carolina one of those y’know, coastal states, not some place where Real Americans live?

                I’m teasing, but is there really a difference between “racial identity component” black people, and other black people?

                I ask because there seem to be a lot of essays and articles trying to portray some yawning divide between “woke” or “Coastal liberals” and “Real Americans in Flyover” and I just don’t see it.

                When it comes down to actual lived behavior and policy, Democrats in Los Angeles and Democrats in Milwaukee don’t seem too terribly different.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I wrote that comment before I noticed this in WaPo:


                “In a large-scale project called Nationscape that we’re conducting with our colleague Chris Tausanovitch at the University of California at Los Angeles, we have queried more than 6,000 voters weekly since July. Using these data, we find a surprising amount of agreement among Democrats on major policy issues. Contradicting the conventional wisdom, clearly defined ideological “lanes” don’t seem to exist in the minds of most voters.”Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I guess it’s not the right coastal states? I mean Texas and much of the Southeast is coastal but is spared the scorn that people heap on the east and west coasts.

                As for the racial identitarian left and the general AA community there’s definitely a gap. The identitarian left is waaay to the left of the general AA community (and that’s especially odd as a lot of the identitarian left is white).

                All that being say, really, it’s mostly tempest in a teapot. The reporters, the academics, the twitter users, us internet nerd, you could pitch the entire lot of us into the sea and you’d still have, what, 95% of the Democratic electorate sitting in the country wondering why things got so quiet? The rifts and great conflicts withing the Democratic party have always struck me as primarily inventions of a media desperate for parity between the deranged GOP and the Dems and desperate right wingers trying to paint the Dems as controlled by their overexuberant left wing as an excuse for supporting Trump.Report

              • InMD in reply to North says:

                My perception is that east coast for purposes of this discussion extends roughly from the area between Burlington, VT to Portland, ME at the northern point down to the research triangle in Raleigh-Durham, NC at its southern point. You could probably also figure in a proximity to I-95. The lines widens and narrows depending on exactly where you are but go far enough outside and eventually you’re talking (culturally anyway) about the South, Appalachia, or the Mid-West, but not really the east coast, at times even in the same state.Report

              • greginak in reply to North says:

                Yeah. I’m as i type this a about a half a mile from a coast. Elite baby Elite. But we are the Right kind of coast up here. Agreed that the intertoobz left is a small though loud part of the D coalition that gets immense play in the media to the bewilderment of the vast majority of D’s.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Real black people in South Bend are the origin of the Mayor Pete challenges. The main widely reported incidents (driven by Black folk) are:
                1. Police Chief Boykins
                2. Blight Program
                3. Tepid Approach to Black Community

                Here’s non MF’er links to Root Articles.

                What Would Black America Be Like Under President Pete? Ask South Bend

                “Pete Buttigieg Faces the Ire of Black South Bend Residents After Fatal Police Shooting”

                I couldn’t begin to say how exactly his South Bend policies translate to South Carolina politics, but his relations with the Black community start in South Bend and they are known quantities.

                From what I can infer, he isn’t seen as inimical to Black issues, just somewhat perfunctory and maybe a little bit indifferent. Like the priorities don’t quite line up with his main governing objectives.

                Clearly he’s aware of this and trying to work on it… but I’d say his current support from the Black community suggests they have other priorities too.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I mean, let’s be real here. Bernie is going to stay in until the convention and he has the money to do so; thus barring a heart attack he’s in for the long haul.
        Warren could lose both the early primaries and that’d be a devastating blow to her campaign but she also has the money to stick it out and I’d expect she will.
        Booker and Harris are a more open question. I mean, presumably, their voters go most likely to Biden since he’s a moderate as they are though they could also go to Pete or Amy (assuming she can survive to super Tuesday which is a big ? mark).

        And yes, I wouldn’t expect Pete to get a landslide change in support like Obama gained; but he could merit another look. Hard to say for sure they won’t.Report

    • Pinky in reply to North says:

      The question isn’t whether Buttigieg would need the delegates from Nevada and South Carolina. It’s whether his performances in Nevada and South Carolina would demonstrate that he has the ability to appeal to other races. I mean, it’s easy to see a path to the nomination without any Nevada or South Carolina support. But it’s impossible to get the nomination if people think you can’t win non-whites, or that non-whites won’t turn out in sufficient numbers for you to win the presidency.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    Biden is not doing well in Iowa and New Hampshire. As far as I can tell though, he is still the top candidate in states that are not called Iowa and New Hampshire. He is still the primary candidate among minority voters, most of the other candidates, including and maybe especially Mayor Pete have failed at reaching out to minority voters as much. This is a big mistake in trying to get the Democratic nomination for President.

    My basic takeaways are the same as they have always been:

    1. Trump’s victory in 2016 was a really chaotic fluke. The problem is that vey few people like making a concession that something happened because of random chaos. So all the Democratic factions can make plausible but not really arguments about what would have turned 2016 into a Democratic victory. Keep center, keep left.

    2. The large field creates a lot of flavors du jour for the media until the media gets bored because horserace coverage is easy and cheap, discussing policy differences is hard and expensive. This is Mayor Pete’s second time as the candidate in the spot light at least. He previously became a darling in the summer for his schoolboy Norwegian and the reason for learning Norwegian. This made him an anti-Trump balm. It still does.

    3. My candidate, Elizabeth Warren, had her moment in the spot light and seems to have taken hits, now she needs to recover. From what I heard, she plans on doing major TV spending in December-February, maybe this can help, maybe it will not. Warren’s core base is middle-class liberals with professional jobs. This group is significant in the Democratic party but not a majority. It will never be a majority. And they might be the only group that likes policy wonks as candidates. Her “I have a plan for it” could have been an early asset but long-term disadvantage. Maybe she went too far to the left with M4A. But she seems to get attacked by all sides, Biden and Klobuchar attack her from the right and the Sanders/Jacobin set attacks her from the left for being a “neoliberal capitalist.” In this, she is a lot like Zephyr Teachout and Cynthia Nixon, she performs well enough to make an established/centrist candidate have an embarrassing primary performance but not well enough to win the primary in an upset.

    4. Buttigieg seems to get a lot of support from older Boomers because he is a nice and clean cut young man. He is the candidate as favorite son or grandson.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      That is a really good break down of the situation, Saul. Very nice.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

        I don’t think Warren can recover. When the Clinton’s faced allegations of infidelity they had a heart-felt press conference and it catapulted them back into the race, but that was about a mistake, a personal oopsie, similar to a big reveal of Indian ancestry. Warren’s MFA plan, in contrast, was like having her magnum opus totally bomb at the box office, putting her in the position of either standing by it or telling voters to completely ignore her previous “great idea”, because her next great idea will finally get it right. But she made no moves to distance herself from it, and indeed doubled down and attacked other candidates who questioned it.

        Additionally, she’s ended up hectoring minority parents who favor charter schools, which have helped them get their kids out of failing environments so they’ll have a shot at a good future. That got really ugly in Atlanta, with Warren insisting that she’ll shut down such schools and move the money to public schools. The minority parents told her, from their own experience, that that was throwing money down a rat hole because the funding just lines bureaucrats’s pockets and doesn’t actually get to the kids. Warren again doubled down, completely intransigent, ignoring and dismissing what minorities say – right to their faces. This goes back to bad salesmanship, because she’s loudly telling them that she will take away something they love, and something their families and their future depends on. And she lied about sending her own son to private school, as if all the rest wasn’t quite bad enough.

        Several other candidates are basically in the same trap, having gone all out to stop charter schools or school choice, choosing the support of teachers unions over the support of minorities. With Trump getting 34% approval numbers from blacks, this is definitely the wrong time take positions that will be even less popular with minorities than anything Trump is doing, because unlike almost any other Republican, he is constantly working to win them over. The worst case for Democrats would be a repeat of West Virginia, where the wrong messenger goes in with the wrong message and insults everybody down to their core, and then Trump shows up to spread love and affirmation.

        I’m sure most believe that a flip could never possibly happen, but then ten years ago they’d have said the same about union coal miners holding mass pep-rallies for a Republican. Considering how utterly devastating such a flip would be, turning Democrats into a regional party that’s only viable in coastal states and college towns, it would be better to get swept in 2020 and come back in the midterms than write the party’s national epitaph as the world’s only party devoted to fighting white privilege – that’s made up entirely of privileged whites.

        To guard against such disastrous outcomes, there are all those state primaries that send delegates to the party convention, where they vote, as opposed to having a candidate chosen by billionaire donors, geriatric party heavyweights, and third-rate Ivy League legacies in a secret meeting room in Chappaqua.Report

    • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      great thoughts Saul. I really agree on Warren- she’s been knocked back on her heels but it remains to be seen if that means she’s out for the count. If she is then good riddance; if she can fight her way back then that’ll make her an asset to the party- I wish her well. He tacking to the right on M4A struck me as a sensible if belated move.Report

  5. Rufus F. says:

    I never really bought the argument that people have made to the effect that “Trump didn’t really want to win”. I always had the feeling that he *really* wanted to win, same as I do with this election. With Biden, it’s more like he’s willing to get the job done, if he does win. But, if not, that’s okay too. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s why I don’t really think he will beat Trump. Which sucks when you think about it.Report

  6. J_A says:

    I’ve said before that most of the opposition to Buttigieg I see or read about is summarized as “how dares the 37 y.o. major of fishing South Bend IN dare run for President.”

    I rarely see any analysis about his policy proposals, his campaigning style, his personality (and obvious intelligence), his ability to reach to the white working class in WS, MI, PA (which used to be deemed a critical issue until yesterday).

    Yes, being a Mayor is a relatively small job, but at least in an Executive branch job. But what makes us think that Bernie, Harris or Klobuchar’s Senate career gives them any relevant experience on managing a large bureaucracy or balancing budgets?

    Many people wonder why Buttigieg’s campaign was able to catch traction whereas those of other Midwestern moderates like Klobuchar or Bullock’s didn’t. I think those people haven’t taken the time to watch Mayor Pete’s stump campaigning, His IA or NH polls are built on having convinced a lot of people that were able to go past the “How dares he?” to give him an hour of their time. He is an extremely effective campaigner, particularly direct Q&As with the public. You can’t appreciate that in the sound bits format of the ten-candidates debates, but should work very well in the general.

    Lastly, about his minority outreach, he’s aware of it, and he’s really trying, but I don’t think anybody not called Biden is doing much better than him. Hopefully, A good placing in IA and NH would open some avenues for him to improve that outreach.Report

    • Philip H in reply to J_A says:

      i still think Biden’s minority outreach is as much a legacy as anything. the last good thing to come off Obama’s coattails. I’m not sure its really there, and given how everyone was so convinced that certain segments of the voting population were going to turn out for Clinton, I don’t think its a lock either.Report

    • North in reply to J_A says:

      All solid points and I have warm feelings for Pete (he’s my #2 choice) but he can’t in-person-campaign his way to the nomination. That works in the early states but the contest is going to get bigger and faster and broader the further into the nomination fight he goes.Report

      • J_A in reply to North says:

        I agree with you in general. I think Buttigieg’s path goes through Biden doing bad enough in IA and NH (3rd or 4th) that is raises the significant electability issues that should have risen before, that he can’t bring in neither the white working class votes nor the (white) suburban votes necessary to win in the Midwest/PA/OH/FL.

        If that happens, and Klobuchar (and Bloomberg) fails to launch, then I would expect a lot of eyes would be focused on Mayor Pete as last moderate standing. Many of those eyes will also be minority eyes.

        It’s a long shot, but not impossibly long. He’s halfway there, having already survived Beto, Harris, Castro, Gilibrand, and a lot of other also runs.Report

        • North in reply to J_A says:

          Yes, it is plausible- I wouldn’t go so far as to say likely (ffs I would have bet Biden would have crashed by now and yet he keeps ambling on) but it’s plausible.Report

          • J_A in reply to North says:

            J_A said, yesterday

            It’s a long shot, but not impossibly long. He’s halfway there, having already survived Beto, Harris, Castro, Gilibrand, and a lot of other also runs

            yesterday I meant that Harris had picked early, and long hold, the coveted 4th place, but day after day she dripped support until Buttigieg caught up, and then passed her on to secure the fourth spot in all polls (including SC).

            I wasn’t expecting that today I would be able to pat myself on the back. Kamala Harris has joined the also runs. Good news to Warren, and Klobuchar and Booker, the last two now vying for the fith place.Report

          • Brent F in reply to North says:

            Biden, by virtue of staying as far from the fray as possible, may have the most effective strategy of the major players in the nomination fight. The danger was if somebody united the anti-Biden vote behind them, but none of the field appears capable of that, particularly with Bernie holding a position that he can’t seem to expand from but no one can poach from him.

            IMO, The chattering classes have massively underrated Biden, to their detriment.Report

            • North in reply to Brent F says:

              God(ess?) bless deal ol’ Crazy Uncle Bernie.

              Biden’s strategy has been a sound one. Not something anyone else can replicate- ya have to be the front runner first, and it’s risky. But the way he rambles it’s probably best for his chances that he keeps out of it and quiet as much as possible.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “Chief Gallagher was turned in by members of his own SEAL platoon, who accused him of stabbing a captured and wounded teenage fighter repeatedly in the neck with a custom hunting knife in 2017. He was also charged with obstruction of justice for threatening to kill the SEALs who reported him.”

      For threatening to kill the SEALs who reported him.

      For threatening to kill.
      The SEALs who reported him.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Republican Party of 2019.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        And Gallagher was acquitted on all charges except for posing with a corpse. I’m pretty sure that even John Kerry posed with corpses. Heck, he’d return to scenes of various engagements with a movie camera and re-enact his kills. He later showed some of his home movies to Dana Delaney when they were on a date. She said it was creepy and didn’t go out with him again.

        The lead prosecutor handled the case so badly (even spying on journalists), that the judge removed him. The prosecutors granted immunity to the guy who actually killed the ISIS fighter, not bothering to ask beforehand if the guy had done the killing, so I don’t think they could even get him for perjury. It all just blew up in their faces.

        So Trump intervened, and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer got canned for bucking the chain of command, and MSNBC beclowned themselves by having a panel express their outrage that white supremacist Richard Spencer, who lead the Charlottesville rallies, was Secretary of the Navy, without pondering on the fact that if he was, they surely would have been screaming about it every day for the past two and a half years.

        I don’t know if Buttigieg ever weighed in on any aspect of the case.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to George Turner says:

          So, Gallagher got off on technicalities? Sounds about right. I’m glad we can finally agree on something. 🙂Report

          • George Turner in reply to Stillwater says:

            Yeah, like the technicality of not doing what he was accused of. Apparently he had philosophical differences with his subordinates about what they should be doing, in terms of playing it safe versus engaging the enemy, and so they had it in for him.

            One of the many things that the prosecutors got in trouble for was spying on the defense attorneys, hiding exculpatory evidence, intentionally tainting the jury, lying to Congress, etc. Here’s the 16 page complaint of prosecutorial misconduct (PDF).

            Viewed from outside, it might look like an out-of-control legal bureaucracy (the brass) is out to crush the people who are doing the fighting, perhaps to make a point or perhaps they were just drunk on power. In either case, Trump’s message to the service personnel is “I’ve got your back if a bunch of nitwits and ne’er-do-wells go after you.” He sacked the Secretary of the Navy, so he’s shown his willing to bust some heads to get these things straightened out when everybody starts falling back on CYA and procedures.

            More importantly, in the higher level dust up, he’s establishing that the military is completely subordinate to civilian authority. In his letter, former NavSec Spencer said that the SEAL Trident is wholly owned by the SEALs and the President can’t touch it. That is quite wrong. Our military branches don’t really “own” anything. They have what we give them, and if the President decides to give the SEALs to the Air Force, as Truman did with the US Army Air Corps, they’ll all go shopping for powder blue suits.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to George Turner says:

          SNBC beclowned themselves by having a panel express their outrage that white supremacist Richard Spencer, who lead the Charlottesville rallies, was Secretary of the Navy

          Are you sure about that? All I could find was reference to an incident in which they actually displayed a picture of the wrong Richard Spencer, and then corrected it by the end of the segment. None of the stories I found describing this incident mention anyone expressing outrage or even acknowledging it prior to the correction.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    I got into a rant at work and they told me that I should write it down somewhere so here it is.

    Trump runs as a populist and presidents as a populist but he hates his job and doesn’t really do it. He goes off and plays golf and gives speeches and campaigns for president… leaving the technocrats in charge to run shit.

    So the technocrats are happy and the populists are happy.

    The Democrats don’t have someone who can do similar. Bernie is a populist but he’s a populist who wants to do a populist’s job. Warren is a technocrat to the bone who is saying populist words but they weren’t made for her mouth. Biden is riding the central position between populist and technocrat and might be the closest thing to an anti-Trump they have and I think that that will be enough to win WI, MI, and PA, but opinions differ on that.

    But the dems don’t have someone who will make both the Populists and the Technocrats happy.

    The Republicans have Trump. Who will say “A” and the democrats will start screaming and sputtering and yelling “HOW DARE YOU!!!! B!!! B!!!!! B!!!!!” and that’s good enough for the populists on the right.Report

    • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      The right has gone all in on trump no matter how you dice up and label them. Well the R’s that have stayed R’s, the ones who have left the party aren’t coming back anytime soon.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t understand the use of these terms, “populist” and “technocrat” with regard to the Republican party or this administration.

      Who in the administration or party is a “populist”? Who can be called a “technocrat”?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        I don’t doubt that for a second.

        Who in the administration is a “populist”? Trump.

        Who can be called a “technocrat”? Well, there are legion. But why not start with McConnell?Report

        • J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

          McConnel is no technocrat, unless the definition of technocrat is “anything as long as not a populist”.

          I doubt there’s any technocrat in the Republican Party, since they’ve made a repudiation of expertise and, you know, technical knowledge, one of their key values. Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts is kind of a technocrat, but I doubt he would be welcome in the party today.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

            He’s someone who knows how the levers of power works and works them expertly and chooses others who work the levers of power similarly.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              McConnell isn’t a technocrat on any definition other than the one you just made up. He’s also not in Trump’s administration.

              Mulvaney’s claim to fame *was* as a technocrat. A policy wonk who knew how to reduce spending and balance budgets and so on. Back when conservatives cared about those things. Now he has a new role in Trump’s crime family. 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, Trump’s populist job is to say populist things and then run off and play golf. When I said “leaving the technocrats in charge to run shit”, I meant in, like, Congress and the Supreme Court as well. Not just people in the cabinet.

                Because the technocratic base (what remains of them) like Trump because of how his technocrats run shit when he is off playing golf.

                And his populist base like Trump because how loudly the opposition yells “B!” in response to Trump saying “A! Nobody is talking about this. We’ve got the best A.”Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird, it doesn’t take a technocrat to cut taxes for the wealthy. All it takes is sods like Ryan and McConnell to ram it through.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Wait ’till you see what the SCOTUS pulls off.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

          If Trump is a “populist” the word needs to be understood as “the desire to separate the populace into two classes, one which the law protects but does not bind, and one which the law binds but does not protect”, i.e., what some are calling Wilhoit’s law.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Well, run with that. Just don’t be surprised when others either haven’t heard your new definition or aren’t willing to agree with it.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              In what way does Trump not fit this definition?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The term “poopy-head” applies to Trump, more accurately than your definition of “populist” does. And like your definition of “populist”, it has nothing to do with populism.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                Is Warren a populist?
                Romney? Pence?

                What does it take to be a populist, aside from saying ” I’m a populist””?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m the wrong guy to ask, because I know that I have an unusual viewpoint on the subject. But I’ll try to answer for the standard view. Populism is found in its confidence in and support for the masses. It’s emotional. It opposes the perceived elitists and/or elites.

                If you’re familiar with the terms “high church” and “low church”, they do a pretty good job of defining elitism and populism.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                Yes that’s the common definition.

                Populism divides the populace into two groups, one favored as the People and one castigated as the Elite.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              Yeah, I have a hard time with calling Trump a “populist” as well. I mean, in 2016 it was perfectly appropriate, but by now the populace which he’s isting should have realized that he’s 99.44% pure bullshit. That it works now is more an indication of people’s anti-institutionalism than it is pro-Trumpsim. (Saying that I realize that a faction of Trumists in 2016 were anti-institutionalists as well as conceding that he was a perfect politician for that initial candidacy.)Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                The reason I asked is that I have come to realize that “populism”, regardless of how one defines it, is fundamentally in opposition with republican democracy and the rule of law.

                If an official claims to represent “The People”, the populi, then the obvious question is, who are those humans who are NOT “The people”?

                Martians? CHUDS?

                What rights or representation are the non-populi entitled to?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:


                Hrm. I might mean “institutionalist” when I say “technocrat”.

                And I might mean “anti-institutionalist” when I say “populist”.

                That might be a lot more accurate.Report

              • James K in reply to Stillwater says:

                You talk about Trump being full of crap as if that wasn’t a core characteristic of populists.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I never liked Wilhot’s law because if you spend time among liberal and leftist groups, it becomes obvious that many liberals and leftists have some groups that they sympathize with more than others and want to receive quite a bit more protection than others. It assumes a universality that doesn’t really exist.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        “Who in the administration or party is a “populist”? Who can be called a “technocrat””

        House Democrats return to Washington on Monday facing a difficult choice: Should they hand President Trump a victory in the midst of a heated impeachment battle or walk away from one of the most progressive trade pacts ever negotiated by either party?”

        “In borrowing from the Democrats’ playbook, [Ouch, that’s gotta sting a little bit] the revised pact reflects Mr. Trump’s populist trade approach — one that has blurred party lines and appealed to many of the blue-collar workers Democrats once counted among their base. It also reflects a broader backlash to more traditional free trade deals, which have been criticized for hollowing out American manufacturing and eliminating jobs.”

        Chief Negotiator, Robert Lightzinger

        I get the hand-wringing around “Populism is impossible to define” because its a bigger threat to the democratic coalition than some would like to admit … but its not that hard… the simple definition is left-leaning economics, right-leaning cultural politics. That’s a pretty broad vector, in fact, an entire quadrant if we only want to map on two simple axes. But, there’s political hay to be made in that quadrant and it has crossover appeal to some Democratic constituencies. So sure, I get the rhetorical posturing from the progressive left to paint all hint of that quadrant as some sort of inscrutable, mad, obscurantist populism… but that’s just the vulnerability talking.

        Since you asked.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Is there anyone outside of the Trump cult who believes that Donald Trump has any idea what is in the trade deal or had any input to its framing?Report

        • Pinky in reply to Marchmaine says:

          I agree with the formulation of left-leaning economics, right-leaning cultural politics, but not as a definition of populism. That’s more like the outcome of populism. Also, it ignores populist foreign policy, which can alternate between isolationism and aggression. And it’s worth noting that the “right” in most of Europe promotes what Americans would consider left-leaning economics, often moreso than the “left”.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Pinky says:

            Sure, there are lots of other Axes… Foreign Policy, Solidarity, Globalism, etc.

            That’s just a problem of trying to do politics by four quadrants.

            But, for simple starters on how to start looking at these things that are being promiscuously labeled “Populism” that’s a reasonable place to begin.Report

            • Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

              Populism and Technocratism are just the ends of the arc that a current political stance travels. A movement, left or right it doesn’t matter, starts with populism and as it gains traction with its ideas moves toward technocratism. When the two poles are at an equilibrium, that is when a movement is at its zenith. Think Clinton or Regan at their heights. Just knocking it out of the park.

              Obama started as a populist, demonizing the banksters and going on about health care, but was too quickly wrapped up in technocratism to hit that sweet spot. I am not sure were Trump will end up, but I do think the raw, burning hatred evinced by the anti-Trumpelos will inform it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

                But it was as recently as 2014 that the tension was between left and right and the interesting discussions involved the proper attitude toward libertarianism.

                It seems like forever ago.

                I agree that there is a new populist/technocrat dynamic shaking things up but the majority of the politicians in Warshington are still operating as if it’s left/right.

                To their detriment.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                Mmmm… I think the Populist vs. Technocrat has always been with us, it just wasn’t as stark a contrast as now. You can go back in history and watch much of this, from FDR to Teddy Roosevelt to Huey Long. It really doesn’t matter if it is progressives or traditionalists.*

                I blame the media and its drift leftwards. But a rightward drift would have done the same thing.

                *The two parties only exist to be in opposition to each other, and so are hardly worth watching on that level.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Aaron David says:

                I suppose it has but the last time it bubbled up was… Goldwater?

                And then WFB Jr. gave Republicans a nice respectable educated facade and the fight for the next fourish decades was whether you wanted smart and educated conservatives or smart and educated liberals/progressives to be in charge of things.

                We haven’t had a Stupid Party for a long time.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

                “But it was as recently as 2014 that the tension was between left and right and the interesting discussions involved the proper attitude toward libertarianism.”

                Was it, though? I mean, outside libertarian-leaning websites?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

                There was enough heat/light generated about gay marriage, legal pot, and the Evil Koch Brothers to make me say that there was.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Aaron David says:

                Fair enough as far as it goes… maybe the Populist *label* really is just the challenge to the status quo. But a challenge to the status quo from a vague sense of the bottom up rather than the top down.

                But this is still pretty bog standard from a political science point of view… bracketing all sorts of nonsense about “Deep State” stuff, institutional/bureaucratic ossification is a real sociological thing such that Technocrats can’t really break out of their Technocracy without the Ideological push… think Clinton or Reagan at their beginnings.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

                It is really just the dynamics of social orders. You could say much the same about religious groups or sailing clubs. You start with a few thoughts and along the way start someone starts writing down ideas that soon become rules and laws and so on.

                In the end, you have holy scriptures that are handed down from above and treated as the word of god. Meanwhile, a new prophet has come along, with some interesting ideas…Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Aaron David says:

                Well, we’ll have to part ways at anarcho-bureaucracies… I’m not on that bus.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Why come you no love the California ™?Report

              • George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

                You could describe populism as what happens whenever the leadership gets profoundly out of step with what most people are feeling, and they simmer for a while because major parties are all out in the weeds, and then someone figures out the disconnect and runs on it, immediately getting a ground swell of support that surprises the heck out of both establishment politicians and media figures.

                A study earlier this year found that the driver of populism in Europe was primary explained as a reaction to mass migration from the Middle East and Africa. Establishment politicians were all patting themselves on the back for being so magnanimous and caring, while ordinary folks were suddenly afraid to go near the downtown bus station because they didn’t want to be assaulted.

                Similar worries about illegal immigration was a big component of Trump’s populism, along with a disconnect among many (especially in the central US and the Rust Belt) that US trade deals were making coastal elites rich by selling our industry to the Chinese.

                Bernie and Warren were representing a younger populist demographic that was upset that their $50K in student debt for a non-Ivy League “____” studies degree was never going to pay off, capitalism was to blame, and socialism was the cure.

                Sometimes such movements build into revolutions because the public is really dissatisfied and the entrenched leadership, be it an oligarchy, a technocracy, a kleptocracy, or just really out-of-touch party officials, is extremely deaf or intransigent. An invariable consequence is that the elites dismiss the populists as ignorant rubes, and mindless mob, and a dangerously ignorant force.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      Comment with two links in moderation.Report

  8. Dark Matter says:

    Guys, I’m getting the below error message almost every time I post. Am I crashing the server or something? Posts too long, not well formed, something else?

    Bad Request
    Your browser sent a request that this server could not understand.
    Size of a request header field exceeds server limit.Report