Nobody Owes Elizabeth Warren a Thing

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar LTL FTC
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    Warren was destroyed by her loudest supporters, the middle-aged white women who took 2016 personally and felt owed the nomination for their avatar. The rest of us just didn’t care about making Rebecca Traister feel good about America again, or whatever.

    That kitchen table economics that made her so appealing in 2016 took second place to a bunch of culture war posturing and a smug “if we say ‘plan’ enough, they’ll have no choice but support us” attitude. That smugness radiated from her supporters, who thought it was just so painfully obvious who to support.

    There is an alternate scenario that has Warren running up the middle, as a technocrat-plus-some, a Mrs. Fix-It, instead of an intersectional grab bag campaign for President of Bluecheckistan.

    The worst part of all of this is that there are more than a few things to be learned from her failed campaign that won’t be learned because nebulous sexism is a get-out-of-responsibility-free card for the consultants and volunteers who failed her campaign. Same went for Harris.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LTL FTC
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      I’m not sure how much this hurt her, in the end. I thought it was a mistake precisely because it was a distraction from the breakfast table economics, but Bernie was himself taking up a lot of that lane so I’m really not sure it would have succeeded.

      It does seem notable that the final two candidates are the ones who worried the least about approaching minority voters with Cultural Studies Department protocols.Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        I think we can define a difference between Warren and Biden that Warren did outreach to activists, while Biden had long standing relationships with political machines and churches.

        One supposes that this is the difference between the politics you talk about on campus and the politics you do to win offices and hold power.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        I think the “b….b…but what about Black Womxn For?” response to the diversity question in the big NYT article about Warren’s lack of minority support tells the story.

        That anyone in her campaign thought that a list of 400 “womxn,” most of whom are unknowns, was a play to the wider black audience and not to highly educated middle aged white female psychodrama is a good sign of why the campaign failed.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Yeah, I also think that if Warren had been hard-nosed about the whole “woke” thing and talked about Two-Income Trap stuff and had taken the “I’m not going to give you a blood sample, you freaking vampires!” tack on defending her Native American Heritage, she’d have done better.

        As it is, she went woke… which meant that she had to go through a handful of purification rituals that mostly appealed to people who were going to vote Bernie anyway.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to LTL FTC
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      Yeah, for fish’s sake, she chased Bernie into the left wing swampland’s guided by her consultants and twitter and never truly escaped. It cost her pretty much everything. That wasn’t in any way related to her gender; she and her team simply fished up.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to North
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        says:

        Hillary logic says Bernie is a phenomenon of young white male jerks, whereas in fact it was a movement of the young. In ‘16, the predominance of older voters and a binary choice masked this.

        This fundamental misreading, based on the idea that your African-American mailman subscribes Critical Race Theory based on his blackness alone, made it seem like there was a gap in the hard-left lane where none existed. Thus, the massive miscalculation.

        Most of what remained were gender-first era and other assorted wokes, who make up half of twitter and most of the NYT editorial board but ~12% of the Democratic primary electorate.Report

  2. Avatar PD Shaw
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    says:

    Buried: “she had trouble expanding her coalition into minority terrain.”

    After the Breakfast Club interview in June where the host characterized her as “a white woman pretending to be black,” I predicted that she would “probably receive no primary delegates attributable to African-American votes.” That may not matter in the first few contests, but once South Carolina and Super Tuesday it was probably too late. I don’t think anybody has won the Democratic nomination since the realignment of the South without getting a majority of African-American voters, many of whom are Southerners.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to PD Shaw
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      That was always her biggest liability, and there was a real disconnect with her supporters on that point. Her path to the nomination basically involved winning Iowa and New Hampshire in all their white glory and then start attracting minority voters with her winning. I would respect her supporters wanting to do away with IA-NH privilege despite it hurting their candidate but I don’t think they put it together.

      Bernie had something of a similar path… win the whites and the rest will follow. He made inroads with the Hispanics, though, in a way that Warren never did.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
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    Polite answer: Warren is a technocrat whom thought the job to be consisted of pulling the right levers, levers that are right there for everyone to see, but somehow they miss them. But she was never insperational when the job requires truly inspiring people.

    In other words, a manager but not a leader.

    ********************************

    Impolitic answer: Warren is a grifter, who spun a lot of BS about a skill set that never existed, and got caught up in it. And when her lies started to become obvious she was shown the door.

    In other words, she started to believe her own BS, but no one else did.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      Just which skills do you think Warren claims but doesn’t have? I’m curious.

      I mean, was her law professorship a fake? All those degrees? Her expertise on financial affairs and instittutions? If so, why do you think so? Is it because someone on Wall Street said that she was a fake? Have you considered that such people might just be “talking their book”, which is to say, lying out their ass?

      Americans really kind of don’t like intellectuals, which I get. She tried to bridge that, but failed. You don’t know until you do it. But “skill set that never existed”? Where does that come from?

      It reminds me of a right-wing friend who described Obama as “the most incompetent person to ever hold the presidency”, which was downright puzzling. I mean, sure, you don’t like his policies because he’s more to the left, but incompetent? Frankly, he annoyed conservatives so much precisely because he was competent.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay
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        She taught legal writing (and was paid an unbelievably large sum to do so), which, according to my retired lawyer housemate, is by far the easiest and least demanding law course to teach, one that probably doesn’t even need a lawyer to teach it.

        Her scholarship drew lots of attention, but often because she reached surprising conclusions by using odd metrics that nobody else looks at. Very few of her results hold up under scrutiny. Basically, it’s the legal version of click-bait. “Most bankruptcies are caused by this surprising thing!”

        So that combines with her fake biography (In reality, she sent her kids to private school, didn’t have to drop out of school because she was pregnant, wasn’t a Native American, did use that status on official documents, etc) to paint a picture of someone who essentially faked her way to the top, and was trying to fake her way to the tip top.

        It’s not that she was an academic, it’s that she seemed to be one of those academics who game the university system, putting out shoddy click-bait papers and running an intersectional snow-job on the administrators to get ahead of her far more rigorous and politically naive competition.

        I worked for a manager like that at a university hospital. He read books by LBJ and Stalin on how to win at political trench warfare, so he would know how to edge ahead of other managers at promotion time. Doing the job he had was completely secondary to positioning himself to move on up the ladder, and he viewed other administrators as the competition, rivals to be undercut or sidelined.

        The Peter principle applies, and such people often end up at the top with the wrong set of skills because they essentially faked their way into the powerful job they hold. Their core skill is faking things. Thus, when they have to make important decision or release in-depth reports, the results are often embarrassing. The policies are absurd or the numbers don’t add up because they’re just saying what they think you want to hear, and hoping you won’t dig into the details if you agree with the broad conclusions.

        One of the more obvious give-aways or warning signs to look for is that their solution seems too good to be true. “We can all have universal health care by simply taxing Matt Damon!” If there was an easy solution to an intractable or difficult problem, one that your team has wanted to solve for many decades, and the solution is so easy, why didn’t _____ [… insert anyone from a long list of prominent politicians you support… ] already do it?

        So for quite a few people, Elizabeth Warren is to a real-life policy wonk what Bill Nye the Science Guy is to science. It’s someone pretending to be an expert, not an actual expert.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Doctor Jay
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        Economic knowledge. The whole medical bankruptcy thing has been challenged quite bit, and if you look up the bankruptcy statistics for the US during the time she talks about, they do not reflect what she says.

        What’s left out here? That in 2001, 1.45 million households filed for bankruptcy. In 2007, that number was 727,167. Had their paper done the basic arithmetic, readers would easily have seen that their own numbers imply a decrease in medical bankruptcies, from about 750,000 to slightly over 500,000. Yet their paper does not merely ignore this fact; it uses language that seems deliberately designed to conceal it. I invite any of my readers to scan the paper for any hint that medical bankruptcies had fallen significantly over 6 years.

        This is elementary social science. A huge change in the composition of your sample needs to be noted. It certainly should not be artfully disguised. If the 2005 bankruptcy form made it more difficult to file bankruptcy, the people who still file bankruptcy will largely be those who are forced to it by events totally beyond their control. Medical bankruptcies seem to fill that bill.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/06/elizabeth-warren-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-utterly-misleading-bankruptcy-study/18826/

        An article in the New England Journal of Medicine this spring convincingly argued that Warren’s estimates were seriously exaggerated due to faulty research methods. I’ll briefly summarize that critique. But more importantly, I’ll explain why even revised bankruptcy estimates still overstate the contribution of healthcare costs to American bankruptcy rates.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2018/10/03/medical-bankruptcy-its-much-less-common-than-elizabeth-warren-tells-you/#1e2a8e71fb2a (this one has a nice link to said New England Journal of Medicine)

        Nothing to do with Wall Street, just people doing their job. Which is looking into stuff like this. If anyone is “taking their book”, it is her.

        Personally, I like intellectuals. I live in a college town, my wife is a university employee (deputy director), I am the son, nephew, grand nephew and great-grandson of professors (among others). I know them. Warren does have one trait of many intellectuals, and that is arrogance. Americans don’t like intellectuals do too a nasty habit of assuming that just because the know a metric shit-ton about one field, they are qualified to make decisions on all fields. Field that they haven’t spent a lifetime working on, but rather, fields they know nothing about.Report

  4. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    I supported Warren. I am not a woman. So I am maybe not really so angry as I am puzzled. Many of the explanations offered have pretty easy rebuttals.

    The thing that puzzles me is that, unlike any other candidate, Warren showed a strong upward trendline in support for the better part of a year. It then peaked right at a time when many in the financial sector, for instance, were getting very nervous and started talking her down.

    The trendline reversed direction at that point and stayed steady on a downward slope. None of the narratives about her supposed failures really explains this. Maybe there is no explanation. Maybe this is like the polling lines for many of the also rans in the 2016 R primary. There is a surge of interest, but it doesn’t survive scrutiny.

    I think she is an outstanding Senator, and will continue to shine in that role. She couldn’t find the way to bridge to people despite her intellect, which many find off-putting, the way Barack Obama could. I thought the town hall woodshedding she did would help, but I guess it wasn’t enough.

    For what it’s worth, I predict that when America does elect a woman president, the woman will be conservative, just like Britains two female PMs have been conservative. It’s reassuring to the public that way. Nikki Haley might be the one, or someone like her, though probably not Collins or Murkowski.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Likewise, I am disappointed but not angry.

      And likewise, almost all the reasons given for why Warren didn’t do better could easily be applied to other candidates who did much better.
      And I hear a lot of her qualities which are described as detriments, described as attributes when they are given to men.

      She is described for example as demonstrating “Smug superiority” ; But of course, the man who won the Presidency spends every speech by telling everyone how smart and wonderful he is;

      She is described as having a “schoolmarmish, hectoring” style; But the winning candidate last time loves to bully and scold people, its his most attractive trait apparently.

      She is supposed to have an aura of white privilege, a product of Harvard; Yet the current President won election by bragging about how rich he is.

      Is this all sexism? I don’t know, probably to some degree. Because what we hear from women constantly is how societal norms require them to be deferential and smiling and pleasant, no matter how powerful their position.

      Or maybe some of it, a larger portion, is just that whatever qualities she had, the voters weren’t looking for in this election.

      As Charles Pierce puts it, maybe the Democrats are just looking, not for a revolution and structural change, but a return to a time when we didn’t have to brace ourselves with a good stiff drink before turning on the evening news, a time when the President was a boring old man we didn’t have to fear.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        She is supposed to have an aura of white privilege, a product of Harvard; Yet the current President won election by bragging about how rich he is.

        Was she trying to appeal to Trump Voter Types in the Democratic Primary?Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          No, but I notice that the people who like the President because of his smug superiority somehow find smug superiority a detriment elsewhere.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            So you think that Warren would have done a good job of appealing to Trump voters because she was better at smug superiority than he is?

            Jesus Christ.

            Trump is going to be president forever.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Its this sort of attitude that gets us President Biden.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If you want President Biden, you’re going to have to help come up with a narrative that will impress people to go out and vote *FOR* Biden.

                “I’m excited to vote for Biden because…”

                And then finish the paragraph.

                If you’re relying on the “will crawl across broken glass to vote against Trump” vote, that’ll give you most of the states that Clinton won.

                You want to get the rest of them and a couple that Trump won?

                You’re going to need several sentences that don’t mention Trump at all.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Holy cow. I found an example of what I’m talking about from a celebrity, of all people.

                Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Is she sure African Americans have always been the soul of the Democratic party? Somehow I think Jefferson Davis would disagree, as would a further century’s worth of the party leaders, some of whom Joe got along with quite well even though they were staunch segregationists.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                George, while I do believe that the African-American vote is likely to swing back to, at least, 80/20 in my lifetime, the way it’s going to do that is through underhanded means such as pointing out that Latinx voters are so much more important than Black voters than principled people pointing out that Democrats were pretty racist 150 years ago.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You say this with such confidence!

                Against all available evidence showing that if the election were today, we would have President Biden, nevertheless you offer us your earnest prescription to avoid political disaster.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yes, I say it with such confidence.

                If you run on “Trump Is Bad!” then Biden will be Yet Another Freaking Northeastern Liberal Who Loses To The Establishment Republican.

                If, however, you run on a positive message?

                You have a shot to beat him.

                And I am as confident in this as I was in 2016.

                How would you compare your current uncertainty to 2016?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                What makes you think Biden isn’t running on a positive message? Isn’t his message one of restoring dignity and decency?

                And don’t we have testimony right here on this blog of people who “reluctantly” voted for Trump because the other candidate was unlikeable?

                In other words, isn’t there plenty of evidence in history that running as the Not The Other Guy is in fact a winning strategy?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What makes you think Biden isn’t running on a positive message?

                Primarily, because when you and I have discussed enthusiasm in the past, it’s been to discuss the “crawl over broken glass to vote against Trump” vote.

                And because when I started the “I’m excited to vote for Biden because…” prompt, it got a response about how that’s not important rather than an immediate quick list.

                Now I’m not saying that Trump is going to win. I know that there’s no way in a billion years that we can make the slightest predictions about November quite yet… God only knows what events will conspire to KILL US ALL at the end of March… but I am saying that there are a number of things that have to happen to make me think that Biden has a shot.

                And one of them is that people campaign *FOR* Biden rather than against Trump.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                and…again, I remember 2004, and people explaining that all Kerry needed to do was Not Be Bush and that he would definitely win because people haaaaaaated George W Bush, and then Kerry didn’t win.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What makes you think Biden isn’t running on a positive message?

                haw. “I’m positive that I’m not Donald Trump!” isn’t what we mean, here.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
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                By electing Joe Biden to the Presidency, once again Jesus Christ and Santa Claus will be welcome in the Oval Office.

                Joe will restore decency and morality to America, and once again people will be proud to say “I love America and all it stands for!” and our nation will truly be Great Again.

                Joe Biden is the sort of guy you’d like to have a beer with, and if there is a fire, Joe is the one saying “Hey, where’s little Billy” and would rush into the burning building to return, carrying the child in his arms.

                I know that some people may scoff at this, but that just shows how out of touch they are with the common people who propelled Joe Biden to such spectacular victories.

                Biden people are the quiet people, the the workaday people who didn’t go to college and don’t read Sartre, but who know the ordinary values that coastal elitists lack, the Silent Majority that the nattering nabobs of negativity sneer at, but who are the heart and soul of America.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Is Biden more representative of this Silent Majority than Clinton was?

                What makes him a better spokesperson than Hillary Clinton?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I guess the sarcasm tag wasn’t working.

                What I wrote was a mashup of Federalist Trumpist nonsense, together with Peggy Noonanisms from the Bush and Reagan eras, with some William Safire/ Nixonian at the end.

                In other words, all the political cliches and tropes that were spouted by Republican spinmeisters and reliably transcribed into the media and history books could just as easily be written about Joe Biden.

                Because they are all just spin and wordsmithing to begin with.

                There isn’t, and never was any Silent Majority;

                There isn’t any Heartland where people possess superior moral traits or civic virtue.

                By the same token, there isn’t some sleeping giant of Proletarian sentiment that will awaken to power the People’s Revolution.

                And there isn’t some set of objective metrics by which canny pundits can look and predict how the horserace will be run.

                Will Biden assemble a coalition powerful enough to defeat Trump?

                Maybe! Possibly! The signs look good right now but things are fluid and changing; Look how fast they’ve changed just in the past couple weeks.

                I’m kind of in agreement with Martin Longman over at Washington Monthly who writes that the race is actually much more volatile than the polls show and that public sentiment can shift remarkably fast.

                He notes that both Biden and Bernie perform about as well against Trump, even though they draw support from very different sources.

                Meaning that there isn’t some magic formula that can assure electoral success or failure.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Your statements might have been sarcastic, but my questions very much were not. Let me change the wording a hair:

                Is Biden more representative of the country than Clinton was?

                What makes him a better spokesperson than Hillary Clinton?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You’re asking a guy who thought Warren was the perfect candidate to defeat Trump, about who is more representative of the country?

                How would Chip, or you, or anyone go about answering that question in a way that isn’t just a reflection of our own biases and wishes?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yeah.

                I’m having trouble coming up with arguments about why Biden beats Trump too.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                If arguments won elections, President Jeb! would be a reality.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                See also: Hillary Clinton.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                How about state-by-state polling? From a recent L.A. Times piece, behind a paywall:

                Biden polls ahead of Clinton’s electoral margin in each of the 26 states for which polls are available, except for New Mexico, New York, and California, which are all blue enough that his relative performance wouldn’t cost any electoral votes. Meanwhile, Sanders polls worse than Clinton’s electoral performance in four states, including a disadvantage in Delaware large enough to put the state in play for Trump.

                Particularly crucial are states that swing to Republicans (in the lower-right) and states that swing to Democrats (in the upper-left). Both of the leading Democrats left in the race are projected to win all of the states that Clinton captured in 2016.

                Current polling suggests that Biden is expected to flip eight states blue (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona) and Sanders would flip six (Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Florida).

                To determine the expected electoral college votes for each candidate, we use reported poll means and standard deviations to determine the probability that each candidate would win the state’s electoral votes based on that poll. We then calculated the average likelihood that each candidate would win a given state, weighting by the number of days since the start of 2019 (in order to give recent polls more importance). Having calculated the expected probability of winning each state, we determined the expected number of electoral votes a candidate would receive from each state with polling data. (Since all of the states without polling data are considered either safely Republican or safely Democrat, we assume that their electoral votes will go to the party that won the state in 2016.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                Polling? Now those are hard numbers!

                Yeah, looking at those, I can see Biden/Sanders flipping states.

                That main thing that *I* would, personally, worry about is being able to figure out whether Clinton made any mistakes with the states in question and, if so, avoid them.

                If, of course, she didn’t make any mistakes and it’s sexist to imply she did, I’d wonder if we weren’t lying to ourselves.

                But them polling better than she did is a better sign than them polling better than Trump.

                At least at this point in the process.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                That main thing that *I* would, personally, worry about is being able to figure out whether Clinton made any mistakes with the states in question and, if so, avoid them.

                If, of course, she didn’t make any mistakes and it’s sexist to imply she did, I’d wonder if we weren’t lying to ourselves.

                You can, personally, worry about anything that floats your boat or confirms your priors. Any 2016 Hillary mistakes that an amateur can figure out have probably already been factored into the 2020 campaign plans. And the professionals would be fools to talk about that for public consumption. This time around, the candidate will make his own mistakes, not repeat hers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Well, if we don’t even know if Clinton made any mistakes in 2016, will we be able to recognize whether any of the 2020 candidates are making mistakes?

                I mean, is that something that only “professionals” (like Mark Penn?) are able to suss out?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Who, exactly, says “we don’t know if Clinton made any mistakes in 2016,” or that Clinton didn’t make any mistakes in 2016, or that nobody talked about Clinton’s mistakes? I heard plenty of griping about mistakes Clinton made in 2016. I griped about some of them myself. All campaigns make mistakes, though nobody talks about them if you win, only if you lose. But what with everything else that was going on in 2016– Comey, e-mails, Russia, etc. — ordinary discussion of ordinary mistakes stuck out less. There’s only so much oxygen, and the really weird stuff took up a lot of what would ordinarily go to the losing candidate’s mistakes.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                In the days immediately following the election, I managed to get two mistakes mentioned from the Clinton partisans on the board:

                1. Not campaigning in Wisconsin at all.
                2. Not running candidates in a handful of downballot unopposed elections that she won.

                That’s it. Want me to dig up the comments?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                The world is a bigger place than this blog. If all you’re saying is that on this blog there was less attention given to the topic of Hillary’s mistakes than you wanted, well, fine. That’s a statement about what they found interesting to talk about and how that didn’t match what you wanted to hear. If anyone finds that interesting, they can have at it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                Yeah, but I kinda see this blog as a petri dish containing the future.

                If the people here are unwilling to look at Clinton and see any obvious mistakes, I see that as representative of future liberalism.

                If, for example, the response to something like “Clinton shouldn’t have said that she was putting coal miners out of business” remains something like “SO YOU’RE SAYING SHE SHOULD HAVE *LIED*?!?!?” even in 2020, even if it’s on this blog, that tells me that Liberalism-in-general has a problem with looking at the problems that they used to have… which tells me that I shouldn’t have a whole lotta hope that they will have any skill when it comes to course correction in the immediate future.

                Now if you don’t believe that this blog is representative of anything larger, that’s cool.

                That’s the perspective that I’m looking at it from, though.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                As I said, anyone who finds that interesting can have at it. We’ll see who has at it.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What I think a lot of modern progressives don’t understand or really like about Biden is that he is an old-school Irish retail politician that they don’t make anymore. As a fellow LGM commentator pointed out, he is the type of avuncular politician that is filled with mildly amusing anecdotes and asks you about yourself, spouse, and kids.

                I think Trump is afraid of Biden because of Biden’s old school retail nature. He just radiates decency to most ordinary voters, the Grand Old Man type of politician.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
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                Maybe I’m an outlier, but I have no unpleasant feelings towards Biden, other than he seems to miss the radical nature of what we are up against.

                But then again, maybe that’s precisely his strength, that instead of fighting Trump on the bitter terrain of insult he fights on his own turf of decency where he has the advantage.

                It reminds me a bit of the Reagan/ Carter fight, where Carter could win on the wonkish policy grounds, but then was vulnerable to Reagan getting a twinkle in his eye and telling a heartwarming anecdote that made everybody forget what was being talked about.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq
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                Go to any Knights of Columbus fish fry, county fair, or 4th of July parade and Joe Biden is there. Whether that can win in an election like this I have no idea.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq
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                But that’s going to be an easy image to shatter, because we also have “Angry Biden” and a son who knocked up a stripper while cheating on his dead brother’s wife. That’s aside from the way Biden made himself and his family extremely rich with what appears to be political favors, bribes, and kickbacks.

                Hunter, the alcoholic with party girl problems, was the vice president of a major bank (that donated to his dad) when he was 28. He was vice chairman of the Amtrak board of directors at 36. This is long after he’d been thrown out of the coast guard for being a coke head.

                Notice that Trump has been pretty quiet about all that for a while now. He doesn’t want to eliminate Biden before Biden secures the nomination. Then Trump will blast him with a fire hose and that will be that.

                The other candidates could have easily eviscerated Biden on these points during the debates, but they knew they’d be accused of being Russian operatives or “repeating GOP talking points.” The party’s own purity tests have destroyed the party’s ability to properly test its own candidates to filter out the ones that will crash and burn like Gary Hart, Mondale, or Dukakis. The other leg of that stool that’s broken is the media, which upon become leaders of the “resistance” stopped doing their job of asking tough questions to weed out the weak links. They’re all too concerned with not getting invited to the right cocktail parties.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                Every accusation is a confession, part the infinity.

                “Trump’s Plan to ‘Help’ Black America Is a Corrupt Scam to Enrich His Family”
                https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/trumps-win-for-black-people-is-scam-to-enrich-his-family.htmlReport

              • Avatar The question in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I mean 2004 is just sitting right there man. And I think Biden is going to have a worse time campaigning than Hillary because Biden appears to have seriously degraded as far as like candidate presentation in the last 8 years. I mean he’s out here daily just making the kind of senior moment mistakes that should be unacceptable in a person we’re giving the nuclear controls to.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to The question
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                says:

                2004 is right there.
                2016 is right there, right next to it.

                While I would be willing to be persuaded that this is completely different from those two elections, I would require persuasion because, from here, I’m having a lot of déjà vu.

                And the people who are telling me I’m wrong are sounding exactly like they did in 2004 and 2016.Report

              • Avatar Brent F in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Objectively, they should be terrified its 2004 or 2016 again.

                Realistically the reasons they are facing a 2004 or 2016 were determined years ago so they have to soldier on regardless. Obama is no longer eligible for the job and they didn’t build a new one.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brent F
                Ignored
                says:

                Demographic change, my man. Maybe Trump will win in 2020 but Republicans will never win another election after that.Report

              • Avatar Brent F in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Republicans should draft Yang in 2024.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brent F
                Ignored
                says:

                Trump is an indication that the Republicans have already been hollowed out.

                This year’s crop of candidates has me wondering, seriously, what happened?

                The best argument for Biden that I’ve seen is that he’s an obvious one-term president who will just press “pause” for 4 years while the country’s demographics finally shift.

                Which is a strong argument for Biden, don’t get me wrong, but I can see it not being a particularly appealing message to people who aren’t as crazy as me.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Brent F
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                says:

                I think the D’s are going to be looking for a savior for a while. Look at it this way. Obama was charismatic to the Nth degree, much like Kennedy or Regan.* A once in a generation campaigner. Just lights up a room, hits all the high notes, makes all the average joes feel proud.**

                And then something has to come after. So the people who got in line with this guy are starting to look for the next superstar, but there isn’t one. Because that is a once in a generation thing. You can’t fake it, because it is genuine. They exude charm and sincerity and warmth.

                So the team starts looking to recreate that, missing that it isn’t something that can be created. It just is. And in attempting to create it, they manufacture a simulacrum, but now you are in the uncanny valley. No one believes in this fake, this imposter. It is always trying to hard. For an example, look at Beto.

                It has to happen naturally. And any chance of one coming up lately was killed by HRC in her forcing the Dems into puting her up for pres.

                *just ignore the politics for a moment.

                ** none of these things have anything to do with being a good manager. They are the marks of being an inspiring leader. These are two totally different things.Report

              • Avatar Brent F in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                I have a running theory that two candidates running close against each other when the loser has insitutional support such that one has to promise they’ll get their turn after you are done does bad things to a party.

                Chretien/Martin Liberals in Canada.
                Blair/Brown Labour in the UK
                Obama/H. Clinton in the US

                all followed this pattern. The loser’s loyalists sit out the winner’s regime in the party apparatus because they can’t be trusted in government and because their job is to secure the succession. This creates an institution dedicated to ensuring their guy gets their turn in office and not much interested in preparing for the future. Particularly in candidate recruitment, you don’t want to breed rivals.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Brent F
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                says:

                I can agree to this.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        As Charles Pierce puts it, maybe the Democrats are just looking, not for a revolution and structural change, but a return to a time

        No, that’s not it. Democrats are resigned to the fact – the political reality – that Joe! is the best The Party can do.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          The Democrats are resigned to the fact that Democrats like Joe Biden?

          The Democrats somehow reviewed a dozen other candidates, decided they liked Joe, and somehow…they are sadly resigned to this fact?

          Isn’t it possible that millions and millions of Democrats actually like Joe Biden, and are enthused about the idea of him being President? Millions more than say, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            “Isn’t it possible that” isn’t a good rebuttal.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              I also find it incomprehensible that tens of millions of my fellow Democrats prefer Biden as their top choice.

              But it isn’t a good idea to write off their choices as some false consciousness or corruption or whatever else.

              These are smart, engaged people who for whatever reasons are making different choices than you and I would.

              And we aren’t a party of nativist or ethnic or exclusion or ideological purity; By definition we’re the party of coalition and compromise.

              Biden wasn’t foisted on us by some secret cabal; Your fellow Democrats, by the millions, picked him out of the crab bucket from a dozen others.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And that’s why you’re going to be stuck with a crab. You should’ve dipped into the lobster bucket or something.

                About 10 to 20% of Democrats preferred Michael Bloomberg to Joe Biden. That does say something about how enthused people are for him, as there are plenty of reasons to think he’s not up to the job, and not very good under the spotlight. He was a gaffe machine even in his prime, and his prime is long over.

                Now the contest has come down to two old men with a long history of racism and sexism – and a cute Polynesian girl who is the incarnation of JFK. So of course the Democrats suddenly changed the rules for the next debate to keep her off stage (She placed second in a primary and thus should qualify). Some might say that the usual white folks are back to rigging the primaries.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “But it isn’t a good idea to write off their choices as some false consciousness or corruption or whatever else. These are smart, engaged people who for whatever reasons are making different choices than you and I would.”

                I’m curious, would you say the same of Republicans or is your benefit of the doubt limited to fellow Democrats?

                “And we aren’t a party of nativist or ethnic or exclusion or ideological purity; By definition we’re the party of coalition and compromise.”

                I think you forgot the sarcasm tags on that sentence. I’ll readily admit that this was debatably true back in say, Bill Clinton’s tenure and Reps did pretty much everything they could to avoid compromise with Obama so it’s hard to judge in his term, but the #Resistance pretty much kills the claim that Dems are still the Party of Compromise. The prevalence of attacks on white guilt/privileged/”whiteness”/etc and broad brush insults about “irredeemable deplorables” and “bitter clingers” aren’t an indication of big tent coalition either but rather adversarial exclusion. Then you look at many of the rich/powerful Democrat men taken down by old and/or unsubstantiated #MeToo allegations or just plain saying the wrong thing somewhere sometime in the last 50 years…yeah, yours is now the Party of Ideological Purity tests. You might agree that those tests are justified, but it’s absurd to deny they exist. Even just on strictly policy positions, notice the attempted purges of Pro-Life Democrats from the party. Then take a look at the attempts to push “demographic diversity” in party leadership (and pretty much everywhere else too)…yours is most definitely the party of ethnic politics. About the only thing you aren’t is “nativist”, but Dems aren’t about equality either, they’re now “anti-nativist” privileging non-citizens over native citizens, which is frankly worse than being nativist. Even their own campaign strategies demonstrate this, the last several elections the Dem focus has been almost exclusively on turning out the base, not making a play to expand the base with moderates or swing voters.

                “Biden wasn’t foisted on us by some secret cabal; ”

                Yes and no, it does seem a given that a lot of dealing behind the scenes must have been done to coordinate Bloomburg, Klobacher, and Buttigeg all dropping out and endorsing Biden just in time for Super Tuesday without any prior indications they planned to do so. It wasn’t the millions of voters who told them to do that, so this looks like more of a “little of column A, little of column B” situation than a clear cut case of “The voters chose”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                Yes, Republicans are smart and engaged and making different choices than me.
                So are Communists, Nazis, and every other politically engaged people. Sometimes the choices people make are awful.

                Coalitions are built on compromise, but as with all things, there are boundaries to what is possible.

                Basic human rights and dignity are examples of the boundaries.

                However different the agendas of the various constituencies of the Democrats may be, respect for each other’s humanity and dignity are not open for discussion or compromise.

                I really don’t know what you mean by us being “anti-nativist”; you’d have to give me some examples.

                And if you don’t think the Democratic Party has moderates, you haven’t looked at places like California, where the entire state is controlled by Democrats, and yet is very moderate.

                But of course, “moderate” is in the eye of the beholder since most of the policy preferences of the Democrats are popular, even with Republicans.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “And if you don’t think the Democratic Party has moderates, you haven’t looked at places like California, where the entire state is controlled by Democrats, and yet is very moderate.”

                I know this isn’t your first point but I have to start here because it’s the most shocking to me. I grew up in California, it is still officially my home state, and I am old enough to actually remember when “Berzerkly” Leftism was a quaint subculture we politely humored like a crazy uncle at Thanksgiving, not the sort of thing you’d hear from prominent politicians or pushed into law. California has been bleeding moderates and conservatives (there was such a thing as conservative democrats once upon a time) to other states for years now, it’s so bad that it’s entirely reliant on immigration just to avoid net population shrinkage from all the out-migration. Cali isn’t “moderate” in any political sense, it’s just big enough that the crazy moves through the system slower than in tiny east coast states and rich enough off the tech boom and Hollywood cultural dominance to mask much of the structural degradation from poor policy choices.

                For the record, I absolutely believe that there are registered democrats who are politically moderate, but given that 1) even the Lefty analysis of the campaign says all the energy and high turnout is on the radical side, that logically implies that it’s the moderate Dems staying home on election day and 2) going by the “Hidden Tribes” report the far left positions pretty much the entire Dem field (including Biden) got pushed into this time around primarily represents only the 8% of the electorate who are Progressive Activists. Biden might claim the mantle of “moderate”, he might even have actually been one not so long ago, but he’s abandoned too many of those positions to still mean it in any sense but “to the right of Sanders and left of Trump”.

                “Sometimes the choices smart, engaged people make are awful.” Yup, I can agree with that much.

                “Coalitions are built on compromise, but as with all things, there are boundaries to what is possible. Basic human rights and dignity are examples of the boundaries.”

                Sure, which is why I never vote for a Democrat, they don’t respect my basic human rights and dignity. But I feel that you pulled a Motte and Bailey trick here: that description applies just as well to the right and our 2A and Evangelical contingents, but I doubt you’d call Reps a “Party of Coalition and Compromise”.

                “I really don’t know what you mean by us being “anti-nativist”; you’d have to give me some examples.”

                Sure: Every proposed policy that starts with “Free x for illegal Immigrants” that is not redundant with a general policy that provides at least that same benefit to native citizens. The “Immigration Reform” that prevents federal work-authorization form (I-9) information from being used to prosecute illegal aliens for identity theft, and the many “sanctuary” cities and states that deliberately avoid bringing charges against illegal immigrants for fear of giving ICE a rationale to deport them.

                “since most of the policy preferences of the Democrats are popular, even with Republicans.”

                I’d be interested to read your sources on this. Clever wording on the questions can get you pretty far, but likewise many democrat policies become quite unpopular even with democrats when you include the hard numbers for context. Dems excel at using vaguely pleasant wording that doesn’t hold up well when you get into the specifics of what you actually mean vs what the person assumed that you meant (i.e. pretty much every time either party uses the phrase “common sense reform” in regards to any proposed policy, the policy change itself is something that was formerly considered pretty fringe and they’re just trying to re-brand it by shifting the overton window, the actual legalese rarely bears much resemblance to what the average person considers “common sense” because for most people “common sense” just means “whatever I already favor”)

                As a practical matter, I consider it fair to say that ideas considered “fringe” within the current generation generally can’t be called “moderate” just because their rivals in the current election all moved even further in that same direction. The far-left wing taking prominence within the Democrat party does not actually change much in terms of where the nation’s political center is, it just leaves one subgroup of a subgroup further from it. Or to put it another way, if a politician was previously defined as a moderate because of their positions, but they have since renounced the majority of those positions, they are by definition no longer a moderate.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                We’re splitting into several points, so I will address one here.

                California has been run exclusively by Democrats for what, about a decade now, and the business community, the banking community, the law enforcement community are all quite content with the power structure as it exists.

                By imagining a wild eyed crazy leftism as the norm in California, you are inadvertantly echoing the Bernie types, who imagine that revolutionary socialism is the preferred choice of the vast majority.

                It isn’t, not even in San Francisco.

                The expressed preference of the vast majority of Californians and Californian Democrats, is for what we have: A regulated market system with a robust social welfare state.

                Like all such places, there are political fights and stresses and strains but there is no revolution brewing, the bankers are not being dragged into gulags, and its actually a pretty good place to buy property, start a business, and get rich.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                It is mildly interesting that four years ago Bernie did better against Hillary in the western states than in any other region (his worst performance was still >40%). This year he’s four-for-four in the West.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yes, I am sure business owners are loving the state right now…

                Also, the uproar over AB5, power outages, an ever increasing homeless population, high houseing prices and shortages, shit maps of San Fransisco, and so on. Not to mention more people are leaving Ca than arriving.

                The left is killing the state five generations of my family have enjoyed and help build.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                And yet..and yet…businesses are continuing to stay.

                I believe economists call this a revealed preference.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Leaving the state will effectivly kill a business, not due to the new state, but the costs of moving, building up a customer/client base, realestate costs, supply chains, etc. It is easy (relatively) for an employee to relocate, but yes those things make a differnce. I have suspended my operations in the state as it is both to expensive cost wise, and too many of my clients are closing down for similar reasons. My cousin stays only because her daughter is still in school there, and she is gone as soon as that is done.

                But: “California Losing Residents Via Domestic Migration
                https://lao.ca.gov/LAOEconTax/Article/Detail/265

                Got your revealed preference right there. And the state stands to lose a seat in congress over this.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “California has been run exclusively by Democrats for what, about a decade now, and the business community, the banking community, the law enforcement community are all quite content with the power structure as it exists.”

                According to whom?
                Business executives have named California the absolutely worst state for business for the 8th year in a row, says Chief Executive magazine (2019). California’s enduring place of perpetual decline continues in this year’s ranking,” the publications states. “Once the most attractive business environment, the Golden State appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell.

                “It’s little wonder that most silicon Valley CEOS say they won’t expand in California because of high taxes and burdensome regulation,” Chief Executive continues. “Intel long ago moved its plants to Nevada, and Cisco, Google and others have located their server farms to places like Utah, Arizona and Oregon.”

                The publication cites California’s 10.9% unemployment rate, third highest in the U.S., its status as home to a third of the nation’s welfare recipients. “Each year, the evidence that businesses are leaving California or avoid locating there because of the high cost of doing business due to excessive state taxes and stringent regulations, grows.”

                CEOs were brutal in their assessment of California. Among the quotes from unnamed CEOs that Chief Executive cites:

                “California – the government is the worst in every possible way.”

                • “California has a great draw from a weather and location view point, but the state is so business unfriendly.”

                • “California, New York and Michigan…have bloated governments, are union-controlled and run significant annual budget deficits.”

                • “State politicians feel business and commerce are ‘necessary evils’ that provide the funds to enable pursuit of their misguided agendas.”

                • “California… has too much government who have nothing better to do than to harass businesses in the state. They need to cut the size of their regulatory bodies in half.”

                • “California regulations, taxes and costs will leave only tech, life sciences and entertainment as viable.”

                • “California has different overtime policies for its own employees vs. private sector.”

                • “California’s taxes and ongoing changes for regulations are devastating. One never knows from day to day what new interpretation or an existing regulation or new regulation will befall your small business.”

                Or from the Pacific Research Institute: California has lived on the trope of being the hub of technology startups and innovation for decades. California’s economic success has long been touted and celebrated, none more so than the technology gold rush in the Bay Area.

                But despite California’s seemingly never-ending economic growth, the Golden State is now being recognized as one of the worst places to do business in the nation.

                CNBC recently released the America’s Top States for Business in 2019. The annual study reviews each state, poring over more than 60 measures of business competitiveness to rank categories like cost of living, business friendliness and access to capital.

                You can see where this is headed, right? Overall, California is ranked 32 out of 50. Not bad. But doubling down on a couple of key categories show that the state is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to nurturing a pro-business environment.

                California ranked last in the cost of doing business and business friendliness categories. California also ranked 49 out of 50 in the cost of living category. The study byline for California stated, “Companies come here to get in on the gold rush of venture capital, but high costs and regulation can stifle the dream.” Yikes.

                CNBC’s study is the latest in a long string of surveys and polls that highlight California’s pursuit of an anti-business climate. Last fall, the Tax Foundation gave California a dismal ranking of second to last in the nation for the 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index.

                Other notable mentions include Forbes ranking California 43 out of 50 in business costs in the Best States for Business list and Chief Executive Magazine ranking California last in the nation in the 2019 Best & Worst States for Business, stating that, “On the other hand, California has it real bad, with the state’s ideal climate and digital-tech dominance simply not able to overcome CEOs’ impressions that the Golden State just doesn’t care about how expensive and difficult it is to do business there. So, it keeps hogging the bottom of the Chief Executive list.”

                California’s anti-business climate is no secret. Business leaders and industries have been sounding the alarm bell for years, consistently sharing their frustrations about doing business here. PRI discovered as much in a 2018 survey of business executives in clean technology, research and development, and manufacturing who said the high costs of housing and real estate and expensive costs to do business hamper moving to or expanding in California.

                The state’s ever growing state budget, hub for technology, and record number of technology unicorn IPOs, or companies worth more than $1 billion, mean that California is still on the up and up, right?

                California may continue to maintain its powerhouse status as a world economy, but a couple of cracks are building that may be worth keeping an eye on.

                Late last year, the San Francisco Business Journal published a list of startups and companies either leaving or expanding outside of California. Some of these may not be household names, but it shows that startups and founders are becoming more comfortable growing outside of California. Name brand companies like North Face and Jamba Juice, among others, have moved their company headquarters in the past couple years to more affordable parts of the country. Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee recently welcomed two new additions to the Nashville area. Pilot.com, an account management software company, and Mitsubishi Motors Headquarters are the latest to move or expand out of the state. Let’s not forget that California has slowly been losing residents since 2001 and those leaving the Golden State topped new residents in 2017.

                The rising housing costs drove my family out of the state years ago. Face it, at this point most residents of California are either rich enough to ignore the shit on the streets, poor enough that the “robust social welfare state” is the only reason they’re there, or part of the shrinking middle/small business class who have too many sunk costs already there for moving away to be feasible. And I don’t think revolutionary socialism is the preferred choice, like most everywhere else the “silent majority” political position is “don’t know, don’t care, don’t bother me”, the socialists just dominate the actual levers of power, like Hollywood and Sacramento. There’s good reasons why proposals to split it into smaller states keep getting floated, the interior and northern population are politically marginalized by the coastal metropolises.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                There are plenty of policy preferences like abortion and gun control which are favored by Republicans. And you’re right, a lot depends on the framing of the question.

                For example, legal access to abortion in the early trimester enjoys majority support, but that number drops in the second and third trimesters. Which actually reflects the logic of Roe V. Wade.

                A majority of Republicans are accepting of various forms of gun control like assault weapons bans and registration lists and red flag laws.

                But mostly, most Republicans favor a tax system more progressive than what we have, in part because most people think what we have is more progressive than it really is.

                You’ve heard that quip about how conservatives and liberals both want to go back to the 1950s, just that liberals want to go to work there, and conservatives just want to go home there.

                Even the radical Warren/ Bernie wing of the Democratic Party would have been right at home at the 1952 or 1960 or 1964 Democratic Party conventions; Yet no one goes around talking about how President Kennedy would be holding executions in Central Park.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                What color is the sky on your world. I don’t know any Republican who accepts assault weapon bans, not one, and I know thousand of Republicans. I also know of none who accept any registration lists, which are of course just lists to make it easy for Beto to send a SWAT team to kick in your door and shoot your daughter.

                I also don’t know of any Republicans who favor a more progressive tax system. They’re all for a flatter tax, one at least somewhat closer to the Swedish or Norwegian system, that by our standards is a Forbes flat tax.

                In 1952 the Bernie wing would still be voting for the American Communist Party.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                George pretty much nailed this already, but I’ll still add my 2c. Abortion is a complex one, but support drops fast when you include pictures of what the child actually looks like at each given age. While I’d like to ban infanticide entirely, I’m realistic enough to accept that overturning Roe and letting the States each go there own way is probably the best compromise that’s actually achievable. Failing that, a strict “not past fetal viability” standard would at least move the fight out of politics and into medical science.

                “A majority of Republicans are accepting of various forms of gun control like assault weapons bans and registration lists and red flag laws.”

                Bullshit. Red flag laws are the only one of those to get a decent bipartisan support and even that’s only if they trust their local judges to be Pro-2A so that it won’t be abused. Registration lists are about as popular as making Jews wear the Star of David and for roughly the same reasons. No one who actually knows the first thing about guns can offer a coherent definition of “assault weapon”, what gets bipartisan support is the restrictions on “automatic weapons” which we already have.

                “But mostly, most Republicans favor a tax system more progressive than what we have, in part because most people think what we have is more progressive than it really is.”

                Source? AFAICT, most people actually think our tax system is much LESS progressive than it actually is. That’s one of those funny topics like immigration where if you ask people “should it increase a lot, increase slightly, stay the same, decrease slightly, or decrease a lot” most of them will choose “increase slightly”, but if you just ask them how many immigrants we should accept each year, the majority give a number around half of how many we already accept. Likewise, when it comes to taxes plenty of people want the rich to “pay their fair share”, but don’t actually specify what percentage that is supposed to be. As is, the top 1 percent of earners (with incomes over $515,371) paid nearly 39 percent of all income taxes, up slightly from the previous tax year’s 37 percent share. The amount of taxes paid in this percentile is nearly twice as much their adjusted gross income (AGI) load. So quite frankly they’re already paying double their “fair share”.

                The top 10 percent of earners bore responsibility for 70 percent of all income taxes paid – up slightly from 2016 – while half of all tax filers paid 97 percent of all income tax revenue. Indicating the degree of progressivity in the code. Which is worth noting, since by the standard of percentage of total taxes paid by the rich, the U.S. actually has one of the most progressive tax schemes in the OECD and U.S. capital gains rates (anther frequent target for proposed tax increases) are actually in line with many other OECD countries, with a few exceptions.

                “Even the radical Warren/ Bernie wing of the Democratic Party would have been right at home at the 1952 or 1960 or 1964 Democratic Party conventions”

                Warren perhaps, but Bernie would be a card-carrying member of the Communist party . Do you really want me to pull up the party platforms from those years and do a plank by plank compare and contrast?

                “You’ve heard that quip about how conservatives and liberals both want to go back to the 1950s, just that liberals want to go to work there, and conservatives just want to go home there.”

                I have not heard that before, though it has a nice ring to it. The version I usually hear is “Both Parties are stuck in the past: the Republicans think it’s still the 1950’s and the Democrats think it’s still the 1960’s.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                For what it’s worth, “fair share” isn’t based on whether the richest guy in the room pays the most taxes. He probably should.

                The issue is if he has 45% of the money in the room, he should pay 45% of the taxes. “He pays 37% of it and he’s Just One Man!”, is a good argument, I guess, if you don’t look at how he’s Just One Man with 45% of the money in the room.

                And when he owns corporations that makes his employees pee into Gatorade bottles in order to make quota and refuses to pay them for the time they are required to be frisked as they walk out the door, you’re going to find less and less sympathy for the whole “okay, he’s paying 39% now! Happy?” argument.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                This. There’s a quality of life aspect that needs to be addressed. Who pays the most on a relative basis is unresponsive to the basic gripe, that being why policy allows not only effective immunity from economic pitfalls but also the ability to run up the score to incomprehensible lengths for a tiny few while the vast, vast majority walk a tight rope over an increasingly flimsy net below.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to InMD
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                says:

                “There’s a quality of life aspect that needs to be addressed.”

                I’m glad you brought that up. Do you use Google? Do you have a FaceBook profile? Own a PC running Mac or Windows? Anything else invented by a guy who is now rich? “Poor” and “Poverty” are interesting terms because the way we use them is statistically relative rather than objectively determined. Quality of Life OTOH, is somewhat more directly measurable. So let’s look at some stats from not too long ago:

                Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, at the beginning of the War on Poverty, only about 12 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
                Nearly three-quarters have a car or truck; 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.
                Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television.
                Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and a quarter have two or more.
                Half have a personal computer; one in seven has two or more computers.
                More than half of poor families with children have a video game system such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
                Forty-three percent have Internet access.
                Forty percent have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
                A quarter have a digital video recorder system such as a TIVO.
                Ninety-two percent of poor households have a microwave.
                Ninety-six percent of poor parents stated that their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food.
                Some 83 percent of poor families reported that they had enough food to eat.
                Some 82 percent of poor adults reported that they were never hungry at any time in the prior year due to lack of money to buy food.
                Over the course of a year, only 4 percent of poor persons become temporarily homeless.
                Only 9.5 percent of the poor live in mobile homes or trailers; 49.5 percent live in separate single-family houses or townhouses, and 40 percent live in apartments.
                Forty-two percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

                In terms of Quality of Life, the American “poor” is mostly better off than the “middle class” in most other countries in the world. Sorry, I do care about the actually homeless, starving, and truly destitute people on our streets, but I consider it disingenuous to put them in the same category as people who have their own home, car, flatscreen tv, game system, PC, internet, cell phones and a fully stocked fridge. Go read some Steven Pinker, wages may not have kept up with the times, but the matching drop in prices as technology advances has nonetheless preserved a generally rising standard of living for EVERY income bracket in America, including the working poor with the shitty McJobs. Capitalism did that, so capitalists get the most money because money is what we exchange for products and they provided those new products.

                Demanding wealth taxes on that is equivalent to saying “Person A gave Person B all his money in return for thing x Person B invented, now there’s “Inequality” in wealth, so Person B must give that money back to Person A even though Person A still has thing x” and then scaling that up by every purchase in the market. You can’t run a successful economy that way, you eventually run out of other people’s money to take because they stop being that productive when they don’t get to keep the rewards.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                You’ve extrapolated a whole bunch of specific positions and attitudes I don’t actually hold.

                To be cleae I don’t have a problem that rich people exist, with the ability to get rich, nor do I think that inequality of every type is bad. Even if I did I’m not stupid enough to believe that these realities are other than an inescapable part of all human civilization and probably always will be.

                The problem at hand is the basic precariousness in which most people live and the inability of even very successful people to remedy that within the system. At its most basic level its problems with the cost of housing, healthcare, and higher ed. The cheapness and widespread availability of consumer goods and services do absolutely nothing to insulate people from those risks. The failure to take those perfectly legitimate interest into account is precisely why our politics have entered a state of permanent crisis.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to InMD
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                says:

                “Even if I did I’m not stupid enough to believe that these realities are other than an inescapable part of all human civilization and probably always will be.”

                Good, we have a common basis to start from: hierarchy is inevitable and with it the inherent tendency of resources to concentrate and the losers to stack up at the bottom of the distribution. For sake of this debate I’ll accept that those stacked up at the bottom are potentially a problem in the sense of moral obligation to our fellow humans and some practical measures may reasonably be proposed to remediate the issue somewhat.

                “At its most basic level its problems with the cost of housing, healthcare, and higher ed.”

                Counter-argument: these aren’t actually problems of the type and degree as to invoke a moral obligation from fellow citizens, or at least not to the extent that would support what I suspect to be your preferred solutions. Housing prices are quite low in many parts of the country, it’s entirely possible even for someone with a McJob to afford safe living conditions (e.g. “You might assert a theoretical “Right to Safe Housing” and receive my agreement in principle, but that isn’t going to extend to “Right to an apartment in downtown San Francisco”. Beggars cannot be choosers). Likewise, an unprecedented amount of medical information and advice is now available for free online and the price and range of generic drugs available has rarely been better. Year over year cost increases in American health insurance plans are undeniable, but they’ve been largely accompanied by a corresponding increase in the cost and range of health care covered. Education has likewise benefited from the spread of internet access and online learning, it is now quite possible to obtain 4-yr degree level training and skills for essentially free (though receiving a credential cert will still carry a price). Each of these are not so much an issue that the available quality or supply have fallen (well, educational quality has a bit), but rather that demand has risen faster than supply so price adjusts accordingly.

                “The cheapness and widespread availability of consumer goods and services do absolutely nothing to insulate people from those risks.”

                On the contrary, this frees up larger percentages of the household budget for those other concerns. It isn’t the fault of the market that people waste large chunks of disposable income on consumables rather than savings or more durable investments. i.e. say that a worker with a McJob gets promoted to manager and updates their budget in light of the pay raise, is it the market’s fault that the most common response is to buy a more expensive car or eat out on steak instead of burgers rather than reinvesting that extra money in a 401k that could be drawn against in an emergency? Precarity is inseparable from financial decisions and multiple studies find the unsurprising conclusion that those who make good financial decisions usually experience an upward trend to stable security regardless of their starting wealth and those who make poor financial decisions eventually return to precariousness regardless of the external resources they are provided (i.e. poor people who win the lotto almost invariably return to poverty within a few years). We can save people from external circumstances, but we can’t save the self-destructive from themselves.

                “The failure to take those perfectly legitimate interest into account is precisely why our politics have entered a state of permanent crisis.”

                What perfectly legitimate interests? Please be specific. There is no “right” to a mansion, no “right” to externalize the costs of one’s own decisions (i.e. lung cancer treatment for a lifelong smoker), or “right” to college. We already have homeless shelters, emergency rooms and charitable free clinics, public schools and free vocational/online training programs, so what’s your argument that those interests aren’t already met to the extent that the rest of society is responsible rather than the individuals themselves? Liberty often requires that we allow people to make bad choices, it does not require that we free them of the bad consequences those decisions bring.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                “For what it’s worth, “fair share” isn’t based on whether the richest guy in the room pays the most taxes. He probably should.”

                Why? This isn’t communism or aristocracy, our top tier actually has a pretty decent turnover rate and more of our shrinking middle class have been moving up into the higher classes than falling down into the lower ones. Inherited wealth rarely last more than a few generations and many of our very richest are there precisely because they simply provided a service that people greatly value, .e.g. as much as I have certain complaints about Google, FB, etc it’s hard to argue that they’re managing to price gouge with products that are literally free to the majority of their users. As I noted originally, if we’re going by AGI your hypothetical rich guys is already paying roughly double his share.

                Your argument actually rests on wealth rather than income, which isn’t a correct comparison since we don’t have a wealth tax (and probably never will, given the dubious legality and the historical failure of it in other countries). You’re essentially just saying “rich guys save/invest too much money, if they won’t spend the same percentage as us on their own we’ll take it and spend it ourselves”. Does that really strike you as morally or legally justifiable? Hell, does it even make economic sense to you given that private investment nearly always has higher efficiency and RoI than public investment?

                “And when he owns corporations that makes his employees pee into Gatorade bottles in order to make quota and refuses to pay them for the time they are required to be frisked as they walk out the door, you’re going to find less and less sympathy for the whole “okay, he’s paying 39% now! Happy?” argument.”

                Let’s be clear, those are entirely separate arguments irrelevant to each other. He could be paying 100% of all federal revenue and still wouldn’t get sympathy with that dehumanizing behavior, but that doesn’t mean that you get a free pass to conflate arguments about “how much money does he have/make?” with “do we approve of the way he got it?”. Business Ethics are not dependent on the amount of money involved.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                Why?

                Here, I’ll link to this again:

                And I’ll quote InMD:

                “Just because it isn’t rational doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.”Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m already familiar with that study and several others on the general topic, but you didn’t actually address the situation. “Equal pay for equal work” is largely uncontroversial, but the rub lies in how you define “equal work”. The best player in a sports league and the worst player are both players, but you’d have a hard time finding a majority who think they should actually be paid the same. The majority recognizes proportionality as the relevant sub-set of fairness: he who does more/better work gets more pay for it. Very rich people are largely characterized by being “the best” in their field (to the limited extent we are able to objectively determine such things), so they receive proportionately higher rewards than those whose work is less valuable. That’s simple supply and demand. If you don’t want Bill Gates to be rich, convince the world to stop buying Windows. We don’t have an economy where two monkeys are both handing one rock per tidbit, we have an economy where some are handing a few rocks and others are moving fishing mountains, so of course its fair that the ones moving mountains gets the grapes and the ones still handing rocks one at a time get cucumbers.

                I know you’re smart, well read, and frequently insightful, so please do me the credit of actually engaging with my arguments, not brushing me off with an irrelevant tweet.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                Well, then. We just have to agree on what “fair” means.

                You wanna define it? Want me to?Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                In the effort to leave it to a qualified neutral 3rd party, I’ll refer to the existing research on Moral Foundations Theory. The relevant chapter is available online here: https://www.righteousmind.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ch07.RighteousMind.final_.pdf and you can pull up the underlying research paper with methodology under the title: Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism

                BLUF: Foundation 2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. The current triggers of the Fairness modules include a great many things that have gotten linked, culturally and politically, to the dynamics of reciprocity and cheating. On the left, concerns about equality and social justice are based in part on the Fairness foundation—wealthy and powerful groups are accused of gaining by exploiting those at the bottom while not paying their “fair share” of the tax burden. This is a major theme of the Occupy Wall Street movement.On the right, the Tea Party movement is also very concerned about fairness. They see Democrats as “socialists” who take money from hard working Americans and give it to lazy people (including those who receive welfare or unemployment benefits) and to illegal immigrants (in the form of free health care and education). [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives].

                So, proportionality is the primary definition to use because it is endorsed by everyone, though equality becomes relevant once proportionality has been satisfied (i.e. high performers should receive higher rewards according to their performance, but for those with the same performance there should be equality.)

                This still leaves you some valid attack lines on the rich, such as disputing their actual performance, or digging deeper into what the ratio of performance to reward should actually be in theory, or pivoting to practical matters of how to measure their rewards, etc, but you can’t just say “the rich can afford x” or “these poor people need x” because those arguments are no longer about fairness, but rather other foundations like Liberty/Oppression and Care/Harm.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                but you can’t just say “the rich can afford x” or “these poor people need x” because those arguments are no longer about fairness, but rather other foundations like Liberty/Oppression and Care/Harm.

                And yet it’s possible to say “39%! Golly! That’s their fair share!”?Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yes. It’s entirely fair to assert that a person’s “fair share” of income tax is directly proportional to their percentage of AGI. That is literally paying in direct correlation to what they are earning. Which is why 39% is, in fact, roughly DOUBLE their “Fair Share”.

                It’s the middle and lower classes that aren’t paying a proportional fair share. To refer back to your own link, just imagine how that experiment would go if one monkey was getting the cucumber without having to complete the task but the 2nd monkey still had to hand a rock for every tidbit, do you really think we wouldn’t see the exact same kind of outrage from the monkey doing the work?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                And property taxes based on their property?

                Or does that not enter into concepts of “fairness”?

                Is it fair to put a thumb on a scale?Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Shrug. There are far more complicated arguments as to whether property taxes violate property rights and I’m a little unclear how we got from Federal Income Taxes to property taxes (which are exclusively State level or lower), but sure, for sake of this debate I’ll grant property as a morally taxable thing. As to whether it’s “fair” to tax it, for the moment I’ll set aside the moral problem of double taxation (income AND property) and address just the question of property tax in isolation. As such, the question is then “Is the property tax proportional?” If so, it is potentially “Fair”. Though that does leave certain questions of measurement (is land taxed by acre or by estimated market value, is a car taxed based on original sale price or current resale value, etc).

                “Is it fair to put a thumb on a scale?”
                Cheating scales are by definition unfair. As a general rule, “Progressive” tax schemes are usually inherently unfair because they are designed explicitly to be disproportional in impact. An example of a generally “fair” tax scheme would be a Flat Tax or sales tax.

                Caveat: taxes that apply only to certain things, i.e. gas tax, vice taxes, etc require special consideration because they are not fungible in the same way money and property are and may have associated externalized costs like road repair to offset.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                “Do you really want me to pull up the party platforms from those years and do a plank by plank compare and contrast?”

                That would be lovely, actually.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Shrug. Ok, should be interesting. Not sure how long it’ll take, but November is a long way off so it should still be relevant whenever I finish.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                Start here:
                https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/app-categories/elections-and-transitions/party-platforms

                As you might guess, I’ve done this. It really does make for fascinating reading.

                A caveat of course is not all platform planks are meant to be taken at face value. Some were fiercely held, others just lip service.

                But they provide a good sense of what they thought would be a winning message to the American public.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “A caveat of course is not all platform planks are meant to be taken at face value. Some were fiercely held, others just lip service.”

                Fair enough, though I’m curious what your heuristic is for sorting planks into those two categories. I’d rather not write a long argument on a particular discrepancy only to get dismissed with “Well, that one was just lip service, they didn’t REALLY mean it”

                Incidentally, thank you. I came here for discussion that could push me to check my assumptions and give myself a more realistic reference on what other people believe and why than I’d get in an echo chamber. I don’t know how representative you are of Dems as a whole, but you’re not reducible to a stereotype either. Respect.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                That’s just it, I’m not particularly sure which were which, either.

                The past is funny that way, where what we think it was like, is not actually what it was like, at least not for some people.

                Like how when I was a child and listening to my Establishment parents arguing with my hippie brother, I recall my mom saying “When your President says you go to war, our generation saluted and said ‘Yes, Sir”

                Except…that’s not actually what happened. Anti-war sentiment was really strong in the 1930s, across most of America.
                And being a Card Carrying Communist was not actually anything extraordinary. Nor was being a goosestepping Nazi for that matter.

                During the 1950’s the government controlled the production of most foodstuffs through agriculture subsidies, and also controlled the prices through direct price supports. Like, literally controlling the marketplace.
                Today there would be riots in the streets if President Warren demanded to control the price of milk.

                Or maybe not!

                No one seems to think its radical that President Trump wants the government to control farming via tariffs and bailouts.

                https://dairymarkets.org/pubPod/pubs/EB9505.pdf

                Our parents generation, like our parents themselves, were a lot more weird and radical and fallible than most people assume.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                See, now I’m kind of on a roll…

                Because all of us here were products of the late 20th century America, we sort of assume that socialism existed only in its Soviet or Maoist forms.
                That is, something strange and foreign and ominous.

                But it wasn’t that way for the people who lived prior to WWII or right after.

                When I read history, socialism pops up in all sorts of weird places. Like how the Grange organization of the 19th century Midwest was heavily influenced by the idea of cooperative public control over the food supply;

                Or how the Progressives of the turn of the century called themselves Sewer Socialists and controlled a lot of the large cities in America;

                Or how the Arts & Crafts movement of art and architecture was deeply tied to the socialist beliefs of its founders; As was the Art Nouveau and Modern movements;

                Or how Catholic Social Teaching expressed in papal encyclicals was written by members of various socialist organizations (yes, some of these clerics were quite literally “card carrying communists”);

                Or even this weird and wonderful comic strip where Superman extols the virtues of Truth, Justice, and The American Way of social welfare:

                https://www.vox.com/2015/9/5/9262851/superman-welfare-wagon

                Which is why using the word “traditional” as conservatives often do can backfire explosively; Socialism, the public ownership or control over the factors of production is as American as apple pie.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I like it when you get on a roll. 🙂 Amusingly, the longer your post, the shorter my response can be because there’s not necessarily as much left unsaid to be clarified.

                Not to repeat our previous discussion on multiculturalism, but I’d insist on a distinction between “this is a thing that has existed in some limited degree and times” vs “as American as apple pie”. Yes, socialism is far from unknown or inherently foreign to American History, but outside of some very notable examples (i.e. Franklin’s “Four Freedoms” Right to economic security” and the Great Society programs) it’s more an argument that’s been made and lost repeatedly (or tried and eventually failed, such as most farming communes) than an integral quality of the national culture. History can be very weird, but I still consider myself on relatively firm ground asserting that Americans have “traditionally” considered the social welfare in that regard to be primarily a matter in the domain of individual charity, voluntary associations like churches, and perhaps local governments as the last resort rather than a positive responsibility of the federal government. I think it’s more accurate to say that the fight against socialism is “as American as apple pie”, but that fight hasn’t always been won and where/how it’s been fought has changed over time as the means and circumstances have likewise changed.

                Anyway, since you brought it up, I’ll even concede some ground. I’m only firmly anti-socialist at the federal level. I’m grudgingly accepting of it at the State level as a test case in the “Laboratories of Democracy”, and I’m outright in favor of it at the level of something like the nuclear/extended family and neighborhood churches. Quite aside from any Libertarian philosophical objections to it, I don’t think it scales well across size or time as a practical matter and the history is fairly clear on that point.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                FWIW, I comment almost exclusively on this blog since it contains a mix of conservatives and liberals; My engagements here have helped me temper my own opinions and develop them in more thoughtful ways.

                I was reading a book on Catholic Social Teaching when I was introduced to the use of “socialize” as a verb, not a noun.

                As in, Los Angeles socialized the provision of water and power. It isn’t “socialism” meaning the complete socialization of the factors of production, but simply providing one specific good via public means.

                What makes this so important is the motte and bailey, No True Scotsman aspects of the discussions where “socialism” is anything from the ACA to the Stalinist Terror; That is, the word becomes infinitely flexible and arbitrary to the point of meaninglessness.

                Using socialize in its verb form allows a more productive discussion since we can agree for example that socialized utilities works well, but socialized pizza restaurants not so much.

                Also it allows for things to evolve; At one time socialized telephone service might have made sense but maybe now it doesn’t.

                So now we aren’t talking about revolutions or being the engineers of the human soul, and merely having a utilitarian discussion about how best to allocate resources.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well said. Though as a Protestant I have certain theological disagreements with Catholic doctrine, their theologians have done some wonderful work exploring issues of subsidiary and social responsibility that are sometimes applicable to our federal system with minimal translation (though attempting to replace the church with the government tends to harm both).

                “Using socialize in its verb form allows a more productive discussion since we can agree for example that socialized utilities works well, but socialized pizza restaurants not so much.”

                Sure, that sounds like a more productive avenue to explore.

                “…merely having a utilitarian discussion about how best to allocate resources.”

                Yes and no, the first objection to socializing things is the matter that the resources to be “re”allocated are often currently in private hands, thus requiring impermissible confiscation. I’d be happy to have a discussion about how best to apply commonly held resources to commonly held problems most efficiently, but the discussion usually breaks down when the would-be socializer insists that their ends justify the means of trampling individual property rights and I disagree. I actually prefer the “engineers of the human soul” approach of churches and general moral education/social incentive teaching/persuading people to donate their time and wealth willingly to address social welfare issues. Though it’s been trending downward as general religiosity falls, America has long been notable among nations for abnormally high rates of personal and organizational charity and volunteerism, which I consider the ideal form of resource reallocation.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                Polling on gun control here:
                http://www.pollingreport.com/guns.htm

                Overall a mixed bag but background checks are wildly popular, as are red flag laws, and even mandatory buyback of assault rifles gets about 40% of Republicans.

                This was the point of my original statement, that gun control is a “moderate” issue, not a radical one.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                No, that still falls under my earlier point that those numbers drop like rocks once you get into the details. Most people responding don’t know what the current state of gun regulation already is, how background checks currently work, and can’t tell you what “assault rifles” actually includes, but won’t answer positively to “Should a bad breakup enable your ex to deprive you of thousands of dollars of private property with unsubstantiated charges?”, “Should it be illegal for a parent to give an adult daughter one of their handguns as a present for self-defense when she moves out?”, or “Should an extendible plastic stock instead of a wooden one make a hunting rifle illegal?”

                The concept is vaguely pleasant, but the actual implementation details run afoul of what most people actually support. And that’s even before you include basic context stats like the fact that rifles and shotguns combined make up less than 10% of firearm crime and mass shootings involving handguns are no less lethal. All the actually moderate gun control already passed years or decades ago, usually with the full support of the NRA, now it’s just radical proposals with deceptive branding, slight tinkering around the edges, and failures to competently and consistently enforce the policies we already have.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Urusigh
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                says:

                You’re right, that once people get the bill for their policy preferences they backpedal.

                But it works the other way round also, doesn’t it?
                Like the old saying that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged, a liberal is a conservative who got laid off, or sick.

                Notice how when people get the sharp end of capitalism, they suddenly warm up to the idea of government bailouts or price supports.

                Or when someone like Roger Stone gets the perp walk, suddenly everyone at Fox starts sounding like a Black Lives Matter activist, talking about jackbooted thugs and out of control prosecutors.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “But it works the other way round also, doesn’t it?”

                Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve had family members on welfare, disability, and food stamps when injury struck, siblings whose lives are literally dependent on social spending for the disabled to provide them with medical equipment and prescriptions well beyond the ability of my family to independently afford, and government grants and loans are the only reason I was able to attend college. OTOH, after Obamacare passed, my Grandmother was denied further cancer treatment, my Mother’s premiums rose so much she had to drop her coverage, and those same medically fragile siblings lost access to the top-notch specialists who had been treating them for years.

                So I’m in the metaphorical position of both having been sick and having been mugged. I’m still Conservative, though my position is less the Libertarian “eliminate those programs” and more “eliminate the inefficiency, fraud, waste, and abuse so benefits are only going to the deserving recipients who actually need them”. I never liked the phrase, but Bush’s “Compassionate Conservatism” and Rubio’s “Common Good Conservatism” aren’t far off from my preferences. I do think social problems have a Conservative answer besides “leave it to the market”.

                “Notice how when people get the sharp end of capitalism, they suddenly warm up to the idea of government bailouts or price supports.”

                I honestly haven’t noticed that, but my friend circle trends heavily Libertarian and Tea Party, so there’s a national security argument to be made for farm subsidies as a supply chain assurance, but not much else in the way of government interference in the market. We were unanimously against the bailouts. “Too Big to Fail” is an abomination that allows reckless companies to externalize their risks onto the taxpayers and I fully support anti-trust cases against that abuse of monopoly power. I’m still pissed that none of the people behind the recession saw jail time.

                “Or when someone like Roger Stone gets the perp walk, suddenly everyone at Fox starts sounding like a Black Lives Matter activist, talking about jackbooted thugs and out of control prosecutors.”

                I have zero sympathy for Roger Stone, but the activist Left does currently have a penchant for thugs (i.e. antifa) and out of control activist prosecutors (several of whom are now facing prosecution themselves for abuse of their office). I’m a “Law & Order” kind of voter, but that also makes me especially angry at incompetence, corruption, or abuse of office regardless of which side it comes from. I’m just not sympathetic to BLM because I dug into the relevant statistics and cases cited and the majority of their claims are inaccurate at best and debunked lies at worst. If you have examples of “jackbooted thugs and out of control prosecutors” currently on my side of the aisle I’m interested in hearing about it.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      If she’s an outstanding Senator, then why did she come in third in Massachusetts? I don’t profess to know, but according to the NYTimes, she won 33% of white college-educated women in Massachusetts.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      But you were a swell basketball star back in the day.Report

  5. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    I’ve said previously that Two-Income-Trap Warren minus the Identity Politics nonsense is running away with the election… because that Warren speaks to a broad base, including minorities.

    Instead, let me pivot to my sense of why she failed to launch… and why that concerns me.

    If we consult the 538 National Poll tracker as an historical baseline, we see that she peaked at 23.7% in Mid-October. Looking to jet into the next gear she released her M4A plan on Nov 1st… almost immediately her numbers start to decline… then in Mid-November she attempts to “modify” her plan to ACA+Transition… which only accelerates the dip so that by the beginning of December she’s shed ~8% to 15% whence she has never really recovered.

    The dangerous takeaway isn’t that we need “better plans” but that we shouldn’t have any plans at all, only promises. To which you might be tempted to say… “Yeah but Trump.” To which I reply, precisely.

    Now, with regards “better plans” I’ll say that Warren still failed because a better plan isn’t a more complete plan of how exactly your going to do it; a President doesn’t have that authority or power. A President’s plan is to set the trajectory and amass (electoral) support to negotiate with the stakeholders. A President’s plan has to start years before the election and requires a movement… That is, if one wants to be successful. So in the end, it wasn’t that Warren didn’t have a plan, it was that she didn’t understand what the plan should be.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      Jinx! (I agree with this. She should have focused more on the existence of the problem as a problem and less on her plans to fix it. Make other people defend the existence of the problem!)Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Right… if I borrow from a sales playbook, our first goal isn’t to talk about our solution, but to understand the problem; to develop the problem; to make sure that all the stakeholders understand and *agree* that there’s a problem that needs solving at some cost for some benefit.
        Instead, she went right to a solution: M4A… which might or might not be the right solution to our set of problems. And, in the end, I’m not even sure if M4A was one of her top 5 favorite Plans… or just one of many. And that, in itself, is a problem… what is she going to invest and spend whatever political capital she garners? You get to pick 3 things… no more, no less.

        [and here I’ve deleted the Marchmaine sales theory of developing the problems in healthcare, because… well, see the other 10 times we’ve talked about healthcare]Report

    • Avatar gabriel conroy in reply to Marchmaine
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      says:

      a better plan isn’t a more complete plan of how exactly your going to do it; a President doesn’t have that authority or power. A President’s plan is to set the trajectory and amass (electoral) support to negotiate with the stakeholders.

      That. Paradoxically, one reason I have less of a problem with Medicare for All than I might have was, I knew that if Warren (or Sanders) be elected with strong majorities in both houses of Congress, we still definitely wouldn’t get something as disastrous as Medicare for All. (Not that I’m against government-guaranteed or government-stewarded access to health care. But I have strong suspicions that single payer, especially the version current supporters seem to want it, probably won’t work. Not that I’m a health care expert.)Report

    • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Marchmaine
      Ignored
      says:

      “The dangerous takeaway isn’t that we need “better plans” but that we shouldn’t have any plans at all, only promises. To which you might be tempted to say… “Yeah but Trump.” To which I reply, precisely.”

      This is an excellent insight…for 2024. That said, I suspect it wouldn’t have worked for Warren for two reasons: 1) Sanders and Trump already fully occupy that lane. She couldn’t out promise either of them and both have higher personal popularity with their respective parties than her, so she HAD to contest them on policy to have any chance at all. 2) Trump could get away with wild promises because he could always brush off questions of “what’s the details of your plan?” by passing the buck to Congress, after all Donald Trump is not and never has been a legislator. As you said, the President merely needs to set the trajectory, he doesn’t have the authority or power to actually pass it into law. However, as a legislative wonk in Congress, Warren has for years had a piece of that power and authority. You can’t play up the supposed urgency of an issue that you already have the power and responsibility to address and still duck questions on why you haven’t done it already. Sanders gets around that with the improbable claim that he’ll bring so many new voters into the system that he’ll have the electoral landslide to claim a “mandate” that’ll let him pass anything he promised (which is absurd given his rather limited success thus far at unseating moderate democrats with his endorsed radicals in primaries). What dodge could Warren give? The same reputation and skillset that made her credible challenging others on their inability to deliver on their promises also makes it impossible for her to avoid those same challenges. She HAD to face them head on and when she did she came up short.Report

  6. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    My problem with Warren was (and is) her decision to go the easy route and say (the equivalent of) “the problems are all because of the rich/the corporations/.” She knows or believes that that type of populist appeal has traction. So she does it. It’s just to easy to do it. So I doubt her sincerity. Or if she’s sincere, I doubt her diagnosis of the problem and the rightness/effectiveness/doability of her proposed solutions.

    Now, I admit to not being quite as bothered by it when Sanders does it, even though I don’t like it when Sanders does it. And that probably has something to do with the fact that Warren is a woman. I know myself well enough to know that I probably harbor some sexist prejudices.

    And then there’s the fact that other types of populist appeals really do appeal to me. I usually should be distrustful of such appeals, because they probably reflect or bring out or tempt me to indulge in other prejudices.

    Finally, I really am talking about why I personally dislike Warren. I’m not suggesting that’s why she (apparently) isn’t going to win.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to gabriel conroy
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      says:

      My problem with Warren is that I doubt her insincerity. If I could be sure that she were just pandering, and weren’t actually a true believer, that would be a point in her favor. I still wouldn’t be terribly fond of her, but better someone who believes in nothing than a true believer in the kind of nonsense she and Sanders have been pushing.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Hypothesis- unlike over half the rest of the field, Elizabeth Warren has *not* wanted to be President since she was 10 years old, only getting into electoral politics in her 60s.

    So while she is certainly a certfied world class expert in her field of expertise, and has a polymaths ability to get the big picture BLUF of the rest of public policy, she simply lacked the experience of practical politics (and failing at practical politics) that almost everyone else that’s successful at this level has.

    And it’s not just learning from hands on experience, but also the relationships and networks built over having a few hard fought contests under your belt at different levels.

    Obama’s rise was semi-meteoric, but he had been slogging through a (admittedly shortened and short circuited) cursus honorum for about 15 years before throwing his hat in for Prez, which included some setbacks.

    And yes, of course Trump had zero electoral experience, but he did have a significantly longer time in the public eye, was running in a different party, and did not get more votes than the person he was running against. (But he did win)Report

  8. Avatar Brent F
    Ignored
    says:

    Warren has announced she’s out.

    Now that she’s done, do we think she covered the spread given what we’ve learned about her strengths and weaknesses over the course of the campaign and how the rest of the field shook out? I’d go with marginally below the line but am curious to hear other opinions.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Brent F
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      says:

      Moderately below, but within a standard deviation. Not like a Gillibrand whose campaign underperformed to a laughable degree.

      In retrospect it’s clear how little room Biden and Bernie left for everyone else to gain traction. She came the closest, which is not nothing.

      Her biggest and possibly most consequential mistake was how she handled the DNA test. It was potentially the trip-up that kept her out of the top tier early and though she did come out from under she used a lot of the momentum she might (repeat: might) have been able to use to build a formidable lead if she had started out from a better place. But that mistake was not an unusually big one. She just didn’t have much of a margin for error.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        I agree with Will though I’d put her embracing M4A as her biggest mistake. The DNA test was just a bad situation and a bad call but M4A struck at the very core of her candidacy and also locked her firmly into the lane she chose. Pete, for instance, started out a lot further to the left on M4A and then sidled right when he realized how badly positioned he was. Warren couldn’t move and then got ravaged by the centrist candidates for her plan being too liberal and by Bernie for her plan not immediately nationalizing healthcare and having capitalist numbers and such. Revolution!Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          She made three critical mistakes.

          The first not getting back to Biden to tell him whether she was going to run or not. Initially, Biden said he wasn’t going to run if she did, so he asked her. Getting no reply, he worked his way into campaign mode and went for it. She could have knocked him out before things even began and that would have left the moderate/wonk lane open for her. (Note: I’m not sure how reliable the Biden accounts are, as a lot of what’s reported from insiders is basically gossip until more definitive books come out years later.)

          The DNA mess was a disaster because it called into question her basic honesty. A lot of people became more open to the idea that she was a self-promoting con man, an empty suit with a made-up resume, a view long held by conservatives. Combined with the Biden mistake (and I’m not sure which mistake came first on the timeline), these doomed her chances at entering the race as the default choice and one to beat.

          So she would have to battle it out to stay in the top tier. That’s where her release of her detailed M4A plan flipped the slop on her tracking polls at Real Clear Politics. She was moving up toward being the main threat to Biden, and then she started plummeting down into the second-tier levels, in with the bulk of the pack. Her “I have a plan for that” became, to many, “I have a [totally ridiculous and unworkable] plan for that.” Once she was down in the pack and her core message was fatally weakened, she’d have to battle her way back up by re-building her image and she just couldn’t do it. Her debate performances weren’t particularly good and they needed to be stellar to stand out.

          One of the problems every candidate faces is that the hardest voters to win over are the one’s who’d been supporters but started perceiving some particular thing that turned them off. I’ll call this the “used car salesman problem.” When he walks onto a lot, a buyer is naturally a bit suspicious of the used car salesmen. They have to win his trust. But if one has his trust and then says or does something that makes the buyer go “Zoinks! This one is trying to trick me!” then that is the one salesman on the lot least likely to make the sale. The other salesmen might be trying to trick him, but the once-trusted salesman is definitely trying to trick him. That salesman goes to the bottom of the list and stays there unless he really abases himself with a good explanation (his wife just died and his dog has cancer, or vice versa).

          This is just how our brains tend to work in regards to trust, and note that it’s very different from just liking someone else a little bit better. The ones who just drifted away to a new shiny thing can easily drift back, but the ones who left because they feel their earlier trust was misplaced or earlier faith was profoundly mistaken are really hard to win back.

          This presented an added difficulty for Warren because the people she lost were the ones that were in her lane. It would be easier for her to claim some other lane (which isn’t easy) than to reclaim all of her own prior supporters who are living the Who lyrics “Won’t get fooled again”. She’d already shot far left, and Bernie supporters were miffed at her for basically stealing his platform without giving him credit, and she couldn’t tack back to the center because she’d over-committed and would just lose everybody on the left who still supporter her.

          Basically, she wasn’t smart enough to pull off a truly convincing job of being smart, she wasn’t honest enough to pull off a convincing job of being honest, and she didn’t have the leadership abilities to pull off a convincing job of being a strong leader. At her core she was a whiny, nattering academic with a reedy voice and hectoring grandmother tone, who somehow parlayed her tenure in academia and late-life public service into a $12 fortune, railing about economic injustice while charging $200,000+ to teach a college course, while desperately trying to be hip and woke. The verdict was “No Sale.”Report

  9. Avatar Brent F
    Ignored
    says:

    Her epitaph will be that she stopped Bloomberg. Looking at how Bloomberg did on Super Tuesday, I don’t think that’s actually true, he probably hit the ceiling of what he could have reasonably expected and I doubt as many people were influenced by the debates as the punditry likes to make out.

    However, the narrative that she killed Bloomberg will probably be very valuable to her in the future.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Brent F
      Ignored
      says:

      That might not be to her benefit. Now that Bloomberg is out, most all those anti-Trump ads he was flooding the airwaves with will go with him, due to campaign laws (in kind contributions, etc), along with 24,000 staffers who are almost all soon to be unemployed, yet to many other campaigns “stained” by having taking Bloomberg’s coin.

      One of the key things Democrats would need to do to beat Trump is outspend him even more than Hillary did. Without Bloomberg on the ticket that’s probably no longer possible.Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        If she was on the ballot that would be worth something to her. Now that’s Biden’s problem. But that also was always going to happen unless Bloomberg was the nominee and he had the biggest liabilities of the final four regardless of unlimited dollars.

        Looking like she can light a dude up on stage and it matter to the voters is valuable to her standing in the party going forward.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Heh, yeah Bloomberg definitely demonstrated how devastatingly dangerous Trump outspending Democrats will be.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          Apparently his loathing of Trump is very real:

          “Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg has decided to form an independent expenditure campaign that will absorb hundreds of his presidential campaign staffers in six swing states to work to elect the Democratic nominee this fall.

          The group, with a name that is still undisclosed because its trademark application is in process, would also be a vehicle for Bloomberg to spend money on advertising to attack President Trump and support the Democratic nominee, according to a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.

          The moves come as Bloomberg has continued to taunt Trump on social media, releasing a video Thursday on Twitter that cut together a number of clips in a way meant to mock Trump’s claims that he would win the White House, hold the Senate and take back the U.S. House.”
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mike-bloomberg-plans-new-group-to-support-democratic-nominee/2020/03/05/a2522c44-5f13-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.htmlReport

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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          says:

          It will be devastating. Last time Hillary outspent him by something like four to one and he still beat her. Bloomberg spent $500 million or so to no effect, whereas Trump’s Russian hackers can steal an election with only $100K worth of Facebook ads – because nobody understands Democrats better than fellow communists who work for the same boss, Vladimir Putin. ^_^Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            That was an epic mish mash of fox talking points. You usually have write a few hundred words to get that many in.

            I guess it’s a good thing trump isnt’ thin skinned and won’t have endless rage tweet storms about bloomers attack ads. So you got that going for you.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              In case you haven’t caught on yet, Trump feeds off attack ads like some monster in a super-hero movie. They just make him stronger. He even eggs them on.

              The Democrats are already setting up more own-goals. Nancy is withholding emergency funds to fight the corona virus so she can run attack ads against Republicans. That’s about to blow up in her face.

              Chuck Schumer is out threatening violence against Supreme Court justices and even Democrats are calling for him to step down.

              Trump could win even if he doesn’t do anything because his opponents are fueling his campaign as if they were all Karl Rove’s puppets.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            Heehee so you simultaneously say money doesn’t mean anything but only if it’s used against right wingers whereas if it’s used by right wingers it’s devastatingly effective, all in a couple sentences. Don’t ever change George.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    If you like flashbacks as much as I do:

    Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I think I could describe this thread as a room full of people in different stages of grief (denial, hope, anger, acceptance, etc) over a Biden candidacy. The debate between them reflects whatever stage they happen to be in at the moment. That’s different from 2016 and especially different from 2008 and 2012.Report

  11. Avatar Brent F
    Ignored
    says:

    New question. Did having a strong family resemblance to Hillary Clinton as a candidate (qualified old blonde woman with plans/avatar of the hopes and dreams of politically engaged upwardly mobile professional women) help or hinder Warren in the quest for the nomination.

    If you think this comparison is unfair, I’m reacting to laments online I’m seeing that drew the parallel, I hadn’t even considered it before today.Report

    • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Brent F
      Ignored
      says:

      To be honest, I always thought it was such an obvious parallel it didn’t even need to be made explicit. Perhaps I’m mistaken, though.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brent F
      Ignored
      says:

      For what it’s worth, *I* never made it. I always jumped straight to the Native American thing and how she handled it then mishandled it.

      Report

      • Avatar Brent F in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I didn’t make the connect, but I saw her as clearly the strongest 2nd tier candidate who did the best out of that group (Buttigieg was harder to classify, hard to tell if he was another 2nd tier doing very well or by rights a 3rd or 4th tier candidate who had an epic run).

        But by the way people are acting, it seems her supporters really thought she was a realistic shot to win it all, not a longshot if the breaks came her way. So the Hillary best qualified and smartest and best overall candidate who deserves it so much more than everyone else.Report

  12. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    Soon younger voters will have to get acquainted with Joe Biden, and why he had to drop out prior to Iowa when he ran back in 1988. Here’s a comedian with a handy compilation of those earlier news clips that doomed him.

    I’m guessing the only reason all the other candidates this cycle didn’t just laugh Biden off the stage as a buffoon is because he’d been Obama’s VP, and such attacks would necessarily seem like they were questioning Obama’s judgment.

    Bernie is still in it, so perhaps he’ll pause from his revolution talk and take direct aim at Biden.Report

    • Avatar beelzebob in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      “President Trump in an interview published Thursday said he invented the phrase “priming the pump,” a common saying used in economics.

      “Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do,” Trump said during an interview with editors for The Economist.”Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to beelzebob
        Ignored
        says:

        Fake news. Multiple Discovery is a thing, plenty of regular people come up with a phrase they haven’t heard before and are later shocked that plenty of other people have been using it for pretty much ever. It’s the same effect you see where amateur comedians always seem to come up with the same lame jokes, socially awkward guys trying to be clever in front of pretty girls come up with the same lame pickup lines, and rebellious teenage “nonconformists” tend to all express their “I’m a unique snowflake” individuality with the same look, attitude, and music playlists. Trump isn’t lying, he’s just not an economist nor any more creative than average in his attempts to sound clever.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Ha ha, how Reaganesque of Biden.

      Just when all the shrill humorless wonks start droning on about facts, he gets this twinkle in his eye and says something like “well, there you go again” and tells an heartwarming anecdote about the government rescuing people in trouble, or an outrageous story of corrupt capitalists.

      And sure, the nattering nabobs pick apart the details, but the real Americans know enough to take him seriously not literally.

      See, this is starting to feel a lot like 1979 where the old geezer that the elites wrote off brings a new generation into contact with the old traditional New Deal ways their parents had forgotten about.Report

  13. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    Now Warren is taking nasty shots at Bernie supporters, making it highly unlikely that the two groups could unite behind him and stop Biden, or even get along with each other in the future. Maybe she’ll form a new “#ResistBernie” movement that will drag on for the next four years, and blame her defeat on a long laundry list of deplorable Democrats. Unity in the general election might not be on the table, depending how bad the ostracism and attacks get.

    So if she endorses Biden and tries to take her small number of supporters with her, would that create an even deeper rift with Sander’s larger share of the party’s left?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      More likely, since she isn’t the nominee and hasn’t endorsed Biden, this will have little to no impact on party unity at all. It’s just an inter-leftist squabble right now.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to North
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        says:

        That’s my favorite kind of squabble!Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        That may depend on if she doubles down. I was reading the comments on a post-mortem in Politico and some of the former Warren/Biden fence sitters who liked both brought up some interesting points. Their support for her plummeted when she kicked into attack mode, going after Klobuchar by saying her health plan was a Post-It Note and then conspiring with CNN to accuse Bernie of telling her that a woman couldn’t be President. They say they and everybody else saw right through it because Bernie would never say that and she was a known fibber. That brought up more comments about how so many of her supporters began to see her as a self-centered back stabber.

        If that is the case, she might keep delivering nasty attacks on Bernie, and if she does that while squarely in the Biden/establishment/media camp the Bernie supporters may have flashbacks to 2016 when Donna Brazile was feeding Hillary town-hall questions so she could take out Bernie. They might take on a very hostile view of the party establishment and go off reservation if there’s any viable 3rd party candidate.

        Perhaps the best thing Warren can do is stay quiet and not be toxic, but if she’s feeling stiffed and frustrated, she might keep lashing out. If she does, hopefully someone in the party will stage an intervention because a left-wing schism is the last thing Democrats need if they want to have a viable chance of winning.Report

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