The Revolution That Didn’t Come

Will Truman

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

Related Post Roulette

37 Responses

  1. Douglas Hayden says:

    I think Nate Silver was right in saying there were two lanes, though not in the left-moderate sense. More Bernie and Not Bernie.

    I think everyone writes Bloomberg off as an ego-driven vanity candidate when he did impact the campaign:
    – Carpet bombed the airwaves with ads reinforcing the notions that defeating Trump was job one and that Sanders was just not the guy for America.
    – Bigfooted Buttigieg and Klobuchar when they needed the free air time after Iowa and New Hampshire.
    – Took all the flak in the last two debates, adding to above bigfooting and leaving Biden completely unscathed. And now Warren won’t be at the next debate to take on Biden.

    And lastly, I think we’re all still underestimating the effect of the coronavirus and market crash on the election. Biden’s numbers rocketed the instant the virus hit American shores. Politics is all fun and games until reality declares its not, voters suddenly had the election clarified in no uncertain terms. The only candidate besides him that maybe had the reputation they could handle a pandemic-recession double whammy was Warren, and that was a lot of maybe by then.Report

    • Good to see you Douglas!

      Fair points about Bloomberg. I viewed his campaign primarily as an insurance policy against “moderate lane” failure, and after Biden darted out in front it became redundant. But maybe he did have a more immediate effect.

      I don’t think the crash and virus have factored in yet, but I suspect they will (and to Biden’s benefit over Sanders and Trump).Report

  2. InMD says:

    I agree with the basic conclusion that the D establishment seems to be more functional than the hollowed out husk of the GOP that was partially taken over, but that’s setting a very low bar. What would be mistaken I think is to confuse the Sanders candidacy and to a lesser extent the dissident aspects of Trump’s 2016 run with the tiny percentage of votes that regularly go to the Greens or Libertarians or some other irrelevant micro party. Real questions are being raised about who exactly the global economy works for. Even if Biden wins the general (and he just might, especially if we go into a coronavirus recession) I think it will represent a collective kicking of the can down the road, and continuing to pretend 2008 didn’t actually happen.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to InMD says:

      I have at times referred to Biden as The Great Pause Button with a lot of this in mind.

      But I think a pause button is what we need anyway. Get ourselves together.Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah, ain’t nothing wrong with a pause.Report

      • Aaron David in reply to Will Truman says:

        The problem with that idea is that the world doesn’t pause. I have been reading a lot about the end of the British empire lately, and one thing becoming increasingly clear is that many of the people wanted the world and its society to stop moving after the first world war. And it didn’t. You can see this with Chamberlin and Hitler, the rise of the Soviet Union and so on. The world was going to change, no matter that a huge chunk of British upper class died in the trenches. This, more that anything else, is what led to the downfall of the British.

        All of which is to say that while you might want a pause candidate, to freeze things so to speak, the opposition, in this case the R’s will become the party of progress. And I am guessing that is progress you don’t want.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

      The GOP and the Dem Establishment are hollowing out differently because they are different institutions. At different positions on the timeline. But they are both hollowing out. This shows up with Trump running roughshod threw the GOP and the D’s nominating do-nothings such as Clinton and Biden.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

        There’s a different perspective where Trump stole what should have been the Democrat position on trade and jobs (populist) because too many Republicans were representing the position of Wall Street globalization and almost all the Democrats had, post Dukakis, sold themselves to the highest donors, which was the Wall Street globalization crowd, coastal elites, and tech elites. Nobody was representing the old Ross Perot anti-NAFTA segment that liked American factories in America. Judging from events in the US and Europe, that seems to be a strong position that appeals to a broad swath of people.

        The corona virus could easily reinforce Trump’s support, because a whole lot of people are now seeing the downsides of an overly interconnected world and over-dependence on Chinese manufacturing. Biden will be an unlikely person to run with that position because his first statements after Trump’s ban on travel from China was that it was reactionary, racist, and unnecessary. Had Biden been in charge, the US would now be as eaten up as Italy. And Trump won’t neglect to point out that Biden is pretty much a Chinese agent, since he gave them free reign in the South China sea when they gave Hunter Biden a billion or so Chinese state dollars to play with.

        So you could say that Biden represents sort of the Obama status quo of globalization, and the world may be moving on past that and getting back to more local and more resilient production.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    I think putting Warren in the same lane as Sanders is unfair to Warren and her supporters.Report

    • It’s an oversimplification to be sure. I know many Warren-to-Biden voters. But both represent a desire for a more aggressive and unapologetic left.

      When people were putting together those numbers after Iowa, a lot of people including myself said “That’s not how it works!” but they are seem to fall into a particular pattern with Warren-Biden offset by Pet-Bernie etc.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      What would you say are the major substantive differences between Warren and Sanders? I agree that there are major stylistic differences, but the substance seems fairly similar.Report

      • I would argue that style really matters in this dynamic, however beyond that Warren was heavier on the intersectionalism side but on the economic side was more often to intermediary stepsReport

      • InMD in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I think she got dragged way off the mark by the primary but she is a capitalist, and unapologetically so. I think that deep down Bernie believes its unworkable and morally repugnant whereas she sees herself as a means of fixing capitalism so that its benefits are more widespread. The 2004 book version of Warren (where I see a lot to like) really got mangled in the TV miniseries in a number of different ways.Report

      • InMD in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’ve never said this before and probably never will again but I actually thought this (inflammatory) write up by Tucker Carlson of all people was surprisingly cogent.

        • Chip Daniels in reply to InMD says:

          Donald Trump proved that you can in fact get elected on identity politics.Report

          • InMD in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I said this to Stillwater on the Super Tuesday thread and believe it is pertinent:

            ‘Warren and Harris are examples of why a coalition party can’t be built from identity politics unless the identity in question is itself a majority, or at least plurality, of actual voters necessary for the coalition to win. And even then it might not be the best strategy.’

            I also think that what the Right engages in is more ‘culture politics’ than ‘identity politics’ but probably not a practical difference for this particular issue. If the identity you’re appealing to is the biggest among the votes you need to win it can at times work. When you’re dealing with a broad based coalition it never will.Report

            • LTL FTC in reply to InMD says:

              Yeah, that’s the vacuity of whataboutism.

              Identity politics that do not center the majority of the polity only reliably flourish in non-democratic spaces. You have to be comfortable indeed to “center” someone else with your vote.Report

              • InMD in reply to LTL FTC says:

                Exactly. Some of the more vapid memes I’ve seen floating around social media space have been ‘vote like x marginalized identity/group’. Very, very few people will ever think that way and even those that do will always have to square the question
                of whatabout y marginalized group/identity. There are real divergences in interests and viewpoints in play that can’t be papered over.Report

              • LTL FTC in reply to InMD says:

                When well-meaning whites try and listen to marginalized group X, what they’re actually listening to is an activist class that relies on spinning a certain not-widely-held narrative.

                One of the more obvious delusions of the Warranistas was their elevation of “Black Womxn For” as some sort of signal of wider black support. In the NYT pre-Mortem article about her failure with black voters, one of her high level staffers was still prattling on about those binders full of Black ”Womxn.”

                That’s one impenetrable bubble.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Donald Trump and the Republicans use a hedgemonic set of identity politics, while the Dems use a balkinated identity politics.

            Very different in how it plays out. Misunderstand that at your peril.Report

    • LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      2016 mucks this up the lane talk a bit. Hillary was both the identity politics candidate AND the establishment candidate, which was always an uneasy fit. Now, Hillary’s biggest supporters are supposedly lumped in the Bernie land because they support Warren. Those two left camps are incompatible. Class-first is a non-starter for Resistance Ramona.

      I’d say that the 2020 lanes were educated white women, class-first socialist-ish, and caretaker/normalcy/centrist. Harris took her big swing at Biden thinking it was aimed at both white women and black voters in the normalcy lane, but it turned out to have little currency among black voters because it was symbolic and dead as an issue, so Harris was left to scrap over the same educated white women as Warren, whose campaign was less of a mess internally.

      Perhaps I spend too much time following this drama and its worst practitioners, but the lack of an obvious second choice for Warren supporters shows they are ideologically incompatible with the other lanes and will only cross over when the “representation” is right, something it’s too late for now.Report

  4. Chip Daniels says:

    I’ve read elsewhere that the difference between conventional political groups like liberals and conservatives, and revolutionaries is that convetional political groups have actual policy goals they want to accomplish while revolutionaries really have only the revolution as their goal.

    In the sense that they see the struggle to defeat the enemy as their primary goal, while assuming that once this goal is reached, the other goals like transforming society will somehow just happen by magic.Report

    • As it pertains to the Sanders campaign in particular this has explanatory power.Report

    • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Revolutions are lazy. Oh of course they take a lot of work for a while they you get your giants changes and boom, you have changed the world. But political change doesn’t just happen in one spurt, it needs to be maintained every election and despite setbacks. The bernie people became enamored with the romantic idea of a revolution. But the broader Left has never been willing to build itself through electing people at the local/state level. They want a giant win at the top which will be a paradigm shift w/o spending years creating real political grass roots.

      You can sort of see it in the muddle of how they talk about what would happen when bernie won. Lots admit most of his stuff wouldn’t get passed, others had this ludicrous idea bernie would be stumping around the country going after recalcitrant D’s until they voted for everything and some even thought all his stuff would get passed.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    A big problem I think is that the media sort of has iron laws that want and need the Democrats to be just as crazy as Republicans. There was drama during the early primaries but by Super Tuesday it became clear that the Democrats learned the lessons of the 2016 primaries. Moderate candidates dropped out and endorsed Biden and rallied around the base. But there are strong biases among internet politicos and journalists that the Democrats need to be disorganized (Dems in disarray!!!!) as the GOP. A lot of this seems to be an anti-Democratic bias and refusal to credit the Democrats with anything.

    I don’t think Sanders would be a Mondale level disaster like some detractors do. But it seems pretty clear that others saw a potential problem and reacted against it. Plus his promised youth vote did not come out.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    These people read too much friggin’ Marx and nowhere near enough friggin’ Hegel.

    “Hurray! We’ve achieved synthesis! Glad that’s over with!”Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      They read too much Hegel and Marx and not enough Lenin and Mao.

      Eta – tbf they are fairly well versed in western hemisphere revolutionaries of all stripes, which is more relevant to their task at hand of transforming the USA.Report

  7. The Democratic Party has demonstrated that it is not the Republican Party in search of a freak flag to fly.

    And thank God for that.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    One of the things that actively hurt the republicans in 2006/2008 was the whole pandering thing when it came to how important Fiscal Conservativism was. They talked this big game for so freakin’ long but as soon as they got their hands on the reigns of power, they started throwing money around like water and “deficits don’t matter”.

    And there were a handful of principled types who said something like “If neither party cares about my first choice… maybe I will instead vote for the party that cares most about my second choice”. Not all of these principled people voted Republican when it came to their second choice.

    By the time Romney/Ryan were running, the noises about how we needed to spend money frugally was downright laughable. Like, how freaking stupid do Republicans think that their voters are?

    Anyway, I bring that up to point this out:


  9. Saul Degraw says:

    Good numbers post from Paul Campos at LGM. Apparently the youth vote fizzled: