Joe Biden: Staying Alive

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Kristin Devine

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

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  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    But… I like croissants! Even if it is hard to get good ones in the US (gotta find a bakery that knows that they don’t come out of a cardboard tube).Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      I am, hopefully obviously, joking about the croissants to make a larger point about Democrats trying to appeal to the .001% of people who like Lena Dunham, virtually all of whom are extremely rich and extremely white even at the expense of alienating lots of other potential voters.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kristin Devine
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        I am, hopefully obviously, just being a smartass ( 😉 ).

        It’s a good post

        And I really do like croissants, ever since I went to Paris and had good ones, and was like, “Damn, these French people got this one right!”.Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck
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    People have got themselves so scared of Trump that they’d vote for Hitler if he rose from the grave and ran as a Democrat.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to DensityDuck
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      Sadly you are probably right, except so many of the alleged progressives who back Bernie are now out claiming we need to teach the DNC ANOTHER lesson (cause they didn’t learn in 2016) and all vote for Trump.

      My TL:DR is much simpler – Biden is what you get when the allegedly left wing party has spent 30 years moving to the center to chase right leaning campaign dollars.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    Yeah, becoming fashionable was one of the worst things that could have happened to the Dems… over the long term.

    But for so long it *WORKED*! Bill Clinton playing the sax was iconic enough to make it to the opening credits of Animaniacs. Obama? Oh, my gosh! He was so dreamy! I didn’t even care that he expanded wars and killed Americans on foreign soil in non-war zones! Remember his music videos? Happy sigh.

    But the problem with fashion is that it turns on a dime. Next thing you know, you’re trying to explain that bellbottoms are cool to people who are experimenting with skinny ties.

    Or, you know, trying to explain why it’s good that we exported manufacture of medical equipment to China. Seriously, it was a lot cheaper and the quality was almost as good!

    And now we’re in a place where we’re hoping that Biden’s VP pick is cool. We’re not voting for *HIM*, after all. We’re voting for whomever he picks as VP because Biden’s dropping out on day 3, baby. And the VP will be in charge of picking Ginsburg’s replacement! And the DNC will be in charge of picking the new and improved VP. And we’re hoping that we won’t notice what Carlito Caribbean Cool has noticed all too many times:

    Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
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    Holy cow, this also explains Libertarianism. “Oh, you listen to The New Kids On The Block? Yeah, they’re pretty popular, huh? I listen to Camper Van Beethoven, myself.” Meanwhile the Republicans are listening to Leif Garrett covering Dion’s The Wanderer complaining that people are snickering and saying stuff like “I was reliably informed that Rock and Roll was popular!”

    Oh God. I’m infected with the mindvirus too!Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    I guess this is another installment of “Person who opposes everything the Democrats stand for explains why they will not vote for a Democrat”.

    Which is fine because hey, we all have our politics.

    What I find weird here, and I’m seeing as common on the right side of the aisle, is how bereft and empty their criticism is of anything actual political, and how it revolves almost entirely around cultural identity.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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      Culture informs politics informs law.

      That conservatives are seeing this right now, while the left is trying to patch holes in the walls with white papers and political position statements, speaks volumes.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Except for that whole “end the military industrial complex, no overseas wars, legalize drugs, don’t ban abortions, pro-gay-marriage, free speech, no corporate welfare, student loan bailout

      It’s fascinating how often your “opposes everything the Democrats do” is actually “opposes a handful of things Democrats do but have decided to go all in on the past 15 years for some reason”Report

  6. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    ’You get a boring predictable drudge who no one particularly likes but everyone knew it was gonna be all along

    I’m not seeing the problem. This sounds like the perfect president. I want a boring person who won’t fish things up too badly. Politicians who inspire cults of personality are dangerous.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      THIS!

      We need to stop trading competence for cool. Sanders is not competent. Biden probably is, Warren would have been, a lot of the others would have been.

      Cool != competence.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        When was the last time that two totally square presidents ran against each other. 1988? (I can see arguments that 2000 might be the answer, but I also see arguments for why Dumbya was kinda cool compared to the wooden and unlikable Al Gore.)Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        We need to stop trading competence for cool.

        Agreed.

        And agreed Sanders is not competent. Repeatedly pointing to economies that are burning down and proclaiming that’s what you want just looks bad.

        Biden probably was competent, whether he still is may be an issue.

        Warren isn’t, she REALLY tries to sound informed and wonkish but some of her ideas are insane and she doesn’t seem to realize it.

        Buttigieg was hit the radar as competent but inexperienced… maybe that’s a contradiction. Hopefully he’ll be back.

        Bloomberg definitely was competent (maybe even more so than everyone else combined), but that and money was all he had going for him.

        The others I know less about.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        “We need to stop trading competence for cool.”

        begs the question of whether Biden is competent.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Brandon Berg
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      That is a recipe for every one of your prefered policies to die a slow, sad death. This might be the prefered method of mathmaticians, engineers and libertarians in general, but it wont win an election. Which is the very first thing that matters in this.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Brandon Berg
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      Agreed, Biden blandness is one of his best features. It’ll be really nice to not have to deal with a President’s fanatical followers for a while.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    Did you ever see that little ’90s movie, Groundhog Day? It’s the tale of a cadish man stuck in a time loop. But anyway, he spends an infinte number of days figuring out the perfect way to take out a woman he is attracted to and wants to fool around with. And he almost pulls it off, only failing at the last second to bring her home with him. But what is very clearly illustrated in the next set of scenes is his attemped to recreate that almost perfect night. And we see him blunder, push things too hard and generally show that it was all smoke and mirrors. Bluster.

    See, he tried to recreate something that was not really there. Things he took for granted no longer worked. He tried to force things as opposed to finessing them. It was no longer natural, because it was never natural. That was HRC in ’16 and until the D’s recognize this, it will be them in ’20.

    Trump isn’t cool, but he is authentic. As is Bernie. And until they get past that, the D’s are dead in the water. They (as you point out) are so accustemed to being the cool, authentic ones that now, when they tell themselves this it rings hollow to themselves even.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Aaron David
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      Trump is an authentic pompous a$$ who has zero empathy for anyone, attacks and demeans all sorts of people, and generally care about nothing and no one unless it boosts his ratings and his stock portfolio. he hasn’t change his approach or antic while being president, and likely never will.

      Authenticity only buys you so much – and while Republicans have spent close to 50 years using emotionally laden “authentic” racist dog whistles to aggrandize power, they are also having to engage in all sorts of undemocratic voter suppression to retain that power. Heck, Trump Unfiltered said so the other day at one of his amazingly well rates press briefings.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Philip H
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        Not disagreeing, but I’d say there’s a confusion between thinking this

        Trump is an authentic pompous a$$

        isn’t consistent with this

        with who has zero empathy for anyone, attacks and demeans all sorts of people,

        Trump *genuinely*, *authentically* doesn’t care about people except instrumentally, but his supporters like him for that. IOW, what you view as the genuine expression of his moral failings are what Trumpists are drawn to. (Of course, they don’t think he’ll ever screw *them* over, but that’s a different issue…)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Philip H
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        Authentic only for some people at least.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
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          I have it on very good authority from someone I deeply trust tht hes is as he appears. The President is who he is. He acts this way. SO in that sense he’s as authentic as they come.

          From my perspective he’s authentically an a$$ who is doing serious rhetorical and policy harm to the US but he’s completely authentic.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Shorter essay: I hate Trump but I don’t want to vote for any Democratic politician because they are the crap team. I’ll only vote for the Democratic Party if they enact my policy preferences to the detriment of what long term loyal Democratic Party members believe.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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      I’ll only vote for the Democratic Party if they enact my policy preferences to the detriment of what long term loyal Democratic Party members believe.

      I’m a Democratic Party voter and I’ll vote for the Dem nominee *despite* knowing that that candidate will enact policies long term loyal Democratic party members want implemented. The Dems are a fucking mess, dude, and the main reason is that the longterm loyalists control the party to detriment of both the country and the party itself. That Kristen finds the whole party yucky is something I sympathize with since I frequently feel that way myself.

      What’s odd about you and Saul, and Chip to some extent, is that you both bitch about how much things suck for young people right now, and how our politics isn’t responsive to young people’s concerns, without understanding (or admitting) the role the Democratic Party played in getting you here.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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        Adding: and honestly, since you seem to have a Big Dog in this fight, if you want Kristen to vote Democratic in the general election, giving her compelling reasons to do so might be a more effective strategy than confirming her view that Democrats are thin-skinned wanna-be-cool posers.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          What is left unspoken is that for Kristin, the Republicans including Trump, are the default vote.
          Trump doesn’t need to “earn ” her vote. The Republicans don’t need to put forward a “compelling reason” to get her vote. They already have it, and will get it again unless somehow the Democrats do, well, I’m not sure what they could do.
          She never explains what it is that they would need to do, other than somehow stop being such Democrats.

          Look, she is a Republican, who wants Republican policies and prefers the Republican view of the world.

          Which is fine, that’s her way of thinking.

          But to claim that hers is a swing vote, a potential Democrat is just silly.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            She never explains what it is that they would need to do, other than somehow stop being such Democrats.

            I’m pretty sure Kristen *has* written about what Democrats need to do to get her vote, and we all pounded on her for having the gall to expect Dems to tailor their platform and priorities to accommodate her.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              Yeah exactly.
              She doesn’t really like anything about the Democrats, her mindset and worldview is that of a Republican, so why there is this fan dance of “I would totally go out with you if you were a different person” mystifies me.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Chip, I just gotta say, discussions with you are so fucking weird. You say “X”. I say, “no, it’s actually not-X.” Then you say, “Yeah that’s exactly what I said!”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Because your refutation of my comment wasn’t actually one.

                Even her “this is what Democrats need to do” was essentially what I said at first, which was a bunch of identity culture war stuff, meaning things which people can’t change. She will vote Democrat if we become Republicans.

                So she really doesn’t tell us what we could do to “earn” her vote, at all.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                a bunch of identity culture war stuff, meaning things which people can’t change.

                Chip, you need to open up to the possibilities and get the word out that we can do whatever we want! We can change the party, turn it away from a reliance on the culture war and identity politics. The suggestion that the cultural diversity in the party prevents of from acting like a monoculture is pure bullshit!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                Kristin’s objections to Democrats consists of Republican identity politics; their objections to “wokeness” and PC and all the other shibboleths is their own culture, their own identity.

                “We” can’t change the Republican Party’s reliance on culture war and identity politics.Report

              • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Or maybe I just really, truly, do not like that stuff and have come to that conclusion all on my own.

                My hating PC stuff predates my conservatism. I hated it when I was a LIBERAL.

                Free speech, this thing liberals used to believe in.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to atomickristin
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                “Free speech.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you seem to think it means.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Chip, I sometimes wonder fi you read your own replies.

                “Even her “this is what Democrats need to do” was essentially what I said at first, which was a bunch of identity culture war stuff, meaning things which people can’t change”

                “Kristin’s objections to Democrats consists of Republican identity politics; their objections to “wokeness” and PC and all the other shibboleths is their own culture, their own identity.”

                Your view of politics is decidedly strange if your definition of “things which people can’t change” includes “their views for/against wokeness/PC”. By definition, “culture” is constructed, meaning “things that people CAN change”.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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              says:

              Yes, and as I recall it started with “become pro-life” and moved onto other standard Republican ideologies.

              So, in short, her criteria to vote Democratic is they become “competent, pro-life Republicans”.

              Which is great, I know what that means. But the problem is, the Democrats aren’t going to become specifically pro-life, they are not going to ditch their focus on the working class and the social safety net, and in generally aren’t going to toss their entire platform to say “Like Republicans, if Jeb had won”.

              Although as I recall, “pro-life” was really the deal breaker. Unless I am thinking of a guest poster. If so, apologies.

              Democrats cannot get Kristen’s vote without losing five voters for every Kristen they attract. After all, becoming pro-life won’t get them all the pro-life voters — many will still prefer the GOP — but will lose them all the pro-choice voters.

              So saying “Why won’t Democrats move towards me” is really saying “Why won’t Democrats abandon their core principles in order to attract a fraction of the number of voters they’ll lose”. And why they won’t do that is pretty self-explanatory. Like every other political party, they do prefer occasionally winning an election.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
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                Let me rephrase things a bit then. Your argument is that we can dismiss – a priori! – any criticisms or other comments Kristin makes about the Dem party because she would never vote Dem. Fair and fine.

                The weird thing is that when *I* make criticisms of the Dem party my comments are also reflexively dismissed. They’re the result of me falling for right-wing propaganda, or that I’m a misogynistic Hillary Hater, or that I’m espousing a ridiculous conspiracy theory about the DNC, or… You get the point.

                What I’ve learned from the partisan Dems at this site is that when you’re a Dem you’re a Dem all the way from your first cigarette to your last dying day.

                So you may be right that she would never vote for a Democrat. But wrt the *criticism* she’s making does that even matter?Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                “Your argument is that we can dismiss – a priori! – any criticisms or other comments Kristin makes about the Dem party because she would never vote Dem. Fair and fine.”

                That’s not my argument at all. My argument is pretty simple: Democrats do have an ideology, and while the tent is quite large it does have borders.

                If you require the Democrats to cross a border, one way or another, you are asking Democrats to forsake the ideology of some of it’s own voters.

                And there is constant internal argument among Democrats over where those borders should be, so it’s not an impossible ask. But it can be a big one depending on which border you want to cross.

                Do you want the Democrats to move from — to chose an obvious and extreme example — from a party with a pro-choice platform to a pro-life one? That’s a big ask.

                And it’s worth asking whether that is actually going to be a net gain for the party. It’s all well and good to say “Democrats can get my vote by X, Y, and Z” — but whether that’s something Democrats can really do or should really do depends on what X, Y and Z is.

                And I’ve found a lot of those “I’d vote Democrats BUT” discussions the “but” part is a core Democratic ideology. Abortion is most common.

                If a core Democratic principle is what’s preventing you from voting Democratic, they can’t really fix that unless that principle grows unpopular with their own voters.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
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                If you require the Democrats to cross a border, one way or another, you are asking Democrats to forsake the ideology of some of it’s own voters.

                Yes. That’s called “coalition building”. One day you’re in the tent pissing out, the next day you’re outside the tent pissing in.

                Regaarding the right to choose, for a couple years beginning about a decade ago I advocated that Democrats support a ban on third trimester* abortions on the premise that inflexibility on that issue would drive marginal Dem voters to the GOP and therefore increase the likleihood that a more radicalized GOP would gain enough political power to overturn Roe v Wade in its entirety.

                *My argument was that the only time that procedure occurs is when the mother’s life is in danger, and that exception would be built into the law anyway.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                “Yes. That’s called “coalition building”. One day you’re in the tent pissing out, the next day you’re outside the tent pissing in.”

                It is indeed, and given how incredibly wide the Democratic tent is — where it can contain people as diverse as — technically for the moment — Sanders and Manchin — Democrats are well aware of it.

                What you don’t seem to want to grasp is that there are limits. The tent is not infinitely stretchable, and each individual voter has their own limits as to how far they’ll go.

                So saying “The Democrats should accommodate [Ideology X] is all well and good — but what if [Ideology X] is contrary to what a large portion of current Democrats are willing to accept?”

                You cannot pretend a party can accomodate all ideologies without losing voters. Should Democrats reach out to white supremacists? What about xenophobes?

                Your abortion example is a good one. How many votes, do you think, will Democrats gain by outlawing third trimester abortions “except in case of the health of the mother or when the fetus is not viable”.

                None. It will gain them none.

                As for pro-choicers, they already know that’s the law (third trimester abortions aren’t legal anywhere in the US outside of those circumstances. So all they see is Democrats using false messenging — pretending third trimester abortions outside those restrictions exist to begin with — and supporting lies to pander to voters they can’t get.

                You alienate your core supporters for nothing.

                It might sound good on paper, but in real life it costs you quite a bit and gets you nothing. It’s very ivory tower.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
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                What you don’t seem to want to grasp is that there are limits. The tent is not infinitely stretchable, and each individual voter has their own limits as to how far they’ll go.

                This is where we differ. THe problem the Dems find themselves in right now isn’t that their tent can’t be stretched any further, it’s that the coalitions which comprise the base are so disparate, idiosyncratic and (frankly) inconsistent that whole sections of them need to be sacrificed for a cleaner, more consistent, more forward thinking policy set.

                The limits on the size of the tent are constrained by the type of politics the Dems have been engaging over the last decade or two. Bill Clinton destroyed the Dems claims to representing the working class, and since then the party has tried to cobble together a hodge-podge of special interest-type retail political “identity” based groups while maintaining their allegiance to corporate America and a reflexive support for foreign wars.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                “The limits on the size of the tent are constrained by the type of politics the Dems have been engaging over the last decade or two. Bill Clinton destroyed the Dems claims to representing the working class, and since then the party has tried to cobble together a hodge-podge of special interest-type retail political “identity” based groups while maintaining their allegiance to corporate America and a reflexive support for foreign wars.”

                Again, Bernie Sanders and Manchin are part of the same part. Heck, even Tulsi Gabbard is.

                Two of them ran for President, this year even.

                Calling that a small tent is…weird.

                “it’s that the coalitions which comprise the base are so disparate, idiosyncratic and (frankly) inconsistent that whole sections of them need to be sacrificed for a cleaner, more consistent, more forward thinking policy set.”

                Oh, I’ll bite. Who do you want to kick off the island? And who do you think that’ll allow in?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
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                “You go to war with the crappy, rag tag coalition you have, not the one you would like to have at a later time.”

                Look, just like in 2016, the Dem candidate will be campagning against *Donald Trump*. We already lost one election to him, and he’s arguably the single worst human being American society has ever produced.

                These elections shouldn’t even be close.Report

              • Avatar Jesse in reply to Stillwater
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                Why wouldn’t the elections be close? Donald Trump is simply saying out loud, the wishes of 30% off the population, and there’s easily another 15% of the population who cares about a specific issue (guns, abortion, etc.) they’ll put up with the unpleasantness if it means owning the libs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse
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                they’ll put up with the unpleasantness if it means owning the libs.

                Exactly right. The *primary* motivator of the Trumpist base is “owning the libs”, and they’ll put up with awful policies in order to do it. Yet you say that as if the Democrats had no role to play in the creation of a political movement based on “owning” them. In fact, according to partisan Dems, asking that question demonstrates my own ignornance, since if I knew more I would realize that the problem isn’t the Democratic party, it’s everyone else.

                Going into the 2016 cycle rabidly partisan Democrat Saul wrote a post criticizing the DNC and other establishment Dem institutions for anointing Hillary Clinton as the unopposed winner of the Dem primary rather than fielding candidates to challenge her for the nomination. That was a *criticism* of the Dems and how the decision-makers within the party conduct politics. It was a valid criticism at the time. But once she won, even people like Saul forgot about those shenanigans and defended Hillary and the Dem party tooth and nail.

                Do you find that odd? I find that odd.

                Fieliding a candidate to beat Trump in 2020 should be relatively easy for a party that wasn’t already trapped at the end of a dead-end street. But the Dems, as a national-level party, are.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                “Fielding a candidate to beat Trump in 2020 should be relatively easy..”

                Great!
                What candidate would that be?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Again, any criticism of the Democratic party is the result of my own ignorance.

                Chip, say the following phrase out loud: “Joe Biden is the best the Dems can do”, and notice the feeling that it gives you.

                Not one of pride or confidence, right?

                Add: I’d also refer you to Kristin’s OP, which actually addresses the question you asked pretty directly.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                Oh c’mon.
                Criticizing the DNC is a gimme, like complaining about the weather.
                Sure, they suck, in a dozen different ways.
                See, that’s not hard!

                But neither you nor Kristin named anyone who could beat Trump by a significant margin.

                We started out this season with what, a dozen Democrats running, and almost all of them beat Trump in any head to head polling; But all of them beat him by roughly the same margin, about 8 to 10 points.

                Which is where Biden is at right now.

                So really, what’s your problem with him? He really does seem to be the very best bet to defeat Trump.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                But neither you nor Kristin named anyone who could beat Trump by a significant margin.

                Yeah, you’re reversing things. Kristin’s point is that there were lots of people who *could* have amassed the type of support to beat Trump by a wide margin, but they didn’t make it through the liberal-cultural-politics-PC-meat grinder.

                You keep using Joe’s nomination as proof that he’s the best candidate, and I keep citing Joe’s nomination as proof that right now, as the party is currently constructed, Joe!’s the best that *Dems* can do.

                He’s not *awful*. He doesn’t come into the general with the highest disapprovals of any candidate in US presidential history like Hillary did. He’s old and outdated and slightly misogynistic (but not too much) and slightly racist (but not too much) and so on. He’s OK. He’s literally the best the Dems can do.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                Wait, hold on.

                You’re saying that had we picked someone less PC, less Woke, less “liberal cultural politics” friendly, they would be now beating Trump by a larger margin that 10 points?
                Is that really the notion here?

                Like, for example, would Mike Bloomberg be an example of the “lots of people”?

                He’s your Johnny Unbeatable?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                No, what I’m saying is that when you demand that Kristin, or I, or anyone else identify the person who would have gained wider support than Biden, you’re confirming the thesis of the OP: that since there is no other candidate who actually did do better than feeble old cranky slightly racist corporate Joe!, Joe is the best the Dems can do.

                Here’s a line that might snap you outa the do loop you’re in:

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

                Does it ring any bells for you?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                Yes, it was written by a guy who understands that he is in a bubble and not representative of the wider society in which he lives.

                You don’t see the logic flaw in asserting that somewhere out there is a candidate who would be widely popular, and able to easily take a commanding lead in a national election, and yet somehow remains invisible and unknown?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Adding: what’s so bizarre about these discussions is neither you nor Saul nor Lee nor JS has conceded that there are *any* problems in the Democratic party. Not a single one! Every criticism is discounted or explained away.

                Yet I refuse to believe that every one of you has a bunch of political priorities which you think the Democratic party should pick up and act on.

                I mean, look, I understand the idea that the US is in an existential crisis right now and how that idea translates into viewing the Dems as a Superhero Party who’ll save America from the Evil that the GOP has become and all that. I get the sense of urgency.

                But we had these exact discussion back during the 2016 primary, long before Trump was a lock on the nomination, and it was exactly the same back then. Every criticism was discounted or explained away. Even while Bernie’s token campaign to pull Hillary to the left rattled her so much it cost her Michigan and likely the other rust belt states in the general election.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                “Adding: what’s so bizarre about these discussions is neither you nor Saul nor Lee nor JS has conceded that there are *any* problems in the Democratic party. Not a single one! Every criticism is discounted or explained away.”

                Wait, were we supposed to be listing them? So far it appears we were pushing back on the frankly hilarious notion that the woke PC left carries so much weight that — *snicker* JOE BIDEN won.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
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                List ’em.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Lets stipulate there are all sorts of problems with the Democratic Party.

                Does that validate the idea that you’re pushing, of some latent Johnny Unbeatable who was somehow denied his rightful place in the party lineup?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Lets stipulate there are all sorts of problems with the Democratic Party.

                List ’em.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I thought about this for a moment, and realized that the people I have problems with (like Dianne Feinstein are elected officials, not Party Officials. Or people like James Carville who are campaign consultants, not Party Officials. Or the Rose Twitter guys who are just…guys on Twitter.

                Then I thought of actions that The Party takes, and aside from the silliness of allowing Bloomberg to participate, I can’t think of some action or policy by the party.

                Not actions I agree with, or actions disagree with, but ANY actions.
                I mean, really, from the perspective of a person at ground level, the party apparatus is largely invisible.

                So I don’t know, really, what sort of problems there are. Could you help a brother out?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Let’s start here:

                Anointing Hillary in 2016?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                The anointing, or the result of it?

                I mean, I like Hillary a lot, but I can understand someone not liking how the party helped her beat her competitors.

                So for the sake of argument, lets stipulate that one.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                That’s two! The first is anointing Hillary, the second is the way the DNC and others tried to marginalize Bernie’s token run.

                3. That the same party apparatus that anointed HIllary in 2016 actively coalesced around Biden in 2020 to prevent Bernie from winning the primary? (This one is a bit trickier, isn’t it?)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I don’t know about that.

                Biden was leading from the start, and picked up a lot of momentum from the rank and file.
                Bernie was never able to enlarge his base.

                Trying to make this as something the party did, as opposed to just rank and file voters seems unpersuasive.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Here’s a comment from North that captures the dynamic pretty well:

                First, mildly, with Clyburns’ endorsement (establishment/leadership) followed by an affirmation by voters in South Carolina (the rank and file); then majorly with the rallying around Joe by the establishment in general and the endorsement by other moderate candidates who dropped out (establishment/leadership) followed by a landslide victory for Joe in the Super Tuesday states and beyond (rank and file). So yeah, out of the options they had the party and its voters chose Joe and he’s the best they could do.

                It’s important to remember that at the time Clyburn enorsed Biden, he was dead in the water and headlines were saying things like “Can the Democrats stop Bernie?”

                But as North lays out, his campaign was revived by establishment figures coalescing around his campaign despite the fact that Pete was grinding his way up the ladder. Then … suddenly! … Pete (and Amy too!) drops out *before* Super Tuesday! ?? (zomg)

                You’re only gonna give that a half nod? (I’ll take, don’t get me wrong… 🙂Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Biden was never dead in the water.
                He was going to rally in SC and most of the Super Tuesday states no matter what.

                But its true, Clyburn’s endorsement gave him a boost when he needed it. So yeah OK, the Establishment rallied around Biden, after it became apparent it was a two man race.

                I’m not sure what other course of action you saw as preferable? Endorsing Bernie?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Sure, why not? Or Amy or Pete or Warren. IT could have gotten behind any of them at that point.

                Look at it this way: the establishment let the primary play out until it was clear that an establishment candidate was unlikely to win, and only *at that point* did it intervene by rallying around the most establishment candidate in the group.

                And I’m serious about rallying behind Bernie. His polling in important swings states was the same as Biden’s at that point.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                4. If the DNC and other Dem national institutions were politically competent they’d be flooding the airwaves right now (and for the last year) with a mix of smart anti-Trump/anti-GOP ads (this is a general complaint which falls into the “Dems absolutely suck at messaging” category)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I agree with that, but then I would agree with any suggestion that begins with “Beat Trump over the head…”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                5. If the DNC and other Dem national institutions were politically competent they’d be flooding the airwaves right now with a mix of smart ads outlining the Dems priorities on healthcare, jobs, Executive branch political culture, or hell even what’s contained in that 2.2 trillion dollar bailout bill Pelosi is so proud of.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I don’t believe there is any amount of establishment effort which would make Bernie more competitive against Trump than Biden. He’s never been able to widen his base and its not for lack of exposure.

                Its fine if you disagree, but to see their endorsement of Biden over Bernie as some awful political malpractice seems more like elevating your own political opinions into an unassailable axiom.

                Bernie, Pete and Warren (God bless her) just never got traction with the base and as much as it pains me to say it, that’s just how it is.

                The Democratic base did the most work in narrowing the field and elevating Biden. If you think he is a terrible pick, point the finger at all the church ladies in South Carolina.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                “but they didn’t make it through the liberal-cultural-politics-PC-meat grinder.”

                But Joe Effing Biden did?

                You realize the fact that Joe Biden won is, in fact, absolute evidence there is no “liberal-cultural-politics-PC-meat grinder”.

                He was always a front runner, and only dethroned from that for the few brief weeks the media forgot Iowa, NH, and Nevada were not the end-all and be-all of America.

                Dear god. I can understanding believing Democrats were beholden to the PC police before Joe Biden won — although I would have laughed at you, because that whole “woke PC” crap exists pretty much purely on Twitter, so no one in the real world cares, but after Biden won?

                Biden, currently polling 20+ points above Sanders everywhere in the primary? JOE BIDEN?Report

              • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Personally, I think they should go with John Hinckley Jr, now that’s he’s out of prison.

                “Hinckley 2020: This Time, He’ll Shoot Straight”Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                “e already lost one election to him, and he’s arguably the single worst human being American society has ever produced.

                These elections shouldn’t even be close.”

                Oh, your problem is you’re in denial about what a large chunk of Americans want, and are blaming Democrats for it.

                Donald Trump is deeply popular with Republicans (90% approval). he has kept an overall approval rating of around 42% for years.

                YOU make think he’s the worst human being America has ever produced — I happen to think something similar — but if you sit there and pretend that that opinion is universal, that he’s unpopular with everyone….well, you shouldn’t be making political projections when you can’t even understand the motives of a good 40% of the electorate.

                Trump isn’t popular with Republicans because of anything Democrats say or do — it’s because they like what he’s selling, and he’s on their team.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, your problem is you’re in denial about what a large chunk of Americans want, and are blaming Democrats for it.

                Again, partisan Democrats refuse to believe any criticism of the party is valid. Upthread Saul made a similar accusation: that my criticism of Democrats as a party came from *my own* ignorance. The obvious conclusion is that if I knew *more* I would realize that Democrats cannot be criticized since the Party is perfect as it is, and it’s *everyone else’s fault* for not being smart enough to realize it.

                Good luck with that as a GOTV strategy!

                “Look, I have some issues with the Democrats being in bed with corporate interests.”

                “Sir, that’s only because you’re too stupid to understand that Democratic politicians are beyond reproach.”Report

          • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            I have never voted Republican for president before. Republican is not my default position.

            I have written here on this site about how I think there should be student loan forgiveness and how I’m pro choice. Literally just wrote about how I think the quarantine should continue. When I say things like “I’d rather vote Trump than Cthulu” that is hyperbole to get the Democrats to wake up and stop doing what they’re doing because it’s hurting their cause badly with a fairly reasonable person with a history of, you know, never voting Republican for president.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to atomickristin
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              says:

              They’ve already written you off as even being a persuadable swing voter, much less a Democrat. Oh my, how fast their tent is shrinking.

              This too might reflect how they’re stuck on cool. You weren’t with the group, ready to fully back whatever far-left wacko political fad the candidate adopted to try and outflank a socialist who praises Cuba and the Soviet Union, so you must not be a cool person. In fact, you’re so uncool that they’re not going to invite you to any of their cool parties anymore. You are an unperson! Begone!

              Meanwhile the GOP is over here ready to give you big uninfected hugs. We really like you! We know you have worries, and we have worries too. College costs crept out of control. We need to get control of the border because what we have is just crazy. We need to stand up to China. We need to reign in X, Y, and Z and do more of A, B, and C, to help keep America the greatest country on Earth.

              Your premise could also show how the cool factor promoted candidates like Beto, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, Wang, and even Williamson, but worked against all those boring Democratic governors. It likely inclined lots of competent long-serving Democrats to not even bother running because they know that they won’t get any traction in the Twitter era because they just show up and do their jobs, and do those jobs well.

              Democrats should perhaps reflect on what they’re looking for in a governor during this crisis. Do they want some woke, virtue-signalling goofball who views the outbreak as an excuse to upend society and take pot-shots at other people, or do they want a calm, highly competent executive who can spend all day analyzing numbers, listening to advice, running scenarios, and then making very tough calls? I’d think they should want the one who will suffer the lowest casualties, and win the fastest victory in this fight, by not making rookie mistakes or betting everything on a cool-sounding, poll-tested PR strategy that will be a great Twitter hashtag but become a public health disaster.

              An example of the latter might be the officials who wanted to look cool, hip, and woke by encouraging people to “stand up to Trump’s xenophobia” by throwing block parties with people who just flew in from China and Italy. Sometimes a parent who says “No!” is way better than a parent who gives their kids a new motorcycle and a fifth of Patron for graduation.

              Somehow the party of the working man changed into the party of the elite, upper-middle class self-indulgent, insecure white person, and I don’t think that’s going to work out.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to atomickristin
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              says:

              Except you don’t seem to really like any Democrats, not really.

              You give a rundown of the candidates who collectively make up 90% of the Democratic base, and mock and sneer at them each in turn, and by extension the Democratic voters themselves.

              You saw that Michael Harroit essay about how in the South where he comes from, the “Democratic Party Establishment” are the barbers and ministers and church ladies, that is, the regular people from the neighborhood.

              Or maybe I could add, where I come from, the “Woke” people, the “PC” people, the #MeToo people are just the regular people I know, my family, my friends, my colleagues.

              I have to wonder, what parts of the Democratic Party do you find appealing?Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to atomickristin
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              says:

              When I say things like “I’d rather vote Trump than Cthulu” that is hyperbole to get the Democrats to wake up and stop doing what they’re doing because it’s hurting their cause badly…

              The thing I don’t get for either side is that it’s not “rather vote Trump than Cthulu”, it’s whether to vote Trump or Cthulu as modulated by Congress. Cthulu may be able to push the regulatory agencies as far to the left WRT policy as they were under Obama, but probably not much farther. Cthulu may be in favor of Medicare for All, but in any sane scenario where the Democrats have a majority in the Senate, that majority includes Joe Manchin and either nine or ten Senators from Mountain West states; M4A is DOA in the Senate.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        I second this comment as a (much more often than not) Democratic voter. I’m at no real risk of becoming a Republican, probably ever, but I find the party to be pretty patronizing, most likely to emphasize the things I like least about them, and prove themselves hypocritical where I at least in theory agree with them most.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        The issue is that young people generally don’t vote even when politicians speak to their concerns. I’ve been voting regularly since I was eighteen but that makes me unusual rather than the norm. Sanders entire strategy was that he would speak to the concerns of young people and they would come out and vote for him in the primary. It did not work. They rallied, tweeted, and went on social media but they didn’t haul their asses to the primaries and caucuses to vote for Sanders. The only real way that the concerns of young people will be taken seriously is if they vote. That is the most primary and basic act of getting your voice heard in a democracy.

        Biden told his election team to ignore Twitter because they wouldn’t make any friends on there and it would be worthless. That was literally the most intelligent choice any of the Democratic nominees. Every other candidate tried to court Twitter and the very online. The result was that they got their asses handed to them. Biden knew the demographics that would get their asses down to the primaries and caucuses, went after them, and got the nomination. That shows a lot more political savvy than anybody else.

        Finally, the entire idea that the Democratic Party is a “fucking mess” and “thin skinned wanna-be cool posers” is a result of decades of propaganda from the Right and the Left. The Right because they obviously hate liberalism and the Left because they naively think that if they could destroy the Democratic Party that they would be the logical replacement. Different Democratic candidates have been offering distinct policy proposals to Covid-19 and other problems facing the nation. The Democratic Party is the only reason why the Covid-19 stimulus bill didn’t end up a giant corrupt giveaway to the wealthy. Yet, it all seems for nothing because the people who hate the Democratic Party can’t bring themselves to admit that the party they hate did anything good. Instead they want this mythical, magical left liberal party to appear out of nowhere and with no work that they have to do and make everything better.

        It is Murc’s law, that only the Democratic Party has agency, on crack. It forgives the Republicans and their voters for every disaster that they cause because they can’t help it. The Left is hand waived of any responsibility. It is up the Democratic Party and it’s voters to do everythingReport

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          the Democratic Party is the only reason why the Covid-19 stimulus bill didn’t end up a giant corrupt giveaway to the wealthy. Yet, it all seems for nothing because the people who hate the Democratic Party can’t bring themselves to admit that the party they hate did anything good.

          IMHO this country is better served by divided government than by one party running all three seats.

          If the GOP had been running everything then the crazy Right would have insisted on sections in the bill to serve their interests. If the Dems were running everything then the crazy Left would have.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          Finally, the entire idea that the Democratic Party is a “fucking mess” and “thin skinned wanna-be cool posers” is a result of decades of propaganda from the Right and the Left.

          Hmmm. “decades of propaganda.” Lee, how old are you?Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            39, but this has been going on for longer since I was alive. It started with Nixon’s 1968 campaign at least.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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              says:

              So you’ve read about this. Nothing wrong with books! But just so I’m clear, you’re saying that the antipathy expressed by the left and the right towards the Democratic party is the result of two (or is it one?) propaganda campaigns which have been in effect since at least 1968? That’s the total account?Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          “Yet, it all seems for nothing because the people who hate the Democratic Party can’t bring themselves to admit that the party they hate did anything good.”

          I hate the Democrat Party (not most of their voters, just most of their officials and most of their platform), but I don’t mind admitting that they do have a few good points and are a necessary check on pork barrel BS from my side of the aisle.

          Incidentally, the Right doesn’t hate classical liberalism, but the woke Left certainly does and they seem to have largely driven it out of the Democrat Party establishment. I would be thrilled if the Democrat Party looked more like Manchin and less like AOC. It’s still a party I wouldn’t be likely to vote for, but it’s a party I’d be much less likely to vote against, which would at least free me up to vote Libertarian when I don’t much like the current Republican candidate.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Some issues:

        1. Young people are more than people from the very online/rose twitter who are very passionate about Sanders and “socialism.” I think the media over reports on twitter because it is cheap and easy.

        1a. Rose Twitter is now turning on former darling AOC for attempting to work within the Democratic Party instead of burning it all down.

        2. The most conservative Democrat is still more liberal than the most liberal Republican by several orders of magnitude.

        3. Young people don’t vote and politicians respond to voters, not people. For all of the alleged strength of Sanders with the youth, they can’t be bothered to show the eff up on primary day.

        4. FWIW my view of hardcore Sanders supporters is that they are overly educated and under employed.

        5. Also, I supported Warren so I know what it is like to love an unpopular candidate.

        https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/2/14/21132038/bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all-2020-election

        “Looking at competitive House elections, 45 percent of Democratic candidates who supported Medicare-for-all prevailed in their race, a much lower success rate than the 72 percent of Democrats who won their race without backing single-payer health care.”Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      This is utter nonsense for all the reasons I’ve spelled out in other replies.

      It’s the position of several of you on here because it makes you feel more comfortable to write me off as a right wing wacko but your criticisms of my so-called politics seem to overlook very important several liberal positions that many liberals have turned their backs on that are extremely important to me.

      Do you have an answer about why the Democrats have failed to do anything about the policies that liberals used to claim to want? Is it that they’re too busy giving speeches to Goldman Sachs?Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to atomickristin
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        says:

        Yes, big money donations took the Democrats to the classic center. So its partly the Goldman Sachs issue but it basically leverages them to not actually care about basic Democrats.Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          Most of the Republican base doesn’t like Goldman Sachs either, so I’d dispute that universally unpopular crony corporatism revolving door lobbyist big donor BS represents the classic center. Neither big donors nor “Big Business” are inherently centrist, at different times in history they have been pretty much everywhere on the spectrum and at current they seem to be leaning left (at least in virtue signalling, depends how you balance social leftism diversity mandates against economic shit like importing crap from mistreated 3rd world sweatshop workers).Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Urusigh
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            says:

            My point remains that Democrats moved their policy preferences at the national level to the right (and thus away from labor) as they chased the corporate dollar donations in the 1980’s and beyond.The Democratic Party is no longer the left side labor party as it was a couple of generations ago., and it shows in that labor flounders in policy decisions.

            Take the much ballyhooed recent stimulus bill – the $1200 per person “stimulus checks” are not just refunds of money – they are tax credits that will have to be reconciled against the 2020 income tax bill next year. That’s not actually a labor friendly practice yet the Democratic Party (and many democratic politicians) are hailing it as some sort of “win.”

            And while some of the Republican Base may dislike the Goldman Sachs crowd, they continue to vote for politicians who implement permanent corporate tax breaks and temporary worker tax breaks.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              “My point remains that Democrats moved their policy preferences at the national level to the right (and thus away from labor) as they chased the corporate dollar donations in the 1980’s and beyond.T”

              Certainly didn’t have anything to do with quite a few absolutely electoral beatdowns, right? Those were immaterial. The absolute beatdown Nixon handed out, and then Ford only losing to Carter due Ford pardoning Nixon, then of course Reagan…..

              Nah, man, had to be corporate dollars. There was certainly no massive shift in the American electorate or a lengthy series of Democratic defeats. And darn, certainly no lengthy Southern Strategy upsetting things either.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to JS
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                says:

                What’s really odd for me is that, being 40, I only really became aware of American politics in the mid to late 90’s so the Democratic Party of Clinton is my default party. I don’t really remember/know of any earlier iterations on a personal level.

                And on the other, less pleasant hand, the GOP I know is primarily the GOP of Gingrich. I knew of the H Bush only in that I kind of saw it walking out the door. And the terrifying bit is that the Gingrich era GOP was the high water mark for the party in my estimation. They’ve been getting dumber, more malevolent and more incoherent my entire adult life.

                The Dems… well they haven’t changed a ton from the Clinton era. They’ve shifted a bit on policies this way and that but underneath they still seem to be the Democratic Party of the 90’s.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to North
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                says:

                Same here.

                I mean I don’t dislike the latest changes — finally getting somewhere on healthcare after decades of trying, although I find a surprising number of people don’t seem to understand how fundamentally difficult even a lackluster change like the ACA was, even though we’re still literally litigating it 10 years later.

                I’m happy with a long overdue raise to minimum wage, I’m on board with the expansion of LBGT rights, and the stepping away of the overly draconian drug laws.

                But my 90s Democratic tendencies are apparently my desire to know how you’re going to get it through Congress and how you’re going to pay for it.Report

  9. Avatar Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    Beto called and he’s a little wounded that you turned your attention to Biden.

    We mollified him by reminding him that he’s still your favorite GenX.Report

  10. Avatar North
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    says:

    Yeah, I’m having trouble processing this article since it seems premised on the idea that Joe fishin Biden got the nomination because the Democratic Primary voters thought he was cool and were seeking cool. I keep getting convulsed by chuckles at the very concept. Joe Biden… cool… bahahah!Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to North
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      says:

      It reads like an undergrad’s first attempt at anthropology. It’s just chock full of projecting your own culture and views onto what you’re seeing.

      “Cool”? Nobody thinks Biden is cool. I cannot imagine what logical gymnastics were required to come to that conclusion, much less make it the central thrust of “That’s why Biden won”.

      I mean there’s been polls of what Democratic voters wanted, and “cool” wasn’t on the list. “Not Donald Trump” was, but ignoring that elephant it appears that “competent”, “sane”, “return to the pre-Trump world”, and various versions of “Dear God, can we stop having the President steer us into crisis after crisis because he thinks this is a reality TV show and just return to a government where we can complain about one scandal for months, instead of a new one every week?”

      Sanders, btw, is also not “cool”. What he is is a very bad politician — no good politician would run the same losing campaign two primaries in a row without change, and an ideologue who had decided to run on uncompromising ideology and revolution in a year where voters wanted stability and normalcy.

      Biden, by the way, won because most voters viewed him as the best choice to defeat Trump and to return things to some approximation of “normal” and “sane”.

      Seriously, I cannot fathom what blindspots and preconceptions were required to bypass all the obvious reasons and construct this ridiculous tower around “cool”. Like….maybe some unresolved Bill Clinton issues or something? Not every election is 1992.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to JS
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        says:

        I think it’s primarily the mantra- the Democratic Party is a captive of fashionable, woke and left wing socialist people- with that conclusion set in stone you just work backwards from there but in a world where the nomination of Joe Biden is the reality you end up flapping from the anchor point of that mantra like a flag in a storm.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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          says:

          On the flip side, what do we make of the fact that this election cycle Joe Biden is the best the Dems can do, especially in light of the fact that last cycle Hillary Clinton was the best the Dems could do?

          Dems defaulted to Joe out of familiarity and the belief he was the best candidate to beat Trump. That’s not the argument Kristin is making in the OP, of course, but as you imply in your comment, there *is* a fashionable woke contingent in the Dem party. Your view is that Kristin is overstating that factions power, not that she’s wrong to think that faction exists. In her defense, I’d say that the fashionable woke faction sabotaged Amy K and Kamala’s runs before they even started.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            Well we are treading perilously close to the ouroboros that is the discussion about the process of how a party as big and alive as the Democratic Party chooses its nominee. On one hand, you’re right, Joe Biden was the best the party could muster and we very obviously saw the party- both establishment and rank and file (in that order), choose Joe. First, mildly, with Clyburns’ endorsement (establishment/leadership) followed by an affirmation by voters in South Carolina (the rank and file); then majorly with the rallying around Joe by the establishment in general and the endorsement by other moderate candidates who dropped out (establishment/leadership) followed by a landslide victory for Joe in the Super Tuesday states and beyond (rank and file). So yeah, out of the options they had the party and its voters chose Joe and he’s the best they could do.

            On the other hand, Joe kind of sucked the oxygen out of the room for a lot of other potential nominees by insisting on running. It’s like a very minor version of the huge phenomena that was HRC’s candidacy in 2016 where she pretty much seized the nomination through roughly eight years of party logistic work and sucked all the vitality out for any opposing candidates. I’d assert that by being in the running Joe probably hurt other moderate candidates like Amy and Harris far more than the woke brigade could hurt them (as much as the woke brigade may have wanted to hurt them). So Joe basically left them little choice.

            In the case of Hillary she pretty much short circuited or hacked the party apparatus to nail the silent primary phase down tight so that the primary voters were offered few alternative choices and she remained popular enough with the rank and file that they weren’t willing to flat out insurrection against her (but they sent warning signs by flocking to Bernie in unusually large proportions). In the case of Joe, he just took up too much space in the moderate lane and tied up too many voters in the run up phase for the other moderates to achieve lift off.

            But to say something like “Joe and Hillary are the best the Democratic Party can do”… I dunno I feel like it sells the party short. It’s like everyone clucking about how shallow the party’s bench was. Surprise, surprise the party found no lack of capable candidates to run for the nod despite the supposed shallow bench. There’s a generational handover in process and, sure, it’s going to be messy but I think the Party still has enough vigor in it to make the transition. So I guess I don’t make much of the fact that Joe Biden was the nominee this year or that HRC was the nominee in 2016. I don’t think it says a great deal about the party- they’re not strong enough to prevent an HRC candidate (that’s probably good news since a party that strong would have been captured by a politician like HRC even more totally). Nor are they centralized enough to have brushed Joe Biden off and made him not run. I struggle to interpret that as a necessarily bad thing. The party gave the whole slate of nominees a LOT of time to prove they could beat Bernie and sideline Joe- but when those nominees proved insufficient the Party turned to Joe as a backup. I can’t find it in my heart to see this as a bad outcome. You can’t have an Obama candidate show up every cycle.

            I would never, ever, deny that there is a fashionable and woke contingent in the Democratic Party. That’d be the kind of delusional lying that I prefer to leave to right wingers. What I find risible is the right wing mantra that the woke contingent represents the overweening center of gravity in the Democratic Party. It’s peddled by desperate right wingers trying to excuse the utter obliteration of sanity in their own party by pretending the Dems are suffering their own left wing version of the same and it’s handmaiden-ed by media figures who buy into it in order to do their both-sides-do-it balance-fan-dance. It rankles, especially when- in this case- we’re reading an article that has that same insistent premise at its core and has been roughly spraypainted to somehow make the square reality of Bidens nomination fit into the round hole of the assertion that woke socialists run the Democratic Party.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
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              says:

              Excellent comment. I always find your disquisitions on Dem party politics reassuring. What you wrote is very reasonable. (I think you understate the effects of the woke left on the Dem party’s center of gravity, but I agree with you that those factions, collectively, ain’t it. Looking ahead, though, if Dems don’t get their Hs outa their As those folks *will* be.)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Thank you, that is very kind.
                On your point, we’re in agreement. The woke contingent is not dominating the party now but they’re young and the moderate active faction of party is elderly so if things continue on auto pilot the woke contingent could end up taking over.Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                But will they remain woke? (I really hate that term!)

                How long can they continue to breathe fire while gaining knowledge of how Washington really works? It didn’t take the Tea Partiers long to become part of the establishment.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                The wokeness will grow til the anger abates. 🙂

                I think BernieBro wokeness is different than say PC-type wokeness since the fundamentals of a political economic system are economic and those guys are pointing at real problems and proposing real, even if radical, solutions.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                It didn’t take the Tea Partiers long to become part of the establishment.

                This is one of those weird political phenomena that somehow rides under the radar but is pretty significant. As far as I’m aware, there’s only one elected CCer – Amash – who still holds the original values espoused by the Tea Party and he’s no longer a registered R. Everyone else went whole hog into blowing up the deficit, rejecting balanced budgets, embracing the public-to-private corporation gravy train….Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Basically every criticism the left leveled at the Tea Party was proven right.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Slade the Leveller
                Ignored
                says:

                That is an excellent question and one that no one has solid answers to. The whole identity/woke/intersectional phenomena is a really odd one. It was around in the 90’s as political correctness but the more modern iterations sprang from a grab bag of sources: the efforts of small online refuges to make themselves welcoming to their inhabitants and then some bright person thinking “we should expand this to the whole world”; real social science terms getting snatched up by social media and used for policing discourse (usually in a way that is radically incoherent with the original use of the term) and, of course, social pseudo-science trying to carve a place for itself out in the contracting academic world as administrative kudzu covers everything.
                I don’t think anyone knows if this stuff can actually escape the internet and academia and actually matter in the rest of the world. It doesn’t, exactly, have any clear definable rules. It’s just internet and youthful ID running amuck while wearing these scientific and “compassionate” hats.

                So, yeah, it could be that the young intersectional/woke people, once they actually get elected in numbers, will have to actually define terms and rules and will settle down and become more sane once they do but we can’t put our faith in assuming that. The responsibilities of governance doesn’t automatically make ideologues become rational or coherent- history is thick with incoherent babbling ideologies that gibbered nonsense while bathing their arms up to their elbows in blood.

                And, frankly, I don’t think liberalism is flawed and has to be replaced by whatever it is woke/intersectional/identatarianism actually peddles. And, yeah, I agree with Stillwater that economic leftism is massively more coherent than woke-ism. I don’t agree with much of it but it’s grounded in the real world and the things it points at are real.Report

          • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            hey, thanks for your insights in this thread.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          You said it in a pithier fashion.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m guessing we would have seen a variety of this essay regardless of who won the Democratic nomination. I can’t vote for Sander, he sided with our enemies during the Cold War and doesn’t have the cool vibe of those kids in Red Dawn, Wolverines. I can’t vote for Warren because she is an upper middle class chardonnay drinking nerd from Cambridge and therefore lacks in authenticity. I can’t vote for Buttigieg because he tries too hard and he ate a cinnamon bun like chicken wings. I can’t vote for Klobuchar because she is a mean lady, etc.Report

        • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Are you agreeing no one thinks Joe Biden is cool, and linking to the Onion’s satire wherein they created a fictional, cool version of Joe Biden called “Diamond Joe” as satire on how un-cool Biden is?

          Or are you disagreeing and using the Onion’s satire as if it were not satire, thinking that means people did think Joe Biden was cool?

          Or are you disagreeing and using the Onion’s satire to suggest that large swathes of the population believes Joe Biden drives a Trans-Am and is nicknamed “Diamond Joe”?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            It’s more that I’m remembering stuff like this, where the guy who turned Biden into a meme ended up regretting it, because it didn’t scrutinize a guy who needed to be scrutinized.

            They regretted creating “Diamond Joe” because that ended up making Joe cooler than he was/is.

            And that, seriously, is something that actually happened.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Ah, so to wit — you’re just letting us know that the guy who satirized Joe Biden for being so uncool wishes he’d also satirized Joe Biden for other things?

              Wow. What a great contribution to this conversation. It’s super relevant and interesting.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s sorry that he created this “Diamond Joe” character and thus making Biden accessible to folks instead of holding his feet to the fire.

                Which is weird.

                Eh, he’s probably just one of those Rose Twitter people who aren’t reachable anyway. They need to get in line.

                Probably not indicative of anything. To the point where we should probably fight against people who think that it might be…Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “He’s sorry that he created this “Diamond Joe” character and thus making Biden accessible to folks instead of holding his feet to the fire.”

                So you’re saying Joe Biden IS cool, because of The Onion? That the Onion made Joe Biden cool?

                Did it make all the kids turn out for Diamond Joe? Big surprising surge in the youth vote?

                Is that where you are now? Joe Biden really is cool, because the Onion? Proven by the fact that one of the Onion writers wished they’d done more on Biden than how uncool he was?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                My own, personal, opinions on Biden are complicated.

                I’m on record as saying that he’s likable. Also that his energy is “sober, normal, and boring” (certainly compared to the other people in the race).

                Now, is he “cool”? Eh, I think he’s kinda cool. He’s got that “Oh, that Joe!” energy where he makes gaffes and says things that are embarrassing but he’s likable and that’s kinda cool. It’s not a Fonzie kinda cool. But it’s an old guy kinda cool. He’s cool for a sober, boring, and normal kinda guy.

                As for the Onion articles themselves, they took Biden’s goofy gaffe-prone persona and turned it up to an 8. You know Biden’s “Corn Pop” story? That was a real story! That’s kinda cool!

                And so you take *THAT* guy! The guy who got into it with Corn Pop, and you have him sell weed in the White House. You have him put up posters of Barbarian Chicks. You have him washing his Trans-Am in the driveway.

                They took his goofy persona and they embellished it.

                Did it make all the kids turn out for Diamond Joe? Big surprising surge in the youth vote?

                Hate to break this to you but The Onion is kinda like The Simpsons. Only Gen-Xers really give a crap about it and, seriously, it used to be a lot better.

                You know, back in the 90’s.

                As such, no. It didn’t result in a surge in the youth vote at all.

                As for the people who still read The Onion when a new edition hits their front porch?

                What was their take on Biden?

                As for the Onion writer in question, he’s kinda disappointed that he gave so much cover to the Gen-Xers for voting for someone as problematic as Biden is.

                And now Biden’s the nominee. He’s the sober, normal, and boring choice.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            True story. I jad a case once where someone was trying to prove something or other about sentiment on a college campus (I forget now why that mattered, but it did) and attached to his papers one of those polls The Onion used to run, using the same four or five respondents’ photos every time.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            It is just the Jaybird dada.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
              Ignored
              says:

              I have no idea what you mean when you say “Dada” because when I use my knowledge of what Dadaism is, I’d interpret what you’re saying as a compliment.

              But I get the feeling that you’re not intending it that way.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to Saul Degraw
              Ignored
              says:

              You mean that reflexive contrarian take, but without any thought? Not like a devil’s advocate, just a sort of reflexive habit?

              “Oh, you say Joe Biden’s not cool? Look at these Onion articles about how cool he was!”.

              Thanks for proving he was both not cool and a national figure, I guess, but your point is what?

              “Oh. just thinking about how Joe Biden was in pop culture via the Onion. I’m not saying that made him cool — ha, I mean I’d have to believe a satire of someone for being uncool makes them cool — but I’m just SAYING. Not that I can say anything specific, that means I’d have to back it up. I’m just spitballing here, real unclear like. It’s your fault if you don’t get me.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        I also think the Democratic Party wanted a President that was capable of at least appearing empathetic and decent or better yet actually empathetic and decent. Joe Biden is at his heart, an old school avuncular Irish pol. The type that would slap your back, shake your hand hard, and ask how things are doing with your spouse and kids. His speech in response to Covid-19 had a very fire side chat level of comfort.Report

      • Avatar atomickristin in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        Speaking of blind spots, projection, preconceptions, I suggest you go back and reread the piece because you clearly missed the point.

        Not sure what more I can say to someone who reads a piece that says BIDEN IS NOT COOL and then morphs that into a “lol they said biden is cool”Report

        • Avatar JS in reply to atomickristin
          Ignored
          says:

          So you wrote an entire piece about how the Democrats were obsessed with coolness, and kept seeking it, but we picked Joe Biden who is the antithesis of it and it wasn’t even quote.

          And he’s even the so-called “establishment” candidate, despite you claiming the ‘elites’ are obsessed with coolness.

          Joe Biden is not woke. Joe Biden is not part of cancel culture. Joe Biden is not cool. Joe Biden is not hip. Joe Biden is not the choice of all the young kids.

          And yet he won, rather easily.

          So what was the point of the whole screed about coolness?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            So you wrote an entire piece about how the Democrats were obsessed with coolness, and kept seeking it, but we picked Joe Biden who is the antithesis of it and it wasn’t even quote.

            You know what’s liberating? To be a Dem but refer to the people who voted for Joe as “they”. Then you don’t have to say things like “we picked Joe Biden” when you didn’t pick him yourself.

            For example, it allows me to say things like “I wanted Amy to be the nominee but they chose Joe instead. Oh well.” Which, now that I think about, is something have to remember to say some time soon.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
              Ignored
              says:

              “You know what’s liberating? To be a Dem but refer to the people who voted for Joe as “they”. T”

              So you’re against Democracy when you don’t win? Or are you planning to just leave the party?

              I didn’t vote for Biden, but I am a Democrat. We — as in the party I am a member of — picked him. I’m sort of used to that. My candidates rarely win the primary.

              But I don’t just grip about some nefarious “other” that’s doing all the damage, that’s one step away from muttering about “elitists” and “rigged primaries”. Millions of my fellow Democrats preferred Biden.

              So he won. So yes, “we” picked him.

              He was not forced upon us by any process other than “pure democracy” in which we all got together and voted.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re against Democracy when you don’t win? Or are you planning to just leave the party?

                See, this comment right here is a big problem which apparently *all* you partisan Dems have. You can’t hear. I have repeatedly said that I’m gonna Vote For Joe! even though I think the Democratic party is … hmmm, let’s say, ideologically adrift.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “See, this comment right here is a big problem which apparently *all* you partisan Dems have. You can’t hear. I have repeatedly said that I’m gonna Vote For Joe! even though I think the Democratic party is … hmmm, let’s say, ideologically adrift.”

                You’re shifting the goalposts rather rapidly there.

                Let me illustrate. The original quote “So you wrote an entire piece about how the Democrats were obsessed with coolness, and kept seeking it, but we picked Joe Biden”

                “We”, of course, refers to the proper noun there — “Democrats”.

                The party did indeed chose Joe Biden, via direct vote. As a member of the party, “we” is appropriate. If I was not a Democrat, I would use “they” — as in “They, the Democratic party I am not part of, chose Joe Biden”.

                If I was talking about subsets of the party that I was not a member of — for instance, I am not AA so I might say “The AA primary vote shows they heavily preferred Biden”.

                But the bit you decided to complain about, I was speaking broadly of all Democrats — and quite factually. Biden has won. He is the pick of Democrats. We, THE PARTY, have picked him.

                I, in fact, voted for someone else entirely. That doesn’t change the fact that he was the winner of the primary, and the choice of the party.

                You complain I don’t “hear”? You’re certainly not listening to me.

                By all means, feel free to complain about how your preferred candidate was not the preferred candidate of the majority. I do, as I note, sympathize. Neither was mine — Biden was third on my list, at best.

                But nebulous “they choose him”. They who? “A majority of Democrats who weren’t me?”

                Welcome to the club. Who cares.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re shifting the goalposts rather rapidly there.

                Ugh.

                Do think there are any measures the Democratic Party could take to gain more votes in the electorate, JS? Be aware, though, that by making a suggestion you’re implicitly criticizing the Democratic party.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                So he won. So yes, “we” picked him.

                JS, I didn’t pick him. You didn’t pick. Other people picked him.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, and I’m sad we have to go back to basic grammar, you do realize I have — since the very first statement you objected to — been speaking of “Democrats” as in “The Democratic party”? The party I’m a member of? And their, if as yet unofficial, nominee?

                Yes, other people picked him. A majority of the members of the party I belong to, in fact. So when speaking of the party choosing someone, “we” is the correct use of the word.

                We, the party, did chose him.

                The Democratic party has chosen Joe Biden, yes? I am a member of the party? Therefore, I am part of the collective “the Democratic party” which means, yes, WE is correct. WE, the collective known as the Democratic party, held a big vote and Joe Biden won.

                That doesn’t mean every member voted for him, or even supports him. Nobody here is an idiot. We all know how votes work.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Honestly, this comment is creepy.

                I see no reason why you, as a Dem voter, should vote for the nominee simply because the majority of Dem voters picked that person.

                Eg., if you think the GOP nominee would make a better president than the nominee picked by your fellow Dems (one who you didn’t vote for), then you should *absolutely* vote for the GOP candidate. Party loyalty is a mind killier.

                Another way to say it: you should Vote For Joe! because he’s a better candidate than Trump and not because a bunch of people you don’t know picked him for you.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “I see no reason why you, as a Dem voter, should vote for the nominee simply because the majority of Dem voters picked that person.”

                What on earth makes you think I’m saying that?

                This whole derail started because you objected to the use of the term “we” when describing who the Democratic party picked for their nominee.

                As I am a member of the Democratic party, I used “we” because the group I am a member of made the selection. “They” implies I am not part of the group that, collectively, up and voted.

                That you seem to have turned it into some demand to vote for Joe is….weird.

                I don’t care who you vote for, nor have I bothered to illustrate any reasons to vote for Biden in this thread. At no point have I been trying to convince you to vote for Biden.

                I have, to date, done the following in this thread.

                1. Stated I did not vote for Biden in the primary.
                2. Stated that I am a Democrat, and did vote in the primary.
                3. Stated that Biden is, effectively, the nominee.
                4. Stated that, of the entire field, I am hard pressed to view anyone as less “cool” than Joe Biden.
                5. Stated that, indeed, Joe Biden is not an exciting candidate.
                6. Stated that I voted for Warren.
                7. Laughed hilariously at the notion that the woke PC culture police are in some way an actual, effective group in the Democratic party. This is because “Joe Biden”, the least woke PC Democratic politician I can think of, won.
                8. Mocked Jaybird for linking to the Onion to try to claim/not-claim Biden is actually “cool”.
                9. Mocked the notion that “coolness” is actually any sort of criteria for a Democratic candidate, and doubly mocked the notion that the “elites” insist on it.
                10. Pointed out saying “We picked Joe” is, in fact, the correct grammar for a member of the Democratic party to use when mentioning who the Democratic party picked, even if he voted for someone else.
                11. Told you I don’t care who you vote for.
                12. Asked you who jhere, in fact, has gone from “Biden can’t possibly win” to “Biden is the second coming”.

                Literally none of that is be canvassing for Joe. You seem to be certain I am, which might explain why you’re saying weird stuff unconnected to what I’m saying.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            “So what was the point of the whole screed about coolness?”

            That because they set the standard for “cool” too high, nobody even “sort of cool” could meet it, so you got Joe, precisely because he’s so obviously uncool that he was never in the running for “cool” and therefor didn’t disappoint anyone by turning out to be less cool than they hoped. He couldn’t be a loser in the contest of cool because he wasn’t entered in that contest in the first place. “Not a loser” was better than “loser”, so he won by default. Kind of like how Trump never pretended to be a traditional republican and therefor beat all the guys who ran as “traditional republican” but who had compromises and flipflops on their record to undercut that claim. In short, “didn’t even try for label x” is less of a political liability than “tried for label x and didn’t measure up”, so that’s the guy still standing at the end when everyone else tries and fails. If that’s not the outcome the party really wants, then they need to lower their standard to something their candidates can actually meet.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        Come on, guys, no fair letting facts interfere with the fun. And no fair pointing out the central contradiction of the piece: the Democrats are obsessed with “cool” and inauthentic and are going to nominate — Joe Biden?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        There seems to be a fairly substantial part of the electorate that actively dislikes anything that allegedly smacks of sophistication and fears it. This often translates as a dislike for boho-bourgeoise tastes and preferences. Since that group tends to vote Democratic, it gets a lot of people hating the Democratic party. You are right that Biden is not a cultural sophisticate or cool but upper-middle class liberals will vote for him in November and now he must be made cool and sophisticated to justify not voting Democratic.

        This essay reads like a whole lot of psychology and tribalism. Someone who might not like Trump but sees the GOP or being “libertarian” as the party of her tribe. So the flood of justifications must commence…..Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
          Ignored
          says:

          and now he must be made cool and sophisticated to justify not voting Democratic.

          Saul, she said *right in the piece* that Biden is not cool. Here, I’ll quote it for you. “Joe Biden is not cool.”

          Her argument is that by making *being cool* into a mutli-dimensional precondition for a nominee which none of the actual cool people could pass, the Dems defaulted to boring old Joe who no one cared about anyway because he wasn’t cool enough to apply the multidimensional cool test to to begin with.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            “Her argument is that by making *being cool* into a mutli-dimensional precondition for a nominee which none of the actual cool people could pass”

            Except literally nobody did that.

            See, here’s the outcome if “cool” is a necessary precondition that no one can pass and so you default to boring old Joe Biden: Joe Biden wins.

            Here’s the outcome if “cool” is not a necessary precondition at all: Joe Biden wins.

            Her whole belief that “cool” is a requirement is basically Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Sure, Clinton played the sax and smoked weed. 30 years ago, almost.

            Obama, on the other hand, almost lost to Hillary Clinton — who no one has ever confused with cool — and is cool only if by “cool” you mean “Under 60, calm, and low-key”. He was a community organizer and a State Senator, neither of which fits most people’s definition of “cool”.

            Then Clinton won against Sanders — neither of whom were in any way “cool”. And now Biden won against Sanders again, and frankly if I had to call one of them cool it wouldn’t be Biden.

            That doesn’t get into John Kerry, who — and I have to remind you of this — windsurfed or Al Gore, who wore aggressively beige outfits and invented the internet. And not the meme part.

            So she literally invented an “elite” requirement that the candidate be “cool” of which only one singular winning candidate, of the last 30 years, might have claimed.

            And then claimed it was single-handedly responsible for Joe Biden winning, by default of it being such an extreme requirement that nobody could win it, ergo we’re stuck with Joe Biden.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              Except literally nobody did that.

              This is an improvement in that it’s a response to what she actually wrote.

              So she literally invented an “elite” requirement that the candidate be “cool” of which only one singular winning candidate, of the last 30 years, might have claimed.

              And then claimed it was single-handedly responsible for Joe Biden winning, by default of it being such an extreme requirement that nobody could win it, ergo we’re stuck with Joe Biden.

              Ehh, that’s not quite right, but *does* provide an account of how Dems are now stuck with Joltin Joe as our nominee, right?Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                We’re not “stuck”. Stuck implies no one wanted him.

                That’s the guy who won the primary on the back of support from core Democratic constituencies, in a very crowded field. A primary in which, I feel I must stress, every Democrat who wanted to got to vote for whom they wanted.

                It turned out to be about 70% “some flavor of moderate/centrist”. And of those 70%, they had what — five choices? Six if you count Bloomberg?

                It’s weird people acting like Biden was somehow imposed upon the party, or stumbled into the room and claimed the winning ticket by accident, or like there was a loophole and because he was the only Democrat in the DC Hilton on the 3rd of February he got to be the candidate.

                Sure, in a crowded field he seemed to only have about 20 to 30% support — but as Pete and the rest of the moderates bowed out, that’s grown to what — 70%ish? Certainly pretty much all of Michigan, Florida, SC, and everything but Democrats abroad. He’d have probably taken California if it had been even two weeks later.

                I’m just struggling to determine how a supposed desire for “coolness” resulted in Democrats rather overwhelmingly picking someone who was not, in fact, cool.

                I mean you use the word “stuck” here, but does it fit?

                I mean for someone who doesn’t like him but plans to vote Democrat, I get the feeling — you are stuck with him. But that’s just you. Judging by the primaries and such, you’re in a distinct minority.

                And it gets doubly foolish if you start insisting the “democratic elite” had this weird cool requirement that resulted in them being “stuck with Biden” when they liked Biden in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
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                says:

                We’re not “stuck”. Stuck implies no one wanted him.

                Again with the “we”. JS, you forget that I’m one of you. I’m part of the “we”. I vote Dem.

                Try this. Say “Dems aren’t stuck with Joe Biden” and see how it feels coming out of your mouth. (It feels sorta weird, doesn’t it?)Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                “Sure, in a crowded field he seemed to only have about 20 to 30% support — but as Pete and the rest of the moderates bowed out, that’s grown to what — 70%ish?”

                In a “he’s everybody’s 2nd or 3rd pick” kind of way, maybe, but I’m curious, if all the moderate candidates had dropped out and backed any given other member of their number, would you expect that 70% to be any different? I’m not a democrat, so to me it just looks like there’s the socialist lane and the socialist-lite lane and the relative size of those lanes doesn’t much change regardless of which candidate “wins” that lane. I.E. If it had ended up Warren vs Beto instead of Sanders vs Biden, would the percentages actually be much different? If not, than did Biden really “win” or is it mostly just “the ‘moderate’ lane beat the socialist lane” so now the whole party is stuck with the guy who had the most name recognition in that lane. If it had just been Biden vs “other moderate” would he really have beaten each of them head to head?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you and Jaybird just think…

                So you think Jaybird and I are on the same team now?

                Good lord, man. Don’t tell him that you know!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                But to answer your question: Yes, I think there are plenty of proud Democrats out there in voting land, and I think Democratic politicians count on that fact when they create policy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Team Noticing Things.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
                Ignored
                says:

                They most obviously do not. There is this weird sort of idea in American politics that the Democratic Party doesn’t really stand for anything. Rather it is just a bunch of cynical pols pretending to be liberal and the dopes that vote for them. The Republicans and the politically impotent far left, now they stand for something. But the Democratic Party does not and nobody can really be proud voting for them.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                “Rather it is just a bunch of cynical pols pretending to be liberal and the dopes that vote for them. The Republicans and the politically impotent far left, now they stand for something.”

                I’m not sure whether this makes the idea more or less weird, but from inside the Republican Party the view “it is just a bunch of cynical pols pretending to be conservative (e.g. RINOs) and the dopes that vote for them” seems to be pretty common also. I.E. Trump is an exception, but I don’t know anyone who was genuinely excited about or who trusted McCain or Romney to be anything more than cynical pols (and that’s coming someone who voted for both as the lesser evil, no pride there). This shouldn’t be surprising though, the majority of mainstream Dems consistently favor electing “someone who can work across the aisle and reach compromises”, which pretty much rules out running as someone who takes firm principled stands. Besides, mainstream dems like to think of themselves as the party of practical politics and policy in contrast to a republican party they characterize as being the party of ideologues (ironically, mainstream reps usually think much the same of dems). Politics is the Art of Compromise and Coalition, but both of those typically require a certain “flexibility” that inspires more cynicism than pride. So in the end it’s a structurally-determined outcome: mainstream dem candidates really don’t stand for anything because NOT standing too firmly for things is exactly what their base wants from them.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                A politician needs to look groups of voters in the eye and say “your magic thinking is totally reasonable and I will make it happen if elected”.

                Cynicism is a natural outcome of that lack of reasonableness. For that matter if we’re going to treat members of the other team as Disney villains then cynicism comes from true believers who don’t understand why their side loses or makes deals.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                If only they had some sort of platform or something, you know?

                Or even maybe there was some recent, urgent bit of legislation so you could see what they fought for in a time of crisis.

                Sadly, we shall never know.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              Plus, I’m pretty sure that Biden’s base of middle class and senior citizen African-Americans are the least obsessed with cool in the Democratic Party. Sander’s base is the most cool obsessed, followed by Warren, and then nearly everybody else.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to North
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      says:

      I think you need to reread the piece because I think you missed some stuff there.

      I never said Biden was cool. In fact I said he WASN’T cool.

      The Democrats cut several people out of the primary because they weren’t “cool” enough (Beto, Warren, Booker) and they end up with the last man standing. That is a problem they need to address.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to atomickristin
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        says:

        And by Democrats, here, we’re talking about the millions of voters who declined to give money or polling support (in the case of Beto and Booker) or actual votes (in the case of Warren) to these candidates because they weren’t cool? On what basis do you come to that determination?

        I mean, I guess I’m just not getting it. You castigate the Democratic Party for being obsessed with coolness, being controlled by socialists and by being over obsessed with wokeness, then pivot to hrumphing that Biden, a non-woke, non-socialist and non-cool candidate is their nominee? Shouldn’t you be doing back flips in delight? By your own terms the Democratic Party has demonstrated that they are not obsessed with wokeness, coolness or socialism since, when given cool, socialist and woke choices, they turned away from all of them?Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to North
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          says:

          my only problem with your analysis is that Joe got there with, initially, pluralities the same way Trump got his nomination. Millions of Democrats voted for other people (me included) and in numbers big enough that we are not satisfied with the Party’s outcome.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            One of the ways that a large number of Eventual Nominees got the nomination is that they were Everybody’s 1st or 2nd Choice.

            The problem with having more than 3 or 4 nominees is that it becomes mathematically possible for someone who is Everybody’s 2nd Or 3rd Choice gets nominated. (For the best example of this that I can think of, I’d point to 2008 for the Republicans. McCain wasn’t really anybody’s first choice. He was quite a few peoples’ 2nd or 3rd choice, though.)

            One of the main things that Biden has going for him is that he actually is quite a few peoples’ first choice. But those people tend to have less cultural cachet than the people who write about cultural cachet.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              “One of the ways that a large number of Eventual Nominees got the nomination is that they were Everybody’s 1st or 2nd Choice.”

              A website I used to read kept having favorite-food contests. Favorite cake, favorite cookie, favorite candy, favorite cereal.

              Chocolate won. Every time. Whatever was the most basic boring-ass interpretation of the thing, in chocolate flavor, was what won. Oreo cookies. Cocoa Puffs. Hershey bars. Chocolate cake with very very very very very very very light chocolate-flavor frosting. Chocolate chocolate chocolate.

              Because nobody doesn’t like chocolate, so in any contest of “chocolate” and “something else” chocolate wins, unless the other thing is so incredibly good that more people like it than dislike it.

              Biden is chocolate. He’s inoffensive, a known quantity, not especially exciting but also not not recognizably Democrat, and maybe some people have problems but it’s not like they’re new problems we didn’t know about until we tried him out for flavor. Nobody’s going to be surprised by Biden, and maybe he’ll take some getting-used-to, some convincing ourselves we like him, but it’s a getting-used-to that we’ve gotten used to doing, and convincing that we’ve long since learned to do.

              And it certainly helps when the shopkeeper puts the chocolate right up front and says it’s on sale.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            I suppose? But most of the favored candidates of the woke contingent didn’t even make it to the voting, so they didn’t even get minorities of votes.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            “Millions of Democrats voted for other people (me included) and in numbers big enough that we are not satisfied with the Party’s outcome.”

            And that’s different then every other year how? I can’t recall a candidate who won by such an overwhelming majority that someone couldn’t claim that. Let’s say…70% of the vote, say.

            I mean outside of incumbents running for re-election.

            So I’m a bit lost to your point. Are you arguing that, unless a candidate wins some unspecificed vast majority from the get-go they’re illegitimate? Or can’t claim the party stands behind them? Or should bow out? refuse the nomination?

            That Democrats should just go “Oh, hey guys, nobody got like 70% — or whatever number means there aren’t “millions of democrats who voted for someone else” — in the primary, so we’ll just sit this election out”? Or have a revote? Like primary after primary?

            We could do ranked choice voting, I’m a fan of that — but you can pretty much approximate it by watching the shift in voting patterns after candidates drop out, which seems to show something like a 60-40 to 70-30 split in favor of Biden. So maybe 70% isn’t enough?Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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          says:

          I think her point was that a bunch of candidates who desperately wanted to be “cool” ran for the nomination and got way ahead of more competent candidates who didn’t bother pursuing coolness (the governors might be an example of that contingent). And of course you had Joe BIden, who is basically like the GOP running Bob Dole against Bill Clinton, although Biden has that Obama-adjacent minority support, even though he’s also Jim Crow segregationist-adjacent.

          Early in the campaign cycle, when getting established or noticed matters, these other governors could have surged ahead of Biden just like all the other Democrat candidates in prior primaries surged ahead of Biden, because Biden came in at or near the bottom when placed against any competent Democrat politician like Michael Dukakis, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, etc. He was basically Obama’s Dan Quayle.

          So the other centrist candidates should have been able easily elbow Biden aside, because he’s basically a likable boob. But they couldn’t, because the stage was also filled with all those ‘cool’ candidates who were sucking the oxygen out of the room, tossing off fiery bromides and pandering to the woke folks. So all the competent candidates failed to gain any traction and dropped out, leaving a bunch of faux cool candidates would could not survive any serious scrutiny – because they were faux cool, not competent, and their failings became glaringly apparent.

          And that left Joe, who is neither cool nor competent. He’s the one Trump wanted to run against because beating him would be trivially easy. Everybody has beaten Joe Biden, repeatedly, since the 1980’s. He’s a walking gaffe machine on his best days, a plagiarist, and now likely in the early stages of senility.Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to George Turner
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            says:

            “I think her point was that a bunch of candidates who desperately wanted to be “cool” ran for the nomination and got way ahead of more competent candidates who didn’t bother pursuing coolness (the governors might be an example of that contingent)”

            Which ones were that? I mean…if I squint, Pete maybe?

            Warren definitely radiates anti-coolness. Steyner? Steyer? I can’t even spell the guy’s name, but definitely not cool. Gabbard, no. Bloomberg certainly no. Khlobacher — not really. Yang? No.

            Which ones were the “cool hip candidates” and how long did they last? Did they even make it to Nevada?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              Almost all of them ran on coolness.

              Beto was nothing but. He plays drums! He skates!

              Warren was drinking beer in her kitchen. She was the epitome of woke college wonkish coolness. She is Sakajewa!

              Buttigieg would have been laughed off the stage as a small town mayor – but he was super cool because he was gay. He was the cool shiny spoon Democrats went to when Beto went from cool to goofy.

              Harris smoked pot! She’s with it!

              Wang was super cool. He’s an Asian tech genius, like Musk|!

              Gabbard was a gorgeous surfer girl who served two tours. Definitely cool, even if the entire party hated her for questioning the cool kid, Obama.

              Williamson was cool to the max. She was beyond cool, she was new age.

              Booker is freakin’ Spartacus! He’s got crazy hands! He is the next Obama!

              Julian Castro was a walking Che-Guevara T-shirt.

              Eric Swalwell was an edgy, confrontational hair style in a suit. He should be a talk show host. He’s dumb as a post, but very cool.

              And the person who in many ways was setting the tone was AOC.

              Meanwhile, John Delaney (award winning health care entrepreneur and Democratic Representative), Joe Sestak (Representative and vice admiral, USN), and governors Steve Bullock, Jay Inslee, and John Hickenlooper couldn’t get the time of day, nor could Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who had challenged Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

              Compared to the cool, edgy candidates, they were wallflowers.Report

  11. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    Coolness and authenticity are a load of crap. It’s the word people put on people they like to justify and explain what they like. There is something to coolness equaling not caring what people think but only if you do it in the right way and that does strongly benefit people who treat others like shit. That doesn’t seem good. But someone can be reserved and quiet as opposed to a brash blowhard and be just as authentic.

    You are correct regarding how the very on line left has become obsessed with purity. However the VOL/bernie peeps are getting drubbed and don’t represent most D’s. Most D’s aren’t looking for a cool avatar but someone to bring about a bunch of D policies. That is what they see in Biden. Thinking the VOL is all of the D’s isn’t useful especially for the VOL who seem to have thought that.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      Coolness and authenticity are a load of crap

      Except for Obama. He was cool *and* authentic.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        He was authentic. Completely. Everybody is authentic. The boomer doofus looking guy wearing sandals and socks with his t shirt tucked into his shorts is completely authentic. Obama being authentic didn’t stop him from being the Kenyan Muslim usurper who lied about every single thing he said. Trump is authentic and (insert foul language here). None of that really means anything.

        Obama is a great example because typically being calm, measured and reserved AND caring isnt’ usually what people mean when they say cool or authentic. People typically reserve authentic for brash or loud or non conforming characters.Report

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          Everybody is authentic.

          HRC. Probably her low point on this issue was admitting that her public positions had nothing to do with her private positions.

          Obama being authentic didn’t stop him from being the Kenyan Muslim usurper who lied about every single thing he said.

          Obama won his first election by running as a blank slate. Being everyone to everyone is hardly “authentic”.

          People typically reserve authentic for brash or loud or non conforming characters.

          I’d define “authentic” as you mean what you say. I.e. your public policy positions are pretty much the same as your private policy positions.

          So Trump, despite his constant bragging, big fish stories, total lack of morality and predictability, earns points here with his supporters because he really does care about money (i.e. the economy & jobs), immigration, and trade.

          I assume he doesn’t give a damn about guns or judges and simply does what he does with them to keep his coalition happy. Here he pretends to care and we pretend to believe him.

          He’s also “authentically” an amoral narcissistic sociopath, which is why those character flaws are so hard to use against him.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
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            says:

            Well yeah trump is scum, authentic scum. Which is sort of why the label of authentic doesn’t give you much info. And by your own telling he says tons of stuff he doesn’t mean ie: lies, bull shits, etc. Which isn’t having your private equal your public. It’s the opposite. You are admitting that by your own definition trump isn’t authentic.

            Obama didnt’ run as a blank slate. He presented plenty of positions and himself. A lot of people projected things on him, which is about the people not him. I think the same thing happens with any successful candidate, including trump. People believe he stands for the same things they do.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              Obama didnt’ run as a blank slate.

              “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

              -B Obama

              He presented plenty of positions and himself.

              At some point as a teacher, presumably when he decided he’d be running for higher office, he learned to shut up about what he believed in.

              Obama was great at convincing people with opposite views that he was on their side. That worked until he was in office and needed to make policy choices.

              You are admitting that by your own definition trump isn’t authentic.

              On most policy issues? No. There’s a ton of stuff where I doubt he cares. However keep in mind he doesn’t have an ideology.

              However on his emotions? When he says on Twitter that he’s pissed at some judge (i.e. by using racist descriptors), or at the Michigan governor, my expectation is that he’s pissed at them even if his words are more insulting and vulgar.

              The flaw with this sort of reasoning is it’s like saying 99.9% of your transactions are ok when you deposit 1 penny at a time for a thousand dollars worth of pennies and then balance that with one bad check for ten grand.

              Trump seriously projects the appearance of authenticity by putting emotional crap on twitter and being open about his every statement.

              I don’t care for it but most people are not pure logisticians.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Ahh that quote is from 2006 from his book which doesn’t exactly equal what he ran on. After that quote he wrote “As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all, of them.” which seems pretty accurate. Obama is exactly who he presented as. That is authenticy.

                Hmm the “amoral narcissistic sociopath” seems authentic when he rages on twitter isnt’ as a good an argument for anything as you think it is.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                When I was trying to figure out who to vote for the first time around, I couldn’t figure out what his position was on anything I cared about. There was room in there to think he’d be against the growth of the government and so forth.

                Trying to claim he was clear about everything is like trying to claim the Bible is clear about everything and then pointing to individual verses.

                His big accomplishments/positions were he wasn’t Bush and the positive media hysteria (the high point of which was probably his Nobel Prize).Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Dark Matter
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                says:

                Honestly then you weren’t paying attention. He had a bunch of stated policies and was also honest enough to state that they all weren’t going to get through. Maybe the things he was for weren’t things you didn’t care about, but that isn’t about him stating what he is going to try to do.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak
              Ignored
              says:

              greg, I noticed you skipped right over Dark’s comment about Hillary Clinton being inauthentic.

              Also, Obama pretty much ran as a blank slate. Unless you really paid attention to the content beneath the rhetorical flourishes. He was a master at manipulating language to allow for a multiplicity of interpretations. I don’t say that as a criticism, btw.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                Agreed, I remember being very bitter in 2015 about how he could virtually Hope’n Change, his way through most questions.
                Obama definitly knew people were projecting on him and was careful not to make it harder for them to do so. I don’t know where that falls on the authenticity-in-authenticity scale though.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I didn’t mention Hills because of all the brain worms about her. She is authentically herself. Unfortunately for her she has some ….ummm…. challenges with retail politics and poor decision making.

                I dont’ think authenticity means much of anything. Dark appears to be using it sort of as truthfulness but we have a word for that already. I’ve said Obama is authentic; reserved, measured, caring, intellectual, somewhat distant. That seems to be who he is. Trump is a narcissistic sociopath; that is who he is. What is authentic telling us? Is pol X duplicitous? That is who they are. Is some idiot an idiot? Well that is who they authentically who they are.Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          “Obama is a great example because typically being calm, measured and reserved AND caring isnt’ usually what people mean when they say cool or authentic.”

          Sure, except that “what people mean when they say x” and “what the ‘people with cultural cache’ mean when they say x” are venn circles with minimal overlap. The old establishment, the MSM reporters, and the policy-writing eggheads (pretty much any Dem with a significant media presence outside of twitter) are disproportionately Ivy League or wanna-be’s of them, so what “They” mean by “cool” pretty much is “pot-smoking professor who’s hip enough to not sound lame when talking about basketball and rap music” or basically anyone they would actually invite to a cocktail party, despite the fact that the majority of the populace, even the majority of the Dem base, do not generally think those people themselves are “cool”.

          “People typically reserve authentic for brash or loud or non conforming characters.”

          Well yes, “authentic” can only be put to the test if there is significant pressure to be something else, otherwise you can’t disprove the possibly of a poser.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Sure, but he was also pretty competent and capable was he not?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      I think your second point really gets to the core of this Greg. Boring elderly old Joe Biden’s nomination is a walking falsification of this whole narrative that Kristin, in this case, and the right wing media in general peddle constantly: that the Democratic party and its voters are fashion obsessed and controlled by extreme leftism and wokeness. That whole assertion has been invalidated from stem to stern in this primary. We started out with a big grab bag of candidates. The right wing mantra chants that Democrats are obsessed with fashion, wokeness and leftism and from that mantra predictions could and were made. Those predictions were that Biden failed every test that mantra applied: he was centrist rather than wildly leftist; he was elderly rather than young; he was white rather than a visible minority; he was clunky and earnest rather than suave or cool and on top of all of that he is a man so therefore he had no shot at the nomination.

      And yet, and yet… here Biden is… clunking along his centrist white old man way to the nomination of the Democratic party and doing so with the overwhelming support of the voters of said party. Every woke candidate went down in flames-most didn’t even make it to the primaries; every fashionable candidate petered out and even the most left wing “socialist” candidate got flat out clobbered.

      The mantra has been falsified on every single allegation, from root to branch. The Democratic Party is not utterly consumed by wokeness, nor is it wildly left wing; it is a center left, rather establishmentarian; very clunky and unlovable political organization that happens to have such a wide tent that it does contain a small woke contingent and a somewhat less small far left faction. But that doesn’t fit the theme so instead point and yell “Squirell!”

      Grappling with the falsification of this hugely useful theme (it’s hard to fully describe how central it is, it’s like the core of the whole Fox News business model for instance) is difficult and inconvenient so, instead, Joe Biden gets, somehow, branded as fashionable and we end up with this very well written and yet somehow discombobulated article. It’d work a lot better in an alternative universe where Bernie, Warren or Harris had gotten the nod.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      This seems to be largely about Kristen feeling the Democrats are the rich city kids who don’t understand country folk.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Speaking as someone who has straddled both worlds, it is true that city folk don’t understand country folk, but it is also true that country folk don’t understand city folk. The difference is that only one of them resents the other.Report

  12. Avatar Douglas Hayden
    Ignored
    says:

    Nothing says peak Internet politics than arguing about ‘enthusiasm’ for Joe Biden while we’re staring down potentially hundreds of thousands dead.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Douglas Hayden
      Ignored
      says:

      There are, at present 123,456,789 articles on coronavirus. I’ve already written two of them myself. To give people something to discuss and think about that wasn’t corona-related and possibly continue focusing on other topics of interest/importance to the country, I wrote this.

      I do not think it’s right, kind, or fair to call out one of the people who is doing the heavy lifting to keep this site going on the type of content they create.Report

      • Avatar Douglas Hayden in reply to atomickristin
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        says:

        Its not about the content, though. Well, it is, but not that way. Peak Internet politics is all about arguing about how ‘cool’ Biden is or how enthusiastic his and Trump’s voters are, and never thinking just how many voters are going to the ballot box worried about if their loved ones will survive the pandemic. And the ones that didn’t. If they’ll still have a job when its over. When it’ll be over. And what the guy currently in the big chair did to prevent all that.Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to atomickristin
        Ignored
        says:

        Don’t let it get you down Kristin, I for one am metaphorically sick to death of Corona articles and happy to have something “normal” to read and discuss for a break from all that. Much appreciated.Report

  13. Avatar Michael Drew
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    says:

    Here’s an idea: stop thinking about it so hard and use your vote to its maximum power to remove Trump from office, regardless of how tainted it makes your white-as-snow vote feel. Just this one time. Don’t overthink it. Just do that. For your country.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Michael Drew
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      says:

      I will do what I think is right for the country. It has nothing to do with my vote being snow-white, it has to do with people on BOTH sides of the aisle who I do not find to be acting in the country’s best interests.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
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      says:

      Economic Theory includes a little something called The Ultimatum Game.

      Here’s the gist: You get $10. Out of this $10, you offer me any amount of it. Couple be a penny. Could be the whole thing. Could be somewhere in the middle. You’re the person who chooses to make me an offer.

      At that point, I choose to take it or leave it. If I do not accept your offer, you don’t get the $10 to split with me.

      Some people think that, hey, you should just offer me a buck. That’s a buck I wouldn’t have anyway and I should be grateful to get the buck and I shouldn’t care if you get $9.

      Some people don’t think that.Report

  14. Avatar Jesse
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    says:

    The truth is, we’ve gotten most of the people with the same demographic background as Kristin as we can, as seen in the numerous victories we had in 2018 in suburban areas, and the reality is, there’s no point to twisting ourselves to chase after the people, who despite supposedly supporting 80% of the Democratic platform, can’t vote for the Democratic’s, either because of weird ideas like that liberals no longer believe in free speech, as Kristen said upthread, or when leftists say things like Trump & Biden would be exactly the same.

    As I’ve said before, I think ignoring anything even more crazy happening (which I realize is actually probably a bad bet in 2020), the Presidential race will be exactly like the 2018 midterms. A whole summer and fall of people freaking out over the Democrat’s blowing it, than the Democrat’s winning by basically the exact number seen in the congressional general ballot.

    If we ever see consistent polling that shows Biden actually behind, or even within danger range when it comes to the EC, I’ll start worrying, just like I would’ve started worrying if the GCB at any point in 2018 would’ve actually dipped at any point.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jesse
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      says:

      “weird ideas like that liberals no longer believe in free speech…”

      Oh, you certainly believe in free speech! You believe that we’re entirely free to say whatever we want to an empty room, and you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that whatever room we’re in gets emptied out ASAP. “This isn’t censorship,” you say as you throw a torch into the curtains, “that only happens if it’s the government doing it.”Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse
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      says:

      weird ideas like that liberals no longer believe in free speech

      Actual liberals, sure. The left, not so much. “Repeal Citizens United!” (AKA the First Amendment) would not be a stock applause line if Democrats actually cared about freedom of speech.Report

    • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jesse
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      says:

      “because of weird ideas like that liberals no longer believe in free speech”

      You’re only half right, “liberals” do still believe in free speech, “Democrats” OTOH have become the party of cancel culture, deplatforming, and calling any disagreement with them “unprotected hate speech”. “Liberal” and “Democrat” haven’t really been synonyms for a long time now. I’m sure it’s not a majority of your voters, but neither am I hearing a majority of your elected officials actually standing up for the speech of anyone they disagree with.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Urusigh
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        says:

        Uh, what Democrats are you looking at? The ones the GOP keeps trying to brand as synonymous with AoC? In case you missed it the cancel culture/woke left candidates didn’t just lose the Democratic Primary, they lost in a devastating landslide. The economic lefties and socialists did better than the woke left but they still lost, and lost decisively.
        So where’re the examples of main stream major Democratic party officials or politicians pushing specific cancel culture policies or principles?Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to North
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          says:

          For starters, my exact quote was “neither am I hearing a majority of your elected officials actually standing up for the speech of anyone they disagree with.”

          So, how many examples can you pull together of main stream major Democratic party officials or politicians standing up for free speech against the woke Left? Silence equals assent. No less than former-President Obama called this out: “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly.”

          But since you asked, I’ll provide some random ones anyway. In no particular order:

          Every single candidate promising to get Citizens United overturned, not to mention every Democrat in Congress who voted to do so, repeatedly.
          Beto O’Rourke’s declaration that he favored using the tax system to attack religious groups that oppose gay “rights”.
          Numerous tweets by AOC.
          Statements by the Squad, Nancy Pelosi, and many others automatically condemning any criticism of the Squad as “racist/xenophobic/mysogynist”
          Every Democrat in office who’s said that Twitter should ban President Trump
          Every Democrat in Congress who pushed H.R. 1 “For the People Act” which includes provisions that would force 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations to disclose their donors, force private digital companies to release customer lists, and broaden the definition of a lobbyist to include even the most basic political action.
          Every Democrat in office who defended or refused to condemn Antifa assaulting MAGA-hat wearers in the streets.
          The many Democrats in office who have pushed legislation trying to block ads from Pro-Life organizations and Pregnancy Care Resource Centers
          The unanimous Congressional resolution condemning “anti-semitism and bigotry” in the wake of Representative Ilhan Omar’s accusations that pro-Israel activists were pushing an “allegiance to a foreign country”
          Hillary Clinton demanded that Facebook take down “false, deceptive or deliberately misleading content” or “pay a price.” Her statements echoed those of presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who condemned Facebook for allowing “politicians to run ads with known lies—explicitly turning the platform into a disinformation-for-profit machine.” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, demanded that Facebook “take down lies.” She was joined by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who condemned Facebook for allowing “politicians” to make “untruthful statements.”

          Heck, even your remaining candidates: “Bernie believes we should not depend on a handful of large corporations to stop the spread of hate in America. We must regulate these platforms to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” a Sanders spokesman said. Biden has gone a step further. He’s calling for revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996—a snippet of federal law that’s generally regarded as the Internet’s First Amendment, since it protects online platforms from being legally liable for content produced and posted by third parties. “Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms,” says Biden. He said he wanted civil or even criminal liability for Facebook allowing ads talking about the Burisma Scandal regarding his son. The list of mainstream Dem politicians calling for censorship on social media goes on and on…

          So no, the “woke” left didn’t “lose” in a devastating landslide, much like Bernie pushing Clinton to the Left on last election, they succeeded in forcing the remaining candidates to move their way and adopt versions of their own censorious policies.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Urusigh
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            says:

            For starters your exact quote was “Democrats” OTOH have become the party of cancel culture, deplatforming, and calling any disagreement with them “unprotected hate speech”.

            Which is nonsense on stilts (well except maybe the last one, but both parties do that endlessly and no one pays any mind to it). I’m enormously amused that you went and did my own work for me by having no less than the Democratic Party’s last elected and still enormously popular President taking the exact opposite stand. Sure, the Dems don’t go out of their way to blast cancel culture- primarily because cancel culture is so utterly powerless and unrepresented in the Democratic Party. I mean look at your list: A bunch of talk, half of which is fishing twitter of all things. If talk is cheap (and it is) then tweets are even cheaper. By your definition even the GOP is a party of cancel culture because they’ve called on social media and media corporations to be punished, regulated and suppressed as well- does Senator Hawley not count? Hell, the sitting GOP President has gone after media companies, reporters and speech he doesn’t like in, like, almost every pronouncement he’s made. Hmm.. unless you’re a libertarian in which case from where you’re sitting they’re all statists but I had the impression you were more Republican than libertarian. Neither of the parties are controlled by cancel culture.

            And, yeah, cancel culture lost the primary in a landslide. They called for Joe Biden to be cancelled ages ago and he went and won the nomination whereas most of cancel cultures favored candidates couldn’t even last through to Iowa. Went your opponent wins, decisively, and you don’t even get a single point? That’s a landslide loss.Report

            • Avatar Urusigh in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              “I’m enormously amused that you went and did my own work for me by having no less than the Democratic Party’s last elected and still enormously popular President taking the exact opposite stand. ”

              Not sure why, having a guy who isn’t currently a Democrat Party official criticizing the current Party on this exact point kind of proves A) that it is a real thing, and B) that it isn’t just “right-wing” people who see it.

              “Sure, the Dems don’t go out of their way to blast cancel culture- primarily because cancel culture is so utterly powerless and unrepresented in the Democratic Party.”

              I literally just listed elected Representatives, Senators, and current Presidential candidates. That”s the opposite of “powerless and unrepresented”. I also noted cases involving physical violence, an event that they routinely require republican office holders to actively and vehemently denounce anytime it’s committed by anyone even theoretically associated with our side of the aisle or policy positions, so a refusal to condemn Antifa punching journalists, assaulting children, and setting fire to public property is kinda a big fricken deal you can’t just blithely dismiss.

              “I mean look at your list: A bunch of talk,”
              And little things like House Resolutions, Senate votes, Legislation with multiple cosponsors, and policy statements direct from Presidential Candidates…, but sure let’s ask for examples of “pushing specific principles or policies” and then immediately retreat to “oh, that’s just talk…” when I provide exactly that.

              “By your definition even the GOP is a party of cancel culture because they’ve called on social media and media corporations to be punished, regulated and suppressed as well- does Senator Hawley not count?”

              Yep, Reps do it too. I’m generally not a fan when they do it either. I’m allowed to disagree with my own party on certain areas of policy. 🙂 In this regard I’m Classic Liberal/Libertarian: “The best answer to bad speech is more speech, not less”. Hawley is actually an interesting case though, his proposed legislation isn’t for government censorship by default, it’s threat of government action if social media engages in partisan censorship while still claiming to be neutral carriers, so that’s closer to a “Truth in Advertising” enforcement than a censorship issue the way I see it, but I’m open to debate on the topic.

              “:Hell, the sitting GOP President has gone after media companies, reporters and speech he doesn’t like in, like, almost every pronouncement he’s made”

              AFAICT, He’s only called for the right to bring a civil suite against them for libel, a position which is to the left of Biden, who wants to be able to bring criminal suits for the same, but yeah, I count those too. Trump is an imperfect champion for Free Speech with a mixed record.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                You said, as I quoted, that the Democratic Party has become the party of cancel culture. That is a very strong assertion and would require very strong evidence in support. In order for your assorted points to even remotely support that very strong assertion you’d have to define cancel culture down to virtually meaningless, this stuff isn’t even weak tea- it’s luke warm water with a pine cone in it.

                If the Democratic party was the party of cancel culture then their former President would be a pariah for warning against it, not virtually universally loved within the party. I certainly would never claim cancel culture exists and that it’s present within the Democratic Party but it’s marginal and carries no votes currently. And, then, of course you went back to Hillary Clinton because former Presidents do count when they’re saying something you can sort of interpret as aligned with cancel culture.

                Pelosi herself condemned the violent actions of Antifa, -by name- after the Berkely foofaraw. So the idea that those Antifa imbeciles have gotten cover from Democrats is utterly risible. That’s the highest ranking elected Democrat in the country. Whereas the Proud Boys etc are open advocates for and supporters of Donald “very fine people on both sides” Trump.

                The comments from presidential candidates you’re pointing out are, inconveniently for you, from the losing ones. Beto’s comment about churches was widely panned by the left as desperate, anti-liberal and counterproductive even as right wingers did backflips in glee because they finally had someone, anyone, to point to actually saying that. And, of course, Beto did so badly that he didn’t even make it to the first primary.

                Everything related to the pro-life-pro-choice argument is, of course, irrelevant. That’s not an act of fealty to cancel culture, that’s just another trench in the hottest culture war in the country and has dozens of equivalent anti-speech positions on both sides of that bitter fight.

                And, of course, the only actual policies and legislation you point out is mostly campaign finance, anti-lobbyist and transparency legislation. Now I know that libertarians are big on the “money is speech” thing and that’s an area that there’s a lot of debate over but to try and shove that whole thing into the category of cancel culture and try and pass opposition to lobbyists or “money is speech” assertions off as fealty to cancel culture is so nuts I had to actually pause and laugh a bit. Yeah only cancel culture loons hate lobbyists or dislike people buying politicians. Heheheh.

                As for Trump, he’s gone so far as to Amazon of scamming the postal service, has attacked the company for putting Mom&Pop retailers out of business and allegedly pressured the Pentagon to choose non-Amazon contractors for cloud computing services because he doesn’t like what the Washington Post says about him (both are owned by Bezos). That might count for a little, maybe a smidge, more than him just calling for civil suits. But, of course, it’s only cancel culture if the left does it, or something vaguely like it, or something you can kind of connect to cancel culture on a ten step chart.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                So, if a republican says something vaguely critical of a media company, but doesn’t actually try acting on it, that counts, but when democrats actually try to pass legislation on the matter, it’s “just talking”? Your double standard is incomprehensible.

                “very fine people on both sides” Trump.”

                You are remarkably ignorant and misinformed. In that exact speech he condemned the white nationalists in the strongest possible terms. They were, however, NOT THE ONLY PROTESTERS THERE. It may shock you , but some perfectly normal historical preservationists are not in favor of tearing down historical artifacts and were present in protest. C’mon dude, you can disprove that one just by reading his actual statement instead of taking a sentence fragment out of context:

                “Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name. I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

                In case you missed that “very fine people” EXPLICITLY DID NOT INCLUDE THE WHITE NATIONALISTS BECAUSE, ACCORDING TO TRUMP HIMSELF, THEY ARE “VERY BAD PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE CONDEMNED TOTALLY: “you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

                ” But, of course, it’s only cancel culture if the left does it…”

                THIS is your reply to a comment where I explicitly acknowledge that the right does it sometimes too and agreed with your examples of that? Dude, I don’t know who you’re arguing with anymore, but you’re spending more word count beating on straw men and moving the goal posts than actually paying attention to, much less addressing, anything I say. I’d say “Thanks for a good debate” like usual, but it wasn’t, and it clearly isn’t going anywhere productive, so I’m done. Have a nice day!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Urusigh
                Ignored
                says:

                As I pointed, again, out all the legislation you’re using as examples of cancel culture is just anti-lobbyist and political transparency legislation. That may not be pro free speech as libertarians strictly define it but there’s no universe where that is considered cancel culture, at least not as Kristin (or anyone beyond you) uses the term. So I can only presume you’re either being disingenuous or flat out have no clue what cancel culture is.

                You then ignored that fact that, as I pointed out, Pelosi denounced exactly the people and actions you claimed she didn’t and then went on a three paragraph screed about how outrageous it is to point out obliquely that, whereas the Antifa imbeciles don’t like the Democrats at all (a feeling that is mutual), right wing racist loons are quite fond of our the current President who was, after all, the head cheerleader for the birther movement. And yet somehow the Dems are cheek to jowl with Antifa in your estimation whereas the GOP is free of any association with those right wing goons? Yeah that doesn’t parse.

                You’re welcome to stop, I enjoyed debating with you. I accept your concession that there isn’t any strong evidence to suggest that your assertion that the Democratic Party has become the party of cancel culture. Maybe the reality of that party will descend to your appraised level someday in some dark future, perhaps, but it isn’t now; nowhere near.Report

  15. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    How many of these cool kids who are going to vote for Biden were beat up in high school by country kids for being art pansies and so they fled to cities?Report

  16. Avatar Jesse
    Ignored
    says:

    Also, Joe Biden didn’t win because we got rid of other candidates because they were “uncool.”

    Joe Biden won because he basically locked up 30-35% of the vote almost immediately because of being Obama’s VP, the other 30% was immediately locked up by a combination of Bernie & Warren from the left-leaning side of things, and the other candidates either were terrible campaigners, as they couldn’t dig into either the left-leaning side of the party, or the moderate wing + African-American’s that Biden had built up.

    In a different world, where Beto did some interviews instead of traveling across America in his car, where Kamala didn’t immediately jump on M4A, or where Inslee had any chairsma, maybe they would’ve done better. Or if neither Bernie nor Biden had ran.

    After Super Tuesday though, party leaders looked at the fact that Bernie could actually likely win over older voters if the choice was Bernie vs. Amy or Bernie vs Pete, and decided to go with the guy who’d just rolled in South Carolina.Report

  17. steve steve
    Ignored
    says:

    Bill Clinton slithered to the center 3 decades ago and sold out to corporations. It worked, temporarily, because he pulled in a lot of votes from the right. But it only helped him get elected. Then the party was effectively owned by a bunch of people that actual progressives despise, putting up candidates that are merely heeding corporate interests. They’ve spent decades ignoring the left, while still demanding their votes via some kind of guilt trip. They are banking on appealing to voters on the right to go for Biden over Trump, while still expecting the left to vote for Biden as well. Neither of these things are going to happen in significant numbers. They have no policies or enthusiasm and nothing to build on. They are just trying to stop the bleeding. It is going to be a slaughter.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to steve
      Ignored
      says:

      Cool story bro but I am enthusiastic about not having a President who will stack the judiciary with homophobic and transphobic racist holy rollers, will keep and expand the ACA, and not put kids in cages. You know, little things.

      But keep with Rose Twitter man. Keep those delusions burning.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        What @Steve is pointing out is your desired outcome is not certain with the chosen nominee of the Democratic Party, in as much as his policies and his voting record (to say nothing of his VP years)is not distinguishable enough to most Americans from the guy currently in the WH. Add in the credible allegations of sexual misconduct, and the only thing that will distinguish him from the current President in their minds is his folksy nature.

        Now MAYBE that will swing some “liberal” republicans to vote for him. And Maybe with the stock market having cratered some of the Obama supporters who abandoned Hillary will come back. But if you really want a strengthened ACA, if you want to undo the federal judicial appointments McConnel rammed through, you won’t be able to do that with Biden. My white Mississippi neighbors see him as a return to a politics that left them out of the national discussion, and no matter how many times they show me their Obama yard signs to prove they aren’t racists, they won’t vote for Biden.

        Sure, the polls look good now, but they looked good for Hillary too. We Democrats, despite the actions of many of us in the primaries, chose a candidate who won’t necessarily deliver the WH. We need to own that, and we need to decide right here and now how to fix it.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          BIden’s platform is way to the left of Bill Clinton. The Democratic Party of the 1990s is very different from the Democratic Party of today and no Democratic President was going to carry Mississippi. The regular folks that believe the Democratic Party isn’t talking to them are just really angry that they aren’t the default and need to share space with other groups.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to LeeEsq
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            says:

            Sure they are. I never said they weren’t. But my point remains that some of them want to vote for Democrats, but not this democrat, because they don’t see him as different then that Republican, except he uses fewer cuss words.

            As to Biden’s platform – he may be left of Clinton, but I think that’s more a function of branding then actual policy. Obama ran initially to the left of Clinton, but governed alongside him. And that’s where Biden starts. Afterall the ACA (which, yes Biden will most likely protect) was a Heritage Foundation idea in the 1990’s to push back on Sec. Clinton’s universal healthcare ideas. I four bar for Biden being “left” is preserving the ACA he’s preserving a Heritage Foundation Idea. That means he’s preserving (at best) a centerist idea.Report

      • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        “and not put kids in cages”

        You do realize the photos of that from when the story first gained media attention were actually taken during Obama’s time in office? Your President was doing that long before Trump strolled down the escalator. Overcrowding and resource shortages in ICE facilities was not a new thing under Trump, it’s been a long running problem because Democrats in congress refuse to either reach a compromise that fixes our immigration laws or provide funding sufficient for ICE to actually handle the migrant numbers we’re seeing in a way that meets the demands of the laws we currently have.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Urusigh
          Ignored
          says:

          There was a compromise bill in 13 between senate R’s and D’s. Anti Immigration R’s in teh house shot it down.

          The photos people refer to tell about 1% of the story. There has been a major difference between the Obama and Trump approaches to immigration. see DACA vs. no refugees for an example.Report

          • Avatar Urusigh in reply to greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            “Anti Immigration R’s in teh house shot it down.”

            Because Dems wouldn’t allow strong mandated enforcement mechanisms. Sorry, but the last compromise under Reagan proved that “amnesty now, enforcement later” pledges won’t be kept. That’s why we want a physical wall even though high tech surveillance “digital fencing” is theoretically more cost efficient: because a physical wall can’t be defunded or undermanned by Congress or ordered to “stand down” by an executive “using prosecutorial discretion” or “setting priority of enforcement”. Seriously, we still consider DACA just as unconstitutional as Obama himself originally said it was, we’re not going to accept any deal that leaves that loophole open to happen again the next time you hold the White House.

            I’m aware of and approve of the differences in actual executive policy between the administrations (though in practice they are less different than you imply: DACA still exists despite our best efforts), but the whole “kids in cages” thing wasn’t an outcome of executive policy, that’s the combination of existing immigration law, existing ICE funding, numbers and composition of illegal immigration, and weird court rulings like the Flores Settlement. I also remember when Obama was called “Deporter-in-Chief” by both the left-wingers mad at him and the moderates trying to reassure republicans that he had credibility to deal on immigration. The sudden outrage at enforcement policies and realities that are largely unchanged over the last several administrations under both parties would be almost funny if wasn’t so mindbogglingly ignorant.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Urusigh
              Ignored
              says:

              So we agree there was a compromise that the parties worked out. You just didn’t like it. Fine enough. Any compromise we eventually come to will include things everybody isn’t thrilled with. That is the nature of compromises.Report

              • Avatar Urusigh in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                “So we agree there was a compromise that the parties worked out.”

                No, we don’t. It didn’t pass, therefor it can’t be said to be “worked out”. Whether I like it isn’t relevant to that fact. There could be a compromise I’d like if Dems had been willing to give more (I can’t support a blanket amnesty, but I’m fine with citizenship tracks that require some service to the nation and a clean crime record), but that’s neither here nor there. There are positions to the left of “No Immigration PERIOD!” that would get even the Freedom Caucus on board if we got real enforcement and didn’t include blanket amnesty.Report

      • Avatar Zac Black in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        “a President who will stack the judiciary with homophobic and transphobic racist holy rollers,”

        Right, he’ll just put them on the Supreme Court, instead.*

        “will keep and expand the ACA”

        Hey, who doesn’t love a massive subsidy for private, for-profit insurers?

        “and not put kids in cages.”

        Saul, you’re not a dumb man, so I know you know that that began under the Obama administration.** Which, by my understanding, is an administration one Joseph Robinette Biden was at least partly involved in.

        I mean, seriously, of the three things you could have listed, that’s what you landed on? Jesus H. Christ, why not just jump straight to asserting he’ll be better for women because he hasn’t sexually assaulted as many as the current President?

        Have some standards, man. Have some damn dignity.

        *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Thomas

        **https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-build-cages-immigrants/Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Zac Black
          Ignored
          says:

          Biden actually voted against Clarence Thomas, not for him. He was also instrumentally in defeating Bork and was a firm opponent of Reagan’s friendly diplomacy towards Apartheid South Africa. Everybody is looking for this mystical magical politician that can satisfy all factions in the Democratic Party, make non-voters voters, and cause the people who voted Republican to wake up into liberalism. That politician doesn’t exist. Even if said politician exists, the people looking for that politician would hate that politician because they were running as a Democratic politician.

          What is really true is that you have lots of Americans that simply don’t like the Democratic Party for reasons that can only be described as irrational. Republicans and other right-leaning Americans hate it for obvious reason. You also have the critics from the left, you truly believe that but for the Democratic Party we can have a real true social democratic or even more radical party that both emulates the manly sensitivities of the white working class (TM). The real issue is that a lot of white male leftists care a lot more about economic justice than social justice because they have white male privilege. Since the Democratic Party focuses more on social justice, they really just don’t like the Democratic Party.

          During this process, Joe Biden’s critics and enemies have been much more wrong than right. Look at the Corn Pop saga. The very online thought that Joe Biden was making that entire thing up to pander to African-Americans and was being kind of racist but the entire saga turned out to be true. There were even obituaries for Corn Pop. They were caught with their pants down. Joe Biden’s strategy to get the nomination was much more correct than any other Democratic politicians including Saint Bernard of the Green Mountain and Saint Warren of Arc. All this Biden hatred is basically “how can Nixon get elected, nobody we know voted for him.”Report

          • Avatar Zac Black in reply to LeeEsq
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, ultimately he did vote against Thomas. Wait to narrowly zero in on the single defensible part of his behavior during that entire execrable affair.

            From a relevant article:

            “Any assessment of Biden’s character should mention the infamous Clarence Thomas hearings, where his failures were on full display. Biden has been controversial for his handling of the hearings, in which Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment. Biden was criticized for “his decision to allow aggressive questioning of Hill by a panel exclusively comprising white men—while he prevented three women from testifying about other instances of alleged inappropriate behavior by Thomas.” As one Democratic adviser said, “Biden agreed to the terms of the people who were out to disembowel Hill” and a fellow legislator said that “Joe bent over too far backwards to accommodate the Republicans.” Biden even said of Thomas that “I believe there are certain things that are not at issue at all… and that is his character,” when that was exactly what was at issue.

            Biden has shown a mixture of contrition and defiance about the period, saying he wished he “could have done something” to help Hill, when the entire point is that he was the very person who had control over the proceedings—he was the chairman of the committee! Years later, when Biden finally gave Hill a pitiful semi-apology, it left her “deeply unsatisfied.” Biden also said that he “believed Hill from the beginning,” but his fellow senator Arlen Specter said Biden told him privately that Biden thought she “was lying.”

            Here we see several Biden traits in one incident: the failure to stand up for women’s rights, the excessive deference to Republicans that allows them to get whatever they want, and the tendency to distort his record after the fact in order to avoid taking full responsibility for his shameful conduct. It’s not the worst thing he ever did. It’s just a good example of the kinds of thing he does constantly.”

            And this is just one example. I’ve got so, so many more. Wanna talk about the Iraq War? Abortion? Criminal justice? Women’s rights? Civil liberties? Immigration? Climate change? Joe Biden is terrible on every one of these issues. I don’t dislike him because I’m some sort of “irrational leftist”; I dislike him because he’s the sort of politician who will smile and tell you he has your back, then go into the back room, sell you out, and then relentlessly lie about doing so afterward.

            But here’s the thing, Lee: you don’t give a damn about any of this, ultimately. You’re an upper-middle-class white male professional who will basically be fine in any scenario short of nuclear war. To people like you, politics are just aesthetics and social positioning, because materially you’ll always be fine. *That’s* why you’re perfectly fine with a guy like Joe Biden. For people like you, the main problem with Trump is that he’s aesthetically displeasing — if a Democrat did the same things minus the vulgarity, you’d happily vote for him. But Biden won’t upset the status quo that the upper-middle-class benefit from and that’s crushing most of the rest of us. And when people point this out, you claim they’re engaging in purity politics, as though having a minimum standard of human decency for the people you vote for is some sort of fringe lunacy. You guys mock the libertarians, but you’re the *kings* of FYIGM.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Zac Black
              Ignored
              says:

              My point still stands. The anti-Biden faction has continued to be wrong about Biden during the entire nomination process. They have believed every day since he announced his campaign that he will make a gaffe that will end everything that hasn’t happened. After Sanders initially victories, anti-Biden people believed that African-Americans would abandon Biden. That obviously did not happen. Finally, that women would not vote for Biden but post-Super Tuesday, Biden is crushing it in nearly all demographics in remaining primaries including the new suburban women vote.

              Most voters do not care about the early 1990s even if they were living and voting at the time. Voters generally live in the present rather than the past and don’t consider these things when making a vote. There is no reason to believe that the anti-Biden forces are correct on Biden’s general election prospects because they were wrong about him during the nomination.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s the same people who mistook Elizabeth Warren’s binders of activists for real people. But as we all know the one thing not allowed in politics is ever admitting an error.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Warren had a very real but rather narrow base of educated professionals. Beyond that she did not have much support in the Democratic Party. The fact that the argument her supporters was that “she’s electable if you vote for her” speaks volumes. Every politician is electable if you vote for them. It’s a tautology.

                I liked to troll Warren voters, since I became a Biden supporter early on after Gillibrand dropped out, was to call her “St. Warren of Arc.” They were literally undistinguishable in their cult like veneration than BernieBros. She has a plan for that and all that. Towards the end of her campaign, I got into a massive fight with a friend from high school over Warren because he was doing the African-Americans are pragmatic voters but are really super-secret Warren fan schticks. No, they weren’t. African-Americans support Biden because they like Biden.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Zac Black
              Ignored
              says:

              While you have a couple decent points about how fundamentally unprincipled the Democratic party is the turn down the identitarian rabbit hole, itself a fundamentally unprincipled upper middle class based, anti-civil liberties, and aesthetics above all else movement makes this screed impossible to take seriously. The very people you claim you’re speaking for are the ones giving Biden the primary, and it’s because they support him.Report

              • Avatar Zac Black in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                “The very people you claim you’re speaking for are the ones giving Biden the primary, and it’s because they support him.”

                I love how false consciousness is only plausible to liberals when it’s conservatives on the receiving end of the accusation. Ain’t it the darnedest thing?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Zac Black
                Ignored
                says:

                There is no such thing as false consciousness. It is just a convenient hand waive for these people I think should be entirely behind my program have different opinions than I do.Report

              • Avatar Zac Black in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                “What is really true is that you have lots of Americans that simply don’t like the Democratic Party for reasons that can only be described as irrational.”

                Remind me, who just said this upthread?

                Oh, but that’s totally different. For reasons.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Zac Black
                Ignored
                says:

                Well said Zac. Motes and beams and all that.Report

  18. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve gotta say. The responses to this essay are a strange kind of defensive.

    It reminds me of people being defensive about Hillary Clinton.

    I mean, I know that *I* am not going to vote for Biden, but I was never really reachable anyway (I’d want him to do something crazy like argue for legalization of weed or abolition of DST and both are unthinkable for a national candidate for the presidency).

    Now, this isn’t predicting that Trump will win or anything like that. I have no idea what’s going to happen.

    But I am seeming to notice that there are a lot of vaguely reasonable criticisms that could be made of Biden and the Democrats in general (and not just from the reactionary wing of the nutterbutter people) that are being treated as if they’re Enemy Action.

    And, seriously, that’s giving me flashbacks.

    I’d ask “is it giving you flashbacks?”Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      I deleted a comment which basically accused (in a good way) Kristin of being part of a social psych experiment to see how badly Dem voting readers would misinterpret her post as a function of their political priors. I didn’t post that comment, and I still won’t.

      The other part which struck me is that only one person (apart from me but I’m sorta on Kristen’s side in this debate) on my side of the aisle engaged the content of the piece. Personally, I thought it was a pretty clever way to express a dynamic which absolutely *does* exist in liberal political culture. But my fellow Dems viewed as a massive dig on Joe Biden because she either called him cool when he obviously isn’t or called him uncool when he obviously is and therefore as a massive dig *on them* because they are he. (I think.)

      It was only like four weeks ago when everyone on this site thought Joe was an uncool old-guy bumbler out of step with the times. But that was also back when he clearly had no shot at beating Bernie. Timing is everything.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        To the extent that our little league here is a microcosm of the big leagues, I’m finding myself gaming things out in very, very strange ways.

        I’m seeing one hell of a bubble.

        And the bubble is somehow managing to persist in the middle of a goddamn plague.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I’m remembering back to four or five weeks ago when you (what were you called upthread, a contrarian Dadaist?) argued that Dems should support Joe Biden because he had the best chance to win, and after some careful, considered thought on their parts, all the Dems here told to shut it cuz you aint a Dem and would never vote Dem how dare you. They still had hope one of the cool candidates would get the nod, you see.

          Now they’re defending Joe as if he’s the second coming….Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            I have a handful of arguments that people ought to vote for Biden over Trump.

            I imagine I’m doing it wrong, though… they all involve saying stuff like “look, I understand that he’s not in favor of your preferred policies… hey, I prefer your policies too!” rather than “Every voter, in every state, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”Report

          • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
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            says:

            “Now they’re defending Joe as if he’s the second coming….”

            Are they the same people? I’d love quotes from both before and after.

            And am I one of them? Because I neither said Biden couldn’t win, nor have I defended him as if he were the second coming. I mean if you think I am that’s….well, let’s say you must have a real low opinion of Christians.

            Biden’s…okay. I mean that’s it. He’s acceptable. He’s sane, competent, and probably won’t embroil us in weekly scandals and twice a month crisis. He’s not going to change the world, he’s not going to revolutionize anything. The biggest, single, literal change he will make is “not being Donald Trump” which honestly can be filled by any warm body that is not related to, by blood or marriage, Donald Trump.

            His platform is, well, not terribly different than Clinton’s, just updated for four years of Trump, and whatever comes out of the convention won’t be that much different.

            Indeed, Biden’s enthusiasm levels are markedly low. His base of about 25% are enthusiastic, and nobody else is. Although judging by other polls, that’s okay for his chances because they’re very enthusiastic about Donald Trump. Specifically, voting against him.

            So I’m eager to find who went from blasting Jaybird because he dared think Biden might win to praising Biden like Jesus come again. With quotes. And links.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              See, you’re going a long ways to demonstrating my point that it isn’t the political orientation of the person who makes criticism of the Dems that matters, it’s just the criticisms themselves.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                So no quotes then?

                No pointing to anyone here who went from “Biden will never win” to “Biden is the second coming”?

                Cool.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                JS, you’re making it harder for me to justify voting for Biden. You should be talking about what a great candidate he is, how wrong I am to think the Democrats settled on him. Instead all you can do is effectively concede that he’s the best the Dems can do. (Which is, ironically, *MY* view 🙂Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “JS, you’re making it harder for me to justify voting for Biden”

                I wasn’t trying. I don’t care who you vote for. You claimed to observe a phenomenon here. I asked for some examples, since I don’t recall many people saying “Biden couldn’t win” and I know for damn sure few people consider Biden the second coming.

                Which is fine by me — I distrust cults. One reason Sanders always had a hard row to hoe with me. I don’t buy into the “one great man” theory, and get really nervous when a movement seems predicated on a single point of failure.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Which is fine by me — I distrust cults.

                Dude, you’re in one. The cult of the Democratic Party. 🙂Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “Dude, you’re in one. The cult of the Democratic Party.”

                Please, I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.

                If you think this mess is a cult — dear god, we can’t decide anything without six months of committee hearings, four protests, and one half calling the other half sellouts.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Look, defending a guy you didn’t pick because the Team you’re on *did* seems pretty cultish to me.

                Did you make your list yet? Still working on it?Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                “Look, defending a guy you didn’t pick because the Team you’re on *did* seems pretty cultish to me.”

                Defending him? Are you talking about my insistence that “we” is the correct grammar when referring to the collective decisions of a group I belong, or my claiming Joe Biden is literally the opposite of “cool”, or when I claimed he wasn’t a particular exciting candidate?

                Or was it when I asked who was acting like Biden was “the second coming”? Expressing sketicism that anyone would be so enthusiastic about Biden is a weird defense…

                Are you confusing me with someone else?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              If you want to see some fur fly, here’s where I thought that the democrats might have a problem with enthusiasm (it’s in the comments to the same post where I said that since I saw Biden as winning MI, WI, and PA that I think that Biden wins the election but not in the same thread).

              Here’s where I argued that we need to argue *FOR* Biden rather than on a “HE’S NOT TRUMP!” message.

              I’ve not gone earlier than January, though. (I still wish the nominee was Yang.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Whilst out for a jog, I gave some more thought to the “Argue *FOR* Biden” point.

                I’m not saying that there can’t be negative advertising against Trump. Of *COURSE* there can be. Hell, of course there *SHOULD* be.

                It’s just that if you can’t also rattle off an argument for why you’re excited to vote *FOR* Biden (rather than merely vote *AGAINST* Trump), that’s a bad indicator.

                And I stand by that. (Quick: In your own head, if there was someone who said that they don’t know why they should vote for Biden, come up with a short list of reasons that they should. If all you can come up with is “Trump is so bad!” and “You’re a Republican!”, that’s bad.)Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Elevator lady was your one excited person find at the time.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy!
                Ignored
                says:

                I would argue that she is representative of a group that gets very little play amongst those who play the game in our own little league.

                As many big thinkers as we have, and we have a ton, we don’t really have a whole lot of people here who look at Biden the way that she looked at Biden. We have a blind spot. And, here’s the crazy part, I don’t even know how to measure how big that blind spot is.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird, asking this crowd why they should argue for Biden is like asking people in church why they should argue for Jesus. You’ll get a sort of dull surprise combined with an exasperation that you’re even asking the question, like, if you’re not sure about that then why are you even in here, you weirdo.

                And, as with Jesus, the ardor is routine, learned, accepted but not the kind of all-encompassing agape that people have in mind. You’re gonna vote for Biden because it’s what you do, it’s just the proper way to behave. Asking people to explain why they are (and you should be) excited for Biden gets a grumpy comeback because the people you’re talking to aren’t excited, not really, and because even that vague degree of interest is unexamined.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                I suppose there are multiple types of church-going people because while I’m sure that there are folks who would respond with dull incredulity that someone else, somewhere, might have a different opinion, there are others who immediately launch into a “I’M GLAD YOU ASKED!” spiel.

                I mean, if I wanted to come up with a set of arguments for why you should vote for Vermin Supreme, I could come up with them. Sure, a lot of them would deal with how awful the Republicans and Democrats are, but not all of them would. I could come up with positive reasons to vote for Vermin Supreme.

                If I wanted to come up with arguments for why you should vote for Donald Trump, I could come up with some. Sure, some of them would rely on how awful the Democrats are, but there are positive reasons to vote for Trump. (I have no reason to believe that his campaign will make any of the arguments that I might make on his behalf, but if it does, then there are a handful of arguments that Democrats might want to think about/consider before they’re brought out in October.)

                Now, and here’s the point, there are a handful of reasons I could give to vote for Biden. Sure, some of them would rely on how awful the Republicans are, but there are reasons to vote *FOR* Biden rather than merely *AGAINST* Trump (presumably while crawling across broken glass).

                But the opportunity to talk about how awesome Biden is (rather than how awful Trump is) is usually abandoned in favor of talking about how awful Trump is.

                Like, by people who claim to be Democrats.

                Which strikes me like it’d be a warning sign.

                I mean, as an exercise, go through all of the comments and see who has said the nicest things about Biden without talking about Trump.

                Isn’t that *WEIRD*?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know anyone who thinks Joe Biden is “awesome,” and would be troubled by someone who did. There are, however, plenty of positive arguments for Biden. Unfortunately, Trump is so comprehensively awful that they come across as anti-Trump: humane, serious, adult, empathetic, caring, experienced, knowledgeable….These are great, positive qualities. But given Trump’s glaring lack of any of them, they sound more anti-Trump than pro-Biden.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know anyone who thinks Joe Biden is “awesome,” and would be troubled by someone who did.

                Someone like this?

                Why in the hell would you be troubled?

                Again: I mean, as an exercise, go through all of the comments and see who has said the nicest things about Biden without talking about Trump.

                Isn’t that *WEIRD*?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                But there are parts of America that we are *VERY* representative of.

                The educated part. The culturally literate part. (Well, some of us are familiar with art history. Others apparently aren’t.)

                But this segment of which we are representative is apparently incapable of doing/seeing a handful of things.

                And this segment, of which we are representative, has their hands on a lot of steering wheels and their feet on a lot of accelerators and brakes.

                And, as you say, there are many, many more people like the Elevator Lady than the median OT commenter.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Why would I want to go through that exercise? All it would do is reintroduce me to some things some people said, even though it might prove my point — that the positive case for Biden is the same as the negative case against Trump, just rephrased.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Why would I want to go through that exercise?

                Well, I can’t really speak to your motivations. My theory is that to the extent that our little league game is representative of the big leagues that the Democrats have a bit of a messaging problem and the messaging that we see here is accurately reflected by how things play Out There.

                And you can go up and see the arguments *FOR* Biden (rather than the ones that rely on Trump) and see how thin they are on the ground among those who would crawl across broken glass in order to vote come November.

                Personally, I think that that indicates a problem.

                Which makes me read your question as being “Why would I want to notice if there is a problem?”

                And my experience with that question also tells me that I’m seeing a red flag.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve actually seen the arguments for Biden. I recited the main ones up thread. I pointed out that they look anti-Trump rather than pro-Biden not because they aren’t legitimate arguments for Biden but because Trump utterly lacks the qualities that one can attribute to Biden. But that is on Trump, not on Biden or his potential voters. This should not be so hard to understand.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                This whole essay, and the accompanying argument- that the Democrats Have A Problem- seems like one where the conclusion comes first, then the facts are reverse engineered to fit.

                Imagine if President Hillary Clinton had the polling numbers showing her trailing by double digits; and had never broken into positive territory; and the economy was skidding into recession; and was floundering in scandal after scandal;

                Would we use these same facts to conclude the Republicans Have A Problem?

                As others have pointed out, the previous argument was that the Democrats Have A Problem in that the leading candidates were too far left, too Woke, too radical;
                And now we chose Biden, the walking opposite of that and yet…still…
                The Democrats Have A Problem.

                No matter what the fact, the conclusion to the argument is always the same.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                My theory is that to the extent that our little league game is representative of the big leagues that the Democrats have a bit of a messaging problem

                I think that’s right. Dems are historically bad at messaging (imo) at the national level* but uniquely bad at messaging around Presidential candidates. That will work against Biden, of course, since right now he’s open to being branded by the right in advance of a positive branding from Dems.

                On the other hand, though, there *is* a way to message Biden in terms of the policies he’ll support and the type of political culture he’ll advance in the WH. Doing so would require hammering on a few key things repeatedly and aggressively. As it is right now, though, and I say this as a person who pays attention to this stuff, I have *no idea* what policies Biden would support, or what new direction he’d take the party and the country in. And that’s bad. In my mind it shows that Democrats as a party can’t get their heads outa their asses. 🙂Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Nate and his gang talked about the enthusiasm game today which struck me as salient.

                https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/so-about-that-supposed-lack-of-enthusiasm-for-biden/

                If I ran for President I am certain my mother and my husband would vote for me and they’d tell pollsters they were enthusiastic about doing so. So I’d have 100% supporter enthusiasm. Of course I’d still have only 2 votes.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, we’ve already covered how we don’t have visibility to the excited lady in the elevator (and some have expressed concerns about ever meeting someone like that). If this group of people that we don’t have visibility to are going to show up in great numbers… well, we don’t have a problem at all, do we?

                We just have to look at MI, PA, and WI.

                And that will be enough.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                To outperform HRC in those states we’d have to first pay attention to those states. *checks box* Ok, that’s done.. then we’d have to get a candidate who is more popular with people in those states than Hillary Clinton was *checks box*. I mean, I don’t want to be complacent but HRC lost those states by an incredibly narrow margin. Considering that and the position we’re in I don’t think cautious optimism about the Blue Wall stats is unwarranted. Though Wisconsin does worry me.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                The main thing that I want to see is Democratic Leadership admitting that, maybe, there were some serious eff-ups in 2016. Like, not just “nobody is perfect in this fallen world” admission that mistakes might have been made because nobody is arguing that 2016 was handled perfectly… but, like, something that says “This was a mistake. It was a *BAD* eff-up. We need to avoid it in the future.”

                Not because I’m trying to put a dog’s nose in the mess it made but because it strikes me as a good indicator that a mistake might possibly be avoided next time.

                So just acknowledging that Clinton underpaid attention to those states and wasn’t sufficiently popular is a huge step in the right direction.

                (Wondering if someone will be along shortly to tell me that she won the popular vote…)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Won’t be me. I think it’s pretty broadly acknowledged that she effed the hell out of the Midwest. Not visiting is one thing but stopping polling? It was her most unambiguous own goal. Almost as bad as putting Mark Penn in charge of her campaign in 2007.
                You saw Bidens’ results against Bernie in Michigan this year no? Every county. And turnout was up too.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t bother. With Jaybird, it isn’t what’s so (lots of people recognized HRC’s mistakes and there is little prospect of any 2020 candidate repeating them), but what rolls across his Twitter feed. In the places where Jaybird looks, people didn’t say what he wanted said — relevant or not — in the way he wanted to hear it said. That in other parts of the world people who cared or had reason to care gave it the attention it deserved and moved on to more relevant matters doesn’t register.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                “I don’t know anyone who thinks Joe Biden is “awesome,” and would be troubled by someone who did.”

                lol

                vote democrat 2020! we consider enthusiasm troubling!Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                So, famously, did Talleyrand. We’d probably all be better off, and certainly more adult, if we didn’t expect our candidates to be awesome and get bent out of shape when they aren’t.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Joe is still way too old and a little bit out of it. It sucks that the politics of this year mean he’s the guy who ended up commanding the moderate vote but there ya have it. If the alternative was Bernie who’d not only a little out of it but also rather shoutily nuts then Biden it is. I’m far from delighted about it (he was my #3 choice) but them’s the breaks.

        It sucks a lot more that Bidens’ general election opponent is even more out of it, also is a convicted fraudster and an obvious charlatan who literally oozed vaguely ignorant malevolence but there we have it. I’d much rather the alternative to voting for elderly Joe Biden was a republican who at least pretends not to be malevolent but them’s the breaks again.

        And I’m pretty sure my position on Joe hasn’t wavered much. He’s not bad but man I wish he wasn’t so old. Followed by a world weary shrug.Report

        • Avatar JS in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          FWIW, Biden was also my third choice.

          My first and second were, strangely, not very popular. But I’m pretty used to that. I think my original choice has one a primary exactly once. And didn’t win the general election that year.

          I could have had a lot more fun if I’d realized that meant it was all rigged against me by shadowy elites, instead of me just not being in the majority.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to JS
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            says:

            Who were yours? Surely not Yang? I would guess Warren but she didn’t do terribly, just not wonderfully. Castro and Booker? You don’t have to tell if you don’t wanna.Report

            • Avatar JS in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              Warren was my primary choice, and then Pete after.

              And yes, both were briefly popular — but they both flamed out in short order. I don’t tend to count a month of 20%+ plus numbers that then fall apart. She did outright murder Bloomberg. I still laugh at the rending of garments over him being allowed in the debate. Like leaving out someone polling in double digits was a good idea, and like he’d do anything but crash and burn.

              As a resident of a ST state, I did get to actually vote for Warren — which was an improvement over some years — but everyone knew ST was her last primary election. Pete was already out, of course.

              I liked Warren. Pragmatic, a planner, and detail oriented. Not all that charismatic and certainly not “cool”.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair enough, she was my #4. I liked her plenty but I felt she miscalculated, ran too far to the left and ended up bogged down there.Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, me too. However, I think she was somewhat stuck and trying hard to break free from the pack. I don’t know that she ever could, honestly.

                But I liked her for the same reason I got infuriated with Sanders “I’ll legalize pot via EO” claims (he can’t, so he’s either very wrong about some core President stuff or lying to me) or just sort of dismissed questions like “But, you know, Congress? Or how to pay for it” when it came to things like M4A”

                I like my candidates with white papers, a pragmatic acceptance of the limits of their powers, and Plans B -Z when it becomes clear Plan A isn’t going to fly.

                I don’t like vague promises and hand waving answers.

                Makes my teeth itch. But that also makes me a distinct minority among Democrats. It was also why I was very skeptical of Obama for quite some time.

                I was happy to see he chose to marry rhetoric with planning, and even picked a VP from a very pragmatic “I need someone who can wrangle Congress and has contacts there, and a lot of experience” viewpoint.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Ok, yeah we’re in agreement on a lot of that, actually a lot of our impulses are similar.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North
          Ignored
          says:

          You were the exception I had in mind when I wrote the above comment, and you haven’t waivered in your belief that Joe! was the best candidate to go against Trump. I give you credit for both.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Here’s a fun memory (also on a post that Kristin wrote!) that I’m sure will tickle the heck out of you.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “…being treated as if they’re Enemy Action.”

      See, that seems to be what’s more common than anything else in The Discourse these days, the idea that the worst thing you can do is Give Aid And Comfort To The Enemy. Reasonable accommodation is seen as encouragement; “give ’em an inch and they’ll take a yard”. Dialogue is free advertising, empathy is capitulation, even trying to understand the Other Side’s deranged delusions is morally compromising because it means you’re entertaining for even the briefest of instants the idea that they might be right in some infinitesimal way.

      This being an outgrowth of the idea that First We Gotta WIN And THEN We Will Fix The Problems. And winning seems further every day, so it’s important that everyone squelch their hopes and wants even harder, giving their bodies and minds and hearts wholly to the glorious cause, to the dream that one day our grandchildrens’ grandchildren will breathe air free of transphobic erasure and nonintersectionality, and sure I guess women can have better stuff too so long as they understand they’re just part of a team and everyone has to share and you can’t just go barging in demanding that you get everything you want, Karen.Report

    • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “The responses to this essay are a strange kind of defensive.”

      Shrug, looks like the same flow chart as usual to me:

      IF speaker is not obviously 100% Team Democrat :
      Accuse of being a closet republican, dismiss criticism as right-wing propaganda
      ELIF speaker IS obviously 100% Team Democrat
      Accuse speaker of damaging the shared cause, dismiss criticism as echo of right-wing propaganda
      ELSE
      Ignore actual criticism, construct a straw man instead, then rant against “right-wing propaganda”

      I’m mostly struck by how few of the commenters seem to have actually read and understood the argument Kristin made, whether they agree with it or not. I realize that the Left traditionally has a problem with “no enemy to the left”, but it’s downright weird how many can’t recognize any criticism except “you’re not lefty enough” as coming from anywhere but “the right-wing”.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I’d ask “is it giving you flashbacks?”

      OK, I’m there. 2016 all over again.Report

  19. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    always a pleasure to see so many bros explaining to a woman how what she wants doesn’t matter and it’s important that she just be a good girl and sit down and stay quiet and know her place and do as she’s told and how everything really will be better if she just lets the men be in charge.Report

  20. Avatar CJColucci
    Ignored
    says:

    That’s not a denial.Report

  21. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    I really struggled with this stream of consciousness. What I get from this is the Dems are running an uninspired candidate who is the survivor of a flawed selection process. With that I will not disagree. Biden’s moment was probably 2016, when he could have basked in the afterglow of Obama. Among the other 2 dozen or so opponents he had in this primary season was at least one, probably several more, people who would have made fine candidates.

    That said, in a perfect world the Dems could run a bucket of rusty water against Donald Trump and win. He’s done nothing over the past 3 years to demonstrate he’s up to the job, and the disaffected electorate that sent him to the Oval Office is still disaffected. Of course, waiting for a savior these days is going to be a really long wait, so I guess the plight of the disaffected is going to remain the same.

    Will I be thrilled to pull the lever for Joe Biden? Not in the least. He’s still going to get my vote.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to Slade the Leveller
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m really surprised he ran, to be honest. He’s been fairly open he doesn’t plan to run for two full terms, so his VP selection is going to be interesting.

      It’s fun to watch the conspiracy nuts claim he’s gonna pick Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama though. Tickles me pink.

      We had a huge field this year, with at least half a dozen serious candidates. But, like I’ve said since the beginning, this year wasn’t about ideology or ideas or anything but “Who stands the best chance of beating Trump”. And I can understand how many risk-adverse and cynical voters might think “Old white guy and former VP” as the top pick, as opposed to anything more unusual.

      Made it a bad year for Sanders, although I’ve become more and more certain that Sanders is simply too set in his ways to ever win an election outside of Vermont. To many voters, the differences in healthcare plans or minimum wage plans or whatever just didn’t matter.

      I think after 2016, every female candidate was carrying a handicap called “What if she loses like Clinton did?” — not something I think is that likely, as I doubt Comey plans to black swan another election and there’s nobody out there who thinks there’s no way Donald Trump could be President — but I get the worry.

      It was a bad year for someone new, or someone different. A good year, however, for a long-standing, familiar face. Someone who evokes the recent, and much more pleasant, past.

      I think Joe Biden’s strength in this election was specific to this election, and this one only. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Gore or Kerry had tossed their hats in the ring — would they have evoked the same “Oh god, a sane familiar figure who looks real electable” feeling?Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Slade the Leveller
      Ignored
      says:

      Joe Biden: The best we can reasonably hope for, under the circumstances.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        Joe Biden: Nobody’s Least Favorite.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          I wonder if Joe Biden is staying in seclusion so he doesn’t have to say why he and Obama never replenished the stock of national emergency pandemic supplies after the H1N1 epidemic? Seems like those would come in handy about now. But heck, he probably doesn’t even remember what happened, or know what’s happening. Oh to be an aging simpleton, untroubled by the pains of the world and looking forward to a nice warm bowl of oatmeal.Report

  22. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    There are now corners of twitter where the Progressiver Than Thou folks are tweeting stuff about how they believe things and the Vote Blue No Matter Who folks are tweeting something to the effect of “we shouldn’t have to convince you to vote for Biden!”

    Principles, man. This whole believing things precludes a lot of actions.

    A representative tweet:

    (Honestly, I think that she’s got one hell of a point.)Report

  23. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    I think it is true that Trump does politics better than Biden. It’s not that Joe Biden seems desperate- he actually seems entirely too complacent. When he speaks, I can’t help thinking of the old timer at the office who is making a speech at their retirement party. It doesn’t seem to me that he wants to be President, but that he’s willing to do it if the company wants to promote him and, hey, it might even be fun after all. Lackadaisical would be the word.

    I always felt like the big mistake Republicans made with Obama was that they didn’t get that he wasn’t cool either. His persona was more like a Midwestern bank manager. He was like a Jimmy Stewart character. That allowed room for Republicans to convince themselves he was a wild-eyed radical, and I suppose his youth and blackness gave Democrats room to project notions of hipness onto him, but neither really fit. The real advantage he had, and something that people always respond well to, is that he projected *self-confidence*. Even when everyone was sick of him, he was never insecure.

    Trump , of course, is nothing but raging insecurity. It informs everything he does. The big giveaway is his misogyny- insecure men all seem to have the same need he does to belittle, insult, or sexualize women. He can’t even refrain from talking about his daughter as a hot piece of ass he’s so insecure. Think of the notorious “locker room” talk; what was he saying? That women, as a group, are so stupid or insecure that a man with money can sexually assault them. He even felt the need to put them in their place among another deeply insecure male. I think most men recognize the type of male who talks this way and they’re definitely not ones you’d call secure in themselves. Or, in other words, Mother was right: Bullies just hate themselves.

    I think this is the secret to his charm: his die hard followers are obsessed with the idea that someone somewhere looks down on them, sees them as losers, ripped them off. My mother, who loves Trump, talks most of all about a cousin, who she always thought was a little “snooty”, who “just shuts right up” when my mother tells her “I love everything he’s done”. That’ll fix her! Does she love everything he does? Not really. But she loves the idea that “he drives liberals crazy”. My mother, bless her heart, is someone who never, ever lets go of any slight. (I get enough of that from her that I recognize it well.)

    But you even see it in the campaign rallies- Trump always talks about sticking it to someone: the illegals, or the liberals, or the elites, the scientists, the government workers, nasty women, etc. Meanwhile, if you’re on the bully’s side, you’ll finally be “winning” enough to get sick of it. Demagogues always appeal to this notion that their followers have just gotten a raw deal. It’s not fair. Why should they be “losers” their whole life?

    In response to this bristling insecurity, we get liberal comedians making fun of them. politicians talking about “deplorables”- a comment they will NEVER let go- internet memes about rednecks and mouth breathers. In a sense, it’s no surprise that a figure from reality television shows- with their cold economy of cruelty- gets elected. The guy who got to choose who was a winner and a loser every week, he’s chosen YOU as a winner!

    Of course, progressives are able to play off this sense of failure as well- “billionaires” seem to be to left wingers what “illegals” are to right wingers. And, we’ve all heard about the left wing “victim mentality”- although, usually from people with the loser mentality. But the big thing is lefties seem to have lost the ability to imagine a world in which things were “significantly” better and kinder overall- not just a marginally higher minimum wage, or better welfare, but one in which people actually thrived. They can’t really counter the mythos of a lost golden age- something that has always appealed to storytellers- because they seem to have, well, the imagination of Midwestern bank managers.

    A bigger problem is this: The vast majority of human beings on earth will be failures at some point: marriages will collapse, jobs will end, romantic interests will be uninterested, businesses will fold, etc. But a great many people seem to have no way to process failure. George W.S. Trow put his finger on it when he said (I’m combing through the book, but can’t find the exact phrase) that the problem with culture is it only refers to itself now and not to the people who it is meant to protect. This gets at the nub of it- culture is meant to cushion the blows of reality. It is meant to help us all through suffering. It doesn’t. It just props up avatar Winners with whom we can identify. It gives us things to buy, but no stories to make sense of our own failures as mortal beings. Instead, we see a great number of people who work through their failures on their own; who are told to just “let it go” and can’t “let it go”.

    And, now, we’re facing a fishing PLAGUE, a crisis of the highest importance. There’s really no time for bullies or cultural sneering anywhere. It probably goes without saying that the casino mentality of capitalism is well nigh useless and really, let’s just say that “neoliberalism” died here. We’re going to get through this as small communities and damn the politicians. Boris Johnson’s sudden realization that there really is society after all is absolutely revolutionary. And true. Right now, no one gives a shit who’s cool or not and Politics seems about as irrelevant as an old Bob Hope roast.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      (On second thought, maybe that should have been a separate post.)Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      He can’t even refrain from talking about his daughter as a hot piece of ass he’s so insecure.

      That was Howard Stern. Trump simply agreed.

      At that point in time his daughter was a model and this sort thing was helpful for her career.

      That women, as a group, are so stupid or insecure that a man with money can sexually assault them.

      Wilt Chamberlain had sex with something like 20k women (and this may be a conservative estimate). If you’re an A-lister in multiple categories to the point where you attract groupies, then you live in a different sexual world.

      Demagogues always appeal to this notion that their followers have just gotten a raw deal.

      Yes… although this is a BSDI thing.

      One of the problems in a Democracy is it’s ALWAYS possible mathematically to claim (correctly) to the majority that they’re getting a raw deal and would be better off with a serious change.Report

  24. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    “That was Howard Stern. Trump simply agreed.”
    I didn’t check my sources to be sure. But the distinction- that instead he was told that his daughter is a hot piece of ass and responded Yeah, I would totally schtup her if I wasn’t her father!- doesn’t seem to make much difference. It’s a demeaning way to talk about your daughter, yes? I think most would agree.

    “At that point in time his daughter was a model and this sort thing was helpful for her career.”
    Really? It’s hard to imagine a possible world in which her father talking about wanting to schtup her on the radio landed her modeling gigs.

    “One of the problems in a Democracy is it’s ALWAYS possible mathematically to claim (correctly) to the majority that they’re getting a raw deal and would be better off with a serious change.”

    Yeah, I think here we agree. It would be more useful to hear “this is how I am going to make things substantively better for you and your family” vs. “this is how I am going to make things worse for: billionaires, illegals, corporations, liberals, the media” or whatever other bugaboo your audience blames for their unhappiness… but that message isn’t selling right now anywhere.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      RE: Howard
      I think you’re still putting Howard’s statements on Trump, which is not to say he handled that well. Speaking as a father, the solution is to not go on the Howard Stern show.

      It would be more useful to hear “this is how I am going to make things substantively better for you and your family”

      Agreed, fully, the message “I’m going to take their stuff and give it to you” is nasty, effective, and leads to people fighting over stuff the have (or hiding it) and not making new stuff.

      There’s a lot of spin on this sort of thing “you didn’t build that”, “they don’t deserve it”, “pay their fair share”, “they’re taking your jobs” but whatever.Report

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