Voting for Nothing For the Last Time

Steve Pittelli

Steve Pittelli is a retired psychiatrist. You can find him on Twitter and his own blog Unwashed Genes.

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123 Responses

  1. Damon
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    says:

    “And, again, the left is being blamed for this predicament, what with their scary BLM, police defunding and “socialized” medicine.”

    And rightly so. BLM aint associated with the Republican’s and Democrats in charge in Seattle and other places, have made a mess of it. Bed’s made baby.

    But did you REALLY think that you’d get someone non corporate? Really? You’re not even going to get Biden. 50 dollars says he doesn’t last 2 years in office before you’re graced with Kamala as pres.

    I concluded that the Dems were as bad as the Repubs decades ago……ain’t seen nothing to change that.Report

  2. Jaybird
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    says:

    The amazing thing about both Obama and Trump is that, for the first two years, they had what they needed to do something.

    And the democrats got insurance reform, kinda, and the republicans got tax cuts part seventeen.

    Oh, if only the opposition wasn’t in the way!, supporters say.

    Then what? What would have happened?

    You got what you got because of your backers, not despite your opponents.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Yep – which is why when ultra conservatives lament that lack of action Roe V. Wade I always ask why Republican Congresses with Republican Presidents never simply outlaw abortion. I know full well the answer, nut it’s hilarious to watch the mental gymnastics.Report

      • superdestroyer in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        Congress cannot outlaw abortion due to Row V Wade Supreme Court cases. The Republicans did not funding to organizations that perform abortion, even at the international level.

        What is amazing is that the Republicans can run on how bad the Democrats are but in a swing state where the Democrats control the legislature, if the Republicans regain control, the first thing they would do is pass some obnoxious anti-abortion law and then spend millions defending it in court.
        Democrats must love abortion because it shows that the Republicans do not really care about small government, individual freedoms, or not wasting money.Report

  3. Geoff A.
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    says:

    Of course this “I refuse to participate in the real world” attitude is exactly why we got Trump in 2016.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Geoff A.
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      says:

      “And that’s why you have to vote for my candidate who is running on a platform written by oil companies.”Report

      • Chas M in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Yep. Sometimes. That’s life and politics dude. Maybe buy an electric car and stove and put the oil companies out of business so they can’t influence your Senator? You know, do your part. Jebus, I get so impatients with this shitte. “Fall in love in the primaries, but fall in line in the general.” Such and easy thing to remember and do that even the morons on the right can figure it out. I voted for Paul Tsongas, then Clinton. If you bought the media/right-wing line on Al Gore, that’s your own dumb fault. Dean – the most energetic and intelligent party builder of the past 25 years – then Kerry. Barry, then, Barry. Warren, then Biden. It’s not hard. Yes, Bernie is probably the closest to my actual Dem Socialist ideals than any other candidate, but he’s a terrible leader and politician. I couldn’t actually even get myself to vote for him in the primaries because I just couldn’t love him, or his approach. But if he’d won? Of course I’d do everything I could to elect him. But then he’d lose the general in a landslide, and you know who would get the blame?Report

    • Damon in reply to Geoff A.
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      says:

      There are well reasoned positions that one can take the conclude with a person deciding not to vote. I came to that conclusion many years ago when I realized that the positions the parties claimed to support were actually the positions they supported. The mainstream candidates are just that…mainstream. No outsider is getting elected….might as well enjoy the ride.Report

  4. Doctor Jay
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    says:

    I’ll say this as clearly as I can. The thing keeping you from getting what you want is the voters. It is not the Democratic Party.

    I do not blame progressives for any disappointment this cycle. Mostly I want what they want, we just differ on what methods to use.

    One cannot expect elected politicians to be advocates. They have to get elected. They have to get re-elected. Advocates must be advocates, and clarify their message. It’s fine if an advocate ruffles feathers. It doesn’t work so well for an elected politician.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Agree completely. And too many on the left cling to the clearly outdated notion that voting is advocacy. It’s not. Advocacy takes dedicated action.

      Which is why I keep harping on the Greens (and sometime libertarians) to get the work done of getting elected locally. You can’t expect the keys to the People’s House if you haven’t shown them how you will take care of their houses.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        I’ve reached the point where I just see the one policy that, if removed, would act as a steam release valve for so many other policies.

        The War On Drugs is the thing that, if reversed, would help with a lot of police policy and health care policy and a handful of other things. (Note: It is not a cure-all and has bad things that follow in addition to the good things that follow. But it does a couple of good things and prevents a bunch of bad things, for a relatively low cost given the benefits and relaxed detriments.)

        Do I have a plan to make the world better as a whole? YOUBETCHA! It involves nuclear power, more free trade, more redistribution of wealth into R&D, and better senses of humor.

        But it won’t fly.

        I support the parts of it that other people push for, of course.

        At this point, the thing that seems easiest to end that would do the most good is Prohibition 2.0.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        Which is why I keep harping on the Greens (and sometime libertarians) to get the work done of getting elected locally.

        I don’t know about Greens, but Libertarians do get elected to a lot of local offices. The thing is, they’re mostly positions with non-partisan elections, like county auditors (libertarians make the best auditors, because they really want to prove that the government wastes money). Running third party in a partisan election is almost always pointless, because there are too many voters who will reflexively check the box for their preferred parties.

        Basically the only way to have a chance as a third-party candidate is to run in a district that’s so thoroughly dominated by R or D that the other one doesn’t bother fielding a candidate, and even then it’s a long shot.

        The realistic way for a libertarian or watermelon to get elected is to win an R or D primary and run as the candidate for that party. Third parties are a sucker’s game.Report

  5. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    One of the lessons from 2016 and now 2020 is that there is no latent consensus for an aggressive progressive regime such as the New Deal or Great Society.

    I wish there was! But there isn’t.

    For the foreseeable future, progress in America will be made in increments, via a neverending trench warfare.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      There’s no latent consensus for it because no one other then Bernie is selling it. you can’t get people onboard an idea they don’t know about.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        What progressive ideas aren’t getting aired? Minimum wage, single payer, green new deal, legal reforms, immigration reforms? The identity social agenda? I hear about them all the time in mainstream coverage. Or are there some ideas we’re not hearing about?Report

        • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          “Airing” isn’t “selling” and doesn’t lead to consensus. There’s also the issue that a lot of that airing is focused on why it won’t work or the existence of barriers to the idea. you don’t build consensus on the ideas with only that running about in the public sphere.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        That is not true. If the Democratic Party wanted what Bernie was selling, it would have nominated but he was not. Maybe he came closer to others but his appeal in 2020 was probably more accurate because he got a lot of the not-Hilary vote in 2016. Biden is a lot more progressive than people give him credit for. He is the first President-elect in my lifetime to denounce the death penalty for example.Report

        • JS in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          Sander’s biggest problems are, first, a lifetime of being a politician in Vermont. No state is really scalable to the rest of the nation, but his entire experience as a politician as to what does and doesn’t work is pretty….localized. Two runs for President, each failing the exact same way, is pretty indicative that he either has no interest or no ability to expand his message and reach.

          The second, and this is where a lot of progressives falter, is in insisting on a class-based lens in a society that does not really think of itself in class-based terms.

          I don’t think they’re totally wrong — that lens is entirely useful, quite valid, and could lead to a number of solutions. But it’s also orthogonal to a society that really does not see itself grouped that way. Rural versus urban? Sure. Heartlands versus coast? Sure. Race? Sure.

          But even bare basics like “working class” is a heavy lift — useful for polling, but we’re more likely to use the term ‘blue collar’ and ‘white collar’ to divide ourselves, even when both groups are quite often working class.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to JS
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            says:

            The raced base v. class based is a tough issue for the progressive left to solve. i get that a broad class based politics has intuitive appeal but as you note, it is not how Americans tend to see themselves or our analysis of class is intrinsically linked to class. Notice how many people still see working class as a white guy in a hardhat rather than a woman of color who works as a home-health aide.

            However another part of wanting everything to be class based is that it allows everyone to ignore very tricky questions based on race and society which do not have easy answers or solutions.Report

            • JS in reply to Saul Degraw
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              says:

              Yeah, that’s the other problem with the class-based approach.

              You can claim until the cows come home that a class-based approach will “solve” problems like, say, systemic racism — but the people suffering from systemic racism don’t believe you (and I don’t blame them) and it sounds like you’re basically glossing over their problems.

              “Racism will magically go away if we restore power to the working class” could, I suppose, do that. I don’t think so, but I’m open to argument. However, it’s often deployed as a panacea to everything — and feels like you’re simply ignoring a problem to focus on your pet solution.

              Sort of like the running joke that the GOP’s answer to all problems is take two tax cuts and call me in the morning, I’d imagine hearing “class” as a solution to every problem you come up with seems more like someone has an agenda and your problem is a useful excuse to talk about their pet project.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to JS
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                says:

                There is, statistically, a dairy farmer somewhere in Wisconsin who went bankrupt due to the trade war, who nonetheless voted for Trump.

                His financial fortunes are more closely aligned with the Mexican immigrant who works on his farm, than the people who craft Trump policy.
                The policies of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would put more money in his pocket than the Trump policies.

                And yet…Report

              • JS in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And yet — he doesn’t think that way. It’s like basing an argument with an atheist on the Bible. You’re not speaking his language, you’re not on common ground.

                That dairy farmer likely sees himself as a business owner, a “self-made man”, the salt of the earth, or a number of other things.

                He’ll consider himself a working man almost certainly, but not the same SORT of working man as his hired help.

                Sure, he’ll tell you — what’s good for HIS business is good for his employees — but that doesn’t mean what’s good for his employees is good for him!

                And if you try to tell him “You’re both the same” he’s going to push back, he’ll say “Sure we work in the same fields (ha!)” but he won’t view them as the same class and will reject arguments based on that.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to JS
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                says:

                That’s because the benefits that would accrue to him are too far removed from the cost he’d have to pay as a small business owner whose taxes just went up. Sure, his employees would be able to by more of his work product, but only after the product and the money passed through a bunch of third parties (each taking a slice).

                Or perhaps healthier or better educated workers would be a benefit to him, but only if he understands how. Picking produce doesn’t require much education, and if one falls sick, there are how many lined up to take their place?

                I mean, the farmer needs an education in economics and supply chains, etc., but then he’d need someone to take over the farm while he went back to school.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                So, a political leader who causes him to go bankrupt is preferable to one who makes him pay more in taxes?

                What benefit do you think he sees in Trump that would cause him to behave this way?

                It’s obviously not financial gain, so it must be something else.

                What is it?Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Trump, etc. sold him a vision of short term pain (Trade Wars are easy to win!) for long term gain (stop cheap products from hitting the markets).

                They drew that line for them.

                Had said farmer had some basic econ, he might have seen through that line, but…Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                So if he only understood economics better he might vote Democratic?

                Its possible.

                But it sounds very much like wishful thinking, that his voting decision is a rational actor choice and that he merely lacks knowledge.

                Aside from the obvious condescension, I think its more true that his decisions aren’t made on rational financial basis at all.
                Instead, i think his decisions are made on the basis of tribal identity and warfare against hated enemies.

                It’s like that observation that the more extreme forms of politics, like fascism and communism, promise not peace and harmony but unending war and suffering.

                To support my assertion, I would say we look at the Trumpists themselves; They came in to power speaking in terms of apocalyptic war, of battling all the forces of corruption and evil. Their most remarkable feature was their seething rage and desire to “burn it all down”.

                And after 4 years of power, they are still haven’t changed. Even before the election they still spoke in those terms, and many of them joined the QAnon cult which sees enemies, enemies everywhere, a constant ceaseless revolution which can never be complete.

                And even more remarkably, even after years in power and command of the majority of government, they have almost no accomplishments to speak of.

                Their most noteworthy acts were mostly symbolic acts, or acts which induced a lot of suffering without any corresponding real change in American governance.

                IMO, the dairy farmer doesn’t want real tangible improvement in his life. He wants to “win” some sort of epic clash of cultures and is willing to endure however much suffering is needed to do that.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                1) For someone who lives his whole life in one the largest metro areas in the world, you seem to know an awful lot about what motivates the rural farmer.

                2) You extrapolate A LOT! You might want to start checking that impulse, it takes you places that the data doesn’t necessarily go.

                Working knowledge of econ might have allowed a person to see the flaw in the logic, but smart people fall for stupid stuff all the time, so it’s no guarantee.

                But you missed the key element, and I even put it on a separate line for you.

                “They drew that line for them.”

                Here’s the thing I think a lot of you very smart, very political people don’t get. That rural farmer in WI or IA, they don’t have time to pay attention to every thing a given politician says, or what every media talking head says about a politician. They have very focused concerns, and the politician that addresses their concerns in a manner that gets and keeps their attention is the one that gets their vote.

                So if I’m a farmer, and I’m concerned about falling prices on my given crops because of foreign imports, then the first politician who talks to that concern in a way that sounds reasonable to me is going to have a fraction more of my attention than the other candidates. And everything else is just noise, because there isn’t bandwidth for it.

                It’s not about winning, these populations are on the middle class margins, where one bad year, or one bad month, can put them over an edge they may not recover from. They are in a near constant threat of losing the class status they imagine themselves having.

                You assume that these people hear all that other stuff about Trump being racist, etc., but it’s in one ear and out the other. They don’t have the bandwidth to care about things that don’t affect them in the immediate. They are too busy keeping themselves above the line.

                Remember previous conversations we’ve had about decision fatigue, etc. It’s a real thing. Why would you assume that it doesn’t apply to voting decisions?

                So all this talk about race and winning and what not is you projecting*.

                No, the real issue is not race or misogyny or whatever crap you want to assign to them so they can be othered. The real issue is that these people don’t want to hear that the life they have chosen for themselves, be it a small farmer, or a miner, or a factory line worker, is a dying profession, and that it may very well die before they do.

                They don’t want to hear that, and they don’t want the other things that were constants in their lives to change, so they grab on to whoever tells them that they don’t have to endure that much change, and they ignore everything else (because let’s be honest, every politician has something that is offensive about them). So once a politician says something that they find appealing, the decision is made, and that’s it, bandwidth is exceeded, because bills need to be paid and all that.

                And this is where the democrats have it rough, because they are all about change. Trouble is, we still have one or two generations that grew up being told everything was gonna last, and any change would be slow.

                *I will grant that there is a demographic that fits your description, but you extrapolate the population curve out much further than is reasonable.Report

              • J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                No, the real issue is not race or misogyny or whatever crap you want to assign to them so they can be othered. The real issue is that these people don’t want to hear that the life they have chosen for themselves, be it a small farmer, or a miner, or a factory line is a dying profession, and that it may very well die before they do.

                Four years ago we had long discussions about coal miners, and coding, and whether Hillary was wrong, or just tone deaf.

                In all of those discussions I kept coming to one essential thing: the mines were not going to reopen. And reopen they didn’t.

                The small farms that we used to know are dying. Most rural areas are trapped in a circle of farm consolidation and mechanization, which reduces labor requirements, which depresses the community and weakens the remaining farms, which end being consolidated into even bigger agribusiness, and so on.

                The small farms are not coming back. No matter how many times the WI farmer votes for the party that tells him they will.

                There’s another party that is telling him that the life he knew is over, and it’s time to analyze the alternatives: move from wheat or soy or milk to high end produce could be one selling organic eggs and arugula to urban restaurants at a premium. Agrotourism (very common in Europe) could be another.

                A more robust welfare net, with accessible health care, and even social workers supporting stay at home senior citizens would like help strengthen rural communities.

                That’s how those godless Europeans support a much larger fraction of rural population than we do in America (28% to 19%)

                Or they can keep voting themselves out of existence.

                As I said about the miners: I am sorry that the world they knew is dying, but dying it is. We can manage and mitigate the impact of the changes, or we can let the chips fall where they may.

                But the mines will not reopen, I mean, the old rural world is not coming back.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                We both are describing rural people that we admittedly don’t have intimate knowledge of, and making a lot of assumptions about what motivates them.

                But even if I take your argument at face value, what you are describing is the politics of grievance.

                The person you describe is motivated as much by their fears of cultural change as any financial issues.

                A racist fear of “Black people taking control” is different than a cultural fear of “Rural people being marginalized”.
                But not by much, when “rural” and “urban” become synonyms for “Non-white” and “White”.

                Its sort of how “Coal Miner” and “Coder” become proxies for “Real Man” and “Less than Real Man.”

                So ultimately, regardless of whether your analysis or mine is correct, this isn’t a “messaging” problem.

                The rural people understand perfectly well what a world without coal mines and farmers and ranchers looks like.
                They know perfectly well that a “working class” that is dominated by Filipina health care aides or transsexual software coders is not a world they prefer.

                Again, in your own analysis, their cultural fears are a zero-sum, win-lose game of dominance and hegemony.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Remember, I grew up in rural WI. I grew up working those small family farms. I still talk to those people.

                So the hell if I don’t know what motivates them.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                One of my favorite people in the world grew up on a WI dairy farm. He’s one of the sweetest dudes the world has ever produced, and a damn good coder too.

                Funny story. I first met him when we worked together at a crappy startup in Fort Lauderdale. (Later we both ended up in Boston, from the same acquisition.) Anyway, one night we all went out as a group. It was winter — in FLORIDA.

                So anyhow, we’re all bundled up in jackets, because it’s freaking cold out, like maybe it was in the 50s! (Floridians.)

                Anyway, this lovely man who grew up on a WI dairy farm is wearing a tee shirt, and we’re all like, “Aren’t you freezing!” (cuz after all it’s in the 50s!) He’s like, “Uh … no. It’s not that cold.”

                Even Boston winters do nothing to this guy. While the rest of us would show up to work in fancy snow boots and overpriced Canadian winter jackets with fake fur lining, he’d show up in sneakers and a hoodie.

                “How can wear sneakers?”

                “I just avoid the puddles.”

                Cool dude. The best sorta guy.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “A racist fear of “Black people taking control” is different than a cultural fear of “Rural people being marginalized”.
                But not by much, when “rural” and “urban” become synonyms for “Non-white” and “White”.”

                Here you are again, ‘othering’ these people, and then dismissing them as unreachable, not worth the effort.

                Until they all die, you still have to contend with them.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                After four years of this exact discussion, no one has been able to name a single thing the Democrats can do to gain their vote.

                Not one idea.

                Zero.

                But again and again and again, we are told that their concerns are a fear of cultural loss and marginalization, which by their very nature are impossible for governmental policy to rectify.

                So yeah, I think we have to write them off and focus on the possible groups we can peel off, like the suburban women who helped win this election.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “So yeah, I think we have to write them off and focus on the possible groups we can peel off, like the suburban women who helped win this election.”

                Honestly, that’s fine. If you think you can win without that vote, then that is what you should do.

                But can you also stop bitching and whining about them when you lose, it gets annoying.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                @ Chip – its a kinship thing. Trump inherited daddy’s millions but branded himself as a self-made businessman, overcoming long odds and dark forces who always want to sink him. Small independent farmers likely see themselves the same way – especially with factory farming now the majority of their sector.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Maybe the farmer’s kid attends college, and he doesn’t want him to be expelled as a rapist without due process.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                I’m quite certain the farmer has a long, long list of grievances, the rectification of which will require the breaking of a good many eggs.Report

              • Philip H in reply to JS
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                says:

                And yet we are told elsewhere in this topic that we can’t appeal to folks based on class because Americans don’t see themselves as based on class.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
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                I think Americans absolutely do see themselves as based on class.

                The trick is that you first have to understand that where you see them, and where they see themselves, are often two very different classes.

                So you either have to align yourself to them, or get them to accept that they are putting themselves in the wrong bin.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                So how do you operationalize it? We can “understand” until the cows come home, but how do we “align” with them” with them if pushing policies in their real-world, concrete interests doesn’t do it? Are we in Hix Nix Stix Pix territory? The urban/rural divide is as old as it gets, but is it possible to “align” with them without urbanites ceasing to be what we have every right to be? If not, what is there? It’s not as though we resent the rural way of life or are any threat to it, beyond the inevitable threat that merely existing in another way presents. How’re You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm, After They’ve Seen Paree…..?
                As for how we “get them to accept that they are putting themselves in the wrong bin,” you’ve laid out pretty well how that can’t work.
                So what, concretely, does one do that is within the power of government to do. (So no muzzling comedians. You put up with hick jokes and we put up with being denounced as Not Real Amuricans.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                We can “understand” until the cows come home, but how do we “align” with them” with them if pushing policies in their real-world, concrete interests doesn’t do it?

                From my perspective, the “understand” thing is sort of a pre-req.

                If it’s not there, the other stuff won’t happen.

                It has to do with the level of collaboration that follows a certain level of trust.

                If your “So what you’re saying is…” statement isn’t responded to neutrally (“no, that’s not quite it”) or positively (“yes, that’s it”), then you’re not understanding. You’re probably not even “understanding”.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I asked for things to be operationalized in the hopes of getting something useful. I should have known better.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Operationalization:

                It’s an iterated game against someone who has been defected against multiple times in a row.

                How do you get someone to collaborate in an iterated game when they have been defected against multiple times in a row?

                My answer: Increase Trust.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                That may be what game theory geeks mean by it, but it has another and accepted meaning among normal folks, which, at the risk of oversimplification, is: say something specific enough to grapple with. What are the steps? What, concretely, do we do? Is there something we can do, or is this all just the current manifestation of centuries-old bullshit that is only rarely overcome and usually only in desperate circumstances?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Is there something we can do, or is this all just the current manifestation of centuries-old bullshit that is only rarely overcome and usually only in desperate circumstances?

                I kinda think that there are things that could be done. They involve active communication and listening and, yes, “understanding”.

                Something as simple as being able to communicate and make the other person feel heard is the pre-req.

                “Feel?”, you may ask. Yes. I chose that word deliberately.

                Now I’ll copy and paste this again.

                If your “So what you’re saying is…” statement isn’t responded to neutrally (“no, that’s not quite it”) or positively (“yes, that’s it”), then you’re not understanding. You’re probably not even “understanding”.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Communication skills are all very well, but at the end of the day there has to be something substantive that you can communicate that the person you’re trying to communicate with might accept. Unless it all just substance-free schmoozing and making people think you’re not so bad for a [fill in the blank]. And maybe it is. If it is, someone ought to say so. What, if anything, do you “kinda think”?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                I kinda think that we have to assume that the something substantive exists and that it can be unearthed through active communication with the groups.

                Not merely “substance-free schmoozing and making people think you’re not so bad for a [fill in the blank].” but, and here’s the point, that’s a better stopping point than where we are now.

                A million years ago (2008, to be exact), I wrote an essay where I said that the Republican Party was in a bad place and thought that the 12 Steps would be a good exercise for the Republicans to go through.

                If you want a list of things to do, I’d say “go through the 12 Steps”.

                Here’s the first one: Do you have a problem?

                And if the answer to that question is “no, I don’t have a problem! Everybody else has a problem!”, then… I guess we’re not in a particularly bad place.

                No problem.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                OK, so that’s a No on the substance. No surprise, which is why I asked Oscar, not you.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                The active substance would be “self-reflection” and “actively talking to people who are there”.

                Chris Arnade-level crap.

                But if you don’t think you have a problem, we’re not going to get anywhere with me hammering out what I’ve said 2-3 times before in this exact thread.

                They’re the ones with the problem, after all.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, they’re not the ones with “the problem,” they’re the ones who know — or at least the ones who might know — what they want. Oscar at least sometimes likes to address such things, which is why I asked him, not you.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                They want to stop being defected against or, if that’s not on the table, to stop being forced to play the game with you.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “But if you don’t think you have a problem, we’re not going to get anywhere with me hammering out what I’ve said 2-3 times before…”

                Does this self-reflection apply to the rural people who, as everyone here agrees, refuse to face their need to change?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I believe that they are facing it, albeit not in the way that you wish that they were.

                It’s one of those Maslow’s Hierarchy things. The mistake was to assume that if 3 wasn’t taken care of properly that 5 and 6 would be ignored.

                Nope. 3 will be patched up best it can and then, welp, can’t be helped, let’s do what we can with 4. Then 4 is patched up best it can, and then 5 is addressed.

                And so on.

                The eternal problem seems to be that the grandest schemes requires their buy-in and they aren’t willing to give it.

                And they don’t need you to patch up 5 and 6, best they can.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So according to your description, it would seem that they prefer this state of affairs, where their lower needs are left unmet, while their higher needs are soothed by Republicans.

                I would love for someone to explain to me what the Democrats could do to change this.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So would I, but we get what we get instead: game theory jargon, Psych 101, and marketing advice that doesn’t actually advise.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                They’re not unmet, Chip.

                They’re patched up, best they can.

                What could the Democrats do to change this?

                Go in there. Actually talk to them. Create a relationship. Re-establish trust. “Make Friends”, as they say.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s an idea. Maybe if the Democrats want to win seats in Nebraska or West Virginia.they should run actual Nebraskans or West Virginians who already live there, or have been talking to their neighbors all their lives, who already have relationships, already have established trust, and already have friends.
                Amazing that they haven’t thought of that already,Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy?

                Yeah, it worked when they did that. From what I recall the last few times I brought that up is that running Democrats who could win in Nebraska or West Virginia means having someone who only agrees with the Democrats 80% of the time.

                And nobody can agree what the acceptable 20% to disagree on would be but everybody agrees that the Democrat who’d win in those states would pick the wrong 20%.

                And if the 20% wouldn’t include something like “Medicare for All”, why in the heck would you want someone like Joseph Isadore Lieberman in your party anyway?

                (But, yes, I agree with Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy if it came down to just wanting to figure out how to win local elections with politicians with (D) after their names rather than getting the sons of the soil on board.)Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                One thing this election has possibly shown is how much of an impact party line ticket voting has, by being the exception (lots of votes for Biden that still went straight R down ticket).

                I’ve said this many times that I think both parties focus way too much on the POTUS, and align themselves too tightly to whatever national party leadership wants.

                IMHO, the Dems smart play for the next two+ years is to loosen up a bit on Party discipline and let the Blue Dogs be. It’s far too easy for the GOP to paint some local Dem pol as being a lackey for the coastal elites who won’t fight for local interests.

                That is how I would operationalize things. Let the locals be local.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy, which I largely endorse, was never about whether to run candidates who might appeal to voters in red states. Anyone who is not a political infant knows that, if you’re making a serious effort to win, you have to do that. A potentially successful Montana Democrat will not be the same as a potentially successful New York City Democrat. (Let’s remember, by the way, that it was the voters of Connecticut who turfed Joe Leiberman, as was their right. If a Joe Leiberman carried South Dakota, most Democrats would be delirious.)
                The debate over the 50-state strategy is over whether to pour resources into Alabama or use them to shore up Pennsylvania, not over what the candidates should look like.
                Whatever one’s views on the 50-state strategy, however, the Democratic Party hasn’t been sending northeastern liberal carpetbaggers to run as candidates in red America. Nobody sent AOC to run for a Montana Senate seat. They ran Steve Bullock, a proper and popular red state Democrat, and he lost.
                The professionals are doing what they always do, running local candidates with local roots and connections, who understand the needs and desires of their friends and neighbors and have, usually, earned their trust in their earlier lives. And yet they lose. Telling the amateurs that they should do what the professionals are already doing, listening, talking, building trust, making friends, doesn’t advance the ball. But that assumes an interest in advancing the ball.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                This is a good place to note that farm laborers, who are every bit as “rural” as the farm owner, vote heavily for Democrats.

                Apparently they have no trouble whatsoever with aligning themselves with out of touch elite coastal latte sipping metrosexual cyber coding man-bun-wearing Democrats.

                The prospect of a changing economy doesn’t seem to bother them in the slightest.

                They aren’t bothered by “cancel culture”, “political correctness”, feminism, trans rights, or any of the other long long list of rightwing grievances.

                Maybe the farm owners can leave their bubble and sit with them in a diner and seek a deeper understanding of their culture.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Farm laborers, who are every bit as “rural” as the farm owner, vote heavily for Democrats.”

                And surely after four years of the most racist President in history they’d have voted even more heavily for Democrats! I’ll check the statistics from the 2020 election, but first let me take a sip of my coffee…Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                it’s really weird to me that you keep screeching about “operationalizing” things, when the very next sentence is “how do we “align” with them” with them if pushing policies in their real-world, concrete interests doesn’t do it?”

                Because that doesn’t sound like someone who honestly thinks there’s a key to figuring out What’s The Matter With Kansas, this sounds like someone who thinks he’s done everything that needs to be done, that deserves to be done, that can be done, and those god damn racist cowfuckers just won’t get in line.

                And you keep getting upset at Jaybird for “not presenting actual plans” and “talking around the problem”, and what he’s saying is that your using the language of Only Trying To Help isn’t disguising your disgust for these people, and that if you don’t deal with that first then there’s no use talking about anything further.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                How does aligning require anyone to cease being what they are?Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                That depends. You mentioned “aligning.” Much of what I hear from others around here — not, to your credit, from you — amounts to resentment that blue state city slickers are, in fact, blue state city slickers. The most frequently-aired grievances are not the sorts of things that can be negotiated by government actors negotiating in good faith and with mutual respect, but culturally-based resentment that, by its nature, cannot be satisfied because the mere existence of blue state city slickers, and the possibility that red America’s sons and daughters might leave the farm and join the inhabitants of Sodom is itself the affront that prevents alignment.
                I hope I’m wrong about that. I don’t know whether there is a key to figuring out What’s the Matter With Kansas, and, having grown up among and worked along side of the white working class in Trump country, I bear no disgust for them. They include my family and many old friends. But I keep asking what they want and most of what I get is what I have been getting.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                As I said above, the thing that democrats could do that would help is to stop marginalizing Blue Dogs.

                Now, admittedly, I am not a democrat (nor a republican), but what strikes me is that over the past decade (or so?), the party has been really hammering Blue Dogs to get in line with national party objectives, even when doing so damages the politician. Part of being the big tent means you can’t insist on such party line discipline. You have to let the local pol be local and act according to their voter’s interests.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                but what strikes me is that over the past decade (or so?), the party has been really hammering Blue Dogs to get in line with national party objectives, even when doing so damages the politician.

                Not sure Joe Manchin got that memo.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Pretty sure he did, also pretty sure he is out of f*@ks to give about it.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        The idea that “if only we sold the idea” of progressive vision then it would meet with overwhelming success is enticing but overlooks a lot of the complexities of American political culture that prevents that from happening.
        Specifically the power of racism and misogyny to cause the needed coalitions to splinter apart.

        The New Deal and Great Societies themselves are great examples of the limitations of this.

        In order to appease various factions like the Dixiecrats, the New Deal had to be carefully crafted to reserves its benefits for white males.

        And when the Great Society programs like AFDC appeared to be flowing towards inner city black people, “welfare” suddenly became an epithet.

        Even right here and right now, we can hear self-described “populist” conservatives speak bitterly of “elites” and “corporate media” and how the government needs to Do Something About It.

        Yet their wish list of government control over corporations is carefully tailored to just the exact remedy (Somethingsomething 230) which will deliver a benefit to them and them only.
        Same goes to government assistance to dairy farmers (don’t you dare call it welfare) or government make-work jobs such as defense contracting.

        We often imagine that leftist economics and racial hegemony don’t fit together, but they actually do.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Obviously I disagree. And here’s a great case as to why – hardly anyone on the left sells “Green New Deal” ideas as economic concepts and answers to the steep decline of America’s middle class in former manufacturing areas. Just look at the employment data for wind, solar and coal for the last ten years. Pitch wind and solar as the creators of good jobs they are, with environmental benefits, and you get more people to come around. Keep pitching them as answers to the slowly rolling climate crisis and no one will bite.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          The problem with “Everything is Racism” is that you can’t simply wave away racism. If racism is blocking your ideas, then you need to craft your marketing to work around racism.

          But I guess whining about it is more fun that doing the work of making it palatable to the center.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            Can you offer an example of “crafting your marketing to work around racism”?Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, for starters, before I can work around racism, I have to understand specifically how racism is standing in the way of whatever bit of progressive policy you want.

              If you can explain it to me in detail, preferably with examples of how it is/would work, I might be able to message around it.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                “If you want to see the result of leftist policies such as minimum wage and unions, look at Detroit.”

                “If you want to see the result of giving cash aid to single mothers, look at how it has devastated the black family.”

                “Free college will just benefit privileged young females who study medieval poetry”*

                “Cash aid to single mothers will only benefit irresponsible women and undercut young men’s ambition of becoming head of household.”*

                *Misogyny can never be disentangled from racism.

                I know there will be some here who disagree with any of these being “racist” arguments, but even if we were to ignore the term and just focus on the arguments themselves, what all four have in common is that the beneficiaries of the policy are all assumed to be unworthy somehow; Either lazy union workers, or they are sexually promiscuous, or financially reckless or just dysfunctional in some unexplained way.

                But the core of the argument is that giving these people greater agency and power would have bad outcomes.

                But please, and i mean this sincerely, give me a message that will somehow overcome these objections.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                First off, you’ve shifted from racism to “the deserving poor”, and while those two arguments overlap, they are not the same arguments.

                That said, are you trying to sell an idea, or overcome an objection?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought you were the one trying to craft a message to work around racism.

                I don’t think such a thing exists.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Yep, you are right, your lack of nuance has convinced me that all leftist policies are shite and should be abandoned immediately.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not a policy. It’s a deontology.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          You can’t sell the idea of progressive vision in California.

          Why do you think that you’d be able to do it in Alabama?Report

        • Damon in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          “Same goes to government assistance to dairy farmers (don’t you dare call it welfare) or government make-work jobs such as defense contracting.”

          While there are legitimate reasons to subsidize food production or the armed forces, it IS a subsidy. I wouldn’t call it welfare, but meh. And I have first hand experience with both of these examples. I remember listening to farmers bitch about how much less money they were getting not to bring their crops to market at the same time pulling libertarian’s phrases about how gov’t needed to say out of the people’s way. I was 17 at the time and noticed the hypocrisy.

          “We often imagine that leftist economics and racial hegemony don’t fit together, but they actually do.” I do seem to recall a good example of that. You know…the Nazi party was a socialist party and they were all banging on racial unity.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          We often imagine that leftist economics and racial hegemony don’t fit together, but they actually do.

          For example, unions were historically about protecting white workers from competition from black workers. And of course Bernie Sanders’ nationalist socialism is about protecting predominantly white American manufacturing workers from competition from Asians and Latin Americans.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, this is very true.
            The same rural farm people who supported Jim Crow also had deep hatred for the big banks and railroads for example.

            My takeaway is that this demonstrates how racism/ misogyny has the power to warp any political discussion, even the more so when it is unacknowledged.

            Every tool of society and governance is used in furtherance of racial hatred, whether it is unionization, or free markets, or whatever.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Millions of Americans hated Trump for aesthetic reasons and because he is trashing the mechanisms of the Federal government and voted accordingly. They then went and voted Republican down ballot. But a lot of them also approved of liberal ballot measures. My take away is not only the American electorate very polarized, they are really confused about what they want. A lot of Americans seem to want a United States equivalent of Disraeli’s idea of a sound government being “Tory men and Whig measures.” Millions of Americans want Democratic policy but implemented by Republican politicians even though that isn’t going to happen.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, probably so.

        I know there was this book floating around a while back called “When Skateboards Will Be Free” about a kid growing up in a leftist household, and how they had this absurd notion of what political action would be like.

        Specifically how a lot of revolutionaries(of both left and rightwing varieties) think, that Come The Revolution everything we like will come about, but somehow all the things we dislike will magically vanish.

        Or in a less dramatic version, we can have socialized medicine but no one will pay more taxes.
        Or we will have a free market in health care but no one will be turned away for lack of money.Report

  6. Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Everyone remind me again why the POTUS is the be all, end all of the party.

    Who cares if POTUS is a centrist? All this focus on that one office, is losing the forest for the trees. I would argue that you should focus on the down ticket races, the Senate and Congress…

    Oh wait, the leftist appeal kinda fell flat in a lot of places, didn’t it? There’s a take-away there, I think, but I just can’t put my finger on it…Report

  7. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Today’s Shitpost:

    Report

    • JS in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I’ve enjoyed the way you’ve gone more and more non-verbal and doing what I can only assume is an imitation of a bot, randomly interjecting tweets into conversation.

      I’m not qualified to judge this as performance art, but admire your dedication.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        See it as a distillation. Or don’t. It’s all good.Report

        • JS in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          You misspelled “degradation”.

          Effectively you’re just spamming naked links, devoid of context or thought. Are you endorsing them? Opposing them? Find them fodder for thought? Find them hilarious?

          No one knows, because you don’t care to give context.

          Do you even have context to give?

          Your weird form of anti-communication was interesting for awhile.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to JS
            Ignored
            says:

            I admit: My compression *IS* lossy.

            Well, the link above is a link to a tweet that I made using an image that I, myself, created. So the thought contained in the link is a thought that I thought.Report

  8. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    My preferred candidate during the primaries was Elizabeth Warren. I would have loved to see Elizabeth Warren become President and trash Trump’s ass in November but this was not to be. Instead, she performed poorly in the primaries and her main base seemed to be liberals with graduate degrees. But I gladly and happily voted for Biden during the general election and am not disappointed by his Cabinet picks so far. They are experts and often career civil servants with strong senses of public service.

    I think Chip is right. There is no universal support for progressive policies in this country right now. At least not consistent ones. California voted overwhelmingly for Biden and the Democrat but also gave the odious Prop 22 a victory, refused to end the ban on affirmative action, and also did not separate commercial property from Prop 13.
    Florida voted for a very slow raise to the minimum wage but also went Republican because of a successful attempt to define Biden as a socialist.

    One of the things I see is that, at least for the online, there is a broad social discontent in all factors of American politics but this leads to people making decisions that are not strategic like jumping up and down for Medicare for All or bust when NHS style medical health care is not popular on the specifics and there are other paths to universal health care.
    Elite overproduction might be a reason for this discontent and it is not just a U.S. phenomenon.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Wanting something different without clarity about what is characteristic of fussing babies and/or divided electorates.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      “There is no universal support for progressive policies in this country right now. ”

      Florida voted for Trump, and for an increased minimum wage.

      There’s plenty of support for progressive policies. What there isn’t is support for every single progressive policy, and progressives don’t want you to pick and choose which of their policies they like; they want a package deal, they want you to take your medicine along with the candy, they want to you to get poked with the stick before you get the carrot.Report

  9. DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m rather surprised that everyone’s forgotten Biden and the DNC insisting on in-person voting in the Wisconsin primary.

    As someone pointed out on Twitter, that was when Sanders really gave up, because he realized that the Democrat establishment would literally kill people to stop him getting the nomination.Report

  10. Michael Siegel
    Ignored
    says:

    I dunno, man. Under Democrats, we’ve gotten:

    Expansion of healthcare
    Family and Medical Leave
    Massive increased in education funding
    Gay marriage legal and gays in the military
    Moving toward drug decriminalization

    These are not nothing.Report

  11. Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    The basic problem here is that Berners understanding of economics has never progressed past the 14-year-old level. Even when I was literally 14 years old, I was never as 14-years-old as Bernie Sanders is at the age of 79.

    Democrats don’t sell out to corporations—they go about as far left as can be justified within the bounds of sanity and expert consensus. Sometimes a bit farther.

    While you may personally see anything short of nationalizing every corporation on the Fortune 500 list and putting their CEOs’ heads on pikes as selling out, that’s an indictment of you, not an indictment of the Democrats.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Brandon Berg
      Ignored
      says:

      “Democrats don’t sell out to corporations”

      lol

      they absolutely do, bro

      the essence of neoliberal technocracy is letting corporations run everything, and assuming that the corporate-government partnership manage the economy will turn out better than just a bunch of assholes running around doing whatever they feel like

      what ends up happening is cronyism worse than anything the left has ever imagined the right espousing, but because there are pictures of smiling happy nongenderbinary persons on the cover of the annual report liberals think it’s progressiveReport

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