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February 22, 2017

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RC wrote: "In addition to the Democrats' years-long inattention to building and maintaining local and state political machinery..."

Bingo. The mystery of the Koch Brothers's interest in and underwriting of obscure state legislature races only became clear with the exposure of project Redmap. The party that controls state legislatures also controls redistricting for congressional seats (i.e., allows gerrymandering). Since state legislature races are much less expensive than federal legislature races, it's a highly cost effective way to advance your party's interests at the federal level as well.

http://www.redistrictingmajorityproject.com/?page_id=2

This has nothing to do with Democratic Party ideals and everything to do with the nuts and bolts decision to pour Party resources into presidential politics at the expense of state and local races.

"The Democrats have done a lousy job of telling voters their story, why they are the party that saved capitalism, created the social safety net that your white grandmother depends on, brought electricity and jobs to the red states, fought the Cold War shoulder-to-shoulder with a saner Republican Party."

This is all populist/nationalist.

As long as the Democrats keep making the mistake of blaming Trump's victory on White racism, they'll miss the point. As I pointed out in a previous thread, "that Black man", Obama, did far better in crucial swing states that won the election for Trump. For example, Obama lost to Romney among Wisconsin's White voters by 3 percentage points, while Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by 11 points.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/16/opinion/the-democrats-immigration-problem.html

The Democratic Party has devolved into a retarded identity politics activist group dedicated to insuring that biologically born males can use the women's restroom, instead of insuring economic gains for working class America regardless of race or sex. The creeping expansionism of that acronym, LGBTQ, makes me cringe. What's next: NAMBLA?

Aside from Bernie Sanders, the only political candidate agitating for the interests of American workers instead of a globalist agenda of foreign imports and cheap foreign labor was Donald Trump. You can argue, cogently, that his populism was specious; but populism it was nonetheless.


Incidentally, just what the heck does the Q in LGBTQ stand for, distinct from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and "Transgendered"? And what 0.00x percentage of the population does it refer to?

I tried Googling the acronym, and apparently the cutting edge version of it (for the moment) is LGBTQIAPK: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual, Pansexual and Polygamous, and Kinkiness.

What ever happened to the philosophy of, keep your personal sex life between consenting adults personal, and we'll keep the government out of your bedroom?

The idea that society at large should put its imprimatur on every form of sexual deviancy, and that this demand should be explicitly incorporated into a plank of the Democratic Party platform, is ridiculous.

By contrast, the Black Lives Matter movement, however hijacked it may sometimes be by Marxist elements trying to undermine authority because it is authority under a capitalist system, has the legitimate point that racism in America exists and the police departments of America, to the extent that they reflect this, are not immune from it.

Rougue writes,

"The challenge for the Sanders insurgency is that the United States has never had much of an appetite for a left-wing party. The liberal consensus collapsed over Vietnam and the turmoil of the 1960s," and, "If anything has changed since Bill Clinton won, it is that our politics have moved even further to the right."

I think a case can be made that majority of the 1960's liberals and the boomer, gen-x, y, and millennial generations have been co-opted by the conservatives into being staunch adherents to capitalism. These conservatives, most flying under the "false-flag" of a "God meant you to be rich" banner, have mined the base instinct of greed and materialism by preaching jobs and security by preaching an "American superiority" xenophobic rhetoric. This resonates with many opposed to and fearful of the "heathen" hordes they see as "taking over" "Uhhmuhhrricuh."

The reason I have continued--and will continue--to hound the conservatives on their "religious" hypocrisy is that THEY have brought religion into politics. From fighting "godless" communism to the "moral majority" to the pro-life(only UNTIL--BUT NOT AFTER birth) movement, they have used religion hypocritically to provide a smokescreen and cover to their very much UN-Christian motives, strategy, and conduct in politics. These conservatives have cynically co-opted the "one nation under God" motto to lend legitimacy to their control and power-oriented UN-Christian goals.

Also, this nation was supposedly guided by religion and founded upon religious freedom. These false-idol-worshipping "heathens" have used their "freedom" to infringe upon and impede other "undesirables" exercising their religious and personal freedom(s).

I believe the future rests with whether or not America and its citizens wish to continue being a (supposedly) welcoming and caring nation as regards the rest of the world--or whether they DON'T.

In my religious and Christian belief, which I proclaim "from the top of the soap factory with a PA system set to 11," it really is a question of which GOD (or god, as in Satan) one serves.

I do believe a capitalism where "everyone is on their own," is a poor excuse for unbridled greed, avarice, and indifference. If there are no mechanisms for helping the poor and less fortunate, and no charity, capitalism is ONLY chasing after earthly goods--and is thus serving SATAN.

That's why I am a socialist liberal--because of my faith and belief in God--unlike many supposedly Christian "evangelical" conservatives.

Here's a view from this morning's Times that puts the "identity politics" canard in proper context: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/opinion/the-death-of-compassion.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

Donald Trump is the face and soul of white identity politics. He won by appealing to the very worst elements in American life. Are we really so surprised to learn that given the choice between a telegenic demagogue and a policy wonk, that a nation of low-information voters will choose the former? I made the incorrect call last year because I believed this country was better than it is. My bad.

If Democrats are feckless and incompetent, they at least do stand for something other than crude myths wrapped up in patriotic bunting. If you're on Medicaid or Medicare, you can thank Democrats for caring about what is real instead of symbolic. If you think science is fundamental and that environmental issues are critical, Democrats are your party. If you think policy is more important than ideological shibboleths, you are a Democrat.

I understand Black Lives Matter and gay drag queens may not be your confederates of choice, but are they really that much worse than the KKK and neo-Nazis?

Hillary Clinton would be president today if the sanctimonious left had simply voted for their own coalition. Now, these same reality-challenged birdbrains want to impose left-wing pabulum from the 1930s as the party's primary creed. Bernie Sanders is vivid and engaging, but acid flashbacks won't bring back 1968. The facts on the ground are not a dominant manufacturing sector and strong unions. Sanctimony will not resurrect them.

Democracy may well die, and if it necessary, I'll die with it. We cannot give up the primary struggle - a vibrant social democracy - because "identity politics" are bad when liberals do it but perfectly fine when proto-fascists enact mass deportations and travel bans. Democrats are not going to win by jettisoning black voters, Muslims, and a few transgendered high-school students. We can only make our case in a nation much of which is marooned in ignorance and fear. Pandering to these fears will not change our fate. Republicans will always do the despicable much better than Democrats. If we have to die, let's at least do it with honor.

So Jon and Ken, I take it you are not supporting Kieth Ellison and Pete Buttigieg to head up the DNC. And do i hear echos of Clinton running again for president?

The communists losing to the Nazi's in Germany in the 30's has eerie overtones to today but is not in my opinion a good comparison.


Soleri, next election come spend a little time around the ALT-White campfires in AJ.

Mayberry is back, except the Sheriff is a Alt-White narcissistic crook. And Fester is forced to go to an all white Church every Sunday where the evangelistic rich pastor will tell you , "you can tell whose going to heaven based on the accumulation of wealth" and you can tell who gets to live in hell, the poor!

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2017/1/5/what-would-sheriff-andy-taylor-do-in-return-to-mayberry-a-search-for-what-makes-trump-supporters-tick

Hi, Soleri. Rather than doubt, genuine curiosity here... numbers or some other data showing leftists votes (or non-votes) swinging the election? I haven't looked too hard for this myself, but would welcome the instruction it might bring.

p.s. I realize that even the best informed don't always have the pertinent references at hand.

Dawgzy, since the election came down to 77,000 in three states (WI, PA, MI), it's pretty clear that if the left had voted as if their lives depended on it, Hillary would have won. It's not simply the Jill Stein voters, either. When left-affinity voters believed Bernie that Hillary was a Wall Street tool, the impact here is fairly clear. My own FB page was full of implacable purists who said they would never vote for her. We've seen them here at Rogue (I'm not sure how you finally voted). My personal experience suggests most did come back to the Democrats. But, again, when the margin was that close, it wouldn't take many to tilt the result. I don't have the stats here, and I'm not even sure that the polling has been done.

We've already seen this movie, needless to say (see: 2000; Ralph Nader). That catastrophe haunts us to this day, and Trump's will be much worse. I'll go ahead and echo Rogue once again about coalition politics. America is not a left-wing nation, nor is the Democratic Party supposed to be the Socialist Democratic Party. It's a coalition of different people, values, interests, and instincts. When lefties decide to hold the coalition hostage to their purity, they misunderstand fundamentally what a political party is and can do. Purity is a useful trait in cults but a terrible one in politics. The Republican Party is now wholly captive to mindless zealots. If Democrats follow suit, it will only speed the end of democracy in this nation. No compromise, no peace.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/capitol-hill-buzz-mitch-mcconnell-defends-obstructionism-212519161--politics.html?.tsrc=jtc_news_article

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is speaking up for obstructionism.
Addressing a chamber of commerce meeting in his home state of Kentucky, the Republican said Wednesday that obstruction can be OK — as long as it has a purpose.
That's different from futile obstruction, which he argues Senate Democrats are practicing to stall the formation of President Donald Trump's Cabinet.
"Look, I'm not against obstruction if you have a purpose. And I've from time to time been involved in that myself," McConnell said.

I think this illustrates the ideological-based intransigence of the conservatives trying to staunch the spread of "moving forward" by staying "constructionist" and "(dated) family values" based. There is also the unstated, but implicit, sentiment that their idea are the only relevant ones--and this breeds resistance and unwillingness to hear, much less entertain divergent or (heaven forbid!) opposite views. Obstructionism for obstructionism's sake.

Ronald Reagan is spinning like a top in his grave.

I also believe that most of the eggshell-thin-skinned trumpty-dumpties have some idea of what the rest of the world looks and feels like--and they simply DON'T like it.

They don't like the way it looks, feels, believes, and thinks. This dislike, bigotry, and racism is intentional, willful, and determined in the service of white majoritarianism poorly masquerading as patriotism, love of God, and protecting (white) Western values from the barbarian hordes.

These trumpty-dumpties are the true face of the intolerant, racist, unaccepting, and incorrigible conservative soul. they will only "work with" the other side if a catastrophe looms--and we're nowhere close to that in their minds.

I have attended several Democratic Party functions over the last few years, and came away from all of them thinking I was at bingo night in a nursing home. There are young people among Republicans, but not among Democrats. Everyone these old geezers tout as future leaders is in their 60s or 70s.

And let's not forget the caucuses... the most recent one was an even bigger clusterf**k than the one I attended in 2004. It has been pointed out repeatedly that the Tea Party has been able to elect candidates to local, state and federal office, while the Democrats mostly sign petitions, write thought pieces for echo-chamber journals, and exchange snarky tweets.

The Democrats have failed their traditional constituency, and failed America, for over two decades. As Chris Berman used to say on ESPN, you can stick a fork in them, they're DONE! It's time for a new party to replace them.

But will all the greedy and uncaring capitalists be ready to embrace a party that does more than take, take, take--and demanding more, more, more like the republicans?

Stinginess and selfishness define much of what America is today--and NOT what the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty proclaims...

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

That lamp is slowly being extinguished by trump, his toadies, and his storm-trooper trumpty-dumpties.

Excellent article Rogue! Your explanation why "evil", neoliberal Bill Clinton was forced politically to move to the middle should be instructive to the BS activists but it likely won't. All indications are that the Republican Party owns the US for at least a couple of decades. Will it be right wing, nationalist America or Republican establishment income redistribution upward? Probably both. Time to act accordingly and seek shelter in a blue ghetto.Or Uruguay.

The assertion that racists and neo-fascists constitute the bulk of those who voted Trump (as opposed to a highly visible minority of Trump voters) is patently wrong, unless we are to believe that the Whites who voted for Obama in crucial swing states when he ran against Mitt Romney, suddenly developed these traits since 2012.

"Trump won 53 percent of white Wisconsin voters to Clinton’s 42 percent, an 11-point margin, compared to the 3-point spread between Mitt Romney and Obama, 51-48."

https://nytimes.com/2017/02/16/opinion/the-democrats-immigration-problem.html

Groups like the KKK are sideshows at the margins. In a country where 62 million Americans voted for Donald Trump, it is difficult to take seriously the claim that racists and right-wing extremists characterize his electorate. This, and overwrought fantasy melodramas about the end of democracy, simply because Trump is president, don't make for good political science.

The Democratic presidential primary of 2016 is probably the best place for information about the Democratic base today.

Excluding the superdelegates, Clinton won 2,271 delegates to Sanders's 1,820. In the popular vote, Clinton won 55.2 percent to Sanders's 43.1 percent, with others accounting for the residue.

That's a remarkably small margin of victory when Clinton had the entire Democratic Party machine behind her, a fundraising apparatus borrowed from Obama, and a constant media drumbeat suggesting that Sanders could never beat Trump in a general election, whereas Clinton could win handily; propaganda that,in the end, discouraged many otherwise Sanders supporters to make the "pragmatic" choice to hold their noses and vote for Clinton.

It isn't difficult to figure out Sanders's appeal, because his plank was fairly simple:

(1) Economic nationalism / protectionism, in contrast to the dominant globalist paradigm which killed millions of manufacturing jobs and turned sections of the country into basket cases, and which Hillary and her husband support.

(2) Large scale infrastructure spending.

(3) An end to America's neoconservative militarism, with the war in Iraq as case in point again in contrast to Clinton.

Every one of those positions was also held by Donald Trump. A trillion dollars in proposed infrastructure spending is actually larger than Obama's, though it's difficult to see a Republican Congress supporting this.

Why liberals insist on ignoring the obvious, concentrating almost exclusively on Trump's racist appeal, is an interesting question.

In my opinion, Trump plans to recreate Ronald Reagan's economic growth by the same means: tax cuts/shifting and massive deficit spending. The Keynesian stimulus of the latter might well succeed, especially since, unlike Obama's stimulus Trump doesn't need to dig his way out of the hole of lost federal and state revenue before the stimulus can produce positive growth.

The increase in inflation will raise interest rates, which will be very popular with savers like the elderly, who will also see their inflation indexed Social Security benefits rise significantly for the first time in years.

From the standpoint of fiscal responsibility and debt management, it's a bad idea: but that never stopped Republicans before.

I just remembered another major political position common to Sanders and Trump:

(4) Repeal and replace Obamacare.

Obviously Trump doesn't support Sanders's single payer model. But both recognize that while Obamacare helped low income households (in states that enacted the Medicaid expansion option), for many others living check to check or with small savings, high deductible plans that require a large out of pocket expense before the insurance kicks in, make it like having no real insurance at all; and for others still, fast rising premiums also make the plan unsatisfactory or unsustainable.

"The challenge for the Sanders insurgency is that the United States has never had much of an appetite for a left-wing party."

What do you call the Democratic Party under FDR, who won four terms in office? What was the Democratic Party platform of those years -- the most wildly popular the party has ever known -- except "Sanders style populism"?

The Democratic Party controlled Congress the vast majority of the years from the early 1930s through the late 1970s. Nor did it lose power after LBJ's expanded social programs.

When it began to lose power was when:

(1) Rising crime rates (due primarily to the coming of age of the Baby Boomers -- the more young men the more crime) combined with liberal theories blaming crime on society or bad parenting, and liberal judicial appointees hamstringing police, prosecutors, and penal authorities, combined with a probation system that produced a "revolving door", created the impression that Democrats were soft on crime.

(2) The increasing factionalism of the Democratic Party, which was increasingly rent by special interest groups each with its own narrow agenda, often (whatever their merits) out of step with mainstream America.

(3) Stagflation, which left pretty much everyone pissed off and dissatisfied. I'm not blaming the Democratic Party for this, merely noting that it coincided with the low point in their political fortunes. Ditto for two oil shocks which left Americans feeling vulnerable to foreign forces beyond their control.

(4) Increasing vulnerability to hostile foreign forces, whether terrorists or governments (e.g. Iran).

Enter Ronald Reagan. The campaign slogan "morning in America". A return to stability, common sense, and traditional values -- at least that was the marketing. Peace through strength. An end to accomodationism with America's enemies, both domestic and foreign.

If populism doesn't appeal to the American electorate, why do populist ballot initiatives raising the minimum wage pass remarkably often in states with Republican controlled state governments, including just recently Arizona?

New replies to Jon7190 in the previous thread.

Ken Atherton, you wrote: The assertion that racists and neo-fascists constitute the bulk of those who voted Trump (as opposed to a highly visible minority of Trump voters) is patently wrong, unless we are to believe that the Whites who voted for Obama in crucial swing states when he ran against Mitt Romney, suddenly developed these traits since 2012.

I do believe that many white voters did develop at least a grudging tolerance and acceptance for racially divisive and hateful rhetoric. They were at least allowing it into their midst without condemning it--which in my mind is the beginning of accepting and supporting hate speech, if only subconsciously.

While these white majoritans, comfortable in their ability to move through society unmolested by police, may not have openly espoused such condemnable views (for obvious reasons), I think it's reasonable to assume that they saw this hate speech as the "shock force" protecting their white "privilege."

This in my view constitutes an understated and passive support of racism and its control-oriented bigotry--and this support showed up at the voting booth for trump.

The high-water mark for a true social-democratic candidacy in America came in 1912, when Eugene V. Debs won nearly 6 percent of the vote.

As for FDR, the true left never forgave him for saving capitalism. Although FDR admired the Progressivism of his cousin Theodore (who moved ever more left in his thinking), he didn't have strong ideological beliefs. In 1932, he campaigned on a balanced budget.

FDR's great strength was his willingness to experiment, and he had many ideas from his famous "Brains Trust." This proved invaluable in facing the crisis of the Great Depression. He employed Keynesian economics, even though he didn't like Keynes.

Some of the New Deal's greatest successes came out of the Hoover administration. Herbert Hoover had been a Progressive Republican and during the Depression became the most activist president up to that point. However, Hoover was unwilling to provide federal assistance to individuals, believing it would sap American initiative.

Roosevelt did provide that assistance, especially through such work programs as the Civilian Conservation Corp and Works Progress Administration, as well as direct aid to cities and states. He spent to provide new entities to help the rural poor, such as the TVA, rural electrification, and aid to farmers. The landmarks of the Second New Deal were Social Security and the Wagner Act, the latter helping unions.

While these programs extended Progressivism into the 20th century's liberalism, they were hardly what the left (communism had a heyday in the 1930s) or populists such as Huey Long would have preferred. They wanted nationalization of industries, guaranteed incomes, etc.

FDR saved a rickety bank system, provided federal deposit insurance, and instituted the reforms advocated by the Precora Commission. Putting Joe Kennedy at the head of the new Securities and Exchange Commission, he cleaned up Wall Street. But these saved, rather than trashed, capitalism. Reactionaries called him "a traitor to his class," but his class did fine under the New Deal.

The biggest attempt at central planning, the National Recovery Act and National Recovery Administration, was an abysmal failure.

Finally, a backbone of the New Deal coalition was Southern segregationists. Despite Eleanor's prodding, FDR did little to improve the lot of blacks for most of his time in office. He did open up some defense jobs during the war under threat of a march on Washington organized by A. Philip Randolph.

The times were very different. But I'm not sure one could link FDR with Bernie Sanders. Had President Obama (or President Hillary Clinton) been given a progressive or deal-making majority Democratic Congress, much more could have been done.

Bernie wants social democracy. I'd move to Scandinavia if I were 30. But American voters have shown little appetite for it. They don't even appreciate what was accomplished by the long liberal consensus by both parties.

This piece by Rogue is interesting and his points are very valid. It's a purely academic exercise, however. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were voted Congressional minority leaders. There isn't room for Bernie in DNC leadership? How about, there isn't room for progressives in DNC leadership? The DNC has learned nothing from '16. Nothing. Their heads are in the sand, as they've been for two decades. Unfortunately -- and as marked by Rogue regarding Seattle's perpetual protest practices -- younger/grass roots progressives aren't changing their [failed] approach either.

Voting creates change. Boycotts/buycotts levy economic pressure. Rallies draw attention. Strikes enforce timeliness. But voting creates change. Snarky emails and retweeting "Celebrities go CRUNK on Twitter after SNL DESTROYS Trump" articles does nothing. Commenting on DAPL fb posts with, "Wish I could be there but I'll be calling my Senator!" does nothing. Protests against the Muslim Ban stopped nothing; the court rulings did.

Mobilization is the action leading to turnout. It requires grinding, long hours, excellent organization, and little thanks. But the motto of young progressive might as well be #Slacktivism. And I don't say this to beat the "Oh Millenials..." dead horse but, while I applaud them for distancing themselves from poor choices of the establishment ("Fuck Michigan! We'll have Hillary give a speech in Phoenix!"), they seem happy to toss out the baby with the bathwater. We don't need a Steve Jobs to come in and redesign the modern political party; we need a Bill Belichik/Karl Rove to optimize the party's resources.



I thought we were talking about whether the United States in general and Democrats (outside the party leadership) specifically, have an appetite for "Sanders style populism".

To me that refers not to his ultimate personal goals as a self-described Democratic Socialist, but to the values and programs he publicly pushed as a presidential candidate.

Clearly he *excited* the Democratic Party base in a way that Clinton did not. That includes the youth, which is the source of nearly all new voters.

Both Trump and Sanders prove that populism sells.

It would have been interesting to see if Sanders, as the Democratic Party nominee, could have appealed more genuinely to White working class voters than Trump did. Trump scored big among that group.

Just the fact that Sanders was able to handily fund a modern presidential campaign from individual contributions while renouncing super-PACs tells me there's an appetite for Sanders style populism.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/bernie-sanders-fundraising/471648/

Someone tell me who Donald Trump reached out to. If he was making compromise deals and coalition building during the campaign (after winning is another story), I must have missed it. It's precisely the fact that he wasn't serving the same warm porridge as "the establishment" that he managed to weather all storms, beating 16 Republican competitors (including several superstars and sure bets with establishment backing). He didn't need fundraising either. The media gave him 24/7 coverage. Including MSNBC, which interrupted its own programming almost religiously, to cover his highly repetitive speeches at full length. Best ratings they ever got.

RC wrote: FDR campaigned on a balanced budget in 1932.

So far as I can tell, this was merely a campaign promise to lull the establishment and public opinion:

"FDR's budget balancing was not only based on traditional fiscal economics, but also on politics. Roosevelt believed that a balanced budget was important to instill confidence in consumers, business, and the markets, which would thus encourage investment and economic expansion. As the economy recovered, tax revenues would increase making budget balancing even easier. This traditional view that deficits were bad was also supported by public opinion polls."

https://fdrlibrary.org/budget

But not only did he not balance the budget in 1933 (his first year in office), but so far as I know the budget as submitted was not a balanced budget. Here's what he had to say by way of defense in 1936:

"No one lightly lays a burden on the income of a Nation. But this vicious tightening circle of our declining national income simply had to be broken. The bankers and the industrialists of the Nation cried aloud that private business was powerless to break it. They turned, as they had a right to turn, to the Government. We accepted the final responsibility of Government, after all else had failed, to spend money when no one else had money left to spend."

Don't forget that he did an awful lot of things right after getting into office that would have been sheer poison and political suicide to advocate during the campaign. For heaven's sake, he took the country off the gold standard. How traditional was that?

Sorry, the FDR quote defending unbalanced budgets was supposed to have two paragraphs. Here's the one I omitted:

"To balance our budget in 1933 or 1934 or 1935 would have been a crime against the American people. To do so we should either have had to make a capital levy that would have been confiscatory, or we should have had to set our face against human suffering with callous indifference. When Americans suffered, we refused to pass by on the other side. Humanity came first."

The modus operandi is perfectly clear in the case of the gold standard:

"How Roosevelt took this fateful step has been the subject of debate among historians, many of whom believe that the president flailed his way through his first weeks in office, and only gradually came to the decision to take the country off gold that April. But the evidence suggests that Roosevelt intended to do so from Day One for very specific reasons, although he delayed letting the rest of the country in on his plans."

This is supported by very specific evidence. Roosevelt announced the end of the gold standard to his inner circle of advisors the very day after he was inaugurated:

"On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became president for the first time, promising an “adequate but sound” currency. The next day, a Sunday, he closed the nation’s banks. “We are now off the gold standard,” he privately declared to a group of advisers. Goldbugs in the president’s circle immediately began prophesying doom. One of his aides, Lewis Douglas, proclaimed “the end of Western civilization.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-03-21/how-franklin-roosevelt-secretly-ended-the-gold-standard

This is the very opposite of a weak opinioned waffler reluctantly being convinced of the necessity for radical change.


My experience and thoughts about Dems echoes Blaxabbaths. Given inertial organizational efforts of Dems it's a miracle Progressives even made a showing.

The Democratic Party has no message that will resonate with today's voters, esp the young. Best that party stalwarts be put out to pasture.

"The Democratic Party has no message that will resonate with today's voters, esp the young..."

One hates to offend, but that may be the single most inane thing I've ever read on this blog.

So the 66 million people who voted for Clinton did so out of, what, habit? And I guess they were all old, Birkenstock wearing, limousine liberals. No one under 50 in sight...

Some of those angry white working class 'populists' drawn to Trump and the GOP are already backing away and expressing buyer's remorse. Seems they like the ACA--they just didn't realize it was the same thing as Obamacare.

There's not much you can do about that kind of Deep Stupid, but let Trump and his hoary minions attack Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, abortion rights, the minimum wage, clean air and water, gay rights, religious freedom, voting rights, freedom of the press, alternative energy, freedom of assembly, and whatever other progressive legislation they can get their grubby little hands on, just watch what the reaction is, and then tell me about the Democrats having no message.

RC: "Reactionaries called him "a traitor to his class," but his class did fine under the New Deal."

Still, they did have to hire some good tax attorneys. The top income tax bracket in 1931 was 25 percent. From 1932-35 it was 63 percent. By 1942 it was 88 percent, and by 1944 it was 94 percent. Some might call that confiscatory. Even after the war was over, it remained at about 92 percent until 1964, when it went down to 77 percent.

https://taxfoundation.org/us-federal-individual-income-tax-rates-history-1913-2013-nominal-and-inflation-adjusted-brackets/

RC: "The NRA was a dismal failure."

But not for lack of trying. It stayed in place until the Supreme Court ruled it an unconditional usurpation of authority by the Executive.

How did FDR respond to several such rulings? With a court packing scheme which he introduced as soon as he safely won reelection in 1936:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_Procedures_Reform_Bill_of_1937

Seems fairly radical to me. Image if Donald Trump attempted to outmaneuver the Judicial Branch by introducing a bill changing the very structure of the Supreme Court itself? There would be cries of "dictator", as indeed there was from the right at the time.


Yes, there are a significant number of Trump voters who have buyer's remorse. But if you believe a Politico/Harvard poll from late last year, they aren't in the majority:

"A full 85 percent of Trump voters said repealing Obamacare was extremely or very important — even more than those who cited stopping undocumented immigration (78 percent) or ending or modifying NAFTA (55 percent).

. . . "When asked a different way, whether they support or oppose repeal without any mention of the priorities for first 100 days, 75 percent of Trump voters favor repeal, versus 47 percent of the overall public. And 57 percent of Trump voters want the law replaced with an alternative — versus less than a third (31 percent) of the general population. Among the general public, 46 percent oppose repeal and would keep the ACA. In both groups, 15 percent want it gone — repealed but not replaced.

"Among those who want repeal, a slim majority of the general public (58 percent) and half of Trump voters don’t want Republican leaders to scrap the law until a replacement is ready. Just over half in both groups want replacement to happen within a year."

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/politico-harvard-poll-trump-voters-want-to-repeal-obamacare-immediately-233657

Of course, public opinion can change a lot in two months. But I'd say it's safe to assume that for every Trump voter supporting the ACA in effect, several are impatient with a Republican Congress for lack of immediate action.

A more up to date poll would be welcomed.


From 2-25-17:

"There’s also the fact that many voters give Trump the benefit of the doubt. Republican and Republican-leaning voters are more likely to side with Trump over Republican leaders if there is a disagreement, a Pew poll last week showed. Some 52 percent would trust Trump, while only 34 percent are likely to trust Republican members of Congress, the poll shows. Others said they were unsure."

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-shock-factor-fading-washington-235370

I expect Paul Ryan to catch some serious blowback among Trumpists in the days to come, especially given Trump's ability to rewrite his own policy history and get away with it.

Something largely uncommented on:

"The voters Clinton really lost—the ones she was targeting and relying on for victory—were college-educated whites. Most polling suggested she would win these voters, but she didn’t, according to exit polls: White men went 63 percent for Trump versus 31 percent for Clinton, and white women went 53-43 percent. Among college-educated whites, only 39 percent of men and 51 percent of women voted for Clinton."

https://newrepublic.com/article/138754/blame-trumps-victory-college-educated-whites-not-working-class

The fact that Clinton barely eked out a simple majority of White, female, college educated voters, remains unexplained so far as I know.

B. Franklin-

It's not that the DNC has no message; it's that their message before the election was the same as what you just wrote. That is, "The GOP is going to do the things they've been promising to do for years....and we're not them." And that continues to be their message today as Americans attempt to engage in the between-election civics of protesting and calling out elected representatives, and the Democrats respond by sitting in their towers and saying, "This is good. We're not going to fight today but, rest assured, if you vote for us in 2/4 years, we'll totally have your back in the future!"

You know what young voters remember?

They remember Nancy Pelosi promising to defund the war in Iraq and bringing home our troops if they gave her the House in '06. They did and they remember her, instead of cutting funding, raising the handouts to Halliburton and Raytheon and Lockheed by funding "THE SURGE!".

They remember the scandals of Walter Reid and the Phoenix VA. They remember that, while both parties have owned and shared power in DC since these quagmires began, neither side has done anything to take care of vets. So they remember seeing their classmates, after hearing every promise of support from our government, left behind, kicked to the curb, and left to deal with a PTSD epidemic alone, in the face of a government who won't even recognize the problem.

They remember Occupy. They remember how the GOP backed the banks and the establishment Democrats basically sat it out. They remembered this when Hillary's GS transcripts came up during the '16 election. They remember this every time the Democratic pot calls the GOP kettle black.

They remember paying tens of thousands of dollars for college degrees in an economy where real wages were declining. They remember hearing proposals about free community college, free college, and debt-relief programs. They remember that the only place the government showed any teeth was on joke for-profit colleges like Trump U that only a moron would attend in the first place. They remember that their parents were able to pay for college on part-time and summer jobs.

They remember hearing their parents talk about retirement plans and looking at their own accounts (and college debt) and understanding that the path their parents took won't work for them. They remember growing up hearing everyone tell them that social security will either be insolvent or drastically cut back to maintain relevance by the time they're 65-70.

They remember the Democrats telling them that it was 2016 or bust. That it was the pivotal make-or-break election of their generations' lives. They remember that the plan for '16 wasn't just to win, it was to grow and turn Red States into Blue/Purple States. They remember that the news talked about how there might not even be a GOP by 2018 because of all the infighting and disagreement within the party. They remember how Huffington Post told them it was hilarious. That '16 was in the bag for the Democrats. That the Clinton Machine was Obama2008 2.0, and the party's appeal to minorities and tech-savvy youth -- mostly by virtue of not being the GOP -- was going to turn the tides of governance, permanently, over the next 16 years. They remember being told that, if they were siding with the Democrats, they were siding with winners.

They remember that the Democrats then anointed a former Goldwater Girl with high disapprovals, historic special interest support, and a knack for coming off distant from the plight of the average person. They remember that the progressive candidate was seemingly-arbitrarily marginalized by the press and his own party, his ideas ridiculed and his supporters dismissed. They remember that the bottom line was that the DNC had it figured out. That if everyone would just shut their mouths and accept who the DNC selected to win a fair and open election, that their vision of "not a Republican" winning would be fulfilled. And now they'll remember being blamed for that same uninspiring candidate lost.

Now they'll remember the new head of the DNC already engaging in Twitter spats with a President whose popularity cornerstone is that he gets into Twitter spats. They'll remember that this establishment choice beat out the progressive choice, who promised Never Trump. They'll remember the Vox articles about how embarrassing it will be for Trump if the media boycotts the White House Correspondents Dinner -- just before Trump tweets that he's taking a pass of the event. They'll remember Democrats laying with John McCain, one of the most sure-thing GOP party line voters, as their ally against Trump. And they'll remember when, if they ever do get close to really nailing Trump, McCain will pull the rug out from under them in order to protect his party.

And all the while, the Democrats will say, "Yeah sure, we could have done better ....but, you know, we aren't the GOP."


Saw the movie Alled last night and was struck by the cooperation that every person gave toward the cause of the war.(Nurses were selfless and wives who understodd a man's responsibility to his job)That is what is missing today IMHO.

The result is a game show president who promises everything for everybody at no cost.(the media can't believe it and the public eats it up)The main thing I have learned in the last 50 years is that both parties are spending oriented.One just believes in raising taxes on the rich(whoever that is) to pay for it and the Republicans believe in borrowing it.Trump is just a continuation of that.Until we get an executive and legislative leaders that level with the U.S. public that we have an existentialist threat,we will continue to have divisive government.

As far as rating presidents,like athletes,they can only be compared to their contemporaries.FDR and cousin Teddy were head and shoulders above all contemporaries.Same with LBJ and sadly IMHO Ronald Reagan.(I didn't agree with his philosophy but admired his communication skills)

blaxabbath, I'm afraid your faith in the majority of young voters remembering anything more complex than their pin number is probably unfounded.

However, if they do remember anything, it should be that the Party that spends a good deal of its time preventing them from voting always has an "R" by its name. The same Party is content with saddling them with ridiculous levels of student debt. And if they are female, they should also remember that only one Party consistently meddles in their sex lives.

B Franklin - You may be absolutely correct that young voters don't have much in terms of memory spans. But because they have Facebook Timehops and live in blaring echo chambers where every deviation from the established course of acceptable progressive beliefs -- basically serving as a perpetual progressive purity test -- is promptly thumbs-downed without prejudice, I believe the flaws of the Democratic establishment, as identified by the Bernie wing of the party, will continue to influence Millenials more than Reagan's amnesty program or Iran-Contra did previous generations, for example. Young voters showed that they are not afraid to cast a protest vote and, I suspect when they get older, this may translate into them just staying home (along with 1/3+ of eligible voters).

Your second paragraph, "However, if they do remember anything, it should be..." reads straight from the establishment DNC playbook and, I believe, is a big part of the reason why the Democrats will fail to lock up this generation of voters before promises of lower working class taxes may sway their voting habits more than perpetual unfulfilled promises about reeling in special interest groups or addressing income inequality. The DNC preaches at young progressives and talks down to them at every turn. Unless they're in the trenches performing voter registration drives or phone banking with a megaphone for the establishment's agenda, some well-meaning centrist Democrat will be calling for them to get their heads out of the clouds and known their role. Lifelong Democratic fundraisers and insiders, like Tom Perez or Hillary Clinton, deserve the backing of the party and everyone else needs to fall in step. Shutting your mouth and paying your dues isn't exactly a defining feature of the Millenial voter.

But keep telling them what THEY SHOULD remember. What THEY SHOULD prioritize. How THEY SHOULD vote. How THEY SHOULD protest. It didn't work before but, if anyone is interested in using a failing method time and time again, it's the Democratic National Committee.

Related:

"Democratic National Committee members on Saturday voted down a resolution that would have reinstated former President Barack Obama’s ban on corporate political action committee donations to the party.

...

Obama, as the party’s presidential nominee in 2008, banned contributions from political action committees, as well as from lobbyists. Former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz quietly lifted the ban ahead of the 2016 election."

...former Labor Secretary [Now DNC-Chair] Tom Perez, declined to say whether he supports the idea of such a ban."


And what did all that cash get the Dems in '16? Their asses kicked and their credibility, again, tarnished. And who came up with the brilliant move to punt President Obama's ban? The establishment DNC. So when they say "At least we aren't the GOP!" Do Democrats mean you can trust them to end the wars because Lockheed only gave DNC Services Corp $110K last year versus the GOP's $140K?

"In all four states where Republicans have voted, they have broken the all-time records for voter turnout for each and every state. On the flip side, turnout for Democrats is down 28% in Iowa, 13% in New Hampshire, and an astounding 33% in Nevada.

". . . In some cases, party leaders are just skipping them altogether in many states and at college campuses.

"Political commentator Roland Martin chimed in on how much lower Democratic voter turnout has been:

"They (the Democratic Party) should be driving hard for registration, registration, registration. I don’t understand why they’re not spending a massive amount of money in Texas to register those 2.1 million eligible unregistered Hispanics. We have nearly 1 million folks in Georgia alone who are unregistered African-American and Latino. That’s where they should be because it’s going to be a turnout game for them in Ohio — Florida."

https://www.google.com/amp/www.nydailynews.com/amp/news/election/dem-voter-registration-leading-turnout-article-1.2545420

Crappy cut and paste editing on my part, but the theme of the article is that the Democratic leadership failed to conduct vigorous voter registration drives.

That, not vote suppression, is blamed for the low turnout in question; though at the end of the article it is observed that half a million Blacks in Florida (with felony records) are banned for life by state law from voting.

Mike Doughty wrote: "Saw the movie Allied last night and was struck by the cooperation that every person gave toward the cause of the war.(Nurses were selfless and wives who understodd a man's responsibility to his job.) That is what is missing today IMHO."

Hollywood often simplifies the narrative.

For example, despite the fact that the leadership of the AFL and the CIO pledged a no-strike policy at the start of the war, wildcat strikes, especially of a short variety, were common. In his book "Strike!" author Jeremy Brecher writes:

"During the forty-four months from Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, there were 14,471 strikes involving 6,774,000 strikers, more than during any period of comparable length in United States history. In 1944 alone, 369,000 steel and iron workers, 389,000 auto workers, 363,000 other transportation equipment workers, and 278,000 miners were involved in strikes. In many cases 'quickie' tactics were extremely effective in improving working conditions and easing the burden of company discipline. Workers made virtually extra holidays for themselves around Christmas and New Year's, holding illicit plant parties and cutting production to a trickle."


There was less than 100 percent personal dedication to the war effort at the top, also. The CEO of Texaco, Torkild River (a naturalized Norseman), in violation of the Neutrality Act, sent thousands of tons of oil from the Barco fields in Columbia to Nazi Germany. Even after war broke out in Europe, he defied the British embargo by shipping oil to neutral ports from which it could be transshipped to Germany. Admittedly, this was before United States involvement in the war. (Game of the Foxes, Stanislaw Ferago, chapter 36.).

A very funny follow up. Germany had no foreign exchange with which to buy oil at this point. It was bartering by giving Texaco three oil tankers, as well as promising payment from funds in Germany that were currently blocked.

The Texaco representative who traveled to Germany in the summer of 1940 to take possession of the third tanker, brought a little intelligence bonus: a 58 page study reviewing the impending expansion of the American aircraft industry, designed to establish what 50,000 planes would require in fuel, lubricants, and other petroleum products. (The Texaco economists had concluded that the envisioned expansion was entirely within the capability of American industry.)

When Admiral Canaris, chief of the Abwehr (a German foreign intelligence service) brought Hitler a copy of the report, the Fuehrer shrugged it off and even threatened to punish those who believed or circulated such "defeatist rubbish".

"Did you say 50,000 planes?" he asked Canaris. "You must be out of your mind to take such crap (Dreck) seriously. Fifty-thousand rubber tranquilizers, maybe, for the poor little babies of America. But 50,000 planes! Don't be ridiculous!"

Sorry, that should be Torkild Rieber. This damned editor keeps sneaking in substitutions.

Yes, Ken, and many of those FL ineligible felons are the effect of Clinton's '94 crime bill (of which Hillary supported with her "super-predators" comments). Why, it's almost as if decades of short-sighted decision-making at the top of the party is somehow leading to decades of embarrassing Democratic Party performances at the ballot box!

"But how can that be?!" asks Tim Kaine, "Haven't people heard we aren't the GOP?!"

We used to have a commenter here who went by the handle of "Emil Pulsifer." Later investigation showed it was doubtful this was actually the individual's name.

For a long time, he was a faithful commenter. He was often knowledgeable and informative, if long-winded. I even allowed him to do a few guest columns. When he claimed that he could only afford to use a computer at the library, several in the Rogue community offered to give him one. Again, this proved to be a likely misrepresentation.

The time came when "Emil" became quite unhinged after his viewpoint was challenged in the comments. After I appeared to side with the other party, he deluged me with some of the vilest, and craziest, emails I have ever received (and I'm no virgin).

After this he was banned and blocked.

He reappeared later under another pseudonym, but it didn't take long for this to unravel. The odd thing was, in his flamethrower emails to me he made it clear how inferior Rogue was and he couldn't wait to deprive it of his insights.

I write this with some disquiet because the individual who wrote those emails is not someone I would want to meet in a dark alley. That individual also could attempt to cause technical or other mischief to this blog.

But consider yourself warned. This is **my** blog and I have been in dark alleys more than once.

Re blaxabbath:

"A writer of plays once said that there are some situations that one cannot use on the stage; situations in which the audience can feel neither approval nor disapproval, sympathy or antipathy; situations out of which there is no possible way that is not humiliating or distressing and from which there is no truth, however bitter, to be extracted. He was, you may say, one of those unhappy men who are confounded by the difference between the stupid vulgarities of real life and the ideal existence of the imagination. That may be. Yet, I have been wondering if, for once, I do not find myself in sympathy with him. Can one explain Dimitrios or must one turn away disgusted and defeated?"

-- Eric Ambler, A Coffin For Dimitrios

Substitute "Democratic Party" for "Dimitrios", and the parallel is exact!

Another good thread. Thanks to Jon, again, for sticking up for Hoover, who was better than history remembers him.

Blax, I found your comments interesting. I might argue that modern social-media-driven culture is so individualized and narcissistic and presentation-oriented that all that really matters to a median individual is the projection of their own ideological purity, not the success or failure of some party or coalition.

How personally does such an individual really identify with the widespread failure of the Democratic party? I haven't seen anyone raising their hand to take any share of the blame; has anyone else?

This modern individual maintains perfect political righteousness in their own mind, and therefore it's not their fault or their job to fix it if things don't go the way they "should." This is not exactly a "roll up your sleeves and tackle problems as a team" mentality, which does not seem like a good harbinger for the party of collectivism.

Jon, keep beating your drum about blue-enclave protests and how none of it does anything to concern or threaten one red-district GOP legislator. You're on the money there and that's a distillation that the frothy "look what atrocities Trump committed today!" news cycle continues to largely miss.

My mind is currently mulling over some sort of synthesis about how our social and political problems relate to our minds' inability to process the rapid rate of technological change and its impacts on ourselves and our society, but I don't really have a thesis yet.

Mark, I'm not exactly sure what you're saying although I suspect I'm at least in partial agreement with you. Here's Paul Krugman's take from the other side in this mornings' Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/opinion/the-uses-of-outrage.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

The Democratic Party reflects the social chaos of our nation, which is why it gets blamed for that chaos, as if free markets and technology had nothing to do with it. Republicans have a much easier time with their culture-war deflections. People in sales know to keep their messages short and simple. Impact depends on creating a memorable tagline around which reality is distilled and then distorted. Make America Great Again is an example of an amorphous content-free ad campaign that arouses affinity but nothing so serious as a functional idea. Low-information voters are already predisposed to think of "others" as being the reason America is not great.

People in Bernie Land are convinced that if the Democrats simply moved hard left, the messaging would take care of itself. This is extraordinarily naive. One example: people love the idea of a single-pay health care system, but only up to a point. Once the necessity of higher taxes is introduced, support evaporates. We Who Are Liberal advocate social democracy in a socially incoherent country where people don't quite get the idea of the common good when their next-door neighbor looks different from them. That's the perennial problem. Short of gulags and internment camps, this problem is not going away.

Once again, if the left in America wasn't hamstrung by narcissism and the compulsion to preen its moral superiority, we would be much further down the road to a strong social democracy. Purity rage is childish if not insane. It's why George W Bush became president in 2000, and now Donald Trump. People on the right were content voting for candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain. Liberals could learn something from the them. The coalition is the message.

A few words about Emil and his current doppelgaenger: I appreciate the fact this person has a high IQ and an indefatigable talent for finding Truth in arcane places where most people would simply curl up and fall asleep. I once aroused his ire by telling him that I didn't bother to read his comments because they bored me. What's telling here, however, is that the Subject of Emil is really quite fascinating. Who is this guy? What's his history? Why does he seem so, well, different?

It's a cliché but the personal really is political - our opinions are rooted in the mud of our psyches. As an example, I've written here how my now-deceased father was very similar to Donald Trump, from his grandiosity to his bullying to the solitary confinement of his own egomania. Mine was not an easy childhood for that reason and I've spent a lot of time this past year processing some of that damage. It's the reason I have to step back from this forum from time to time. The intensity of our Rorschach political culture can be overwhelming.

My opinions are nothing special at all. Other people express similar ideas much better and with fewer words. What politics is really doing is to serving as a projection screen for my own inner demons, i.e., the fears, pride, and anger of an inner life not fully inhabited. I notice this much better in others, sad to say, than in myself. The need to be "right" is a presenting symptom, usually too close to be clearly seen. But the clues are everywhere.

My wish for Emil/Ken is that he awaken to the much vaster and richer story that is his own life. Politics/"being right" is a sideshow, by contrast. I don't mean to sound patronizing here since my own life has itself been so problematic. All of us are reaching across an abyss to the deepest place we can ever know within. That's the real struggle here, and I doubt writing about the external world will alleviate the pain of not living from that place.


Ken-

I do hammer the DNC establishment to the point of redundancy here and, if I understand the quote correctly, I do agree that, at the end of the day, every decision they make is not deserving of applause or criticism. In fact, the true could be said of most of the government, including Congress.

When Hillary's camp was trying to convince the Bernie Bros to commit after Super Tuesday (once the primary was effectively over), one statistic they leaned on was that, as Senators, Bernie and Hillary voted the same in something like 90+% of their votes. Sure they varied on some major issues but, as the statistics showed, most of the votes in Congress are effectively procedural. Do we rename a park in Tucson after a victim of the Jan 20 shooting? Do we skip out for Christmas recess a day early because the agenda is empty? Of course, but these motions still require a vote the same as if they were calls to repeal the ACA or remove Monsanto from liability for the health effects of their GMO seeds.

I think of this space, perhaps incorrectly, as a bit of an incubator where -- maintaining general civility and respect -- every angle may be discussed, big or small, urgent or not. And, also, where we can do so openly without having to prove our loyalty to the greater good every time we disagree with Rogue or Pelosi or Sanders or Obama. Not unlike the core of the GOP where these factions can fight ruthlessly for their interests with the understanding that the coalition will still stand when the dust settles. Maybe I'm naive in this aspect but, like it or not, we're all effectively partnered with the dopes at the DNC because the two-party system gives us the options of stupidity or Trump.

[Go ahead and insert your joke about those being the same thing here.]


Soleri, Not sure what's going on, but it appears that the site has a history of which I wasn't aware. If it helps, there are 17 Ken Atherton on LinkedIn and many, many more in online White Pages. So if it's a name related thing, perhaps that will put it in context. I'd rather not get drawn into this, whatever it is. Thanks.

@ Ken Atherton...

Trump has made everyone paranoid.

. . . and finally - whither go the withering Democrats?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

"The energy generated by Clinton’s electoral loss can now go into clawing one’s eyes out and refusing to see reality for what it is, as so much of the Democratic Party establishment has been doing since its defeat."

Supporting a Feminism for the 99%

Soleri, thank you for your 2/27 6:53am response, I agree with your points.

Maybe part of it is that the Republicans have completely and 100% throughout the party committed to certain people who are strong single-issuer voters -- 2nd amendment and pro-life single-issue voters in particular. Maybe that's part of how they maintain their coalition and voter turnout even when they run less-popular or problematic candidates.

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