Fusing Group Identity and Class-Based Politics

    In respective post-election “taking stock” articles, Columbia History Professor Mark Lilla for the New York Times and Alex Seitz-Wald at NBC suggest how the Democratic Party can return to prominence. Lilla contends that Trump’s victory should mark the End of Identity Liberalism. Identity liberalism, as practiced by Democrats like Hillary Clinton, consists of appeals to discrete groups identified by race, ethnicity, gender, and sexually orientation. This is a losing strategy, Lilla argues, and must be rejected in favor of one that seeks to attract voters based on shared economic interests and overarching national goals.

    Seitz-Wald is less dogmatic. In Democrats: Left in the Lurch, he contends that Democrats must choose between two strategies which he dubs the Ohio Path and the Arizona Path. Similar to Lilla’s prescription, the former consists of communicating to white working class voters an overt populist economic message while “de-prioritiz[ing] policies that are either unimportant or alienating to these voters, like immigration reform, and so-called identity issues.” Following the Arizona Path means more group identity politics based on near-term forecasts that the electorate will consist of an increasing percentage of Democratic voters of color. Seitz-Wald does not state a preference between the two paths.

    What neither Lilla nor Seitz-Wald contemplate is an approach that recognizes that the white working class and the great majority of non-white voters share nearly identical economic interests and the differences between the groups will likely be ameliorated in a growing economy in which the bottom 50% reaps the preponderance of income gains.

    Indeed, American history since the New Deal demonstrates that the fortunes of the white working class and minorities are joined at the hip. From the 1930s through the late 60s, African-Americans and other poor and working-class Americans saw their economic fortunes relative to the affluent rise substantially. It’s no coincidence that during the last fifteen years of this period, blacks achieved remarkable gains in civil rights.

    While fortunes for the lower middle-class stagnated in the 70s, the poorest Americans saw their relative status continue to rise until Ronald Reagan took office. The whites who abandoned the Democratic party in 1980 may well have been motivated in part by resentment at their worsening economic condition under Jimmy Carter. Once in office, Reagan attacked unions, slashed the safety net, and with Democratic assistance, taxes on the wealthy. Since then, both the white lower middle-class African-Americans have seen their share of the nation’s wealth evanesce - a destabilizing trend made far worse by the free trade deals vigorously championed by Presidents from both parties.

    Besides economic justice and civil rights for blacks, liberals made remarkable gains in a number of other areas from the mid-50s to the 70s. The environmental movement came to the fore as did the women’s rights and closely-related reproductive rights movements, and the United Farm Workers enjoyed important wins towards the end of this period. Over the past 36 years, however, all of these progressive groups have had been fighting rear-guard actions. The only identity group in America to see a meaningful improvement in its legal, and possibly economic, status since 1980 is gays.

    To become the dominant national party again, Democrats must unite behind policies that serve the economic interests of poor, working-class, and middle-class Americans. This means fighting against every trade deal that pits fairly paid domestic workers against overseas laborers making 90% less. It also means fighting for, among other things, 1) higher taxes on the wealthy, 2) unions, 3) universal healthcare, 4) a tight safety net from birth to death, and 5) truly affordable higher education for all who are qualified. Indeed, this is so crucial for the party’s success, that it must adopt as a litmus test for its candidates a demonstrated commitment to redistribution of wealth and income down.

    Democratic wins will result in a better quality of life for the great majority of Americans of color and the white working class. Other important progressive priorities will also get attention. For example, when Americans feel economically secure, they are more likely to support initiatives to protect the environment just as they supported civil rights in the mid-1960s.

    Assuming the truth of this political paradigm, Democratic primary voters should have rallied behind Bernie Sanders. His long and documented record opposing “free trade” deals, meant he would have had a better chance to attract sufficient numbers of the white working class to beat Trump in the crucial Midwest. Were he elected, he would have fought harder for the working class and they would have fared better than under a Clinton Presidency. Ultimately, this would have led to a greater willingness throughout the nation to address important social justice issues.

    Still a major schism emerged between white and black Democrats. While whites narrowly preferred the more progressive Bernie Sanders, more than three times as many African-Americans voted for Hillary Clinton as they did for Sanders. This overwhelming support, which accounted for her comfortable margin of victory, puzzled many of us on the left. We believed Sanders’ record and rhetoric demonstrated, not only a greater commitment to the poor and working-class who are disproportionately black, but also to issues like police brutality and incarceration that are of particular importance to black Americans. Clinton, however, succeeded in convincing many African-Americans that Sanders’ focus on economic injustice bespoke an insufficient commitment to racial justice.

    In order to regain power, therefore, Democrats must continually stress the commonality of interests among the white working-class and voters of color. They must also recognize that the latter along with women and those whose sexuality falls outside of the heteronormative have struggles that are distinct from those of poor and working-class whites. But they must do so in a way that does not diminish the outsize role that class and wealth at birth play in determining one’s future.

    In their respective columns, Lilla and Seitz-Wald neglect to mention another critical priority for Democrats. Nominating candidates whose history is free of financial peccadilloes and any whiff of corruption. In seeking power, Democrats rightly stress the need for a government that is big and powerful enough to rein in integrated multi-national corporations and to protect the less fortunate from capitalism’s sharp edges.

    There is a danger for wealthy ostensibly progressive candidates however in making this argument. When criticizing a system that has richly rewarded them, they risk charges of hypocrisy and self-righteousness. Many of Hillary Clinton’s supporters were baffled by the fact that their candidate was dogged by corruption charges and questions about her honesty. They argued that by any reasonable measure Donald Trump’s record in these areas is more egregious. Of course, most voters didn’t like Trump either and he ended up with many fewer votes nationally than Clinton.

    But Clinton called for government to play a much greater role in alleviating various societal pathologies exacerbated by corporatism. Accordingly, her close relationship with Wall Street, which enriched her and her family beyond the wildest dreams of most Americans, and her refusal to publish her speeches to Goldman Sachs called into question her commitment to social justice - doubts that her decades-long record in public service failed to dispel.

    It is important to note that President Obama has a remarkably scandal-free record and never faced any questions about his personal probity. Likewise, Bill Clinton was perceived as a crude parvenu and a cheater. But the only corruption charge against him was Whitewater which proved to be at the very worst a penny-ante scheme that cost the Clintons money.

    Democrats must recognize that voters and the media hold them to a higher standard when it comes to allegations of dishonesty and self-dealing. Those who decry concentrated wealth and power have little credibility when they personally have parlayed political connections into many millions.

    In sum, Democrats can return to power only if they run squeaky clean candidates with a documented commitment to economic and social justice. It’s going to be long road.


    On Saturday, you saw a big part of the solution to the Democratic Party's problem. Angry women (and men) took to the streets to voice displeasure. The march started out as being organized by and for white women. After backlash on social media, minorities gained leadership positions. Women of every color and creed came together. Black women supported Hillary with 94% of the vote. White women supported Trump by 53%.  Racial bias worked in Trump's favor. Misogyny worked in Trump's favor. Some women were so used to misogyny, that they accepted it as normal. Blacks initially had skepticism about Obama's chances. Blacks took a chance. I think white women now realize that they missed an opportunity. That will not happen again. White women see the pile of garbage that is Donald Trump. They see a sad white women willing to bow and scrape for a white 'Massa by championing alternative facts. I think the white female vote in 2018 may change for the better.

    Blacks and Latino men and women are energized. Many white women are energized. Sadly, many white men are stuck. They see people who look like them suffering and want to reach out to help. They are blind to the racial and gender bias some white males have that make it impossible for them to join hands in an endeavor that also benefits blacks and Latinos. Some white men on the Left cannot come to grips with the fact that Bernie Sanders was not viewed as the economic Messiah. They are just as stuck as the reactionaries on the Right. What the Democrats need to do for 2018 is energize their base of women and minorities. The white guys are going to take a long time to understand the feelings that minorities and many women had when they heard Donald Trump speak. Trump did not speak in dog-whistles, he was clear in what he intended for those who weren't white males. Many white guys did not recognize the fear Trump created in those who weren't white guys. White guys could focus on mythical flaws in Hillary Clinton because they really had nothing to lose. 

    The White House website scrubbed mention of Civil Rights and abortion. This is no surprise to minorities and women. For white guys still butt about Bernie, you may take a look and see that Trump is coming after health care. Mention of Climate Change is gone from the website. We see the reactionaries he put in place in his Cabinet. We saw the solution to the problem on Saturday. Public protest, calls and emails, to Congress are part of the solution. Kellyanne is now know as the alternative facts lady. Trump is the Russian puppet.

    We are never going to win over the 30% of diehard Trump supporters. Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary by 3 million. Another 7 million voted for Stein or Johnson. We start with a pool of 10 million more people who didn't vote for Trump. We have people who sat out the election out of disgust. Trump is now in office and many who stayed home are scared out of their wits by the nitwit posing as President. Houston, we have a solution to our problem. Unfortunately, some white guys still stuck over Bernie's failure to launch will not be part of the solution. They will be demanding candidates who can never be elected. They will be looking for white guys who are not coming back to the Democratic Party. The rest of us, will form a rainbow coalition of whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians that are facing the future without rose-colored glasses.

    Edit to add:

    I think some women cast a vote for Trump because they bought into the evil Hillary meme but they didn't think Trump would win.

    The word 'racism' does not appear on this blog, or the two academic essays. You cannot develop strategy and ignore Republican exploitation of racism in America to divide voters by race/ethnic identity.

    Your " Indeed, American history since the New Deal demonstrates that the fortunes of the white working class and minorities are joined at the hip."

    Blacks and white workers were not 'joined at the hip' in the New Deal.

    Blacks couldn't vote in many states, there was segregation, even in the federal workplace.

    FDR did not support federal intervention to outlaw lynching in the 1936 election. He was afraid he would lose the vote of the same rural racists we are discussing today. You are not joined at the hip when your neighbors can legally lynch you.

    2016: A blatantly racist campaign was run by Trump he:  "Southernized" some northern states:

    As I noted yesterday, rural whites in places like Pennsylvania voted for Trump in close to the same numbers that you typically see whites in states like Mississippi vote for the Republicans. Where Romney might have gotten 70% of their votes, Trump frequently got around 80%.

    Back in 2013, I said it would be “criminal” for the Republican Party to deliberately racialize our politics in the North to the point that they resembled what we see in the South. I said that to accomplish this, the GOP would have to use “a strategy that will, by necessity, be more overtly racist than anything we’ve seen since segregation was outlawed.”

    I didn’t say the strategy couldn’t or wouldn’t work.

    It did work.

    The problem with rural fundamentalist whites is summarized in An Insider's View, the Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America.:

    ... The problem isn’t that coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans. The problem is that rural America doesn’t understand itself and will never listen to anyone outside its bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views will be automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they will not even entertain the possibility that it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact that I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal.....

    Now Trump is saying don't believe the MSM on anything that deflates his ego. We have Republican alt-facts, and 25 years of indoctrination by hate radio and Fox News hardwired into too many white rural brains.

    Democrats must somehow peel off enough of this group, or get enough of others to vote in larger numbers, and counter the blatant racist exploitation card that the GOP always plays at campaign time.


    Thanks. Democrats are supposed to ignore the racism in the Republican appeal. Democrats and minorities are supposed to reach out to people who reflexively reject any connection to minorities. What do require of the racists?

    Two points in response:

    Regarding your comment that the word "racism" does not appear in the post, I did not write this article to decry our tribalism, our innate suspicions and fears of people who are different than we are, although I do decry them.  I wrote it to suggest how Democrats can win elections despite these self-destructive artifacts of several million years of evolution.

    I posit that our best bet is candidates with a history of fighting 1) to improve the quality of life of all poor, working, and middle-class Americans without regard to race and 2) for racial and gender justice.  I do not believe that we should hitch our wagon to candidates whose history is replete with attempts to exploit the racial and sexual divide for their own purposes.  Viz. "superpredators" - 1996, "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" - 2008, "Black Lives don't matter to Bernie Sanders" and "there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other" - 2016.  Do you disagree?  If so why?

    Regarding your comment that the economic interests of the white working-class and people of color are not congruent, please see Elizabeth Warren's History Lesson. http://halginsberg.com/elizabeth-warrens-history-lesson/

    The race problem is that white voters see advances made by blacks as coming at the expense of whites. This is a chronic issue. Post slavery, Jim Crow laws came into being. Post the Civil Rights era, gerrymandering came. After the election of a black President, we see a backlash. You ignore the source of the problem. The problem is not the blacks aren't willing to work with whites, it is that whites, especially white males, are unwilling to join forces with blacks. Thus we get nonsense arguments about racial identity politics.

    Hal, you refer often to Bernie's "record."  Could you be more specific?  I am not talking about his speeches, with his hands waving around.  I'm not talking about his impossible to deliver promises.  I'm not even going to mention his newly-found wealth, which came from somewhere we will never know because he will never let us know.  Oops!  I did mention it!  He has a nice new house, I hear.  Maybe his tax forms are in a closet somewhere.

    What is his legislative record in the Senate?   Because I am not aware that he has one. His main record is as someone who opposed everything that wasn't perfect, according to him.   What has he accomplished in these 30 years to make LAW or anything else for that matter, as to contributing to Progressive goals?

    Your idea that Democrats have to present a "squeaky-clean" nominee is a little strange. What do you have in mind?  Something like the GOP did this year?  Can you elaborate with something more than we have to be better than they are?  WE ALREADY ARE!  That didn't work!

    No, this post makes it easy to see why trump won.  And the fact that you are still beating this dead horse makes me certain that the future will be no better unless you and others will finally get over yourselves.  

    Hal always tells us what everybody else has to do to statisfy his criteria. He is unwilling to move an inch. The white women who originally organized the march did an amazing thing. They responded to criticism and changed the structure of the organizing committee.They were not inflexible. The result was a resounding success. People who are stuck in the past cannot be expected to reach out to minorities. If you are stuck in 2016, we cannot expect you to be a part of the structure we need from 2017 onwards.

    I'd like to preface this with I don't know if I agree with your opinion here only because I haven't read hardly any of Hal's writing. But it really popped out at me when you said this:

    Hal always tells us what everybody else has to do to statisfy his criteria.

    Especially because I know you yourself tend to be quite liberal. This is PRECISELY describing the preachy liberal thing that has turned off swing voters to Dems since at least like the era of Reagan Democrats. It's like this: if you sound like a totalitarian to a reasonable person, whether coming from right or left wing: just not good!  Some people like it in their religion, and that's fine, that's why we have "separation of...."



    Hal thinks that Bernie should have won. He thinks that white voters were ignored. I think that white voters left the Democratic Party after LBJ signed Civil Rights legislation.


    Nixon had the Southern Strategy. Ronald Reagan began his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with a strong statement about state's rights. Obama lost the white vote in both elections. This time white voters went for the guy supported by David Duke and the Klan. Jeff Sessions' DOJ is ready to turn back the clock on voting rights. Race is very important in Presidential elections.

    White males are not coming back to the Democrats any time soon in overwhelming numbers. We need a coalition of minorities and Progressive whites. I was impressed by the organization conducted by Progressive women on Saturday. We should follow their example.

    Hal would call me a Centrist because I didn't support Bernie Sanders.

    I just want to address your point about the success of the women's march. I think there might have been something elusive there that one might not be able to easily capture in effective political coalitions. It's not a coalition with much glue to it. People had many different varying reasons to want to come out and express fear of Trump. It was heartening like this: lots of people aren't going to let Hitler happen again.

    The march indicates that there are people who can be activated to vote in 2018. Democrats get support from a variety of sources: voter suppression opposition, women's rights, environment, aversion to a**holes, etc. Trump energizes activism from multiple groups.

    Glad you're back.  Clearly your absence gives you  some valuable perspective.

    Hal and his antagonists- all thoughtful  liberals -have difficulty drawing a  =  under the antagonisms that developed during the Bernie/Hillary primary. 

    Parenthetically , I wrote at far too much length (as usual) in HOW COULD THIS COULD HAVE HAPPENED that strongly contested primaries always do this. My heart sinks at the beginning of every election at the reappearance  of "it's  time for a change" .  Shorthand for "we're tired of winning ."

    "Enough about me" as the very tired old joke goes. You warn that "preachy liberal"  is a turn off. And implicitly that  "quite liberal" is more so.

    Going further:  "Occupy" , "Black lives matter" and  feminist protests do the same. Just to avoid wasting Dagblog space ,I completely approve of their objectives .  But while I might convince my good hearted, sensible, mechanic   to agree  with any one of these worthwhile efforts  I lose my audience fast if I expand that.  For 729 days he's concerned about spark plugs. And maybe he'll vote on the 730th for the candidate I've suggested. If I keep it simple stupid.

    Not exactly the same thing  but close. And l like quoting it.

    * Marry the man today                                                                                                                                             Give him the girlish laughter                                                                                                                                Marry the man today                                                                                                                                            And change his ways............thereafter

    The democratic candidate has to be-I was going to say- "to the left of the Republican". But  change that to

    "a disappointment to Hal,and CVille Dem and  NCD " .  And then  we can have a shot at changing his ways.............thereafter. 


    *Guys and Dolls.








    Thanks Flavius for the kind words.

    Flav, thanks for the nod, you know I adore you and am always glad to see you're still around.

    You're getting to the heart of something here that is the reason I stated on another thread that I just realized I hate presidential horse race.I love marketing so I get carried away with how personalities are marketed and what appeals to people, in analyzing it. At the same time, I realize this is not selling soap, in this marketing the results are deadly serious. So, like when we had Obamania ad nauseum at TPMCafe in 2008, it really depressed me. It wasn't that I thought Obama would be a terrible president, I despaired in how irrationally people were acting in the throes of fandom. (I can't get over remembering right now when M.J. Rosenberg started a discussion by saying to a commenter "what's wrong with populism"; I hope he knows what's wrong with it now. There was another one that sticks in my brain, a girlish commenter, over the top Obama fan, would just spread the most ridiculous stuff all the time, like "it's a known fact that Michelle hates Hillary," the whole celeb thing.)

    People who are interested in effecting seriously political change need to drop the presidential horse race for dogged pursuit of both 1) changing results of congressional races and 2) changing cultural attitudes through media. Putting all the hopes on one man/woman, one race, is in the end, just silly.After the years-long hugely expensive presidential race in this country, everyone always feels let down and burned out. Don't get so involved in the first place is the solution.We'd save a lot of money that could be put to better use, too.I see getting too carried away with charisma and the it factor is much more of the problem than the ill-informed working class voter, all that energy wasted, just like it is with rabid 24/7 fans of pro-football teams. Sure, it's fun. But also so dangerous.

    I'm quite interested in the expectations and predictions part. What makes us "irrational" is often quite rational based on poor predictions, poor assessment if any of the actual odds, the real likelihood of outcomes.

    How much of this vote or Brexit had immediate and lasting buyer's remorse - people who acted one way because they believed the downside didn't exist or was completely unlikely, near impossible. 30% is 3 out of 10, not impossible, and who knows if the odds should have been fairly given at even that low amount.

    Even now, a lot of people are banking on unsupported hunches that Trump doesn't mean what he says, that things won't be that bad, etc. I'd rather hear them say, "well, there's a 25% he'll be reasonably fair with more bark than bite, a 40% chance he'll game the system to his immense profit with immense suffering among his opponents or the little people, a 15% chance the Republicans will about-face to make him stand down, a 10% chance his goofy incompetence will lead to major worldwide calamity, and a 5% chance he'll come close to be being some kind of modern day totalitarian Hitler."  

    I just pulled these numbers out of my arse, but even there it feels more comforting to me to acknowledge the different possible outcomes as *real unfolding likelihoods to some degree*. I imagine you do something similar in the art world - not just gauge the highest bidder, but the range of likelies - 2-3 people might pay X, 20 or so might pay Y, the average Joe/Josephine Z, and if things go real bad they'll basically give it away for Q.

    Re: the preachy liberal. Theodore Roosevelt was a preachy liberal. So were FDR and JFK. And those Fox News talk hosts and Tea Party evangelists who have run roughshod American politics are preachy conservatives.

    If you compare the history of the two parties for the past 30 years, you see one party triangulating toward those elusive swing voters while the other party makes love to the right wing. And it's the latter party that's winning--despite their totalitarian attitudes toward abortion, gay rights, guns, etc

    Moral of this story: accommodation is not an effective long-term political strategy.

    Now there may be something wrong with what liberals are preaching or how they do it, but the idea that politicians and political activists should avoid saying anything that would "turn off" swing voters is not the answer.

    It is easier to ride 1 horse than 4 or 5 or 9. But riding 9 horses might still be the right thing to do.

    Harness 'em to a carriage

    OMG zounds, he's a frickin' genius - Wolraich for President!

    I have no comment on my presidential plans at this time.

    In all seriousness, we need a theme to bind these horses together. Republicans united religious fundamentalists, gun nuts, racists, libertarians, and corporate executives with a narrative about overreaching government that was flexible enough to embrace everything from abortion to gun rights to taxes.

    What narrative do Democrats have to unite disparate progressive interests? For much of the 20th century, the progressive's big theme was corporate greed and economic inequality. Bernie and Hal would have us return to that, and maybe they're right, though I worry that it doesn't pack the same punch it once did. I don't have a better suggestion though.

    Until we get there, what we need is an Underground Railroad of Truth.

    All the scientists and civil service workers that are being gagged by the trump bunch (so far EPA and DOE so far) need to find a way to leak safely.  They are prohibited from speaking to any press, from publishing anything without approval, and from posting any social media comments.  

    Maybe a book club, or hiking group where they could talk to their heart's content to their friends, who can then pass information to the press.  Of course, we could all post information we have gotten from friends on social media, being careful to protect them.  Shit, I am thinking of the French Resistance.

    But seriously, getting the truth out is an absolute necessity.  Now that the press is the target maybe they will get serious about their jobs.  

    The problem with a unifying theme, which I agree we need, is the self-defeating group of purists who make sure that mud is thrown all over the Democratic winner.  Hal is still insisting that we should, each of us, agree that Hillary was fatally flawed, and Bernie would have won if he had not been cheated out of the nomination.  And the election is waaaay over!  

    We need a theme that will be inclusive but simple, [ Reading, Writing, and Rithmatic ] is what I'm trying to come up with.  

    How's this?   Real Healthcare, Real Jobs, and Real Support -- for Everyone

    Ok, just thinking out loud.

    I'm talking about an overarching story, not a slogan. Political movements require good guys and bad guys and a narrative arc.

    PS Sneering at "self-defeating purists" for sabotaging party unity is the height of hypocrisy. And demanding fealty to a candidate is just as "purist" as demanding fealty to an ideology.

    I can honestly say that if Bernie had won the nomination (and there was a time that I thought he might) I would have backed him completely.  Those who just couldn't stand Hillary because of all the things she had been accused of and voted for Stein or stayed home; even those who voted for Hillary but continued to throw mud at her in my opinion, were/are self-defeating purists.  I disagree with your contention that it makes me a hypocrite to say so.  As a Democrat I was willing to back a non-Democrat (Bernie) if he had won, and I would have been happy to discuss his good qualities rather than reluctantly, sadly, bravely admit that, warts and all, he was what we were stuck with, which describes the anemic "support" she got from many Bernie supporters. And I guarantee you that if he had lost I would not be harping, at this date (!) on everyone agreeing with me that he was just too flawed to win.

    Slogans are simple-minded, but look at what got people energized for trump!  "Crooked Hillary" (shouted by perhaps the most crooked pol ever).  I wont go on because I don't feel like going over all the idiotic slogans or slurs that won over the trumpettes.  

    My point really was that somehow we have to get the truth out.  "Obamacare is a disaster.  Such a disaster.!"  Was never challenged ONCE on its merits, and I read, listen, and watch a lot of news.  We laugh at "Alternative facts," but trump supporters don't.  Because they believe the bullshit.  Unless we figure out a way to easily demonstrate the pile of Trump's lies, and figure out a way to better message the Democratic mission,  poor and middle class white people -- and particularly white women -- will stay with the GOP.  But with truth we can hopefully help them to realize that  the GOP policies are toxic to them, they will actually want to get on board with the diverse group that knows why Democratic policies are best for all.  

    Like maybe comparing the situations of red state citizens to blue state citizens.  But I dunno.  You can lead a horse to water......

    The hypocrisy was in calling for progressive unity and, in the same breath, writing off the left wing. Unity begins with mutual respect. As I've said before, to you and to Hal, let's put the election behind us. Hillary is no longer a Democratic candidate. Rehashing her qualifications (again) or denouncing Bernie-or-Busters (again) will not create unity or get us out of this mess. The question at hand is how we go forward from here.

    Trump's slogans worked because they reinforced his narrative about a corrupt political establishment that undermined American interests and ignored the white working class: "America First," "Crooked Hillary," "Drain the swamp," "I am your voice." Without the narrative, they'd be empty mantras, like "I'm with her." So yes, Democrats need slogans, but we have work to do before we're ready to craft those.

    We can't agree on a slogan until we come to some agreement on whether Hillary's or Bernie's or somebody else's vision for the Democratic party and our nation is the correct one.  For example, I would probably plump for something like "End the Corporatocracy" while PP would prefer "More Money in Politics".

    Nope, "less bitching, more winning"

    Slogan suggestion:

    "End The Corporatocracy!  

    Now, that'll get those coal miners' attention!  I'll bet if you set it to music you could even dance to it.  It really speaks to the heart of every red-blooded American who just wants a break, including those who voted for the ultimate corporatist who ran on promising to take their health care away from them, (and who never said "Thank You" to the President who made it all possible for them).


    Over at TPM Josh mentioned a new name:  Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana; who wants to be the next DNC head.  He had a refreshingly new idea:

    Look, we've got a fight. We've also got to be fighting for our values. For far too long, Democratic strategy and policy has been organized completely around Republican strategy and policy.

    He's got a point.


    edited for spelling

    This was my comment:

    The problem with a unifying theme, which I agree we need, is the self-defeating group of purists who make sure that mud is thrown all over the Democratic winner.

    How can we have Progressive unity when some in the party disparage and accuse the winner of cheating and theft, giving shelter and vocabulary to the opponent?  That is self-defeating, and the fact that there is still an effort to make HRC's supporters "admit" that they were wrong after all this time, concerns me for the future.  I know the election is over.  I did not write this blog, nor have I responded to every gripe of Hals, but as I said, my concern is that in the future, the Perfect will be the Enemy of the Good.  

    If that is hypocrisy, I have much worse faults, LOL!

    I would say it's hard to develop that story when internally much of it is derided and dismissed as "neo-liberal", the new "Nazi" or "deplorable" for progressives.

    I suppose I helped that trnd by being dismissive of Blue Dogs, who I felt overstepped in being DINOs when I'd just wanted some acceptance that Democrats need to have a security & defense platform, need a pro-business conception, need to define our own standards of economic responsibility and limits on hubris rather than either "spend spend spend" or deficit hawk or "shrink government enough to drown it in a bathtub".

    Okay, someone else will have to help me out with that positive (or negative?) binding story. The one we have has become a fairy tale, where every effort to solve a problem is actually an evil stepmother attempt to drown the kids, imprison the kingdom and steal all the gold.

    I disagree. For the past 30 years, Republicans have been much harsher towards one and another than Democrats have been. They didn't just call moderates RINOs. They drummed them out of the party. Sometimes, they even lost congressional seats by replacing respected incumbents with wacko insurgents. Donald Trump used the drain-the-swamp narrative to campaign against the Republican establishment. Pundits tisked that the right-wing "purists" were wrecking the GOP, but look where they are now--the most dominant Republican majority nationally and in the states since the early 1900s. All that purging helped them to develop a passionate base and a potent brand.

    I think you're confusing a couple things - sure, the Gingrich crew produced a disciplined set of representatives and largely pushed out moderates, but the values of who won in 1994 were already established. Yeah, the hard-core brand largely abandoned H.W. Bush in 1992 too.

    The Senator pushed out in 2001 because he wasn't voting in lockstep was again about discipline, not such a new way. Tom "The Hammer" DeLay was another emblem of stay-the-path.

    It was only with the Tea Baggers rising from the ashes of the damaged Bush years that we got the continual new unsatisfied crazies pushing further and further to the edge. That would have resulted in a resounding catastrophe last year as neither the Ted Cruz ram-it-into-the-wall nor Jeb Bush "just-keep-on-doing-what-we've-always-done" contingents couldn't attract much of a crowd - but Trump, who defied any legacy philosophy *including* Tea Baggers gave them an out - "we no longer believe in anything except winning, though if you can toss on a stack of favorite issues, we'd be grateful".

    But before the Tea Party, someone like Palin could come along, largely read from teleprompter, and fit right in, anytime from 1980 or at least 1992 onward.

    But okay, so what's that new Democratic brand going to be?

    (will it even be the Democratic Party? There's so much "holding noses" and "start from scratch" going on, hard to imagine they'd want to re-use such a tainted brand.)

    See, the 1994 crew at least knew how to win, as did the 2000/2002 and 2010 GOP models. I don't know *what* the 2016 Far Progressives know how to do, aside from kneecap their not-quite-adopted party.

    The Deaniacs, #OWS and #BLM gave some glimpses of what might be, but they were all rather ineffective in the end. It took that compromising, luke-warm, no drama guy from Chicago to tie all that activism together, and even then, it wasn't a philosophical harness, but more a harness of convenience - a rather abstract, undefined one that kept the coalition together for... a few months and then he disbanded it as not doing *him* any good.

    Maybe the women's coalition/growing protest contingent will bind together and finally provide a larger, more solid core to build around with a proper story, direction, etc. The only group on the left I see really benefiting from the last 12 years of effort is LGBT, and that's not significant & pronounced enough to create a larger movement, if  I read the field right. For HIspanics, we don't even have a model to bind Cubans with Mexicans/Salvadorans, nor does pushing more immigration help with the white majority, so we're really juggling with swords here. And yes, blacks didn't get that much out of the Obama years, much less out of Bush, and will surely get even less out of the Trump years, so there's a generation+ wondering "who has *our* back?"

    The GOP purges started in the 1970s led by Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority, and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress (the first right-wing PAC). With funding from the Coors, he and his associates primaried Republicans whom they didn't consider sufficiently conservative. One target was Rep. John B. Anderson, who would later run as an independent in the 1980 presidential election. Here is George Will's comment on the primary race, circa 1978:

    Trust the zany right-wingers to work themselves into a perfect lather because Anderson voted against Washington issuing an unintelligible decree to local schools . . . The Republican “left” has been shrinking even faster than the party itself has been. Today, the GOP is a conservative party, with less diversity than exists within Britain’s Labor and Conservative parties, and more ideological uniformity than any major American party has had in this century.

    The GOP purges have been going on ever since with different players but same game plan: Rush Limbaugh, NRA, Club for Growth, Koch brothers, Tea Parties.

    With every purge and lurch to the right, pundits like George Will warned that the GOP was making itself unelectable. And yet, the GOP's power has steadily increased from the 1960s, when it was a "big tent" minority party to 2016, when it is an ideologically homogeneous majority party.

    Rather than return to "corporate greed" as a "big theme," I would phrase it thusly:

    People are greedy both as individuals and when organized into corporations.  A crucial role of the state is to harness that greed so that nobody is hungry or sleeping under bridges and no entity becomes so rich and so powerful that it can impose its will on the polity over the objections of the majority.  Moreover, when economic injustice is rampant other matters of grave import will be ignored, dismissed, or minimized, and social pathologies will be exacerbated.

    We have different definitions of preachy is the problem here. Jimmy Carter was preachy, Teddy was charismatic and inspirational.

    Bernie has a certain appeal,I wouldn't put him in the preachy category. I'll admit I haven't though on it enough to know what the problem is there. It may be along the lines of people's preconceptions about the socialist label that he can't seem to break away from, it triggers thoughts of nanny state totalitarianism. Even though he himself doesn't project that, enough probably don't trust that it's not there? And I have seen evidence that a lot of his fans are "preachy".

    TR was sooo preachy, by any reasonable definition. Many of his speeches were condescending lectures about good behavior, and he was constantly chastising everyone--plutocrats, radicals, crooked politicians, muckrakers, you name it.

    But he was charismatic, and I think that's the difference. A charismatic preacher can spellbind an audience even as he damns them to hell. An non-charismatic preacher is just a sanctimonious scold.

    CVille -

    Regarding Bernie's record and Hillary versus Bernie, we have gone back and forth on this one in the past.  I have posted in several places at Dagblog a list of what I believe to be some of Bernie's significant accomplishments.  I am willing to piece that list back together as you request if I am persuaded that you will take it seriously and to consider in good faith the possibility that going forward the Democratic Party must embrace a political agenda that is much closer to Bernie's than it is to Hillary's.  What I am not prepared to do is spin my wheels.  As always, I am prepared to reconsider my express views in light of credible evidence that I am wrong.  Are you likewise open to the possibility that I am right about Hillary and Bernie and you have been wrong?

    Regarding "squeaky clean" candidates, I think I was very clear about what I meant and gave you an example - President Obama. 

    Regarding Trump's evidently corrupt behavior, my point is that because Democrats call on Americans to provide succor for their countrymen and women and for government to play a larger role in protecting people from capitalism's harder edges, Democratic candidates have to be much better than Republicans who generally champion greed.  If you don't think Hillary's record made her a very imperfect critic of Republican selfishness, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    Finally regarding Bernie's "new-found wealth," I agree and have written several times here that his failure to release his tax returns would have been problematic if he had won the Democratic nomination.  That said, buying a house for several hundred thousand dollars on Lake Champlain hardly suggests that he's worth over $100 million does it?

    Hillary got more votes than Trump using a diverse group that included whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc. Democrats need to work on turnout in key states. The majority of voters choose Hillary, negating your repeated attempts to label her a flawed candidate. 

    Bernie did not inspire black voters to the extent that we saw with Hillary. Black women gave Hillary 94% of their votes. Why do you insist on insulting black voters by calling Hillary a flawed candidate? Isn't the real problem misogyny and racism within the white community? The only ethnic group that bought into Trump's pathology was white voters. Ethnic minorities as a whole favored Hillary over Bernie. The flaw was not in Hillary.

    The DNC chair is under consideration. The same people who wanted Bernie are demanding Keith Ellison. They overlook Tom Perez who has a strong record in Civil Rights and Labor.


    Are Bernie supporters wrong to favor Ellison?

    Here's what I think RMRD: Both Ellison and Perez are problematic for different reasons.  Ellison has parroted the corporadem falsehood that those who believe Hillary is corrupt are "rewarding" right-wing "smears".  Perez supported the job-destroying TPP and has favored tax breaks for the financial services industry.  The inability of the Democratic party to rally behind an uncompromised pro-working class progressive bodes ill for the future.  That said I think Ellison is the least bad alternative.

    What do you think?

    I can accept either candidate. Perez gets a slight edge because of his Civil Rights work.

    From TPM:


    A new, very sensitble candidate appears.

    Class, class, class.

    In other news, Trump repeated that he'd lost the popular vote due to 3-5 million illegals voting, and that he'd had the biggest inaugural crowd ever.

    Just keep repeating stuff, ignore, the rebuttals that came before, charge forward.... eventually they give up and you win.

    Have you considered *your* identity has most of its needs taken care of so you focus on money and class? Try Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to clarify - not everyone's in the same boat. Need a big safe harbor approach, berths for many shapes and sizes.

    You imply that I subsume gender and race identities into a broader class identity.  I do nothing of the sort.  I write that successful Democratic candidates must speak both to the specific concerns of identity groups defined by race and gender as well as to the broad economic concerns of the poor, working, and middle-class.  Ignoring the latter means losing elections to Republicans who have no interest in responding to either. 

    Regarding your attempt to makes this personal - "Have you considered *your* identity has most of its needs taken care of so you focus on money and class?"  The answer is yes.  I consider my personal circumstances and experiences all the time and try to ensure that I do not let them foreclose my ability to empathize with others or to blind me to possible answers to our problems.

    Indeed, I am economically fortunate.  The solutions I propose to poverty and massive wealth inequality would leave me less well-off than I am now.  If I were to select a particular "group identity", it would probably be as a secular Jew.  Perhaps my Jewishness should predispose me to undeviating support for Israel over Palestine.  But I don't take that position at all.

    What about you?  How well-fixed are you economically?  Is it possible that you are unwilling to acknowledge or cannot see that poverty and economic injustice have devastating impacts on many millions of Americans and are a primary driver of racism and sexism because you are relatively affluent and effectively addressing poverty might cause you to lose your privileged status?

    "You imply that I subsume gender and race identities into a broader class identity.  I do nothing of the sort.  I write that successful Democratic candidates must speak both to the specific concerns of identity groups defined by race and gender as well as to the broad economic concerns of the poor, working, and middle-class."  -

    Maybe I'm just illiterate, but I see you saying exactly the opposite, that gender and race issues get taken care of by focusing on economic issues - over and over and over again. Care to point out where you say Democrats need to speak to *both* identity and economic concerns?

    You asked me a personal question.  I answered it as well and honestly as I could.  I responded by asking you one.  When you reply, I'll address your other points.

    So PP:

    What about you?  How well-fixed are you economically?  Is it possible that you are unwilling to acknowledge or cannot see that poverty and economic injustice have devastating impacts on many millions of Americans and are a primary driver of racism and sexism because you are relatively affluent and effectively addressing poverty might cause you to lose your privileged status?

    Mine's not *that* personal - I just assume because you're a white male and Jewish in America and I think not too old that gender and ethnic and ageist struggle isn't required, unlike say a black person living in Ferguson or Hispanic in El Paso or a female lawyer or a 50-year-old techie or even manager in Silicon Valley.

    Pretty much same for me, aside from my abode.

    Perhaps being a relatively young man you have the luxury of thinking of healthcare in mostly economic terms, not as critical access. Disabilities may be just another class divide rather than discrimination and struggle for access and sheer survival.

    I mention this because circumstance and critical needs often affect our expectations and minimum required outcomes. They certainly vary from person to person.

    So do you ever ask yourself whether your economically privileged situation may lead you to downplay the problems of the dispossessed especially because addressing them might cost you?

    Actually my travels, people I lived and stayed with around the US and other countries plus own periods where I didn't have money ... I think gave me a pretty varied take on it. I remember being surprised inthat 3rd world countries that poor students wouldn't dig coins out of the ashes on the table cleaning up after a night drinking, or when I hopped a train leaving the station and through misunderstanding handed a guy 10 times the fare (but still very cheap to us) he honestly gave me change, or just the beauty with which people live - clean, ordered, warm - even without money. They of course have problems, some related to money, but it often wasn't such a direct connection or reason for despair as I might have expected. But then there's a big difference between people who are poor and crazy and ones who are disabled and ones who are simply poor. Overall I still find Americans make a bigger deal about money than anywhere else.

    So I want to know whether you engage in any navel-gazing.  I'd love to know whether you ever question whether your personal interests lead you to minimize the problems faced by the poor?  Here's hoping you'll answer that question and so I'll respond to your question.

    History demonstrates that when society addresses poverty and economic injustice inflicting the working class, other social problems also are addressed.  On the other hand, when society allows rampant exploitation and impoverishment of the working-class and the evisceration of the middle-class, minorities, women, and the environment tend to get it in the neck.

    But I do not contend that it is enough to address only economic injustice.  As I wrote above:

    In order to regain power, therefore, Democrats must continually stress the commonality of interests among the white working-class and voters of color. They must also recognize that the latter along with women and those whose sexuality falls outside of the heteronormative have struggles that are distinct from those of poor and working-class whites.

    If you think that is insufficient recognition of specific problems that minorities face, I won't argue.  Instead, I'll ask you what specific policies do you think Democrats should champion in order to redress sexism and racism?

    Finally, you claim that I repeat myself.  I do very frequently argue that economic injustice, i.e., massive wealth and income disparities is a paramount concern.  Do you disagree?  If not, why not?  If so, what are your solutions to the problem?

    Recognizing they have different issues doesn't mean you don't expect them to subsume them into a larger class struggle framework. From the guys you quote and the way you talk, I still assume you do.

    History teaches a lot of diverse and contradictory lessons. I'm rather skeptical of such a tidy summation. I know medieval ghettos where Jewish poverty was largely nil, but social tolerance to their presence never improved. Actually I thought that was the norm throughout Europe, and certainly affects blacks in America today where a middle- or uupppper-class income doesn't preclude they'll be on the ground in athe second accused of stealing or some other crime, tased, beaten and thrown in jail. A good education and wealthy family won't guarantee a black person won't be looked at as a lesser-capable charity case at a job interview, nor will blacks be accepted as easily in Europe whether in a business or social situation or walking down the street. A lot of Arabs have a lot of money, but they're still wogs in the UK.

    And women's issues run the gamut from here to Sunday, and additionally  differ significantly across ethnic, regional, class/money and other spectra. Money is often largely irrelevant to the core problems, but sometimes inseparable but not the root cause.

    Life is much more complex than just an economic lens. As the simplistic Maslow pyramid notes, one itch gets scratched, another appears. Etc, etc.


    I am far more committed both to racial and gender justice than you are.  In total contrast to me, you defend 1) Bill Clinton's use of the execution of a mentally impaired African-American to pander to racist voters in 1992, 2) Hillary Clinton's use of racially charged language like "superpredators", 3) the racially divisive campaign style employed by the Clintons.  You supported for President the Democrat who took money from the private prison industry and who had a significantly worse record on racial justice matters than the candidate I supported.

    You have been studiously silent when confronted with the fact that your candidate in the last Democratic Presidential election stymied a minimum wage increase to approximately 61 cents/hour for Haitian garment workers - who are predominantly black women.  You have evinced no concerns whatsoever about the private speeches your candidate gave to Wall Street fat cats - nearly all of whom are white men.

    You use the fact that reducing the wealth and income gap won't eliminate racism and sexism as an excuse to do nothing at all about economic injustice even though blacks and women are poorer than white men.  Thus, your dismissal of class politics functions as a way for you to foreclose proven ways to improve the lot of the identity groups you claim to champion.

    Although you claim that I ignore evidence that doesn't support my worldview, you are the one who blithely ignores or dismisses studies showing that government policies that reduce the advantages of the ultra-wealthy - higher marginal income tax, a tight safety net, government jobs programs - lead to better outcomes for African-Americans and women and reduce the advantages enjoyed by whites and men over them.

    Your solution to Republican political dominance is more money in politics.  You ignore or are indifferent to the fact that such a "solution" will marginalize women and blacks further since only a tiny percentage of them have the concentrated wealth necessary to move the needle politically.

    You note that in other countries poor people seem happier than poor people here.  You attribute this to their superior outlook on life and less of an obsession with money.  Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps they're happier because they have guaranteed healthcare, a reasonably secure retirement, tuition-free or nearly free education, and don't live in a society where CEOs get paid 500 times or more what average workers make?

    Your example of anti-semitism in Europe actually proves my point.  For over a thousand years, anti-semitism remained a potent and murderous force in Europe, in large part, because elites - kings, nobles, rich merchants, the high clergy - channeled the anger and resentment of the economically insecure and dispossessed against Jews.  If Jews were doing okay economically, then their less well-off neighbors would only become more enraged.  As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, before he took power, Hitler's popularity was closely correlated to Germany's unemployment rate.  The higher the latter the greater the crowds he attracted.

    There is an instructive discussion of this dynamic at Project Aladin - a wholly admirable enterprise designed to bring Jews and Muslims together in support of justice and peace for both around the world. 

    Finally, I note that while you do achieve eloquence when describing ugly racist incidents, you do not propose ways to reduce their incidence.  I do.


    Hal, Hillary got 88% of the total black vote. She got 94% of the votes of black women. Bernie had limited appeal to blacks. Bernie voted for the 1994 crime bill, Hillary did not. Blacks knew that any Republican was a danger to the black community. The black community voted in its best interest. The black community sees a mentally unstable Donald Trump halt a voter suppression case in Texas and remove any mention of Civil Rights from its website. The man tweeted that he will instruct government employees to investigate voter fraud in 2017 even though no one believes that 3-5 million immigrants voted illegally. The black community is dealing with 2017. You are stuck on hurt feelings about Bernie and a hatred for Hillary. You are not capable of dealing with the current situation because you waste time promoting your moral superiority over the black community. 

    Trump is rolling back advances made by blacks, working to destroy the environment, putting incompetent and corrupt people in his Cabinet, and putting roadblocks in front of the intelligence community in favor of Russia, and you ignore all of that because you haven't recovered from Bernie's loss. The majority of blacks voted for Hillary. The majority of voters in 2017 voted for Hillary. We are sorry we fail your morality test.While you continue with your butt hurt, we will do the heavy lifting to fight for your issues. 

    Bernie lost! Hillary would have been a great President. Trump is the clear and present danger.


    Trump is every bit as awful as you say RMRD.  I find his election to be among a handful of the most dispiriting and devastating tragedies to befall our nation (and by extension the planet) since World War II.

    The question we must ask ourselves is how can we extricate ourselves from this disaster and prevent recurrences.  My argument is that Trump was able to win in large part because Democratic party leaders chose to forsake working people in favor the corporatist class on a number of occasions over the past 25 years.  Therefore, in order to regain power and influence, I contend, the party must reverse course and reject outright corporatism.

    You are of course free to point out how much worse the Republicans are and you are right to do so.  But, as I noted, Democrats have to be better than Republicans, in part, because they exploit race and gender divisions far more effectively.  In addition, Trump prevailed because he ran against the Republican and Democratic establishments exploiting the festering resentments of the working class against both.  Clinton ran as the embodiment of the latter.

    "I am far more committed both to racial and gender justice than you are" - Wow.

    " In total contrast to me, you defend 1) Bill Clinton's use of the execution of a mentally impaired African-American to pander to racist voters in 1992" - nice reaching for tear-jerking hot buttons - that "mentally impaired African-American" shot a ticket collector dead over $3 entry, then 2 days later calmly shot an old policeman friend in the back as he was sitting with the shooter's mother at her kitchen table waiting for him as agreed, and then the shooter went outside and put a bullet in his own head, which is what mentally impaired him. It's much like the kid who killed his parents and then asked for mercy as an orphan, no? [BTW, his being black had 0 to do with it]

    "superpredator" - at that time I was living in a black friend's basement and the house next door literally had machine gun holes in the front door. There was a black immigrant Dijamo who used to hang out at TPM who noted the problems and fear she had as a kid in New York getting to & from school each day. And a million other anecdotes at a time when nearly 25,000 people were murdered every year, half of them black even though only 1/8th the population. Yes, there were superpredators, some just adolescents, killing people and essentially holding others hostage in their own neighborhoods. But better to be super PC about language than to address serious issues.

    What pray tell was the "racially divisive" campaign style employed" by Clinton? Are you still sad she had much more HIspanic and black support than Bernie? (waiting for the obligatory mention of some exit poll in Nevada).

    Enough of this bullshit, you just keep drawing from the same fouled well. It's over, Hal - your candidate lost and lost badly; in the 90's there were real problems to solve and some of them got solved better than others. BTW, my candidate also lost, though not badly - lots of mistakes and issues I'VE BEEN ANALYZING FOR THE LAST TWO GODDAMN MONTHS in case you didn't notice. As for the other stuff, you also blithely misrepresent most of my positions - yet again, with all the words I've wasted on splainin' to you. Hasta.

    As is usual, I provide specific facts that strongly support my assertions.  Likewise, your rejoinder is full of bombast, profanity, and SHOUTING.

    You are teh awesome - feel better?

    wow, you've gained moderator skills since I been gone, who'd a thunk it? surprise

    Excellent point though I tend to think the pyramid is too complex. It's a very simple point and it's the main thing Trump plays to:dignity in class.Over and over he promised all of "them" that they won't be dissed anymore.  He appllies it as far as he can, he even uses it when talking about African-Americans being stuck in crime-ridden ghettoes yadda yadda. USA #1 again, we're better than everyone else.

    It was the basis of Southern Strategy going back to slave owners maintaining the system by making poor whites feel superior to black slaves.It is classically the basis of a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment, though I think the anti-immigrant contingent is now much bigger than just that, and that's global. It just isn't xenophobes anymore, that one is a true swing issue now that cuts across all kinds of ideologies.

    ...another critical priority for Democrats. Nominating candidates whose history is free of financial peccadilloes and any whiff of corruption

    From All The King's Men: "Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something." 

    And even if by some miracle there weren't something, well, that can be handled too:

    Kennedy had spent years on the bench as a juvenile and family-court judge, during which time he had developed a strong interest in aiding abused children. In the early 1980s he had helped to start the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, and he later established the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, nonprofit organization. At the time of the race he had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. One of Rove's signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable. Kennedy was no exception.

    Some of Kennedy's campaign commercials touted his volunteer work, including one that showed him holding hands with children. "We were trying to counter the positives from that ad," a former Rove staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile. "It was our standard practice to use the University of Alabama Law School to disseminate whisper-campaign information," the staffer went on. "That was a major device we used for the transmission of this stuff. The students at the law school are from all over the state, and that's one of the ways that Karl got the information out--he knew the law students would take it back to their home towns and it would get out." This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state. "What Rove does," says Joe Perkins, "is try to make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship. Mark is not your typical Alabama macho, beer-drinkin', tobacco-chewin', pickup-drivin' kind of guy. He is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take."

    pops into my mind right away from seeing your comment that that "stench of corruption" just comes naturally with the familial political lines just coming back again and again. Kennedy's, Bush's, Clinton's. Everyone's corrupt in some way, so the better you know them the worse it is. A fresh charismatic face always helps because you don't know their skeletons yet.

    We've got something similar in the art auction market: if a painting (one-of-a-kind, naturally,so easily researched) is offered on the market recently, or too often, and not sold, it's considered "burned", nobody wants to to bid on it anymore, it has the stench of nobody wanting it, even if there's nothing wrong with it. Hence, you have to be careful not to set the estimate too high, and a "fresh to the market" painting that's been in a closet for 40 years and not touched will go crazy with bidders.

    Yeah, so we ended up with Obama who was rather inexperienced and had a steep learning curve, and they still picked his programs apart like buzzards and overall made him 1/4 as effective as he could have been with what once passed for bipartisan consensus.

    You're talking about the market as it once existed.

    And we don't have any "fresh to the market" paintings at this point, and if we do get one, I bet they can mar and scuff it up in record time.

    Nevertheless, Hillary did sell pretty well in 2008 and 2016. If you recall, she had some pretty amazingly high popularity numbers in 2012-2014 after finishing her stint at State. The media then proceeded to declare her losing 24x7 for the next 2 years (perhaps with the exception of a week around her Benghazi appearance and a couple weeks around debates #2 and #3). That's not about bidders - that's about the guys running the rigged auction house, the ones claiming to be unbiased appraisers (no offense) or guy holding the gavel's rendition of the piece's history.

    And note, it wasn't "one-of-a-kind" completely - a related painting had sold quite well 20-24 years earlier, rather a masterpiece that even changed that art market, and the breakthrough piece 8 years ago wasn't that different from this past year's model either. Perhaps it was sold too often, and people were already looking for something different but couldn't find it. But then again, half of the folks at the auction still seemed quite interested in this piece. Maybe the guy wielding the gavel had a bit to do with it as well - any economic or personal reasons in his pushing the bidding one way over the other?

    You won't get any argument from me on Hillary doing amazingly well even though being "burned." And it was from hard work, getting up day after day being continually knocked down and accused and accused and labelled and smeared and not giving up, the comeback kid thing from Bill.

    Still, she is an example of very very burned. And Bill just had this magic that nothing would stick to him, hence "slick Willy."

    Latest Comments