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Post By
Late Great Donald Blake 
Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,462
In Reply To
zvelf

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: You should have stuck with a short response.  Now we're doing this lol
Posted: Sat May 14, 2022 at 06:50:21 pm EDT (Viewed 102 times)
Reply Subj: Re: A Short Response
Posted: Fri May 13, 2022 at 03:34:46 pm EDT (Viewed 112 times)

Previous Post

I lied. This is a super-long ass response, filled with detailed evidence, but if you want an alternative to the tldr version, scroll down to the very bottom.

For the record, I don’t watch MSNBC any more than I watch Fox News, which is to say when I do, it’s just to get an idea of what stories different media are covering and how they are covering them. I do watch a lot more CNN, but again, mostly to see how stories are being framed. As far as television goes, I get my news mostly from different PBS programs, but I get most of my news period in written form.


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      zvelf: Not really. James Carville, who embodies the centrist corporate left of center view, abhors it and is one of the most outspoken against it from the well, relative left. I will admit using “far left” is too vague. Wokeness and cancel culture is more a concern of the academic left, and as such has lots of rules and jargon that many laypeople can’t make sense of from using plural pronouns for non-binaries to the appropriateness of “Latinx”. How much does the academic left overlap with the far left? Well, more than either overlaps with Carville or Bill Maher or Meghan Daum or Lawrence Summers and both groups are to the left of them. (My own position is not that pushing this kind of change is wrong, but that it is not well thought out and certainly executed poorly. I won’t get into the specifics of that here because it’s kind of besides the point and would make an already long post much longer.)


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    LGDB: So yeah, I think this is basically confused, but you seem to suggest the reason it's confused yourself: i.e. that the word "far left" doesn't really mean that much. And for that matter neither does the academic left.

Surely, you can understand the distinction in politics between the far left and the center left. You make it all the time in saying that the Democratic Party is not far enough left and that you are to the left of the party. So how can the term “far left” not mean much? You even make the distinction with Maher.


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    LGDB: I also think you're cherry picking a few examples here and there of Carville and Maher. Maher's a fun commentator, but easily to the right of most liberals and progressives in term of economic or traditional political issues.

Maher being “easily to the right of most liberals” is entirely the point I am making. I admitted that my saying wokeness and cancel culture is being pushed by the far left was a bit vague, but on relative terms, it’s true. Maher, like Carville, is a strong critic of wokeness and cancel culture, and they are coming from the center. If the center is criticizing the culture, then the center is not promulgating it. Those further to the left are.


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    LGDB: He's like a lot of people in entertainment: shoots from the hip with a series of various incoherent political intuitions. Maher in some ways is a libertarian that supports Democrats. It's only social issues that Maher has ever really been much of liberal and in that case he hasn't really moved with the party since the 90s. He regularly bitches about taxes and government spending, hardly traditional progressive. And Carville is an electoral hatchet man, as mercenary as they come. He's spent decades championing the "it's the economy stupid" while working for an administration that regularly pushed economic policies that most Americans didn't agree with or benefit from. And Larry Summers? Larry Summers is the guy who during the 2008 market crash encouraged Obama to make sure to bail out Wallstreet without any serious restructuring of the economy or reforms on banking or the financial sector, saying if I remember correctly that all those people in middle America who were going to lose their pensions and be foreclosed upon would "pad the runway" for the failing hedge funds and too big to fail banks. Larry Summers is about as responsible as any single human person for the fact that the various Wallstreet ghouls avoided consequences of any kind for their part in the Great recession, and that their loses would be paid for my the American taxpayers, while folks on Main street were losing their homes and savings. Does he use the word Latinx? I shouldn't think it matters. My point is these are a murderer's row of political hacks and economic charlatans.

I don’t know how this whole tirade about these people has anything to do with the point I am making, but you later remark upon my condescension toward Trump voters. You drip with condescension toward the Clinton and Obama administrations. Yeah, Summers is basically a Republican-lite guy, but you hold it against him a lot more than you hold similar actions by actual Republicans. In any case, the reason I invoked their names is that they are representative of centrists who don’t push wokeness/cancel culture but are instead against it, whereas it is those to the left of them who do push it, which goes back to my original statement with which you had contention.


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    LGDB: But what I will say, is that I generally agree that woke scolds on the on the internet calling everyone racist and transphobic so on and so forth are only alienating people from the Democratic party.  Probably almost as bad as the CNN and MSNBC libs calling everyone that voted for Trump a crazy MAGA racist.  Six in one half a dozen in the other if you ask me.

It’s way overstating the case that CNN and MSNBC label all Trump voters crazy MAGA racists. They don’t. I don’t even know how you would know this. Did you create a spreadsheet and tabulate what every face on these channels have said about Trump voters? How much MSNBC do you watch?


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    LGDB: You're so concerned with how the left has alienated voters, while describing at least half of them in maximalist terms, describing them not that differently than when Clinton called them a basket of deplorables.  I don't agree or advocate for either the zany Portland tik tok warriors OR the venomous types in the MSM who describe the Trump voters the way you seem to.  While I don't think we'll convince most of them, I don't want to guarantee we convince absolutely none of them either.

I’m not nearly as concerned about alienating Trump supporters as alienating other Democrats, you know, the people whose votes you can actually get but whom you condescend to far more than Republicans. We know they are out there because Clinton only got 66 million votes and Biden got 81 million votes. If we got the extra 15 million turnout every time, the Democrats would almost always win. Your criticisms of Clinton and Obama and Biden seem to be that they are that they are so nearly as bad as Dubya and Trump that the difference is negligible, which I find absurd. Dubya started a war under false pretenses that wasted over $2 trillion, killed over 4,000 American soldiers, killed over 100,000 Iraqis, and created ISIS. Trump utterly mishandled a pandemic and politicized pandemic best practices that led to nearly a million deaths as the Biden administration had to deal with a huge segment of the American public who refused to mask or get vaccinated.


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    LGBD: And the truth is I think most of it's to distract people and have them think that the real political division is this country is between conservative and liberals, instead of the real political division which is between the wealthy and everyone else. It makes building a large democratic coalition all the more difficult to form because it encourages people to suspect that their fellow American are actually the "irrational" evil people ruining the country, as opposed to the actual culprits profiting from their misery.

It seems like you’ve been reading way too much Marx and have this romantic belief that if you just trash Democrats enough, QAnon believers, Tea Partiers, the Proud Boys, and everyone who believes in Trump’s Big Lie will unite and recognize their real enemies: Elon Musk, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Chuck Feeney, Mark Cuban, every big Hollywood movie star, every uber successful pop singer, and that billionaire they really, really love, Donald Trump. I’m being facetious, but lumping all the rich together as who are keeping down the man leads to ludicrous results. At least aim more carefully and I would agree more with you.


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    LGBD: And you may not like wokism but you engage in a very similar political distraction from what I can tell: the politics of etiquette and decency. A politics that presupposes that there's some fundamental difference between Trump and the larger Washington consensus. That he's somehow a threat to the latter or that the latter isn't itself every bit as dangerous as that scary orange buffoon.

I don’t care whether Trump is a threat to Washington. Washington and its culture has been around for 200+ years. Trump, however, is more dangerous than Washington. Trump is a threat to truth and honesty and sanity. Trump breaking norms makes breaking those norms more acceptable, especially to his supporters. That means making up and spreading any lie so long as it helps them. Once one political party lives in an echo chamber of recycled lies, you can’t change their minds. Trying to do so just reinforces their beliefs and convinces them that you are against them. I mean, you honestly can’t see much difference between a Trump and a Mitt Romney or a John McCain, much less between Trump and a Bill Clinton or an Obama? Really? January 6 was too much for even Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and Lindsay Graham in the moment, and those three make Lawrence Summers look like a saint. Of course, they’ve all cowardly caved in on their initial impulses of horror to once again grovel at the feet of Trump, but privately, they recognized the obscenity of January 6. Trump, who was responsible, is the complete opposite and embraces that violence so long as it is done in tribute to him. If Trump was actually smart, his presidency would have caused 10 times as much harm, but he was too stupid to execute effectively.


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      zvelf: I think you overestimate the degree to which people are rational and think this through. If people actually appreciated Democrats for what they did, then Clinton’s very prosperous run as president would have led to Gore becoming the next president, not Bush (or if you believe that Bush stole the presidency, at least it wouldn’t have been so close as to come down to 500 or so votes). Bush was disastrous as president between the Iraq War and its lack of WMDs to Hurricane Katrina to his term ending with the start of the Great Recession. Then Obama led a recovery back to prosperity. He passed ACA and gave 20+ million people access to healthcare who did not have it before (mostly through Medicaid expansion). Was there appreciation for Democrats? No. Voters couldn’t be bothered to show up in the midterms and Obama lost Congress. Then Trump got elected, got impeached twice, and mishandled the worst pandemic in a century.


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    LGDB: I'm not sure how rational YOU'RE being or how well YOU'RE thinking this through. And I'm not saying that to be disrespectful or to goad you put I find that when people talk about how stupid the masses are they very rarely include themselves in it, which is at best curious.

There’s a quote from Game of Thrones, “Nothing someone says before the word 'but' really counts.” Although you misspelled “but” here, I think you’re implying more than you think. There’s also George Carlin’s old adage, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” I’ll let others decide which half I am on. I’m sure opinions will vary.

In any case, I didn’t actually call the masses stupid. I don’t know where you are getting this. Some are, some aren’t. I’m not generalizing to hundreds of millions of people; but I will tell you what is stupid: believing in QAnon and pizzagate, believing in Trump’s Big Lie that failed to pass muster in over 60 court cases, donating money to a literal billionaire to help him out financially with legal fees (even though he’s really just bilking you). So no, not all Trump voters are stupid, but the ones who engaged in the above behaviors are certainly acting stupidly.


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    LGDB: What I can say if you know anything about Clinton's presidency outside of the vague belief that the economy was doing well, you'd ask yourself for whom the economy was doing well, because it certainly wasn't the American worker. And it's not to say the conservatives of the era were any better. That's the point, how thoroughly Clinton capitulated to conservative economic theory and to the kinds of institutions that conservatives often represent. Clinton's administration signed Republican free trade deals that predictably lowered wages and made it easier for companies to outsource jobs which among other things undercut union leverage.  Not to mention his various other triangulations like cutting welfare, signing the crime bill, and deregulating Wallstreet of course.  Now you may have personally avoided in the Clinton years the economic fallout of those kinds of policy decisions.  Bully for you.   But the point is many people didn't.

No doubt, Clinton passed some terrible legislation that made life worse like his crime bill and his welfare bill and Wall Street deregulation. I agree with all that. But NAFTA? I think that’s pretty unclear. There have been numerous studies on its effect and the results are mixed: some but not major U.S. job losses but also lower prices for U.S. consumers. Clinton’s legislative accomplishments are more complicated than you assert though. In another post, you asked me, “What economic policy of the Clinton's do you believe improved the lives of workers?” Clinton passed The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which allows up to 12 weeks of leave from which you can't be fired, and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which increased taxes on the rich from 31% to 39.6% while tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the biggest anti-poverty tools in government. It led to the first and only national budget surplus (in 1998) since the 60s. Note “socialist” Bernie Sanders voted for this bill while not a single Republican did. You say the Democrats are slaves to the wealthy, but Clinton raised their taxes by 9%. Also note that a lot of Clinton’s terrible legislation was similar to what Reagan did. Reagan broke the unions, Reagan peddled trickle down economics, Reagan opposed the minimum wage. Again, if your assertion that voters prioritize their vote based on their economic interest is true, why was Reagan so popular? Why were Republicans rewarded with his Vice President getting elected after him?


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    LGDB: The workers that were betrayed by the Clinton administration and his brand of business friendly "New Democrat" weren't "fooled" into the thinking that their town factories closed down, and and it wasn't conservative propaganda that made them "imagine" their jobs magically disappeared and reappeared in various exotic locales.  That's why they jumped ship to the Republicans or became disillusioned with the political process completely; not because they were fooled... because their party abandoned them. They developed that opinion based on the actual material conditions of their lives. You can think people are as stupid and you like, and that they ought to know about their best interests (from your vantage point of course), and you could have told them that as their wages remained stagnant despite increased productivity, as housing and education inflated almost exponentially, and as the American dream that their children's lives would be better than their own became little more than nostalgic fantasy, and I'm sure it wouldn't have done a lick of good.  It would probably be as compelling as it is now to them, which is to say not at all. For my part I think it's pretty condescending to think that while the median standards of living slip slowly into the toilet even through Democratic super majorities, the American people who have lost faith in the Dems' ability or willingness to deliver, are somehow irrational. I think the thought is morally obscene as a matter of fact.

This part of your story though is just fabrication. You have repeatedly said that the working class makes up an “easy majority” of the population. Clinton left office with a 65% approval rating, higher than that of every departing president since FDR. That would be impossible if the working class hated Clinton. And here is a graph of actual earnings adjusted for inflation. It’s about $267 when he entered office in 1993 and about $284 eight years later. That’s a 6.4% increase above inflation. So wages were not stagnant under Clinton. Now, wages overall have been stagnant compared to where they were in 1965 to today, but there were notable changes over the decades. They went way down under Carter, rose slightly then fell sharply under Reagan, was stagnant under Bush I, went up under Clinton, was stagnant again under Bush II, and went up again under Obama. Instead, it looks like you’re the one attributing some false consciousness to people.







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    LGDB: And yes I completely agree about how awful the Republicans have been, and how atrocious their policies continue to be, but the paradox here is that you think that the American working class ought to appreciate as a matter of half baked pragmatism how wonderful the Democrats are for having moved... closer to those Republicans you hate so much. And they did this not secretly, but out in the open all the while convincing themselves how bright they were for doing so. There's a reason Clinton is associated with triangulating. Now it looks slimy perhaps, but in the 90s dem apparatchiks prided the realpolitik of it all. The idea being if Dems courted business interests (usually a natural Republican constituency) especially sectors of the burgeoning new Tech economy and innovative  parts of the growing financial sector, then they wouldn't have to worry about fulfilling the demands of the less moneyed political coalitions that were traditionally their province. You know, people like labor unions, the general working class, the bottom  half of the country, because as they say "where else are they gonna go?" This has proven a completely fatal error I'd say, but more on that later.

But your logic doesn’t make any sense: Voters moved away from Democrats to Republicans because Democrats were becoming more like Republicans. What? If Democrats are becoming more like what you hate, let’s embrace what you hate? Huh?


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      zvelf: Politically I agree with the far left more than the center left. Above all though, I am pragmatic, while the far left is too idealistic and seemingly blind to that idealism. I was with Bernie Sanders more than Hillary Clinton, but Bernie lost in the primary. He presented his ideas. Hillary presented hers. She won the primary. I was disappointed, but at that point, the Democrats needed to be fully on board to keep Trump from becoming president. I’m friends with some in the DSA who would not vote for Hillary no matter what. Quite a few on the far left took that position, and if I recall correctly, that included you, although I don’t know if you ultimately stuck by that decision. Trump won by about 70,000 votes across the Midwest. That’s not a lot. It could have easily gone the other way if more people voted instead of refusing to vote for Clinton on principle despite despising Trump. The result has severely damaged the country, not least because the Supreme Court would now have a super majority of liberals instead of conservatives due to Trump’s 3 picks. That Texas abortion law would have been struck down so fast and we wouldn’t even be talking about Roe getting overturned.


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    LGDB: I think this is quite the contrary the opposite of pragmatism and the height of ideological thinking. And just look where we're at the Dems whose sole virtue (their ability to win elections) are about to get massacred in the midterms liking losing both the House and the Senate; have no reason to expect they'll keep the White House in 2024; and have wrought a SCOTUS that is 6-3 conservative and is about to overturn Roe V. Wade. These are not what I call "practical results."

Well, my own pragmatism did not affect Dem strategy whatsoever so I don’t know what you’re talking about in trying to correlate the two. My pragmatism can’t be the height of ideological thinking because there is no ideology behind it other than picking the lesser of two evils. And how can the Democrats be blamed for the Roe SCOTUS decision? The Republicans installed them. Here is yet another instance of you blaming Democrats for what Republicans have done.


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    LGDB:  Furthermore, as it happens, there's nothing pragmatic about failing to hold together a popular coalition because you've systematically sided with corporate money and the relative PMC minority.  Or thinking that somehow that Republicans wouldn't find away to appeal (however deceptively) peel off these abandoned constituencies.

And what I find almost galling is the suggestion that all these failures are somehow the fault of leftists and progressives. The Democratic establishment so far as I can tell have almost total institutional power, while progressives, outside of a dozen (at the most) or so in the House and one in the Senate who might I remind you vote WITH the establishment about 90% of the time, are somehow to blame. This sounds like a formula for evading responsibility to me. This belief that if Democrats are losing it's that they are too progressive I think is almost completely without logic. Most people are not BETWEEN the two parties. Most people are BENEATH the two parties, beneath their attention, their notice and their interest. Most American want ONE of the two parties to help them in ways that are more than symbolic, oblique, or only okay when you compare them to a worse party. You can't feed your family on the "not enough money, but still more than the conservatives were offering." And you still get evicted from your home if you "have almost enough rent and honestly rent would have been higher under Trump."

Now as for whether or not Bernie people supported Clinton sufficiently, I suggest you check your history. If you do you'll find the inconvenient data that a greater percentage of Bernie supporters voted for Clinton in the 2016 election than did Hillary supporters vote for Obama in the 2008 election.

Okay, but all that means from my pragmatic perspective is that those Hillary supporters are also to blame, not that Bernie supporters are off the hook. In other words, you just engaged in a whataboutism that’s irrelevant to the point I’m making, which is that Democrats need to come together and vote as a block, not engage in Bernie or Bust threats. Anyway, it’s not THE fault of leftists and progressives. It’s a shared failure. My pointing out one segment’s failure doesn’t preclude other segment's failures.


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    LGDB: I in fact DID vote for Clinton in the 2016 election. The difference between you and I apparently is that while I voted for Clinton I didn't blame the people who refused to. Call me crazy, but I think that powerful people ought to be held accountable for the consequences of their actions MORE than the powerless. One of the chief objections to Clinton getting the nomination was on her being so damn unelectable. But her supporters didn't want to hear it, low and behold she lost, and then it was everyone else's fault.

Of course it was everyone else’s fault. If someone loses an election, it’s not the fault of the people who voted for that person. It’s the fault of the people who didn’t vote for that person.


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    LGDB: And if you want to look no further to the vote she failed to capture, don't look the Bernie supporters, the vast majority of which DID vote for her. Look instead to the industrial Midwest. One of the BEST predictors for what states Clinton would lose were those states that were most seriously affected by free trade agreements like NAFTA. Another classic examples of Democrat policies alienating the voters their policies betrayed, and then being AMAZED that those betrayed weren't as willing to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of the two evils.

Not amazed. Disappointed. And yes, the industrial Midwest voters are even more to blame than Bernie voters. One is not mutually exclusive to the other. And of course, Clinton herself is the most to blame of all. But Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania effectively did a retraction in 2020 and went Biden. They gave Trump a chance and said no thanks.


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      zvelf: Democrats try to win over working class voters by talking about job training programs. Republicans actually win them over by telling them falsely that Mexicans are stealing their jobs so they will build a wall to keep them out. You seem to think many Trump voters are looking for some massive status quo change giving them economic justice and that they would have voted for Bernie Sanders had they been given a chance when they actually voted for Trump because they don’t want minorities becoming the majority, they want guns, lots of guns, but most of all, they want to own the libs, because they think liberals condescend to them. That’s where Trump excelled because he would say anything to troll the opposition, regardless that Trump could produce anything whatsoever policy-wise, which he pretty much couldn’t.


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    LGDB: To be honest this a totally classist smear job of what most American people are like. You've managed to reverse engineer what you think most of them (which is to say what most of us) must be like based in the kinds of decisions they've been forced to make. And personally, I'd say you make an awful stenographer or empath for your political enemies. Yeah, I think this [job training programs] are really great example of something that is an absolutely paltry excuse for fighting for the interests of workers. "Oh yes let's just teach the 55 year old coal miners to code.  Only 6% of jobs in the economy are STEM but I'm sure business will be raring to hire the just past middle aged blue collar laborers instead of the 22 year old child who has been weened digitally and doesn't have a family to support and doesn't expect medical."   Of all the bald faced lies Clinton ever peddled this has to be the dumbest on its face despite it also being the most widely repeated.  If Democrats want to help workers they can fight to increase wages, fight for better workers conditions, fight to help them unionize, fight to help them receive a greater portion of the ever shrinking percentage of the value they produce.

Apparently you didn’t catch that I was mocking the Democrat proposal of job training programs. I agree that they are idiotic.


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    LGDB: Now... and I want to be very clear here... when both parties are offering very little in way of a material gain or benefit, voters will have to make their decisions on other discriminating bases. Namely they'll vote according to the culture war. Saying that most American wouldn't choose economic prosperity over owning the libs is I think profoundly mendacious (unintentionally so, I'd hope), because as it happens they haven't been given that choice. Generally speaking people are well aware that they aren't being given the choice between putting food on their table or reducing the cost of prescriptions or the orange man who loves guns and bibles. They're being given the choice of a polite FU by the party of middle management or an entertaining circus ringleader who kisses their asses and craps on their enemies. Hmmm I wonder who they might chose? Compare the way you've described these people to how Trump might talk about them, and you're surprised they don't want to join up with you!? It's embarrassing to not make this connection. This liberal attitude that "we've given the poors nothing, but I bet they wouldn't even take it if we did, cause they're so racist" again I think is virtually transcendentally out of touch and classist by its open character.

There you go again with the Democrats are so nearly as bad as Republicans that the difference is negligible. I brought up bills that improved life under Clinton. Here are some under Obama. Obama passed the $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which saved over 2 million jobs, helped end the Great Recession, and “kicked off the longest period of economic growth and job creation in American history” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2020/02/17/obamas-2009-recovery-act-kicked-off-over-10-years-of-economic-growth/?sh=4261620c68b7). Not a single Republican voted for it. Under Obama, 11,572,000 new jobs were added and unemployment dropped by 4.7%. Real weekly earnings, that is adjusted for inflation, went up 4%. His Affordable Care Act is certainly not better than Medicare for all, but it was the biggest change to health care in over 4 decades. It halved the number of uninsured within 6 years, got rid of pre-existing conditions as a disqualifier for insurance, and covered more than 20 million people who didn’t have insurance before. Roughly half of that was due to Medicaid expansion that covered everyone with income up to 138% of the poverty line or about $17,774 for individuals. Everyone making under that amount got nearly free healthcare if you lived in the right state. Coverage would have been even higher but 12 red states (almost a quarter of the country) refused the Medicaid expansion (https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/status-of-state-medicaid-expansion-decisions-interactive-map/). So yeah, the Democrats have “given the poors nothing” in your words. Nothing. 12 red states actively prevented more poor people from getting health insurance, but are the people voting Republicans out of office based on their economic interests or keeping them in based on culture war issues in these states?

You’re right that Clinton deserves blame for deregulating Wall Street, but then Obama deserves praise for re-regulating it via the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which among other things, protected people from credit card and mortgage abuses and implemented 243 new regulatory rules including the Volcker rule. Republicans, again, did the opposite and repealed part of it under Trump in 2018. But the two parties are nearly as bad according to you. Obama also fixed another Clinton mistake by repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and he passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which raised taxes on the rich again after the Bush tax cuts reduced them. Obama cut taxes for households making less than $250,000 and individuals making less than $200,000 (https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2012/sep/07/barack-obama/barack-obama-said-hes-cut-taxes-middle-class-famil/). Under Obama, we also got the legalization of gay marriage (due to his Supreme Court nominations), a big overhaul of food-safety laws, more stem-cell research, preservation of net neutrality, a 369% increase in wind and solar energy, and a huge land-protection act. You read all this and is your response still that Democrats are “slightly less filthy”?


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    LGDB: But this calculus isn't really what most people are doing most of the time. When both parties fail them, and I'd argue further when the primary system is meant to alienate the general public--ask yourself why we only really hear this "vote or die talk" during the general election--most people don't award the slightly less filthy political apparatus. They generally regard both as corrupt and either don't vote at all or they vote sort of arbitrarily, "I assume both are lying and so I'll go with whichever candidate seems more honest."

“Whichever candidate seems more honest?” Surely you are joking. They went with Trump, the transparently least honest candidate of all time! The candidate who lied constantly. If this is the case, the corollary must be you implying that the people who voted for Trump as the most honest candidate were just stupid.


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    LGDB: Further, the important premise as far as I'm concerned is WHY the Democrats are only a little better than the Republicans by and large for most people most of the time. The belief that the Democrats make the kind of compromises they do in order to beat the Republicans or to appeal to "moderate voters" whatever the hell that is, is I think fatuous and totally unempirical. The Democrats don't pass on abundantly popular policies like universal health care; the child tax credit; raising the minimum wage; debt forgiveness; lowering prescription drugs; a draw down of foreign entanglements; more school funding, the Pro act; expanded social security and so on because it would hurt them with the voters. That's patently foolish and cuts against everything we know about the electorate. Many if not most Democrats don't adopt those policies because their real constituency, their donors and financial backers don't approve. Because it hurts their bottom line, raises their taxes, lowers the yield of their assets, and creates a labor market they find less than favorable.

This is just wrong. Democrats are trying to do almost every single thing you listed. Clinton and Obama both raised taxes on the rich while Republicans actively tried to stop them while cutting taxes on the rich every time they are in the majority. It’s the Republicans who doubled the estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11.18 million under Trump, another huge giveaway to the rich. Debt forgiveness? The Biden administration is in the middle of figuring out how to best implement student loan forgiveness. A draw down of foreign entanglements? Uh, Afghanistan (which didn’t go very well)? But most pointedly, let me remind you that the DEMOCRATIC HOUSE ALREADY passed the Build Back Better Act as pushed by Biden. That would extend the Child Tax Credit and make it permanent, extend the Earned Income Tax Credit even more, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, IMPOSE EVEN HIGHER TAXES on the RICH and large corporations including instituting a global 15% minimum tax, and establish a universal pre-Kindergarten program. But in your eyes, Democrats are purposefully not doing these things because their real constituency, the rich, disapprove. These are all things EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN is blocking. If even two Republican Senators crossed over, the bill would pass. Literally every Democrat but one in the House voted for it. Every Democrat but two in the Senate are ready to vote for it. The Democratic president is ready to sign it. But somehow you believe the Democrats aren't really interested in passing it even while 99% of all Democrats in Congress have committed.


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      zvelf: In many red states, having a D next to your name is a kiss of death at the polls. Somehow you think having “socialist” next to your name is better? For these voters, that’s even worse. I was born and raised in Arkansas. I grew up around these people. If I recall correctly, you live in Texas, so you should know better too, but I think you’re in Austin, the bluest patch of Texas. Biden passed a $1 trillion infrastructure and jobs act and was attempting a $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill, before compromise brought it down to $2.2 trillion, which is how it passed the House. People forget that it’s half way through. That’s monumental social spending. Where are all the people on the right who want the economic and health benefits in this bill that include lots of the stuff you say people want? Polls show roughly half the country opposes it. So Democrats failing here is not for lack of trying. The voters simply didn’t give them enough of a Congressional majority to overcome the existence of a Manchin and a Sinema.


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    LGDB: Actually I'm NOT for socialist branding. And I don't even think Marxist categories are necessary for understanding the political world. I think more than anything, I'm a left populist or just a populist, and fundamentally I think a populist democratic politics is what the people of this country sorely need. And lived in Austin TX and New York for twelve years, but I spent the first 19 in Augusta, Georgia, 5 years in the Army. and I live in Columbia, South Carolina now, and I'll take the Pepsi challenge with your white trash red state bona fides any day of the week.  And while red states might hate words like liberal or socialist or whatever buzz word they've been taught to be threatened or annoyed by, what they DO agree with are progressive policies.  Look no further than how they feel about social security.  Or if you want a strong recent example, at the same time that crimson red state Florida was rejecting supposed liberal Joe Biden they were voting to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.  The very kind of economic populist policy that we are assured by centrist Democrats are FAR TOO progressive... and never mind that money they receive from the Chamber of Commerce.

Again, this goes against factual reality. Centrist Democrat Bill Clinton got minimum wage increases to $4.75 in 1996 and $5.15 in 1997. An increase in 2007 was signed by Bush, but it was totally pushed and passed by Democrats. Every Democrat voted for it in the House while 116 Republicans voted against it. That Florida minimum wage got on the ballot because of John Morgan, who is not a politician but is a Democrat who supported Biden. He’s also a millionaire. Republicans are the ones, by and large, opposed to minimum wage increases. On the stump, Trump opposed minimum wage increases. Trump still got most of the working class votes. “Look no further than how they feel about social security.” Yes, let’s look. Oh, Democrat John Larson of Connecticut has a bill, Social Security 2100, that would expand benefits for all 65 million recipients. (https://larson.house.gov/issues/social-security-2100-sacred-trust
) He has 200 co-sponsors in the House, all Democrats. It may not pass because it has to get past the filibuster in the Senate, but it won’t be because Democrats aren’t trying to pass it.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Now I followed VERY closely the two bills and how the Biden administration more or less allowed that second Build Back Better bill to fail by delinking it from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I watched as Biden failed to pressure anyone to overturn the filibuster, failed to pressure Manchin or Sinema in any serious way to vote for it, and for some mysterious reason, decided to bow to the non-binding recommendation of the Senate parliamentarian. I would encourage YOU to look into how that bill developed and then basically was allowed die. And when you talk about those polls that 50% people didn't support it, that really depend on which polls you mean. When voters were asked about the component parts of the bill, a majority of voters approve of the various spending proposals. It's when people were just given a blanket figure with very little explanation as to what was in the bill that they disapproved.

So were you there for Biden’s private negotiations with Manchin and Sinema that were not attended by any reporters? The Democrats are facing a huge uphill battle in the midterms, and you think they purposely let one of their two biggest signature bills die? That’s just speculative confirmation bias at work. Neither you nor I know how much pressure Biden put on Manchin or Sinema, but I do know that Democrats are limited in the pressure that they can deliver. If either Manchin or Sinema switch parties, which they can easily do given both represent red states, the Senate instantly goes back to Republican hands with McConnell becoming majority leader again. That doesn’t just sink Build Back Better, but everything for the rest of the year including most judicial appointments. Even now, the Senate is looking for a way to compromise with Manchin and Sinema to still pass Build Back Better. If Biden was being disingenuous over the bill, he never would have proposed an initial $3.5 trillion price tag. The Democrats aimed for the biggest, sweeping social spending bill since the Great Society in 1964. The result? Biden’s approval ratings are now at Trump levels. There’s no way to reconcile that with your belief that people really, desperately want big material social change if only one party would offer it to them. Where are all the working class people in West Virginia and Arizona rallying to change their senator’s vote that you say they desperately want?


    Quote:
    LGDB: And YES, you're right the voters didn't elect enough Democrats. But this glosses over the way in which DCCC funding during those congressional primaries helped to ensure that Republicans would face milquetoast, unpopular corporate Dem competition. And it also fails to recognize that many of the voters who didn't show up for the libs might not have because many of them lived through Obama's feckless super majority and have over decades lost faith in the "party of the people's" ability or inclination to represent their interests. You talk about voters not showing up the Democrats as if it's completely divorced from the 50 year history of Democrats slowly selling them out for Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance since the Carter administration. Corruption by a thousands paper cuts eventually catches up to you at the ballot box.

I’ve presented evidence that this sell out is not as pervasive as you present it, but for the sake of argument, let’s say you are accurate. So your theory is that the electorate who resents selling out to Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance chooses to switch to the party who blatantly represents Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance? You accuse me of labeling people as stupid when your entire premise rests on their being stupid. That’s your idealism talking. Democrats have done a lot more for the poor than Republicans, but because it’s not enough, hey, that’s why people embrace Republicans whose policies actively make the poor poorer and the rich richer. The unmistakable Republican motto for decades has been that government is bad and the less government does for you, the better.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Oh this is trivially easy to field. I don't think people voted for Trump because he did MORE for them. I think when neither party substantially delivers for the working people (which is to say most people), those people will vote according to nonmaterial criteria, i.e. for the culture war. And the culture war is ostensibly by design something that divides the country down the middle. Ultimately Trump voters aren't really expecting him to deliver materially for them. Or at least when he fails to as he necessarily does, they don't so much mind, because he's performing his more pointed psychical function. Many of them believe that they're losing a more quasi-spiritual kind of battle taking place at the level of civilization and Trump is the guy representing them in that.  Ideological lemonade out of material lemons if you like.

You revealed why Trump voters vote the way they do, but mistake how powerful that is: the “quasi-spiritual kind of battle taking place at the level of civilization.” That’s exactly right. The GOP, Fox News, and far-right radio and websites have made them believe that the left is made up of God-hating, baby killing, election-stealing, condescending, virtue signaling social justice warriors who are out to replace white people with brown immigrants and destroy heterosexual norms. If your average South Carolinian really, truly believed that, then would they trade a material improvement in their life to keep such people in power? No. You can appeal to them all you want with socialist promises, but you’re not getting the vote of someone who believes the above.


    Quote:
    LGDB: No, Obama and Clinton in the broadest terms helped do things like balance budgets, increased the value of stock returns, and raise the countries GDP... metrics which may correspond to vacuous attaboys lobbed by the corporate media and touting a "strong economy" but don't often correlate to the financial solvency or economic security of the median home. While "economic indicators" may have been generally positive in corporate media (because their target audience was doing well)during the Clinton or Obama years, and Democrats usually do oversee slightly more stable economies, all the while wages stagnated, prices for non-negotiable expenses like healthcare, housing, food, and education steadily climbed. And that's in Republican administrations as well, because in the main their economic policies are basically the same neoliberal framework of globalized "free markets," domestic austerity, privatizing the commons, and growing inequality.

Again, you have repeatedly stated that the working class makes up the majority of people. One can’t improve the economy in the broadest terms but fail to help “most people.” I have already detailed how Democrats have helped people. Have they hurt people with bad legislation as well? Definitely. But the People haven’t resented the overall job that Clinton and Obama did. Bush and Trump both left office with a final approval rating of 34% by Gallup’s polling. Again, Clinton left office with a final approval rating of 65% and Obama 59%. Again, let me emphasize, Clinton left office as THE most popular president in the past 70 years and this is after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Having said all that and despite what good Democrats have done, I personally think the performance of Democrats are a net negative in the past 30 years, but still nowhere nearly as bad as Republicans. I'm big on shades of gray. Democrats do cater to big business and special interests, just not to the same degree as the GOP. They do enter foreign engagements that wind up with hundreds or thousands of foreigners killed over time. To put it simply, Democrats are the lesser of two evils. But when you can’t vote for a party that will do net good, it’s still vitally important to stop a far worse net bad.

The U.S. government is highly dysfunctional and no longer works. What will solve our current situation? The dying off of the Baby Boom generation perhaps. Biden won every age group except for 65 and over, and younger people seem less politically divided than older people:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1184426/presidential-election-exit-polls-share-votes-age-us/

But even if the two parties were exactly equally bad except on Supreme Court nominations, then I'd say one should still easily vote Democrat for that sole reason. The Supreme Court is THAT important. It shouldn’t be, by which I mean 9 unelected people should not have so much power, but they do. In a time when Congress has a hard time passing much major legislation because of the filibuster and because the country is so divided, only the Supreme Court can drastically alter American life from gay marriage to overturning portions of the Civil Rights Act. However awful Hillary Clinton may have been (and she still would have been far better than Trump), had she won, liberals would now outnumber conservatives 6-3 on the court. Scalia, Kennedy, and RBG would have all been replaced by Clinton, eventually allowing an overturn of the stupidity of Citizens United and the allowance of gerrymandering and now the overturning of Roe. This is a court we would have had for another 20 years, probably more since Thomas and Alito will most likely be the next two to vacate.

I have abandoned a lot of my belief in the U.S. government as a tool for helping people. As it exists, presidential elections are now always an act of triage, of keeping things from getting worse as opposed to making things much better. Between gerrymandering that allows politicians to pick their voters instead of the other way around and Citizens United allowing unlimited money to flow into Super PACs (both of which would have been stopped by the Supreme Court had Gore won and replaced Roberts), the system is broken. The more time passes, the more people figure out that a lot of government norms are just unwritten rules and that they don't actually have to obey them. Everyone becomes more Machiavellian as they try to attain power any way they can. Delay a Supreme Court nomination for most of a year and pay no price for it. Just make up enough lies and people will believe you. The only way out of this is changing the system from the bottom up and I commend everyone trying to do this. It won't be changed from the top down by electing a Bernie Sanders, all of whose legislation would be blocked in the Senate. In the meantime, play triage and get your majority on the Supreme Court. It's a lot easier to get 5 out of 9 than 227 out of 453 or 51 out of 100 or really 60 out of 100.

*

The tldr version of my points are:

The center left is not responsible for pushing cancel culture as much as those further left. My evidence is the center left folks who are actively critical of it.

The left needs to unite before trying to peel off the right. Wokeness and cancel culture impedes that.

LGDB only begrudgingly admits to any positive Democrat achievement despite multiple expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit, giving 20 million more people health insurance, passing minimum wage increases, increasing family leave, re-regulating Wall Street, bringing America out of the Great Recession, a 6% real wage increase under Clinton and a 4% real wage increase under Obama, among many other things I detail above.

There are clear differences between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have improved the lives of the poor and working class more than Republicans have. That has not stopped much of the working class to vote Republican because of culture war issues. My evidence: Republicans under Reagan were rewarded. Democrats under Clinton were not. Democrats under Obama were not.

Democrats just passed a $1 trillion infrastructure and jobs act and are half way through passing  the biggest, most sweeping social spending bill in several generations with all the things LGDB says Democrats don’t want to pass despite 99% of Democrats having already committed to passing it. Against LGDB’s assertion that Democrats would win votes with such a stance materially helping the working class, the Democrats will likely lose Congress in the fall.

The GOP, Fox News, and far-right radio and websites have made their consumers believe that the left is made up of God-hating, baby killing, election-stealing, condescending, virtue signaling social justice warriors who are out to replace white people with brown immigrants and destroy heterosexual norms. That is how avid Trump supporters vote, not based on their being offered a New Deal.


I lied. This is a super-long ass response, filled with detailed evidence, but if you want an alternative to the tldr version, scroll down to the very bottom.

For the record, I don’t watch MSNBC any more than I watch Fox News, which is to say when I do, it’s just to get an idea of what stories different media are covering and how they are covering them. I do watch a lot more CNN, but again, mostly to see how stories are being framed. As far as television goes, I get my news mostly from different PBS programs, but I get most of my news period in written form.


  
LGDB: well it's filled with detailed something lol And ah yes the only two options MSNBC and Fox News.   As for written form?  What publications?  I'm guessing their political perspectives don't differ wildly from CNN and MSNBC.


Surely, you can understand the distinction in politics between the far left and the center left. You make it all the time in saying that the Democratic Party is not far enough left and that you are to the left of the party. So how can the term “far left” not mean much? You even make the distinction with Maher.



LGDB:  I understand it as a relativistic turn that depends on what you're talking about and who you're talking about.  What I'm saying is that it's relatively vague at best, and that in certain ways if we're talking about cultural versus economic issues then the word far left often isn't capturing the same group of people whatsoever.  People on the far left in economic issues are often not the rad libs on Twitter who advocate for cancel culture and so on and you have really "far left" people with respect to identarian issues who are downright adversarial to leftists economic policies.  It's not that's the words far left is doesn't "mean that much" pers se.  It's that it doesn't mean much to categorize say a voting block or a politician constituency as you were using it.




Maher being “easily to the right of most liberals” is entirely the point I am making. I admitted that my saying wokeness and cancel culture is being pushed by the far left was a bit vague, but on relative terms, it’s true. Maher, like Carville, is a strong critic of wokeness and cancel culture, and they are coming from the center. If the center is criticizing the culture, then the center is not promulgating it. Those further to the left are.


LGDB: Right and I've said Maher and Carville are exceptions to the rule that you've cherry picked.  If we're permitted that, let me swing away:  Krystal Ball, Michael Brooks, Ben Burgis, Adolph Reed, David Sirota, Ryan Grim, Briana Joy Gray, Richard Wolfe (and those are just the top of my head), and just about the entire editorial staff at Jacobin.  All are leftists or people left of the corporate consensus who are either against or for deemphasizing the liberal excesses of the culture war.   They've been every bit as vocal about the harmful effects of on line woke culture as the people you've listed.  And keep in mind, my point wasn't that people on the far left never engage in this stuff, just that they don't engage any more in it that people on the center left.   And let's be clear away from political affiliation, there's no question that things like woke culture, hyper rigorous politically incorrect discourse, and cancelation are far more prevalent with the college educated, PMC, white liberal contingent.  The group that the Democratic party is most organized to serve.  I mean who do you think is more likely to throw around "terms like Latinx," centrist libs who graduated from MIT or who work at Huffington Post, or working class people on the left who are in organized labor?




I don’t know how this whole tirade about these people has anything to do with the point I am making, but you later remark upon my condescension toward Trump voters. You drip with condescension toward the Clinton and Obama administrations. Yeah, Summers is basically a Republican-lite guy, but you hold it against him a lot more than you hold similar actions by actual Republicans. In any case, the reason I invoked their names is that they are representative of centrists who don’t push wokeness/cancel culture but are instead against it, whereas it is those to the left of them who do push it, which goes back to my original statement with which you had contention.


LGDB:  Well first of all I'm not bound to the point YOU'RE making.  I'm trying to build a context.  It doesn't matter if you feel like it comports with your position.   I'm not attributing to you (so far as I know) any position you don't hold.  But to your point, you're using these types as examples of Democrats who are against cancel culture.  I'm saying just so we're clear they're cherry picked.  Maher is a comedian/provocateur.  Carville is a political hatchet man that will say anything if it's the Democrats immediate best interest (and he IS smart enough to know cancel culture is a bad idea), and Summer just generally by all accounts ghoulish lackey of banks and big business.  Regardless none of them speak to the issue of whether the far left is more responsible for the cancel culture.  Next you'll be mentioning Michael Bloomberg.  Yeah I bet that billionaire also doesn't give a damn about trans reputation.     I will say this the culture war absolutely does help the centrists as it redirects the public's attention from substantive political issues.



It’s way overstating the case that CNN and MSNBC label all Trump voters crazy MAGA racists. They don’t. I don’t even know how you would know this. Did you create a spreadsheet and tabulate what every face on these channels have said about Trump voters? How much MSNBC do you watch?


LGDB:  No it's not.  I'm talking about their main narrative.  And I think it would be foolish to try and obscure the issue by suggests that MSNBC and CNN are so complicated in their narratives that one would need spreadsheet tabulations.   MSNBC overwhelmingly spins a narrative that centers the craziness and dangerousness of Trump and his supporters.  I think further they exaggerate this (not generally) but in reference to the "normal" Republican party.  And I know this with the same confidence that one would say that Fox New has been a cheerleading arm of a pro conservative pro Trump propaganda arm of the Republican party. Some of MSNBC individual commentators are more nuanced (as are Fox's for that matter) but there's very little question as to their editorial bend.



   I’m not nearly as concerned about alienating Trump supporters as alienating other Democrats, you know, the people whose votes you can actually get but whom you condescend to far more than Republicans. We know they are out there because Clinton only got 66 million votes and Biden got 81 million votes. If we got the extra 15 million turnout every time, the Democrats would almost always win. Your criticisms of Clinton and Obama and Biden seem to be that they are that they are so nearly as bad as Dubya and Trump that the difference is negligible, which I find absurd. Dubya started a war under false pretenses that wasted over $2 trillion, killed over 4,000 American soldiers, killed over 100,000 Iraqis, and created ISIS. Trump utterly mishandled a pandemic and politicized pandemic best practices that led to nearly a million deaths as the Biden administration had to deal with a huge segment of the American public who refused to mask or get vaccinated.


LGDB:  Well first of all.  I ALSO am not worried about alienating Trump SUPPORTERS. I don't think it's impossible to change some of their mind btw, but that's another matter.  I'm worried about alienating some of people  who voted for Trump.  I think you can do that by constructing a party that speaks to their interests, rather that insinuating that the only reason people voted differently from you is some kind of moral flaw.  You do understand there are a lot of people on that side of the aisle that hold their nose and vote for the Republican candidate like you ask people do with the Democratic Party, don't you?

And the difference between the votes requires actually looking into what happened between those elections.  Who are those 15 million that at one point voted for Biden but not Clinton and what are the political circumstances that explain the difference.    You're not really adding anything substantive here.   And you're neglecting some pretty flagrant political events... like I don't know, a pandemic that killed around a million people.    

As far as the differences between the two parties, this just requires a level of nuance to fully capture the politics involved.  Trying to compress a political analysis either one of three options--either the Democrats are categorically better; either the Republicans are categorically worse; or Dems and Reps are categorically the same--without a lot of qualification and analysis is just childish political rhetoric.   I do NOT think that the liberals and the conservative or the Democrats or the Republicans are the same.   I'm going to be repeating this a bit as I go, but pay special attention here, because I'm sure you're going to have a tendency to (accidentally) not address this.  I'll try to be extra clear by enumerating things:

(1) It depends on when and about you're talking.      This isn't some kind of Manicheist relationship; there are times when the two parties' leadership have on certain kinds of issues reach veritable consensus: so about basic foreign policy, monetary policy, criminal justice reform .  The idea that by definition whatever Republicans want liberals want the opposite defies political history egregiously.  So WHILE they may have very serious disagreements about very serious things that do matter,  there are plenty of cases where they don't.  The real problem comes when both parties' leadership agree about things that the American people don't agree with.  The main tool by which you're meant as a democracy to put pressure on the political establishment to make your voice heard and change policy is by voting, if your vote can't express that because both parties have reached a consensus (undemocratically) then there's very little one can do.  What party can one vote for if they want to raise wages to $20 an hour, or decriminalize marijuana; or end foreign interventions, and so on?  Expect for trying to reform the parties, but doing that usually risks the apologies of people such as yourself, who suggest doing that would mean risking the chance for the opposition winning.  By being so fixated as you are on the differences of the party, you really do obfuscate the degree to which the find consensus.

(2) There are issues that are important that the parties absolutely do fight about and are significant.  One there are social issues like guns and abortion that absolutely divide the parties, as it happens I don't think the liberals are right about guns generally (table that for now) and I do think the conservatives are abhorrent on the issue of abortion.  And then further I'll say that on most issues the Republicans (from my perspective) in terms of policy are just worse.  Even if they're not much worse they're almost always worse.  This is my position and I'd say the majority of the left's position.   So for that I have almost without exception voted for the Democrats.  Under the circumstances I advocate that's what people ought to do under the circumstances.  I think this is very important to note, because I think that WHILE SAYING THE OTHER THINGS I'M SAYING.  Understanding there are real differences between the Democrats does not contradict nor does it preclude the idea that there are ways in which the parties are too much alike and both working together in concert in certain deleterious ways.

(3) Party partisans such as yourself, all the while ALSO exaggerate the parties differences as you're doing here. You're absolutely correct about how bad the war in Iraq war was.  I should know.  I was there.  And I absolutely agree that Bush was chiefly responsible for the Iraq war and is for it (and Afghanistan) and a few other things I could list one of the worst human beings who's ever had political power and influence. But... plenty of Democrats absolute knowingly helped Bush sell and prosecute that war and one of them is the current POTUS, who has done nothing so much as apologize about it.  Bush was absolutely recklessly bellicose and he and his ilk pushed that war through a host of legalistic processes, but he wasn't orders of magnitude different in his outlook with the rest of the Washington establishment, which is why the Democratic Party absolutely helped him launder that war despite very real skepticism by the foreign policy commentariate here and abroad.  And even Democratic protests from inside the Beltway about Iraq had to do with the WAY bush was managing the war, not in our invasion; or the jingoist hegemonic politics undergirding it.  And it wasn't until well into the 2007 before Democratic sentiment turn to Iraq was a dumb war.  Obama himself called it that... after suggesting we should have had our attention turn to Afghanistan, the smart war.  We see how well that worked out.  And perhaps consider Bill Clinton's crowning achievement of killing about a million people in Sudan after destroying a pharmaceutical factory there or Hillary Clinton's architecting the invasion of Libya that I'm sure you know worked out so well.   And further I think you could argue on the foreign policy front, currently the Democratic establishment isn't far more hesitant to further entrench are involvement in Ukraine than the Republicans are.  

(4) it is BOTH the case that Republican and Democrats are engaging in a real political competition, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, insofar as they both equally represents various corporate interests and the interests of the PMC downstream, they BOTH mutually benefit from the current political order.   One of the most difficult things for political partisan to metabolize is that while one political conflict can be real (i.e. the one between Republicans and Democrats), ANOTHER can also be real and I would argue moreover, more significant to the lives of most people: namely the class conflict.  The one between the rulers and recipient of all the benefits of being at the commanding heights of the political economy, and the rest of the country.  So while Reps and Dems vehementally disagree about say abortion or the don't say gay bill, they in agreement that the political process should have a set of intractable structure which insure that politics is pay to play, that political debate takes place within these incredibly narrow corridors, that it's the province of the rich elites and needs to foremost serve their interests, and that needs to act as a bulwark against democratic interventions against the political system.      We are so class unconscious in this country and in this culture that to even admit the existence of the latter seems like to you the erasure of the former.   The absolute categorical moral superiority of the liberals over the conservatives in so important to maintain ideologically, that to even address this other (I would argue much larger) problem is the same as being in league with the Republicans.  




It seems like you’ve been reading way too much Marx and have this romantic belief that if you just trash Democrats enough, QAnon believers, Tea Partiers, the Proud Boys, and everyone who believes in Trump’s Big Lie will unite and recognize their real enemies: Elon Musk, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Chuck Feeney, Mark Cuban, every big Hollywood movie star, every uber successful pop singer, and that billionaire they really, really love, Donald Trump. I’m being facetious, but lumping all the rich together as who are keeping down the man leads to ludicrous results. At least aim more carefully and I would agree more with you.


LGDB:  Well I get the sense that for you reading ANY Marx would be too much. lol   And a few things here.   I'm not "trashing" Democrats anymore than you're trashing Republicans.  And I'd say somewhat less.  After all in the broad sense I AM a Democrat, in the way let's say Sanders is one.  I don't identify as a liberal or Democrat as a matter of political identity, but I'm not talking about them like their on the other side of some unmendable political chasm either.  I vote for them, it's their party that I think there are hopes to reform.  I criticize Democrats and liberals so much because for one at the end of the day I think they are at least capable of reforming their party into something that could represent their actual base, and because   Further, you're listing some of the most ideologically committed groups in the Trump voting public.  While Proud boys might be certainly concerning and they certainly do vote for Trump, they're a vocal minority with respect to the broader electorate.  You're similarly invested in the Democratic party.  And while you're committed to the primacy of the Democrats being our only hope, even most people that vote Democrat don't agree with you.  Most people are voting for what they understand to be the lesser of two options and would prefer a way to make them all less evil.  And to that end, you're an interlocuter in the discussion, but no one I'd dream of trying to convince.  People who are invest in political parties aren't generally open to that kind of thing.  The point is to create a kind of political discourse that appeals to a broad group.  You talk as if you occupy the political center, but what I believe is happening is you're occupying an ideological place at the center of power.  So my political rhetoric is calibrated towards most American people, not yourself.  


As far as lumping all the rich people together,  I'm not sure what you mean.  , the upper 1% to be fast and loose, I think  generally speaking  represent a class ( a conscious one) who have the bulk of the economy and political system geared towards their interests.  The idea that our political-economic system benefits the rich, hardly seems to be an incredibly radical statement coming from me.  And I'm sure if you look you'll find most people actually agree with me there.   One can't aim more careful than that.  What other target do you think I'm aiming for?





I don’t care whether Trump is a threat to Washington. Washington and its culture has been around for 200+ years. Trump, however, is more dangerous than Washington. Trump is a threat to truth and honesty and sanity. Trump breaking norms makes breaking those norms more acceptable, especially to his supporters. That means making up and spreading any lie so long as it helps them. Once one political party lives in an echo chamber of recycled lies, you can’t change their minds. Trying to do so just reinforces their beliefs and convinces them that you are against them. I mean, you honestly can’t see much difference between a Trump and a Mitt Romney or a John McCain, much less between Trump and a Bill Clinton or an Obama? Really? January 6 was too much for even Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and Lindsay Graham in the moment, and those three make Lawrence Summers look like a saint. Of course, they’ve all cowardly caved in on their initial impulses of horror to once again grovel at the feet of Trump, but privately, they recognized the obscenity of January 6. Trump, who was responsible, is the complete opposite and embraces that violence so long as it is done in tribute to him. If Trump was actually smart, his presidency would have caused 10 times as much harm, but he was too stupid to execute effectively.


LGDB:  So we'd probably have to agree to disagree here.  I mean if we're just looking the numbers here the Washington establishment has killed far more people than Trump or even Trumpism has personally.  That he's come to represent all these things symbolically like antitruth antireason and other yadda yadda, I have no doubt, but Trump is I think if anything the symptom of political decay, not its cause.  If anything I think your idyllic beliefs in our political system and political culture being more or less just fine, does explain perhaps why Trump appears to you as such an abberation.  I think Trump is in some sense the just the logical conclusion of conservative and liberal political trends acting in tandem for the last 40 years or so.  And to that end you can try to get rid of him, but I think you'd expect more Trumps to pop up, because it's what the system is yielding.  That's why he's probably coming back in 2024.   Prepare the blame blame blame I suppose.  And speaking of an echo chamber of poltiical lies I think you find yourself in one as well, as reflected with you beliefs about the Clinton administration that I think border on fairy tales.  That being said, I do see differences in characters like Trump, McCain, Obama, Bill Clinton and so on.  You can both note those differences and NOT agree that those differences are the ONLY differences that matter.   I mean incidentally I think you already sort of reveal a certain amount of confusion about how bad the Bush  administration was or was not.  You enumerate some of those crimes, but then seem particularly aggrieved by Trump.  I would argue nothing he's done (and I've like almost none of it by the way) rivals the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan.  Not by any serious metric.   And let's leave a side the fact that especially early on those wars took place under Republican leadership but with out question required the complicity of the Democratic party, the fact is they were establishment nonTrumpian Republicans acting in accordance with their open beliefs an in accordance and within a mostly legal framework.  You can say Trump mishandled the pandemic, but that really undersells the degree to which other Republicans very much supported his laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing.  As a matter of fact Trump came out as provaccine faster than many in the Republican establishment.  And the only major differences apparently Trump and most Republicans was as you say the Jan 6th riots, which I would say you're blowing out of proportion on a few ground.  This is probably more for another discussion, but while I think it was a politically directed riot, and that Trump absolutely should have been impeached for it, I don't think it was some kind of insurrection, I don't see it as political significant, but more importantly if you think you're under some delusion that the rest of the establishment Republican disapproved out of some fealty to real political principle, then YOU are given them too much credit.  And while I do agree that IF Trump were smarter he'd be a more dangerous threat, he isn't, so it doesn't matter.  I'd argue that IF affluent liberals were collectively better people we'd have universal healthcare in this country, but they're not so it doesn't matter.





There’s a quote from Game of Thrones, “Nothing someone says before the word 'but' really counts.” Although you misspelled “but” here, I think you’re implying more than you think. There’s also George Carlin’s old adage, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” I’ll let others decide which half I am on. I’m sure opinions will vary.

In any case, I didn’t actually call the masses stupid. I don’t know where you are getting this. Some are, some aren’t. I’m not generalizing to hundreds of millions of people; but I will tell you what is stupid: believing in QAnon and pizzagate, believing in Trump’s Big Lie that failed to pass muster in over 60 court cases, donating money to a literal billionaire to help him out financially with legal fees (even though he’s really just bilking you). So no, not all Trump voters are stupid, but the ones who engaged in the above behaviors are certainly acting stupidly.



LGDB:  I mean sure, I agree with ol George that the average person can be stupid.  But if you're a real fan of George you'll know he said things like "these are the stupid things people think, because these are the choices they've been forced to make."  You'll also know he wasn't really a fan of Democrats and Republicans and was a much bigger political nihilism than I am.  Maybe we can half a Carlin quote off and see whose side he'd be on.

And I'm not saying your stupid or most people are stupid, but what I will say is that your average liberal Democrat isn't smarter or more in touch with reality and anyone else.  As far as whether you called the masses stupid, I'm suggest that you didn't say that but it's a tacit assumption your politics are committed to.  Others can decide whether that's not accurate.  If you don't think American are stupid, then great we agree.  But I think what that entails is assuming their actions, their votes, their affiliations spring out of a complex, difficult set of choices because of competing values, risk aversion, and because they've been the target of violently stupefying political propaganda by both parties sense at least the sixties.  Not everyone that vote for Trump is stupid and racist and I think that if you don't incorporate that into your political calculus you're making it too easy on yourself at the cost of building an ever less relevant political ideology.



No doubt, Clinton passed some terrible legislation that made life worse like his crime bill and his welfare bill and Wall Street deregulation. I agree with all that. But NAFTA? I think that’s pretty unclear. There have been numerous studies on its effect and the results are mixed: some but not major U.S. job losses but also lower prices for U.S. consumers. Clinton’s legislative accomplishments are more complicated than you assert though. In another post, you asked me, “What economic policy of the Clinton's do you believe improved the lives of workers?” Clinton passed The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which allows up to 12 weeks of leave from which you can't be fired, and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which increased taxes on the rich from 31% to 39.6% while tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the biggest anti-poverty tools in government. It led to the first and only national budget surplus (in 1998) since the 60s. Note “socialist” Bernie Sanders voted for this bill while not a single Republican did. You say the Democrats are slaves to the wealthy, but Clinton raised their taxes by 9%. Also note that a lot of Clinton’s terrible legislation was similar to what Reagan did. Reagan broke the unions, Reagan peddled trickle down economics, Reagan opposed the minimum wage. Again, if your assertion that voters prioritize their vote based on their economic interest is true, why was Reagan so popular? Why were Republicans rewarded with his Vice President getting elected after him?



LGDB:  NAFTA's affect is unclear to you.   Not to most contemporary economists, and especially not to most working class people.  And especially not to the industrial Midwest where deindustrialization hit the hardest.  The idea that anyone would argue that any worker would be fine with losing their job so that a can of peaches will cost 9 cents less is living in a complete sheltered reality.  The results are mixed and not surprisingly they are mixed by class and economic theory which corresponds to class.  If you don't know anything about NAFTA and you just sort of Google it you might get any number of mixed results from articles by the Federalist or the Economist or a study by the Rand corporation.  Reading more in depth helps here.  

 In other words yes if businesses can cut costs by shipping jobs over seas and pass some marginal savings on to consumers, that's wonderful if you work in a sector that isn't in danger of being off shored.  BUT obviously if you work in a blue collar sector this is disastrous because not only does your job potentially evaporate, but the threat of offshoring can be used to prevent workers from unionizing.  And the nature of industrial work, factory work, etc is that those are best sites for union organization, because of the collective nature of that work.  So worker organization takes a huge hit, which in turn depresses worker wages.  And this is compounded labor rates generally, because even if you work in let's say the service industry, because more and more of the dispossessed labor from deindustrialization begin to populate those sectors wages there go do, and because some one entering the work force has no real competitive option (or a greatly diminished one)  in manufacturing the labor rates are further depressed.  Now... if you're a consumer who's job is secure as most PMCs are this is great news for you.  At least initially.  Businesses reduces overhead, products become cheaper, and you don't feel the effects because you weren't a worker whose labor was so immediately being devalued.  Eventually it DOES catch up, but people are short sighted.  Anyway, the point is those cost reductions are only really beneficial if your wages aren't also decreasing, which has been happening sense the 60s.  Any before you start, when I say wages are stagnant, diminishing, or decreasing, I mean that with respect to REAL WAGES.  Not just wages as an abstract figure.  This is among other things the reason how you can watch one CNN during let's say the Obama years how well the economy is doing and the upper middle class nods their head, while the median household doesn't have $400 to go towards an emergency if necessary (a real statistic look it up).   The working class has been steadily taking on water for 5 decades or so, having less labor leverage while extending itself in more and more intractable debt, while Wallstreet economists and financiers, like oh, I don't know Larry Summer or Jamie Diamond have been touting to the upper middle class budget surpluses and growing GDP, who let's face it have been pathologically uninterested in the plight of their fellow Americans.

 NOW pay attention because this is where people defending NAFTA like to space so as to not absorb difficult information.   Real wages means the buying power of wages, not just the numbers themselves.  So it involves inflation.  But that's more complicated that people let on.  For one, you have the idea that wages haven't kept pace with inflation.  That's the back of the postage stamp.  But the more important indicator is that wages have completely retarded with respect to productivity.  Which means that of the profit a firm yields now both a smaller percentage of that goes to workers that it has in decades both individually and collectively.  While amazingly shareholder returns and executive pay have only increased.  What's worse inflation isn't some abstract force that affects the economy.  It's a general metric of the variable buying power of the dollar, but it's based on the average of values some of which are dramatically different. 

 What most people don't understand is that inflation is almost never uniform.  And the only reason people tend to think this is because of a conservative framing that by the way corporate liberals are all too happy to adopt.  Conservatives generally only talk about inflation when it's to do with an expansion of money in the larger supply, i.e. when new money is printed for the purposes of let's say deficit spending.  That CAN have an inflationary affect.  But for one it doesn't have to and two it's not the only reason when we see inflation.  As you may have noticed we also see inflationary effects when there are disruptions to supply.  As we've seen because of covid.   Inflation is a vague average of the increase of price of goods and services in the economy, and is often very deceptive with respect to price formation at large.  In other words, different kinds of products and services are subject to different economic factors and pressures, they do not rise and fall uniformly.  The reason this is important is because certain kinds of consumer goods DO tend to arch downward and the proponents of free trade agreements can point themselves on the  back perhaps.  Leaving aside the fact that weakened antitrust law that Dems have also been complicit in have lead to veritable monopolies and oligopolies that actually pressure against those trends, consumer choice (i.e. competition) has helped to drive down those prices relative to worker's wages.  Most people can afford a cell phones.  BUT... other expenditures haven't fallen the same way and as a matter of fact they'll ballooned in places.  Nonnegotiable expenses like food, fuel, housing, and especially health care and education have increased far in excess of average worker wages.  Outsourcing jobs through trade agreements like NAFTA don't do anything to reduce the cost of things like real estate or insurance.  So while half of the country's wages were suppressed for the reasoned I mentioned above, few of the major expenditures were being equivalently suppressed.   So in summation for this, this is what your chart and your general understanding apparently fail to consider is that while wages have risen on paper, those increases have been eclipsed by rising inflation, a lower percentage of gain despite growing worker productivity, and having kept pace with rising expenditures that families can't avoid.


The rest of these policies you've mentioned are the kinds of nibbling around the edges that Democrats have been known for and while yes they're often somewhat beneficial, especially with comparison to the brutality and austerity of the opposition, in the context of the large economic policies are drop in the bucket issues.  The Earned Income Tax Credit is a nice thought, but the premises of it still subscribe to a basically neoliberal economic framing.  If anyone should be getting better tax breaks and exemptions, of course it ought to be poor and middle class people, but over all it's still a way of trying to triangulate against Republican tax philosophy.   Compromising on the compromise as it were.  The issue isn't poor people need to pay less in taxes or get slighly better tax subsidies. It's that very rich people need to be aggressively taxed and we need to use the revenues to create social programs that help everyone universally.   Not these means tested half measure that are procedurally opaque for the masses, and by their very nature insufficient.  

Further, the national surplus and anti deficit spending is a completely conservative frame.  It's not something anyone should be concerned about based on how our economy works.  People who think Democrats ought to be overly concerned with the balanced budge are completely conceding economic territory to the Republicans.   We can talk more about this if you like, but I think it's at least worth mentioning here, that deficit hawkery isn't why we saw economic expansion in the 90's under Clinton and the only people that wanted to celebrate the centrist dems for this were political hacks who were trying to dominate the Washington consensus.

I say the Democrats are slave to the wealthy, because it's an unassailable truth, which by the way, I think if pinned down you'll agree with, even if you don't like the blunt phrasing of it.   The fact that Democratic policy is more respondent to the demands of their donors.  Now away from this being also yawn inspiring in its mundane obviousness, the fact is if you look at the data it's trivially easy to see a strong correlation between what the upper 10% of Democratic voters want the bottom 90% of what Democrats wants.  It's why the SALT deduction was always going to make it in the infrastructure bill and the recurring child tax credit didn't.

What I will say is that Democrats have a tendency to preside over more STABLE economies, because they don't indulge in some of the most egregious excesses of economic deregulation.  They tend to allow for some minimum regulation.  They preside over less dramatic tax cuts so they more likely to generate budget surpluses and so on.   Again, this is preferable of course, but this also obfuscates the degree to which both parties have worked in tandem to ensuring the economy will continue to exploit labor, and increase financialization and privatizations at the expense of the material economy that expands the public good.  Look no further than Obama's failures to hold accountable any of the financial institutions or even individuals who were responsible for the fraud and abuse that led to the 2008 market crash.  Democrats and Republicans disagree about what the governments role ought to be with respect to a regulatory apparatus, but they do not disagree that the economy ought to be a top down affair in which corporate and financial interests dictate policy despite at this point being either too incompetent or without any inclination to center the welfare or interests of most Americans.  In other words the Republicans wants a machine that transfers wealth as quickly as possible from the people to the upper %1 regardless of how precarious and unstable doing so is, while the Democrats want a machine that's much more stable.  That still works for the moneyed elite and prioritizes the stability of that hegemony.  By and large the Democrats are in NO WAY interests in destabilizing that hierarchy or insuring that the masses have a greater participation in the political process or a more decisive roll in the economic order.




But your logic doesn’t make any sense: Voters moved away from Democrats to Republicans because Democrats were becoming more like Republicans. What? If Democrats are becoming more like what you hate, let’s embrace what you hate? Huh?


LGDB:  That's because you're not very curious what I mean.  You're desperate to argue the point.  Which is fine, but this isn't my point at all.  What I'm saying is that there's a paradox that people who call themselves pragmatists (who are usually anything but), are centrists who both absolutely vilify the right while also trying to explain why leaders should be applauded for embracing rightward policies.  And to be clear that wasn't about your general voter liberal or otherwise.  I'm talking about centrist Democratic partisans.   And this posture is maintained even when it has nothing to do with what the voters want.  So Biden is applauded by centrists for compromising on things like debt forgiveness, or build back better, or the minimum wage when polls reflect that most voters are to his left.  His movement to the center isn't to satisfy most voters who would hate government investing in say green manufacturing jobs or subsidies for their children.  Healthcare articulate this paradigm most saliently.  Centrists regularly encourage politicians to move "right toward the center" while most American in polls are already left of him on things like a public option.  A policy that Biden promised on the campaign trail and hasn't mentioned since in office, btw.

As to how people move from voting from Democrats to Republican and then back again, doesn't reflect a change in their ideology.  It reflects things like desperation a lack of options, and often a very unclear picture of what the parties make up is like and what their agendas are like.  It's hard to blame them given the sheer amount of very sophisticated political propaganda organized against them.   So for instance around 13% of Trump voters in 2016 had voted for Obama earlier.  Is it because they all became hateful racists who hate the truth and love guns or something?  No... it probably has something to do with fact that Obama ran on a campaign of being a serious reformer, and instead doubled down on the very economic and political structures whose failures had energized his campaign.  Obama had a clear mandate and for a lot of people he failed.  Now sure you can contextualize his failures and explain that he was powerless.  A conversation for another time perhaps, but the point is there's a way of reading how some of these political trends have manifested as desperate people  voting for anyone who seems like they're going to be most serious about reforming a system that threw them overboard a long time ago.  I think much of Obama defenders have spent so long explaining why it's acceptable that they can't do much to help people, and so those people began to look elsewhere.  In places I would argue are doomed to fail and kind of loopy.   But as George said, these are the decisions people are forced to make.

Now of course I don't mean every Trump supporter.  I don't even mean most of them, but many of them.  Democratic failures produce Republican voters often times.  And while you're invested in explaining to yourself and others why these failures had to happen how much worse the Republicans really are, for the politically uninitiated who aren't committed to preserving, the Democratic Party's righteousness aren't going to make those excuses for them.  When you tell people you can't help them, you may convince them of all the good reasons you can't help them, but what they won't do is come to you for help anymore.   They'll look elsewhere, and if the only answers are lies, when they're desperate at least a substantive portion will believe the lies. 



Well, my own pragmatism did not affect Dem strategy whatsoever so I don’t know what you’re talking about in trying to correlate the two. My pragmatism can’t be the height of ideological thinking because there is no ideology behind it other than picking the lesser of two evils. And how can the Democrats be blamed for the Roe SCOTUS decision? The Republicans installed them. Here is yet another instance of you blaming Democrats for what Republicans have done.


LGDB:  I mean your ideology, what you're calling political pragmatism.  I didn't mean to indicate you as being in charge of the DNC lol   And I think we also disagree that you're not ideological.  As a matter of fact, I think that if you think you're not ideological you have a pretty attenuated concept for ideology.  I have to take note of the fact that I don't vote for the lesser of two evil any more or less that you do apparently.  The difference is I actually think the two are evil apparently.  If you did, I don't think anything I've said here (at least not most of it) would be taken as so controversial.  And I blame people or groups for what they do.  I don't not blame them if they've done something just because someone else also did something worse.   There's not question the Republicans are more directly responsible for Roe v.  Wade.  I  don't blame them for that.  I blame the Democrats for creating a political platform that is by definition classist and so weakens their democratic coalition.   If they regularly adopted political policies and governed for working people of a necessity they would attract more people generally.  Their neoliberal policies are directly causal of their lack of popular support, and so their political failures as with Roe are also their fault.  You see when you doing something immoral (to draw a simple analogy), other people's acting immorally doesn't somehow make your immorality virtue.  There are more options here than EITHER it's the Democrat's vault or the Republican's fault.







Okay, but all that means from my pragmatic perspective is that those Hillary supporters are also to blame, not that Bernie supporters are off the hook. In other words, you just engaged in a whataboutism that’s irrelevant to the point I’m making, which is that Democrats need to come together and vote as a block, not engage in Bernie or Bust threats. Anyway, it’s not THE fault of leftists and progressives. It’s a shared failure. My pointing out one segment’s failure doesn’t preclude other segment's failures.


LGDB:  Yes, I agree.  I was a Bernie supporter.   I volunteered for his campaign.  I advised everyone to vote for Clinton.  My point wasn't that they did the right thing.  My point here is in perspective, as a voting block the Bernie people voted as much if not more so in the general election as do most Democrats.  It's par for the course that some begrudged percentage of  primary voter in ANY election won't vote for the winner in the general.  I don't think this is a good thing, but my point is that it wasn't a bigger determiner in the 2016 election than it was in the 2008 election or any other in modern history.   Clinton supporters screwed up massively and went on a warpath trying to externalize any blame; but you'll notice they didn't retrospectively recognize that Clinton's supporters failure to show up could have jeopardized an Obama victory.   

And my larger point is that if the Democratic party fails to attract enough voters you should hold their leadership accountable for that MORE than you do the voters that are not convinced it matters.   For a few reasons, the primary one being that you're trying to win them over next election so blaming them is hardly a good way to grow your coalition.  And two even if they're wrong that it was a good idea to sit out or vote for Trump, they're grievances are real and they are right that the Democratic party can and should do better on any number of issues as I've already enumerated.   Blaming the electorate even equal to blaming the incompetent political calculations of those in power is a really wonderful formula to not hold them accountable.   And as I've said before, primarily you shouldn't blamed the electorate because it's basically useless at the political level.  If there's enough uniform pressure on elected officials, if it exceeds whatever financial incentives that would otherwise exists, can have a positive effect.  Politicians often do bend to popular demands if those demands are strong and organized enough.   Crapping on voters for not being smart enough, shaming them, scolding them is at best useless but is more likely counterproductive to your aims.




Of course it was everyone else’s fault. If someone loses an election, it’s not the fault of the people who voted for that person. It’s the fault of the people who didn’t vote for that person.


LGDB:  Yes but it's some people's fault more than others.  Otherwise good voters will often voted against their own interests because they're confused, or angry or they'll not vote at all because they'll lost faith in the political process.  People are not losing faith in the political process out of spite or to mess with you.   And again, we can collectively increase their faith in the political process by reforming on of the parties so they have something to have faith in.  Making constant excuses for them comes to basically nothing.



Not amazed. Disappointed. And yes, the industrial Midwest voters are even more to blame than Bernie voters. One is not mutually exclusive to the other. And of course, Clinton herself is the most to blame of all. But Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania effectively did a retraction in 2020 and went Biden. They gave Trump a chance and said no thanks.

LGDB:  Is it their fault that the Democratic party helped facilitate the outsourcing of their jobs, or just their fault they were made about it?  I guess they should have just walked off, maybe?  I have to tell you I don't think this would be a compelling line to offer anyone who lost their home or their pension during the 2008 crash and didn't get bailed out like AIG or someone who lost their when one of a hundred automotive manufacturing plants closed their doors.  How do you think they react to being told that while they should just grin and bear it because things didn't work out, but really Trump is all their fault when they hear someone say something similar on MSNBC?



Apparently you didn’t catch that I was mocking the Democrat proposal of job training programs. I agree that they are idiotic.


LGDB:  Nope, I didn't catch that  lol  Yes we agree it's a totally stupid thought promulgated by people who actually don't care and very much may be benefitting from an atomized powerless labor force and a permanent helot underclass.






This is just wrong. Democrats are trying to do almost every single thing you listed. Clinton and Obama both raised taxes on the rich while Republicans actively tried to stop them while cutting taxes on the rich every time they are in the majority. It’s the Republicans who doubled the estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11.18 million under Trump, another huge giveaway to the rich. Debt forgiveness? The Biden administration is in the middle of figuring out how to best implement student loan forgiveness. A draw down of foreign entanglements? Uh, Afghanistan (which didn’t go very well)? But most pointedly, let me remind you that the DEMOCRATIC HOUSE ALREADY passed the Build Back Better Act as pushed by Biden. That would extend the Child Tax Credit and make it permanent, extend the Earned Income Tax Credit even more, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, IMPOSE EVEN HIGHER TAXES on the RICH and large corporations including instituting a global 15% minimum tax, and establish a universal pre-Kindergarten program. But in your eyes, Democrats are purposefully not doing these things because their real constituency, the rich, disapprove. These are all things EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN is blocking. If even two Republican Senators crossed over, the bill would pass. Literally every Democrat but one in the House voted for it. Every Democrat but two in the Senate are ready to vote for it. The Democratic president is ready to sign it. But somehow you believe the Democrats aren't really interested in passing it even while 99% of all Democrats in Congress have committed.


LGDB:  Yeah I've already addressed most of these in principle.  So for one, I agree that Democrats are marginally better on economics and specifically on tax cuts.  But... just looking at tax cuts doesn't really tell us much.   As a matter of fact Democrats were also fighting for a whole host of pro-wealth tax deductions to be attached with the infrastructure bills.  Look up the SALT deduction if you're unfamiliar.  But by and large I will say that had Build Back Better it would have been an insufficient but ultimately very welcome pieced of legislation.   It would have been the biggest boldest progressive measure to be enacted sense perhaps the New Deal.  It is therefore no surprise that the Democrats weren't able to pass it.

What you seem to fail to recognize is that the Democrats aren't a monolith and that many love to pay a lot of lip service to policy that many of them don't actually support and even more don't fight for.  You have a few progressive voices here or there, but often times it doesn't come to much and if you follow the development of BBB that's what you'd come away with.   Leaving aside Ro Khanna, Sanders, and parts of the Squad, most Democrats were fine to separate Build Back Better from the bi partisan infrastructure bill, which more or less ensured Manchin and Sinema weren't going to vote for it.  And it isn't that all things being equal and easy that Joe Biden wouldn't have like to pass BBB.   I'm sure he's probably pretty crestfallen that it didn't pass, seeing as how it's likely the only major legislative victory he could have ever hoped to preside over.  But the more important aspect to recognize here is that Democrats and the rest of the establishment Dems: (1) aren't willing to do what needs to be done to push a bill like that through Congress; i.e. telling the Senate parliamentarian to go screw; ending the filibuster, and going to war with the capital interests who back Sinema and Manchin.  Many Democrats like Pelosi, Biden, and Schumer I think would pull that lever, but what they're not willing to do is the work that would excise the poisonous moneyed interests dug into the party.  (2) they couldn't sell it to the American people because their rhetorical ability to lobby for somethin like that have completely atrophied due to the Larry Summers of the world promulgating an economic philosophy in direct contradiction to this kind of government spending, i.e. Dems post Carter have spend as much of their breath explaining how this sort of deficit spending and big government is so dangerous (and I am not anti big government FYI) and (3) because of the Democrats failing appeal mostly due to focusing more on being anti-Trump than articulating a political vision that most American could find hope in, as well as 40 odd years of transforming themselves into a party not for the worker but for the liberal professional, the Democrats didn't have enough votes in the Senate to legislate.  You act like the fact that the Dems on had 50 senators, well let's face it 48 senator who would vote their "liberal values," is just some accident of history.  Like it has nothing to with the prior decades.  

You misunderstand my criticism, at least in part here.  Many Democrats do approve of these policies as you articulate, but because outside of these rare occasion they don't often enough represent the interests that they would purport to help, and so they don't have a large enough democratic coalition to control the branches of government.  When they do they usually compromise with big business at the expense of the interests of working American which a lot of people have picked up on.  And foremost, they're whetted to the kind of status quo political procedures that make big lofty legislation that hamstrung if not DOA, which by the way, they're aware of.  This is a pretty good deal for people in the DNC because while you can gesture towards these policies you supposedly support, when they predictably don't pass you can blame the Republicans.  Essentially the Democrats don't act like a party that's serious about actually passing the legislation they assure the public they're for.  And if they fail to legislate, as they have, for most of their donors and the PMC that support them, no real skin of their nose. 

By the way Biden isn't figure a way to implement student loan forgiveness.  He's out right not doing it.  I'd love to be wrong about that but all the tea in China I'd bet he'll not do it.  And to that end you understand he's only talking about 10,000 which is well below the median college debtor.   And Biden could forgive this debt by fiat.  By the same legal framework that allows Biden to suspend it or Trump to have forgiven some of it for veterans for instance, Biden has the authority to practically remove it from the balance sheets.  He's not doing that because he doesn't want every financial holding pissed that the federal government might start taking that attitude towards debt.  And he doesn't like what forgiving the debt will mean in terms of the deficit.  That tax revenue would have to be made up elsewhere or else he'll get an F on his deficit report card


And also you keep mentioned that the Republicans are worse than the Democrats.  And yes.  Absolutely.  With respect to the welfare state or with investments in the public sector it's perhaps the most pronounced.   You're knocking on an open door.  I'm arguing that the Democrats should be better for one if they hope to consistently govern in a way that makes them competitive against the Republicans and two they need to be better because Americans and the rest of the world desperately need them to be better, and that better is within practical reach if people such as yourself would stop trying to shield them from criticism and apologize for some of their worst behavior.  Also it occurs to me that by a very similar logic we could absolve the Republicans if they had the same exact politics but instead of corporate liberal party to their left, you had a fascist party to their right.  And I assume you'd be out here talking about how the Republicans were great because 48 of them didn't vote for the work camps and the suspension of the rule.  That it's not so bad that they want to pass laws against trans people or turn the economy into a Randian dystopia, because they're all we've got to stop the swastika crew.  Apparently a party's behaviors are if not acceptable at least too dangerous to condemn or reform if there's a worse party to their right.




Again, this goes against factual reality. Centrist Democrat Bill Clinton got minimum wage increases to $4.75 in 1996 and $5.15 in 1997. An increase in 2007 was signed by Bush, but it was totally pushed and passed by Democrats. Every Democrat voted for it in the House while 116 Republicans voted against it. That Florida minimum wage got on the ballot because of John Morgan, who is not a politician but is a Democrat who supported Biden. He’s also a millionaire. Republicans are the ones, by and large, opposed to minimum wage increases. On the stump, Trump opposed minimum wage increases. Trump still got most of the working class votes. “Look no further than how they feel about social security.” Yes, let’s look. Oh, Democrat John Larson of Connecticut has a bill, Social Security 2100, that would expand benefits for all 65 million recipients. (https://larson.house.gov/issues/social-security-2100-sacred-trust
) He has 200 co-sponsors in the House, all Democrats. It may not pass because it has to get past the filibuster in the Senate, but it won’t be because Democrats aren’t trying to pass it.


LGDB:  Yes I know, again this is already in principle covered above.  But a few sloppy things you're doing here.   One I agree that there are people who are Democrats doing good things.  I don't think Democrat is itself some kind of self negating descriptor.  But it's important to understand that there are plenty of people with in the Democratic party against those people.   That donor and establishment leaders are often the first obstacle against progressive measures, not a force constantly fighting for them.  John Morgan helped to get $15 on the ballot, but it was because he was part of an already insurgent grass roots campaign.   Some millionaires are swell.  Is getting $15 on the ballot what you find most millionaires are doing with their money? It was by definition a collective effort.  But the point here is there are a number of democrats I like, but merely taking that handful and saying, look they're all Democrats and they do good, doesn't mean they characterize the larger party.  The Democrats as a party participate and help to perpetuate a system that badly needs reform.  Their money interested are more committed to fighting that reform than anything else, i.e. they're reactionary.  That doesn't mean they're not the better of the two.   As the saying goes the liberals are the left hand of capital.  They're the nicer of the two, just as during chattel slavery there were factions of slavers that were nicer to their slaves.  Or to broaden it, there were racist white supremacist  people who were decidedly better than pro slavery whites.  This doesn't mean our only two option are white supremacy without slavery or white supremacy with slavery.   But you don't have to give me examples of Democrats who are exceptions or who do good.  As I've said I've volunteered for them.  That's doesn't contradict with the larger sentiment here.  







I’ve presented evidence that this sell out is not as pervasive as you present it, but for the sake of argument, let’s say you are accurate. So your theory is that the electorate who resents selling out to Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance chooses to switch to the party who blatantly represents Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Finance? You accuse me of labeling people as stupid when your entire premise rests on their being stupid. That’s your idealism talking. Democrats have done a lot more for the poor than Republicans, but because it’s not enough, hey, that’s why people embrace Republicans whose policies actively make the poor poorer and the rich richer. The unmistakable Republican motto for decades has been that government is bad and the less government does for you, the better.


LGDB:  First of all you haven't presented any evidence to suggest the Democratic party isn't significantly influenced by these industries to the degree I'm saying or otherwise.   Now we need only look at the amount of money these parties donated to the Democratic party.  Is it your belief that these financial interest spend billions upon billions of dollars because it has no influence?  These tycoons of industry and masters of coin apparently like to throw their money away despite its lack of efficacy to affect policy?

And no that's a pretty flagrant perversion of what I'm saying.  I don't think that the substantive part of the population I'm referring to sees that the Democrats are corrupt.  It's not that they think many of them that the Republicans aren't corrupt, it's that they don't see corruption as being particular to the Republicans... which by the way they're correct about.  They don't assume that by supporting the Democrats they will discernably improve their standing or their condition.  This isn't particularly ideological and its not something anyone would want to be committed to.  It's just a lesson they've learned by experience.  You can try and trot out abstract and I think disingenuous distinctions between the economies either parties preside over, but are you actually so cynical to think that these people who vote for Republicans or don't vote at all, notice their lives improving substantively while under Democrats, but don't recognize because they've been fooled?  If every time the Democrats took office the poor and working people of this country the found their saving flush, their wages increasing, their towns and communities flourishing, they'd through basic experience absorb that information, but those things don't happen so they don't.  The differences between Republicans and Democrats are real, but any economist will tell you those differences are generally attenuated with the rich and the poor.  In other words, there's a basic level of working class and working poverty such that you don't experience the benefits of the kind of economy whose benefits believe those people should so readily genuflect to.




You revealed why Trump voters vote the way they do, but mistake how powerful that is: the “quasi-spiritual kind of battle taking place at the level of civilization.” That’s exactly right. The GOP, Fox News, and far-right radio and websites have made them believe that the left is made up of God-hating, baby killing, election-stealing, condescending, virtue signaling social justice warriors who are out to replace white people with brown immigrants and destroy heterosexual norms. If your average South Carolinian really, truly believed that, then would they trade a material improvement in their life to keep such people in power? No. You can appeal to them all you want with socialist promises, but you’re not getting the vote of someone who believes the above.


LGDB:  How would you know? lol  I mean what great power do you have that can testify to their mental or moral limitations.  Again, you're assuming that most of those people have been experiencing these wonderful economies you've be gesturing towards, that they should forgo their other cultural concerns, which is just foolish.  Also, this is all convenient for you isn't that, you've decided that they're absolutely unreachable.  Kind of let's the libs off the hook the burden of having to develop policies that work in their interest.   Also I notice you're only talking about dyed in the wool MAGA people.  Apparently you've also given up in convincing the Trump voters who aren't nearly so ideologically lock step nor the 30 - 40 % of people that won't vote.  I guess they're all brainwashed too, right?  I imagine it more likely that those people don't vote, not because they've been convince of how right the Republicans are so much as they're experienced have convinced the that the Democratic party as it exists currently is ill equipped and in many ways has no inclination of improving their lives.







Again, you have repeatedly stated that the working class makes up the majority of people. One can’t improve the economy in the broadest terms but fail to help “most people.” I have already detailed how Democrats have helped people. Have they hurt people with bad legislation as well? Definitely. But the People haven’t resented the overall job that Clinton and Obama did. Bush and Trump both left office with a final approval rating of 34% by Gallup’s polling. Again, Clinton left office with a final approval rating of 65% and Obama 59%. Again, let me emphasize, Clinton left office as THE most popular president in the past 70 years and this is after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.


LGDB:  Is this supposed to be compelling?  What are Biden's approval rating now?   lol  I absolutely agree that public sentiment for neoliberalism in the 90's was FAR higher than it is today.  But if you've been paying attention I'm sure you'll notice... political reality has changed quite a bit.  While Clinton was stepping out the door, he had high approval, but that's by no means how most people feel about his presidency or him as a person  now.  And by the way, see how any of those policies we've discussed poll at an individual level now.   Regardless enthusiastically as you make have typed that I can't imagine that this standard is one you're keen on keeping.    They loved Clinton so much as a matter of fact... wait who did the elect and reelect after Clinton?   I can't remember?  Also haven't showed how Democrats helped people, at least not sufficiently.  You've touted their minor legislative achievements and then declared they were helpful when comparing them to a big Republican nothing.  






Having said all that and despite what good Democrats have done, I personally think the performance of Democrats are a net negative in the past 30 years, but still nowhere nearly as bad as Republicans. I'm big on shades of gray. Democrats do cater to big business and special interests, just not to the same degree as the GOP. They do enter foreign engagements that wind up with hundreds or thousands of foreigners killed over time. To put it simply, Democrats are the lesser of two evils. But when you can’t vote for a party that will do net good, it’s still vitally important to stop a far worse net bad.


LGDB:  Yeah, or you know prioritize reforming the party rather than apologizing for it so the American people are forced to make these kind of choices.  I'd argue this lesser of two evils political strategy is precisely WHY things have gotten worse over the last 30 years.   Further more it's more correct to say that the Democrats cater more to different capitalist interests, not less.  As a matter of fact at this point, the Democratic Party certainly takes more money from Big Tech and from the financial sector.  That's pretty easy to look up.



The U.S. government is highly dysfunctional and no longer works. What will solve our current situation? The dying off of the Baby Boom generation perhaps. Biden won every age group except for 65 and over, and younger people seem less politically divided than older people:

LGDB: How are your politics any different than your average Democratic baby boomer?  And young people also voted overwhelming for Biden in the primary.  People of under 35 have a more positive association with socialism than they do with capitalism.  







But even if the two parties were exactly equally bad except on Supreme Court nominations, then I'd say one should still easily vote Democrat for that sole reason. The Supreme Court is THAT important. It shouldn’t be, by which I mean 9 unelected people should not have so much power, but they do. In a time when Congress has a hard time passing much major legislation because of the filibuster and because the country is so divided, only the Supreme Court can drastically alter American life from gay marriage to overturning portions of the Civil Rights Act. However awful Hillary Clinton may have been (and she still would have been far better than Trump), had she won, liberals would now outnumber conservatives 6-3 on the court. Scalia, Kennedy, and RBG would have all been replaced by Clinton, eventually allowing an overturn of the stupidity of Citizens United and the allowance of gerrymandering and now the overturning of Roe. This is a court we would have had for another 20 years, probably more since Thomas and Alito will most likely be the next two to vacate.


LGDB:  Yes which is why I held my nose and voted for her.   I'd argue she probably wasn't a particularly competitive candidate which clear and therefore the people that pushed her and financed her campaign prioritized her winning for their own interests and at the expense of issues like the Supreme Court.    By the way, the idea of thinking the Bernie Sanders movement was about just electing Bernie president and then crossing our fingers is powerfully stupid.   His campaign was the bottom up campaign.   And you've given up on the U.S. government, but not the Democratic party?  That's rich lol



The center left is not responsible for pushing cancel culture as much as those further left. My evidence is the center left folks who are actively critical of it.

LGDB:  which are apparently few and far between.  Your examples of critical thinkers were Bill Maher, Larry Summers, and James Carville.  Sad.



The left needs to unite before trying to peel off the right. Wokeness and cancel culture impedes that.

LGDB:  Agreed.  But you also mean the working class should unite with people that take money from Amazon and the big banks.   This is idiotic.



LGDB only begrudgingly admits to any positive Democrat achievement despite multiple expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit, giving 20 million more people health insurance, passing minimum wage increases, increasing family leave, re-regulating Wall Street, bringing America out of the Great Recession, a 6% real wage increase under Clinton and a 4% real wage increase under Obama, among many other things I detail above.


LGDB:  I don't begrudingly admit anything.  I recognize the marginal legislative achievements here you're trying to use to distract from much more serious economic problems you're not addressing, think are inevitable, or are basically ignorant of.  Also Dodd-Frank is a nice sentiment, has no teeth, is mostly symbolic, and its critics which are legion say it's woefully insufficient and has done nothing to curb the incentives that led to the 2008 crisis.  I encourage people to actually read about this.  Not just the wikipedia page.



There are clear differences between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have improved the lives of the poor and working class more than Republicans have. That has not stopped much of the working class to vote Republican because of culture war issues. My evidence: Republicans under Reagan were rewarded. Democrats under Clinton were not. Democrats under Obama were not.

LGDB:  translation, Democrats have tried to and failed to bring the crap to shoe level, and you're frustrated that people's lives who were not improved by the Democrats during these supposedly flush career don't play along with these MSNBC aren't we swell-a-thon.



Democrats just passed a $1 trillion infrastructure and jobs act and are half way through passing  the biggest, most sweeping social spending bill in several generations with all the things LGDB says Democrats don’t want to pass despite 99% of Democrats having already committed to passing it. Against LGDB’s assertion that Democrats would win votes with such a stance materially helping the working class, the Democrats will likely lose Congress in the fall.


LGDB:  The billed was passed most experts agree was insufficient and was denuded of so many of its most significant provisions at the best of the corporate Democrats and because they didn't have the votes to pass it.  The idea that the Democrats have done nothing but help the working class, is a fairy story, and forgets the other group that the Democrats have actually helped far more at the expense of the vast majority of the people in the country.  




The GOP, Fox News, and far-right radio and websites have made their consumers believe that the left is made up of God-hating, baby killing, election-stealing, condescending, virtue signaling social justice warriors who are out to replace white people with brown immigrants and destroy heterosexual norms. That is how avid Trump supporters vote, not based on their being offered a New Deal.



LGDB:  Well no.  They've convinced a lot of people that.  But I'd argue that doesn't characterize a lot of Republicans, independent voters who often don't vote Democrat or the many people that don't vote.  But you center these types because they're the only way to perpetuate the fantasy that the Democrats have really helped people, "people who don't recognize this must be crazy and stupid!"  And you fixate on them because it helps with the partisan binary and because they're basically a lot like you in that they're prioritize party loyalty above larger political concerns.  That's my take at least.


cheers,
---the late great Donald Blake



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