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The Strategic Incompetence of Democrats

FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
edited October 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
So, the other thread made me think of this, but then I read it and didn't understand what it was about, and now it's a school-reform thread so whatever.

Anyway, one thing I've been thinking about, as someone who lives and works in DC in the world of allegedly progressive politics, is that the Democrats are really shitty at being self-interested. This thread is to discuss (1) why, and (2) what could be done to build a Democratic party capable of grinding Republicans into mulch for decades to come. An exercise in futility and masturbation, maybe, but hopefully an enjoyable one.

Here's my take:

(1) It seems to me that Democrats and Republicans have two very different ways that they respond to a party brand that's in the shitter.
First, I think Republicans' first instinct when they lose is denial. This is because part of their worldview is the idea that there is Right and there is Wrong, and they are Right. And how could that ever legitimately fall out of favor? Their first instinct is the Silent Majority stuff -- their entitlement to power can be stolen from them, but they don't seem to think they are capable of losing fairly.

The result is that they don't abandon their policies, nor (more importantly) their values-based language. They continue to provide a narrative for world events framed in fluent moral and emotional language, because they still believe that everyone, deep down, agrees with them.

Democrats seem to basically agree. I don't know if they've just been so cowed by 40 years of highly effective conservative rhetoric, or just by 40 years of getting fisted in the ass by conservatives at the ballot box, but they seem to believe the conservative line about Democrats -- Democrats seem to think they can only win by hoodwinking people, that this is a center-right country, and that if they speak their values honestly, people won't vote for them.

Where Republicans deny their losses, and stay on-message even when that message falters in persuading voters, Democrats are quick to accept their loss before they even lose, and quick to abandon their message (as they inherently lack faith in it).

Second, as a result of their denial, when the Republican brand sucks, their instinct is to rebuild it. Everyone goes into lock-step in the service of damage control and re-branding. Regardless of your district, you parrot the party line, shut up, or get out -- everyone helps to rebuild a cohesive, values-based narrative to sell to voters.

When the Democratic brand is in trouble, the Democratic instinct seems to be to run from it. Where a Republican says "shit, we need to help the party," a Democrat says "shit, we need to bail from the party." There's a rush to establish distance from the party by voting against the leadership, and the message cohesion is non-existent.

The result is that Democrats are terrible at being self-interested, because they have no concept of party self-interest, only candidate self-interest -- and typically they conceptualize the two as diametrically opposed.

Healthcare is a good example. We know that the bill is unpopular, but all the stuff in the bill is actually very popular. The rational response to this should be "well, we lost the messaging battle, but our policies and values are actually more in line with the public's." The rational self-interested response would be to implement everything as quickly as possible, so that the rhetorical battle we lost would be forgotten in the face of benefits that people like and they could directly attribute to the Democratic Party.

Instead, because Democrats actually seemed to believe the Republican narrative that they were passing this against the will of the people, their idea of self-interest was to water-down many of the popular benefits to make them less popular, and to put off implementation for six years on key popular components. They ran from their own party, their own bill, and their own values, because that's their idea of being self-interested, even when it blatantly contradicts all evidence.

This prohibits them from doing things that would really help them with regards to question (2).

(2) The Democrats have a lot of structural tools they could exploit, but do not, because of their fear and distrust of their own party and their own values.
First, let's look at Big Labor and EFCA. Labor is a suffering movement right now. Membership is declining, which means dues and political power are declining. Again, the Democratic instinct here is to smell death long before anyone's fate is sealed, and to run for the hills. Fuck labor, fuck the working man -- it's a lost cause. Accept defeat and retreat to lose another day.

But, realistically, without Labor, there is no Democratic Party. Have fun trying to counter the efforts of corporate lobbies, the Chamber of Commerce, and other conservative machines with no labor movement. This is one of those beautiful moments where self-interest and values should coincide! Just like when Republicans pass looser campaign finance laws or corporate tax cuts, and serve both their own values and their political self-interest, Democrats should jump at any opportunity to strengthen Labor.

Instead, EFCA died without so much as a floor fight. Sure, Republicans are obstructionist and would filibuster it to the bitter end, but Democrats didn't even bother to wage a messaging war on behalf of the bill. Republicans got out early and tarred it with disingenuous language, and Democrats gave up.

This is a bill that could dramatically boost the fortunes of the labor movement, which right now is posed to lose between 500,000 and 1,000,000 members on the outcome of several key elections this fall.

It's imperative that Democrats start doing their part to rebuild the labor movement and do it fast, or else they'll face a permanent infrastructural and monetary disadvantage against the Republicans. Yes, Labor can't cut you a check as big as the healthcare lobby can -- but if you take that bigger check now, you lose two, four, or six years later when the lobbyists have won their legislative battle and are bankrolling your Republican opponent, or you can pass legislation that gives Labor the ability to write those massive checks in the future.

Second, immigration reform. Republicans have shot themselves in the foot by alienating the fastest-growing demographic in the country -- hispanics. Do Democrats try to amplify this by aggressively pursuing pro-hispanic, pro-immigrant policy that could widen the D/R margin among hispanics? Of course not -- as always, they run from their own values in the belief that they have to sneak in or water down anything they really believe in.

The strategically appropriate thing to do would be to aggressively pursue policies that hispanic voters favor (buh-bye, DREAM act!), and additionally go for as close to amnesty and full citizenship as you can get. That's a potential ~8 million potential voters (which given registration rates and turnout comes down to a lot more like 3 million) who will break 70-30 or more for the Democrats for years to come. And, frankly, Democrats should be pursuing borders as open as they can get away with, as nearly all immigrant groups vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. That's a long-term structural investment that will pay dividends for the party for decades to come. If you're an immigrant of color who's an American citizen or a child of immigrants who came here thanks to Democratic immigration policy, who do you think you're voting for? Basically, the more Democrats can accelerate the decline of the white majority in America, the better for the party.

Finally, jobs and spending. People love spending when it's tangible. People hate spending when it's not. People hate the stimulus, TARP, the healthcare bill (even though it will ultimately cut the deficit), and Cap-and-Trade. They like unemployment benefits, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They don't like money spent on schools, science, the environment, or other agencies that deal with, essentially, externalities/problems of collective action. Basically, how much people like spending is directly proportional to how direct the benefits are. A new road in front of their house? Great. $30 billion for a high-speed train they won't see for 20 years? Fuck you.

The point here is that people don't really give a shit about deficits or profligacy -- what they hate is not feeling like they're getting a cut. Democrats should take a page from Keynes and left-wing heterodox economic schools and offer a jobs guarantee; if you're unemployed, the government will give you a job tomorrow that pays $10/hr (adjusted for local COLA, maybe) with moderate benefits, no questions asked, no reservations. Not only would it mesh with progressive values like the stimulus, but unlike the stimulus, the job creation would be direct and visible. People might as well be getting a check in the mail every month that is signed by the Democratic Party. Government workers also tend to favor Democrats, which makes sense because Republicans always pledge to screw them. The more the Democratic party can expand the portion of the labor market that is public-sector, the more people they can have as a voting bulwark against spending cuts. Additionally, public-sector jobs are more easily unionized, being the only part of the labor movement where membership is increasing, so it also benefits the labor movement.

But you won't see that anytime soon, because Democrats are convinced that they need to be deficit hawks, too. Again and again, it comes back to the Democrats running from their own values and their own party, because they believe the conservative meta-narrative about what the public really believes.

TL;DR-- how the hell do you run a party that believes the opposition's narratives?

Fartacus on
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Posts

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Public financing would solve your two questions.

    enlightenedbum on
    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Public financing would solve your two questions.

    It would solve many of our nations problems.

    Styrofoam Sammich on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    TL;DR-- how the hell do you run a party that believes the opposition's narratives?
    You don't.

    Dems, for my general agreement with the party on the issues, are terrible at actually being politicians.

    We lack will. We lack direction. We lack swagger.

    '08 was the closest I've ever seen Dems come to really being the "we're right, dammit, and we're tired of not being listened to so just sit the fuck down" party that they need to be to fix the country. And that's all gone up in smoke in the last two years.

    We need a generation of tough, asskicking Dems and we need them soon.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I think part of the problem with the Democratic Party is that it is there are too many subgroups as opposed to the Republican Party. I mean you have enviromentalists, gay rights, human rights, antiwar, feminists, etc...

    It's a bit harder to keep all those different areas motivitated.

    The Democrats also need to work on message control. I'm not going to go searching for the data now, but Republicans appear on TV shows and other media at an alarmingly higher rate than Democrats even excluding Fox News. And a lot of the Democrats that do show up are going to be blue dogs.

    A lot of blue dogs are going to lose this year. They are going to think it's because they weren't far enough right and should have been further right(for instance they dropped the public option and punted on tax changes). They are going to lose because of it. The public option was overwhelming popular even in conservative blue states. How hard is it to look at the polls and go "Oh people like this" instead of listening to the rhetoric of the other party.

    YodaTuna on
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    TL;DR-- how the hell do you run a party that believes the opposition's narratives?
    You don't.

    Dems, for my general agreement with the party on the issues, are terrible at actually being politicians.

    We lack will. We lack direction. We lack swagger.

    '08 was the closest I've ever seen Dems come to really being the "we're right, dammit, and we're tired of not being listened to so just sit the fuck down" party that they need to be to fix the country. And that's all gone up in smoke in the last two years.

    We need a generation of tough, asskicking Dems and we need them soon.

    225px-Al_Franken_Official_Senate_Portrait.jpg210px-Alan_Grayson_high_res.jpg

    YodaTuna on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    TL;DR-- how the hell do you run a party that believes the opposition's narratives?
    You don't.

    Dems, for my general agreement with the party on the issues, are terrible at actually being politicians.

    We lack will. We lack direction. We lack swagger.

    '08 was the closest I've ever seen Dems come to really being the "we're right, dammit, and we're tired of not being listened to so just sit the fuck down" party that they need to be to fix the country. And that's all gone up in smoke in the last two years.

    We need a generation of tough, asskicking Dems and we need them soon.

    225px-Al_Franken_Official_Senate_Portrait.jpg210px-Alan_Grayson_high_res.jpg
    I'd throw Weiner and Frank in there too.

    But they need to be the rule and not the exception.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited September 2010
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    I think part of the problem with the Democratic Party is that it is there are too many subgroups as opposed to the Republican Party. I mean you have enviromentalists, gay rights, human rights, antiwar, feminists, etc...

    I'd say the Dems have more inherent coherence than the Pubs. All those subgroups are generally premised on equal rights and protection of the weak or down-trodden. (Environmentalism is a bit of a reach, but it kinda works, so shut up.)

    The Pubs consist of small-government proponents, anti-tax crusaders, Christians, protectionist-nationalists, miltary-industrialist complexers, old people, and foreign policy hawks. Most of those things have little to do with each other, and some of them are actively at odds with one another. Arguing for massive tax cuts and a huge military at the same time takes some impressive cognitive dissonance, yet they seem to do fine.

    The Dems, in comparison, should have no problem uniting most of their base.

    ElJeffe on
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    I think part of the problem with the Democratic Party is that it is there are too many subgroups as opposed to the Republican Party. I mean you have enviromentalists, gay rights, human rights, antiwar, feminists, etc...

    I'd say the Dems have more inherent coherence than the Pubs. All those subgroups are generally premised on equal rights and protection of the weak or down-trodden. (Environmentalism is a bit of a reach, but it kinda works, so shut up.)

    The Pubs consist of small-government proponents, anti-tax crusaders, Christians, protectionist-nationalists, miltary-industrialist complexers, old people, and foreign policy hawks. Most of those things have little to do with each other, and some of them are actively at odds with one another. Arguing for massive tax cuts and a huge military at the same time takes some impressive cognitive dissonance, yet they seem to do fine.

    The Dems, in comparison, should have no problem uniting most of their base.
    The problem for Democrats isn't that their base disagrees on the issues, it's that they disagree on the priorities.

    Each subgroup wants their interest seen to immediately, screw the consequences for everyone else in the coalition.

    Whereas the Republican subgroups seem to be much easier to keep waiting on movement, even through multiple elections if need be.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • Dr Mario KartDr Mario Kart Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I dont think there any protectionists left in the Republican party (in the economic sense). They're pretty much entirely about free trade. Though it is strange to have small government, low tax people so into the military, but they're not exactly a consistent bunch.

    The Dems clearly have more problem getting their caucus to vote in lock step. You've got a lot of moderates in the party that share many of the corporatist views of the Republicans (ie. Ben Nelson). On the far end you've got a socialist, Bernie Sanders, as well as everything in between.

    Dr Mario Kart on
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Whereas the Republican subgroups seem to be much easier to keep waiting on movement, even through multiple elections if need be.

    You also have to take in the fanatical devotion to something like outlawing abortion which the Republicans always campaign on but never do anything about.

    YodaTuna on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Whereas the Republican subgroups seem to be much easier to keep waiting on movement, even through multiple elections if need be.

    You also have to take in the fanatical devotion to something like outlawing abortion which the Republicans always campaign on but never do anything about.
    Well yeah. Fundamentally, there's a huge chunk of the Republican base that is willing to take a lot of things on faith.

    Not to sound elitist, but the liberal base tends to be a lot more rational at least with regard to whether or not they're actually being properly represented. That's why we get a lot of the "take my ball and go home" talk around election time. You rarely see that on the other side. Though this year the third party candidates are almost exclusively conservative.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • NocturneNocturne Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Fundamentally, there's a huge chunk of the Republican base that is willing to take a lot of things on faith.

    Not to sound elitist, but the liberal base tends to be a lot more rational at least with regard to whether or not they're actually being properly represented.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with these two sentences here. I know this will sound terribly elitist, but I believe it's absolutely true and can't find a better way to say it: It's much harder to herd free-thinking people into a single voting group. On the other hand, more gullible people will band together in droves and fight for "their cause."

    Nocturne on
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Fartacus wrote: »
    TL;DR-- how the hell do you run a party that believes the opposition's narratives?
    You don't.

    Dems, for my general agreement with the party on the issues, are terrible at actually being politicians.

    We lack will. We lack direction. We lack swagger.

    '08 was the closest I've ever seen Dems come to really being the "we're right, dammit, and we're tired of not being listened to so just sit the fuck down" party that they need to be to fix the country. And that's all gone up in smoke in the last two years.

    We need a generation of tough, asskicking Dems and we need them soon.

    Was going to mention Grayson and Franken, but I was beated.

    Seems to me that the political right tends to attract the natural propagandists among the populace--the shills and cons that know how to get people on their side. The Hitlers, if you will. Not to say that they're all about genocide and dominion (though I'm starting to wonder with all the Islam-o-phobia going around) but you have to admit, they share some characteristics. Often charismatic, outspoken, and prone to bullying an opinion into a discussion it has no business in.

    Meanwhile, the Dems appear to be suffering from beaten spouse syndrome. They start to make some headway with a particular message, but as Fartacus said, they don't really believe that it will work, so the Republicans just steamroll over them with soundbites and rhetoric. You can almost hear the "...yes, dear". It doesn't help that the Right now has unlimited access to corporate funds (thanks so much SCOTUS!).

    Honestly, I'm at a loss.
    Nocturne wrote: »
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Fundamentally, there's a huge chunk of the Republican base that is willing to take a lot of things on faith.

    Not to sound elitist, but the liberal base tends to be a lot more rational at least with regard to whether or not they're actually being properly represented.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with these two sentences here. I know this will sound terribly elitist, but I believe it's absolutely true and can't find a better way to say it: It's much harder to herd free-thinking people into a single voting group. On the other hand, more gullible people will band together in droves and fight for "their cause."

    For this reason the Dems will consistently be at a disadvantage.

    Xenogear_0001 on
    steam_sig.png
  • JeanJean Papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I was checking polls yesterday when I came across this graph. IMO it explains beautifully why the GOP have such an easy time keeping their base united while the dem struggle so much.
    usideology.jpg

    (Source : http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/658.pdf, page 32)

    Jean on
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  • AtomikaAtomika Brought to you by Technicolor™ Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    We lack swagger.

    Well, part of that might be that the majority leader looks like Bob Balaban, while the minority leader looks like Duck Phillips from Mad Men.

    harry-reid-health-care.jpgmainBalabanportrait.jpg
    img-cs---john-boehner_080022918262.jpgduck_s2_517x307.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1252969094270

    Atomika on
  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    It should also be noted that many Americans like to consider themselves conservatives even though they hold a majority of liberal viewpoints(I blame this mostly on the maligning of the word liberal and the idea that conservativism is somehow more moral).

    YodaTuna on
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    We lack swagger.

    Well, part of that might be that the majority leader looks like Bob Balaban, while the minority leader looks like Duck Phillips from Mad Men.
    harry-reid-health-care.jpgmainBalabanportrait.jpg

    img-cs---john-boehner_080022918262.jpgduck_s2_517x307.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1252969094270

    His name is still Boner for fuck's sake. God, I hate that prick.

    Xenogear_0001 on
    steam_sig.png
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    It's not so much necessarily that the Dems are suffering from battered spouse syndrome (though there's some of that too), it's that one party is a lot more... reasonable than the other one. And we don't have a political process that works for reasonable people.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    ed: actually, you know what, just skip this post and go read Nixonland

    The problem is that while democrats have won their share of elections over the last thirty odd years, they have been steadily losing the argument.

    In the middle of the 20th century there was a broad consensus the united states in favor of, for want of a better term, the welfare state. We redistributed wealth much more severely than we do now, and in the 60s seemed prepared to embark on a huge new expansion of entitlements.

    Of course, the problem with that consensus was that it also included some pretty backward ideas about race and gender (and other topics), and achieving progress on those fronts wound up meaning the blowup of the entire strategic bloc. We've been figuring out how to realign ourselves as a society for the last 40 or so years.

    In that time the republicans have embraced the idea that they need to win the rhetorical argument and have more or less succeeded, while the dems seem to have proceeded more or less as though the argument were not even occurring. Which is how the collection of conservative shibboleths known colloquially as "Reaganomics" have become conventional wisdom.

    Until the democrats start making the explicit argument that we ought to redistribute wealth and have an active government and so on, they're going to continue on the course they're on. And not on the grounds that we owe it to those less fortunate (although we do), but on the grounds that it is the only way to build the society that we all want to live in.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
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  • AtomikaAtomika Brought to you by Technicolor™ Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Until the democrats start making the explicit argument that we ought to redistribute wealth and have an active government and so on, they're going to continue on the course they're on. And not on the grounds that we owe it to those less fortunate (although we do), but on the grounds that it is the only way to build the society that we all want to live in.

    I think this is a fundamentally bad argument, politically.


    The only voters this ensures getting in the box are the poor, minorities, college kids, and the far-Left.
    - Those guys are in the bag already
    - Those guys do not turn out the vote

    Atomika on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    If we want more ass kicking Dems, we've got to get them elected. We get them elected by identifying them early and having them get involved locally. Moreover, we need boots on the ground to push back against this narrative of a right trending nation. We need more Dem strategists and message creators who didn't mature during the Clinton years. We need more that are willing to do what's necessary to put us over the top, including taking pages from our opponents' playbook. We need more agitation from the left, especially in swing states. We need a platform that people can not only like or care for, but get angry about not being fulfilled. We need to copy the Obama 08 fundraising model and get it to work all year, every year.

    We need a new fucking DNC chairman ASAP. We need to scare the shit out of our current Dem elected officials with primary challenges and constantly holding their feet to the fire. We need more Dems like Grayson and Weiner and less like Lieberman and Lincoln. We need Dems who will loudly, often, and without hesitation call the other side for lying. We need to stop being so goddamned polite with the news media when they act like stenographers and carry the GOPs water. We need to stop acting like telling the truth is all that we have to do to win the war. We need to stop letting the right dictate the narrative. We need to constantly force the GOP to choose between protecting their wealthy masters or their constituency.

    We need to stop trying to be GOP lite. We need to stop kicking our base just to make the center happy. We need to stop being afraid to be Democrats. We need to stop telling Americans that we're the best party for them and start fucking SHOWING IT.

    I've got more shit to say, but you get the gist. I've been thinking hard about this lately, and I've realized that shit ain't getting better with me just posting on the internet. I know there are other like minded people like me locally. If there's enough of us saying the same thing to our local and state Democratic representatives, they'll have to listen. It's past time that we made them answer for constantly kicking us and then smugly saying "Who else are you gonna vote for?". Maybe they need a bit more time in the wilderness to figure things out.

    wwtMask on
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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    No, they aren't "the only people getting in the box." Again, it wasn't that long ago that there was an incredibly clear majority in favor of those things, and if you believe a lot of current polling data, there still is.

    It's just that republican language dominates the national conversation so thoroughly at this point that many are convinced that 1) these things would hurt them economically and 2) that they can have it both ways anyway because "free market!"

    A pluralistic, middle class society is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is the result of policy choices, and the american middle class is the direct result of policy action that took place in the first half of the 20th century.

    We are currently in the midst of dismantling many of those policies, but the effects of actually doing so are hardly ever under discussion in our media or our political campaigns.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Also, the view that we should never say anything politically unpopular because people might not vote for us is ridiculously shortsighted.

    When Ronald Reagan entered politics he was regarded as an ideologue who was too conservative to carry the country. By the time he was elected president he (and the movement that supported him) had successfully convinced a lot of people they were right. They had to lose some fights to do that.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Also, the voter apathy of major Democratic constituencies would be solved by, GASP, doing shit for said constituencies. Get EFCA passed, get comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty and easier naturalization, fund job creation in poor areas, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, make paid time off mandatory. Start favoring the middle and lower classes over business and the wealthy. It's not fucking rocket science. Black people are almost totally Democratic voters for a fucking reason.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    As a movement, we absolutely have to be willing to say things that common wisdom would tell us are unpopular.

    We also need to be focusing on decentralizing via the internet. We did a great job of that in '08, but the followup has been lacking.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    wwtMask wrote: »
    Also, the voter apathy of major Democratic constituencies would be solved by, GASP, doing shit for said constituencies. Get EFCA passed, get comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty and easier naturalization, fund job creation in poor areas, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, make paid time off mandatory. Start favoring the middle and lower classes over business and the wealthy. It's not fucking rocket science. Black people are almost totally Democratic voters for a fucking reason.
    In pure bastard thinking mode I think being given $50,000 dollars for not pissing off Giant Megacorporation is going to be much more important to getting reelected than making the like 10% of the population that would notice things on that list happy.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    wwtMask wrote: »
    Also, the voter apathy of major Democratic constituencies would be solved by, GASP, doing shit for said constituencies. Get EFCA passed, get comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty and easier naturalization, fund job creation in poor areas, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, make paid time off mandatory. Start favoring the middle and lower classes over business and the wealthy. It's not fucking rocket science. Black people are almost totally Democratic voters for a fucking reason.
    In pure bastard thinking mode I think being given $50,000 dollars for not pissing off Giant Megacorporation is going to be much more important to getting reelected than making the like 10% of the population that would notice things on that list happy.
    This is why primaries are so important.

    Because 1) the major corporate money isn't there yet and 2) that 10% can easily decide the outcome of the race.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • Dr Mario KartDr Mario Kart Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Another problem with Democrats is that the interests of their constituents are opposed to the interests of the corporations that fund their campaigns. While they cant win without the votes, they also cant win without raising tens of thousands of dollars every single day.

    With Republicans this isnt nearly as much of an issue, since they are more openly corporatist, and their supporters have been duped into being so as well.

    Dr Mario Kart on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    That goes back to the problem of Dem politicians being out for themselves rather than the party. We're better off without them. And if we could get small fundraising going again, and possibly set up some PACs specifically to donate unlimited cash, we'd be in better shape. But yeah, we're always going to be at a money disadvantage unless Citizens United is overturned.

    EDIT: And it wouldn't hurt if we went full populist and went anti-wealthy/anti-corporate greed.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    wwtMask wrote: »
    Also, the voter apathy of major Democratic constituencies would be solved by, GASP, doing shit for said constituencies. Get EFCA passed, get comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty and easier naturalization, fund job creation in poor areas, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, make paid time off mandatory. Start favoring the middle and lower classes over business and the wealthy. It's not fucking rocket science. Black people are almost totally Democratic voters for a fucking reason.
    In pure bastard thinking mode I think being given $50,000 dollars for not pissing off Giant Megacorporation is going to be much more important to getting reelected than making the like 10% of the population that would notice things on that list happy.
    This is why primaries are so important.

    Because 1) the major corporate money isn't there yet and 2) that 10% can easily decide the outcome of the race.

    If one of them is an incumbent (Corporations would prefer to buy somebody who can do something for them) then the money is present. Selecting away from the people who will have the money to win the race is also....a somewhat incoherent plan of securing seats.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    A good online fundraising network can go a long way to lessening the impact of corporate money.

    Which brings us back to my point about decentralization via the internet.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    wwtMask wrote: »
    Also, the voter apathy of major Democratic constituencies would be solved by, GASP, doing shit for said constituencies. Get EFCA passed, get comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty and easier naturalization, fund job creation in poor areas, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, make paid time off mandatory. Start favoring the middle and lower classes over business and the wealthy. It's not fucking rocket science. Black people are almost totally Democratic voters for a fucking reason.
    In pure bastard thinking mode I think being given $50,000 dollars for not pissing off Giant Megacorporation is going to be much more important to getting reelected than making the like 10% of the population that would notice things on that list happy.
    This is why primaries are so important.

    Because 1) the major corporate money isn't there yet and 2) that 10% can easily decide the outcome of the race.

    If one of them is an incumbent (Corporations would prefer to buy somebody who can do something for them) then the money is present. Selecting away from the people who will have the money to win the race is also....a somewhat incoherent plan of securing seats.

    Primary challenges forces them to spend money. It's far passed time that we stopped letting incumbents run unopposed in primaries.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    wwtMask wrote: »
    Also, the voter apathy of major Democratic constituencies would be solved by, GASP, doing shit for said constituencies. Get EFCA passed, get comprehensive immigration reform with amnesty and easier naturalization, fund job creation in poor areas, raise taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, make paid time off mandatory. Start favoring the middle and lower classes over business and the wealthy. It's not fucking rocket science. Black people are almost totally Democratic voters for a fucking reason.
    In pure bastard thinking mode I think being given $50,000 dollars for not pissing off Giant Megacorporation is going to be much more important to getting reelected than making the like 10% of the population that would notice things on that list happy.
    This is why primaries are so important.

    Because 1) the major corporate money isn't there yet and 2) that 10% can easily decide the outcome of the race.

    If one of them is an incumbent (Corporations would prefer to buy somebody who can do something for them) then the money is present. Selecting away from the people who will have the money to win the race is also....a somewhat incoherent plan of securing seats.
    Incumbents can usually count on some support in primaries, yeah. But primaries are also, in my experience, much more resistant to sliding based purely on spending. Throwing money at a race wins over softs and undecideds, not hardcore party activists. Activists decide primaries. Tons of money will win you a seat in the general, but it doesn't impress the people who made their own t-shirt in support of the other guy.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • EvanderEvander Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    I think part of the problem with the Democratic Party is that it is there are too many subgroups as opposed to the Republican Party. I mean you have enviromentalists, gay rights, human rights, antiwar, feminists, etc...

    It's a bit harder to keep all those different areas motivitated.

    The Democrats also need to work on message control. I'm not going to go searching for the data now, but Republicans appear on TV shows and other media at an alarmingly higher rate than Democrats even excluding Fox News. And a lot of the Democrats that do show up are going to be blue dogs.

    A lot of blue dogs are going to lose this year. They are going to think it's because they weren't far enough right and should have been further right(for instance they dropped the public option and punted on tax changes). They are going to lose because of it. The public option was overwhelming popular even in conservative blue states. How hard is it to look at the polls and go "Oh people like this" instead of listening to the rhetoric of the other party.

    Republicans have TONS of sub-groups. I mean, they are the "big tent" party.

    They just seem to have figured out how to get all of their subgroups to uphold each others' interests, as well as their own. Ben Stein making a movie against evolution is a PERFECT example of this. I can't tell you whether or not Ben Stein is an observant Jew (never having observed him myself) but I can tell you that observant or no, Jews do not champion the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools. Ben Stein stood behind this meshuggas, though, for the sake of the party line.



    I often think that our political system would be better off with a multitude of smaller single issue parties, which would be free to band together, within congress, and create coalitions as they please, rather than beign forced in to the current defacto coalitions, wherein one coalition refuses to coaless, and the other coalition seems to have no actually interest in each other, but will fight to the death to defend each other.

    Evander on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Incumbents can usually count on some support in primaries, yeah. But primaries are also, in my experience, much more resistant to sliding based purely on spending. Throwing money at a race wins over softs and undecideds, not hardcore party activists. Activists decide primaries. Tons of money will win you a seat in the general, but it doesn't impress the people who made their own t-shirt in support of the other guy.
    I think a comment about how easy it is to remove electable candidates in favor of those who are less electable is fairly appropriate given this thread's title.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The point isn't really to go full teabagger and put an O'Donnell up in every race. The point is to push them as far to the left as possible, to get them on record with promises to do more stuff that would be good for the party overall, and to not so subtly send them a message that they actually do need to be accountable to us if they wish to keep their jobs. Say what you will about the teabaggers, but they got John McCain to ditch his moderate persona, to the point that the Villagers felt betrayed and turned on him.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Democrats don't have purity tests like the Republicans do. We're not going to try to get Wavy Gravy elected in Alabama.

    There is a ton of strategic voting going on in any given Democratic primary. My impression is that this isn't the case on the other side of the aisle.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    You know, now that I think about it what prompted this thread isn't a strategic failing (though Dems have plenty of those) but a tactical failure.

    I think some of the issues of strategic failure are in part by being a more reasonable, liberal party. I don't know if we fix those.

    The tactical failures are because the Democratic leaders generally suck.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Yeah, the Dem leadership is being advised by Mark Penn type idiots whose brilliant advice is to pander to people that won't vote for you and to bend over and take it when Republicans start hitting you.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I think a lot of the tactical problems inherent in the party come from the fact that getting a tent this large to move in one direction is like herding cats.

    The lack of a purity test has kind of resulted in all the non-crazy people being in one place, but that doesn't mean they all think the same things. Which in turn means that organizing them to do something requires tons of compromise before it ever even gets started, and then the group fragments easily once it hits actual pressure.

    I don't envy anyone with the job of corralling Democratic votes in a legislative body.

    OptimusZed on
    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. Now With Ninjas!

    They tried to bury us. They didn't know that we were seeds. 2018 Midterms. Get your shit together.
This discussion has been closed.