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Flashback: This Miserable State

This is the first of a four-part series first written in September 2010. It was apparent then only weeks before the mid-term elections the Democratic-majority in Congress would end due to well-funded tactics by the Tea Bag Party and their sponsors, and the Dems’ loss of momentum. Conditions were simply miserable. I took stock at that point, looking back at what I had learned as a new activist, and what actions might be taken to correct the future’s course. You might as well call me Cassandra for all the good this did, but let’s look and see if anything might be different today if one were to jump in and become a political party activist.

The Angry Left: How We Found Our Way to This Miserable State

For the last several weeks there’s been an increasing number of posts which bash all manner of Democrats, from the president to the party itself and plead for alternatives. The anger driving this bashing is understandable since the country’s economy has floundered and promises made and values shared haven’t been kept under a Democratic president with a Democratic majority in Congress.

The anger also stems from disillusionment; after the great double-emotional high of the first person of color and Democrat winning the White House in 2008, there was the expectation that winning could continue, sustained in terms of legislative initiatives.

But unfortunately, much of this anger is poorly informed. There’s backstory which explains in part why we are here today.  . . .

In 2003, Howard Dean began a run for the White House, as most folks are already well aware. For the first time in history a campaign utilized the internet for the purposes of organizing and for fundraising, tapping into a segment of the population which until this time had felt disenfranchised and dis-empowered. Quite literally the Dean for America campaign reminded citizens that they had the power to take their country back.

In spite of energizing a new group of first-time activists, the campaign’s innate flaws thwarted Dean from obtaining the Democratic nomination. Granted, it was not these flaws alone which resulted in John Kerry’s nomination; rather the Dean campaign’s limitations prevented other challenges from being surmountable.

Over the course of the next several months between the time Dean folded his bid for the White House and the disastrous 2004 election, the Dean campaign morphed. There was still a lot of latent energy demanding something more and better; the members had tasted some success if limited, still had the bit in their teeth. It became clear this was more than a presidential campaign but a movement born of people with shared values and goals. Dean for America became Democracy for America.

Almost immediately after the election, Howard Dean toured the country to meet with DFA supporters, to discuss next steps. It was clear that without drastic changes, the 2008 election would turn out as the 2004 election had, in the hands of the Republican Party to extend the same conservative policies. What were the options we had to turn this around? There were essentially three choices:

Option 1: Dean would run again for 2008;

Option 2: Dean would run as chair of the Democratic Party, to turn it around and fix the problems found during the 2004 election season;

Option 3: A third party would be formed to run a candidate in 2008.

Each of these choices was evaluated and feedback offered. Supporters were unstinting in their assessment of the limitations they’d experienced during 2003-2004. The pros and cons looked like this:

Option 1: Dean could only expect the same headwinds he faced during the 2004 election season. The party machine viewed him as an outsider, the local party apparatus was down at the heel and unprepared to support anybody but a machine candidate, and there existed no mechanism to push back against the media’s conventional wisdom, nor could a single campaign push back against the money behind conservative candidates and issues.

Option 2: Dean could not run for the White House in 2008 if he accepted this option, but then without an improved Democratic Party, no Democratic candidate would win in 2008. The party’s infrastructure was rotted out from neglect and could not deliver a win.

Option 3: The numbers simply weren’t there. For a third party candidate to win, they would have to muster against the other two parties, drawing down from both. In 2004 nearly 50% of the population identified as conservative, making it highly unlikely that a third party could reach critical mass. Frankly, a third party would have to subsume the Democratic Party’s numbers to win.

It was clear that there was only one way to assure that a candidate on the left could win in 2008 — and that was to take back the Democratic Party and install Dean as its chair.

Mind you, this was not the only topic covered at these meetings. It had become entirely clear to Dean and his supporters that the conservatives’ death grip on government was because they ensured conservatives would run for every single seat from top to bottom of the political food chain, from the presidency to local dog catcher. It had also become clear that the Democratic Party needed to be reinvigorated with fresh blood in order to win a 21st century campaign; without an infusion, they would continue to do what they’d done all along, relying on traditional constituencies to vote for them by default, mustering only tepid old school techniques to get out the vote while the opposition used every possible means to get their voters out. Quite literally the left was up against people who felt no shame in organizing at churches every week and busing church-goers to the polls. The left had no such institution for getting out the vote.

These things were all entwined and interrelated, too. Without becoming more active in the local Democratic Party, Dean would stand no chance at becoming chair. Without becoming more active in the local party, the same numbers would defeat candidates running for all manner of office.

In 2004, the former Deaniacs began their takeover of the party from within. Dean became Democratic Party chair in early 2005, upsetting the party machine which had planned to hand down a name to the rank-and-file and expect them to ratify them as chair instead. (Democratic operative James Carville was quoted as angrily demanding, “Why didn’t somebody fix this thing?” when it became clear the grassroots activists within the party were pushing hard for the upstart Dean.)

During 2005 the Dem’s infrastructure was rejuvenated under Dean’s guidance; the Democratic wave of 2006 when the party took a majority in Congress was due in no small part to the early efforts of the takeover.

Under Dean the party worked on a new strategy, to leave no seat uncontested, to leave no voter untapped. The 50-State Strategy was implemented to increase the numbers of Democratic voters incrementally across every precinct, in order to win in 2008.

You know the rest of the story; the Obama campaign was able to use the same techniques scaled up to organize and increase turnout, informed by the earlier work of Deaniacs who’d worked together so earnestly in 2003-2004 to take back the country.

And now, a postmortem…this is where the wheels came off, and the rest of why we are where we are today.

First, tradition damaged the gains made between 2004 and 2008. It is tradition that a Democratic president is able to name a new Democratic Party chair. It’s not an appointment per se, but the party respects the wishes of the president and defers to them and generally approves a new chair selected by the president. Hence Tim Kaine, whom many Dems identify as a moderate, ended up as chair.

Second, the open hostility the president’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has for Howard Dean meant that Dean would be marginalized during the Obama administration. There was no way that Dean, even after all his work to ensure a Democratic presidency, would be realistically considered for any role in the White House’s team let alone permitted to be party chair to continue the work of moving the party towards a progressive majority. (The marginalization continues to this day; links to Dean’s 50-State Strategy have been excised from the Democratic Party website.)

Third, the fruits of the work done by the progressives within the Democratic Party were co-opted at every turn, while placing a thin number of elected progressives in compromising position. There were not enough progressives elected during 2006 and 2008 to assure a solid voting block which could hold together; there was not a progressive leader within their ranks who could leverage progressives’ numbers to force the remaining Democratic electeds to hold their ground. This left the progressives drifting and at risk of being used by other stronger forces within the party. At the same time, co-option also whittled away at moderates, encouraging them to make choices which pushed them ever more to the right while alienating the left.

Fourth, the failure of the White House, the former Obama for America campaign leadership and the new party chair to give new and effective marching orders to the campaign’s supporters left a mass of first-time activists and voters adrift without goals at a time when the economy was savaging their spirits. These neophytes had little institutional memory to help them find their way; they drifted off and now have personal needs which occupy them, not having been called to serve a higher cause like developing our democracy. Organizing for America — the entity which emerged from the Obama for America campaign — did not begin to work on a cohesive national goal across its remaining membership to focus on health care reform until September last year, at a point when the handwriting was already on the wall for health care reform, after the White House had already compromised itself in making deals with Big Pharma, after the Tea Party had already done considerable damage during August at town hall meetings.

Fifth, there remains an insufficiency of institutional memory combined with strong organizing skills. There are not enough folks within the ranks of progressives within the Democratic Party who can wield institutional memory with organizing as a cudgel to move the party. Many of the newer progressive candidates and electeds operate in isolation, without adequate network or other infrastructure to ensure they stay together and to ensure they are leveraging knowledge towards the same goals. There is a corresponding lack of institution — far too much of the left continues to rely on virtual organization, which cannot replace organizing on the ground, cannot compete against conservatives who organize at church and bus their voters to the polls.

Lastly, the rest of the left which did not identify as Democratic has not been organized. It has changed very little since 2004 except that it has a few more internet-based bells and whistles. Its proponents still have no plan to develop a critical mass across folks who identify as left on the political spectrum. It talks a lot; it does less.

And that’s how we’ve found ourselves in this sad state, marginalized by the people we elected to office and referred to pejoratively as the “fucking retarded” “professional left,” our hands bitten by the dogs we’ve reared and fed.

There’s much, much more to be said. Watch for the next part of this series.
_________
Republication of Part 2 will post tomorrow.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
24 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    A lot has changed, some things remained the same.

    1) In hindsight, we probably should have pushed for a third party, but it would have deferred a Democratic presidency for another four-plus years. The gamble would have been the 2008 crash and recovery; would the global economy have survived another four-plus years under a GOP president post-crash?

    2) Bet Tim Kaine has now realized where he went wrong as a moderate leading the DNC, and painfully so — he still has the potential to effect change, especially given his relationship with the Hispanic community;

    3) Fuck Rahm Emanuel.

    4) Six years out from this post, the loss of OFA’s momentum to drive change within the party looks even more disastrous. Failure to help build the party was a poor example set by Bill Clinton, but it was compounded by Obama to the detriment of Hillary Clinton’s and Congressional candidates’ campaigns this year.

    5) Institutional memory remains thin, but then so does cultural memory as a whole. I tried to explain the Gore-Bush debacle to my kid when he toyed with voting third party; as it hadn’t been discussed in his American Government or History classes, he didn’t see the risk. Damn it all to hell — this is in part the Bernie Bro NeverHillary problem. They just didn’t learn about the risks.

    6) Fuck third party whiners who have yet to invest the effort in building at local level. Just one example: the Green Party didn’t appear on four states’ ballots because they didn’t qualify in some way. It was even worse in 2014. They could have started with a credible run for Congress using a well-constructed state/local party, but no. Don’t even start with me in thread here if you don’t participate with your state/local Green Party every month.

    • lefty665 says:

      1)  The other question is if in a non global meltdown year could the Dems have won the presidency? We’d very likely have had McCain/Palin in ’08 if the financial world had not exploded about two months before the election. Post conventions the numbers were running against Obama until things came unglued. His lead was narrowing, sorta like Hillary’s.  In ’12 he rode incumbency to re-election, narrowly, against a stiff.

      2) Nah, I like Kaine, but he’s an establishment critter. Left wing by Virginia standards, but moderate to right (recently) in the real world. Senator Mark Warner’s near death re-election experience in ’14 left him preaching that everyone needed to scramble even further right, and Kaine has followed him in that direction.

      3) Ditto, and the horse he rode in on.

      4) OFA didn’t just lose momentum, it was throttled, garroted. Wouldn’t want those activists out there actually stirring up “Change” when “Same” was the order of the day. In 2009 our 7th Congressional District chair approached the zombie OFA folks to include gubernatorial and congressional literature when they were canvassing.  The answer was “No, we’re canvassing for health care, distribute your own damn literature”.

      5) Nader did not cost Gore the election, Gore did. Using Nader as an anti 3rd party boogeyman is a Dem establishment myth. Gore won Florida, if he’d only stood up for the count before the court ruled. If either he or Bill had carried their home states he’d have won. Vote fraud in Ohio also went unchallenged.

      There was no lesser evil this time, just variations on evil. Corrupt, greedy, blindly ambitious Hillary was no better than profoundly narcissistic, sociopath Trump. Both were worse for the country.

      6) Agree, it was a decade in the trenches that drove us out of the Democratic Party.  Being activists from the outside has been no less productive, and it is remarkably satisfying not to have to continually defend the indefensible.

      Looked like the Greens this year were still spooked by their Nader experience and intentionally kept a low profile. At least Hillary hasn’t blamed them for her loss. There was a profound lack of high profile campaigning, especially compared to the way Sanders geared up (that was impressive).  There is only a skeletal state Green party in Virginia, and none locally. That seems to be the way they like it. My spouse vetoed us leaping into the breach locally. We did register with the party and sent money. We haven’t discussed it post election.

      Again, good post, good series.

       

  2. lefty665 says:

    Nice, both the original and the follow up. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to overstate how thoroughly the right wing, DLC, Clintonites have dominated the party since ’92. The left, as you note, has been disorganized and ineffective, but the big story is that the establishment, elite, neolibs/cons finally got their comeuppance. Will the left will now find the energy and organization to purge them, reform the Party and re-embrace its New Deal roots? Or will the Dems continue down the rabbit hole until nothing is left? Will all be revealed by Part 4?

    Obama was never a progressive. From the first time we heard him speak at a JJ dinner in 2007 it was clear that he had not a left bone in him, nor did he try to hide it.  By Thanksgiving 2008 it was clear how little “Change We Can Believe In” we were actually going to get. With Robert Rubin and his acolytes at Treasury, running economic policy and finance, and Holder as AG, Wall Street was clearly in charge. With the holdover of Gates as Sec Def and Clinton as Sec State it was also clear that our wars of aggression were not going to “Change”. The rest is frou frou around the edges.

    Anecdotally, the DNC and DCCC were housed in the same building when Dean was Chair. Emmanuel was head of the DCCC. Rahm wanted the money Dean was putting into his 50 state strategy for the right wingers he was recruiting to run for Congress. His obscenity laden screaming at Dean in the halls is legendary.  Obama got the benefit of Dean’s program, Emmanuel got to the White House, and the 50 state strategy got buried.

    • Rayne says:

      I’m going to respond to you once in this thread.

      1) This:

      5) Nader did not cost Gore the election, Gore did. Using Nader as an anti 3rd party boogeyman is a Dem establishment myth. Gore won Florida, if he’d only stood up for the count before the court ruled. If either he or Bill had carried their home states he’d have won. Vote fraud in Ohio also went unchallenged.

      Greens and Naderites did not create a credible option. If they had they might have peeled away some Bush votes. But that would have taken a commitment to showing up regularly and building a party across the country from the ground up, well in advance of the election. Instead they did in 2000 what they do every year: a candidate pops up out of nowhere, swoops in like a seagull, and then flies away. And maybe they’ll be back, maybe not.

      2) Note I said “Tim Kaine has now realized where he went wrong as a moderate leading the DNC” — the man isn’t stupid. The test of his ability may be in navigating a more progressive, younger party with a fast-growing but slightly more conservative Hispanic percentage.

      3) Maybe you don’t know my background. I was at Firedoglake as an assistant editor and community manager at MyFDL before this site was launched. Tell me something about the Dem Party circa 2004-2010 I don’t already know after my experience.

      • lefty665 says:

        ) That’s nice, 3rd parties do have a checkered history in the US. Have to go back a long way to find ones that transformed things. Perot certainly did help Bill win twice with pluralities.

        2) Dunno about that. Kaine’s late summer embrace of TPP doesn’t seem very enlightened, along with several other stances he’s taken since ’14. I agree, from personal experience with him, that he’s bright, and our experience with him is that he’s a pretty decent, straight up sort. Tuesday a couple of weeks ago probably did more to encourage him to take stock and re-evaluate than his DNC experience. I would expect him to do well with a younger and more diverse electorate. FWIW he has announced he will not run nationally again.

        3) Ooohhh, well touch you. I’m sure you learned a lot nattering from the webosphere.

        For roughly the first decade of the millennium my wife and I were local and state level Democratic officials. We were boots on the ground active, voting members of the party, her on the state Central Committee, me staff on congressional campaign. I’ll put those years in the trenches up against your editing any day.

        Actually, I expect we’re pretty close in the political spectrum and I am pleased to be supporting you in this series. How and if the Dems can find their way has huge implications, and it seems to me that postings like the one you have done contribute to that. Good work, and thanks.

  3. RUKiddding says:

    What is this “Democratic” Party of which you speak?  I know not what you mean.

    The Clintons, with their attack dog Emanuel (who I understanding is currently bending his knees and kissing Trump’s heiney), forevermore screwed the Democratic party and made it Republican Lite.  The so-called left were called f*cking r*tarded by His Royal Highness Rahm and later told get drug tested by Gibbs.  It’s clear exactly how the Clintonites consider the left, and with Hillary’s campaign, it’s clear that they really don’t consider anyone lower than the Upper Classes – even the Upper Middle Class need not apply – are beneath contempt and have no real say in anything.

    It was galling to witness Clinton reaching out mainly only to rich Republicans to vote for her, and somehow I was supposed to be “heartened” witnessing the Bush Crime Syndicate endorsing her for POTUS, along with an array of other Republican hacks and war criminals, plus dozens of super rightwing newspapers.  Clinton’s clear and abiding contempt for the left and for the proles couldn’t have been more clear if she had stood on a stage and told us to go get f*cked.

    I only registered as “Democratic” this election in order to vote for Bernie Sanders – no real saint but certainly the pick of the litter.  Of course, Clinton rigged everything every which way to Sunday to ensure that she got the Brass Ring because gawddamnit it was HER turn.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Now we have Chuck Schumer (D, CitiBank) as the Minority Leader, so that’s all we need to know.  Schumer will, soon enough, be bending his knees and kissing Trump’s heiney as well bc Trump is going on a Yuuuuge rapacious pillaging plunder and Schumer is not gonna wanna miss out on all of that sweet sweet sweet payola.

    Obama & Clinton, imo, should be tried as War Criminals along with that Dick, Cheney, and the Bush Crime Syndicate.  Obama never had a leftwing bone in his body and is/was/will be a shill for Wall Street and the MIC.  I simply cannot wait to see what “good” he does after he steps down.  I fully expect him and his wife to be multi-millionaires very soon.  After all, they have two daughters to marry off in multi-million dollar weddings soon enough.  No doubt married off to some rich Scions of Wall Street.  Too bad Eric & Don, Jr, are already married off and Barron’s too young.

    I see trouble ahead and trouble behind, and I have no clue what the answer is. Relying solely on Sanders and Warren to “save us” isn’t encouraging.  Howard Dean, after getting kicked in the nuts by the execrable Rahm, has come to heel and is a good little BigIns sell out these days, so we can fahgeddaboud Dean doing a damn thing for the proles either.

    Frankly, the R-Team has this country locked up and locked down.  The R proles seem ever willing to get f*cked over, as long as it’s a super rich person who claims to be a Republican doing the f*cking over.

    Sorry for being so cynical and negative, but I don’t see any silver linings at this point.  Good luck to us all.

    Thanks for the series, though.  It’s interesting to re-read it.

    • Rayne says:

      Apart from registering as a Dem for this election, what have you done to change the status quo? Voting is only the minimal amount required to maintain a democracy.

      • m says:

        Meanwhile, in your universe, the working class..you know, those people who are rearing families, working three jobs to pay a mortgage and keep food on the table, are supposed to have time to do something more than vote to “maintain a democracy”? Fuck you? Most of the working people in this nation barely have time to fuck. If that.  What they really do is TRUST what the MSM, their friends, what they see and read, to decipher who they should vote for to IMPROVE THEIR and their childrens lives. What they get..election after election after election..is FUCKED. Fucked by the liars, fucked by the .1%, fucked by the system, fucked by the Electoral Collage and FUCKED BY ASSHOLE MORONS IN THEIR PARTY.  Next time you wanna stand on your righteous soapbox and preach to someone about doing MORE than voting…come over and walk in my shoes.  Otherwise.. eat me.

        • Rayne says:

          No, fuck you. I was raising two kids while I did this. Ask Marcy — I dragged my kids to all manner of political events, enlisted them to help do stuff like stuff and lick envelopes, hand out flyers, take photos. I babysat other people’s kids so they could help. I did this stuff while I had full-time jobs when I was on call 24-hours a day.

          You want to keep your republic? I’ll tell you what I tell my kids: YOU HAVE TO WANT IT BADLY. And then you fucking find a way to make a contribution beyond showing up to vote. Democracy isn’t easy and neither am I.

          Here’s an example: you had the time and the resources to write a 149-word diatribe at me. Gee, maybe you could have done something more effective with your anger and directed it in the form of a letter or a phone call aimed at the real problem. Perhaps one of the Senators who lauded the elimination of overtime pay for so-called ‘salary’ workers making under $47,000/year, just for starters?

  4. Desider says:

    The 2nd comment sums up a lot of our failure – while many of us supported Dean’s insurgency, the 50-state play, etc., we also found Hillary as the most pragmatic, well-thought-out candidate (I personally had assumed in 2012 that there would be some new blood by 2016 and that she was history. I didn’t imagine it was a 74-year-old socialist or retro-pleas for Joe Biden.) I never liked Rahm, nor his attacks on unions, and was pissed about Obama coopting & dismantling the grassroots apparatus when he got in and had predicted he’d be too careful and nice.

    But Hillary wasn’t Obama no matter how much she tried to play nice and talk about continuance – if you watch a video I saw this morning where she took down a presumptious Congressman over planned parenthood and reproductive rights, she wasn’t going to kowtow to Republicans the way that Obama largely did. (no jobs program for blacks? let abortion clinics die? no aggressive monitoring of polling places?) Her progressive cred was already pretty good, in a very different direction from Obama’s as well.

    But all this “establishment”, elite, neoliberal=Satan, and essentially the “crooked Hillary” that could do no right eventually wore her, and us, down. The large numbers that went for idiots Gary Johnson and Jill Stein could have easily won the election, and considering Hillary had given Bernie’s crew a pretty good seat at the platform table (after which half of them got up and left the party they’d never quite belonged to), you would have thought that a half a loaf rather than tanker full of burning explosive fecal matter would have been preferable.

    I wasn’t very impressed with Sanders because for example, America already hated Obamacare, beating us mercilessly 3 elections in a row, so pushing a single payer system as our big plan seemed rather suicidal. Over 50% of our oil & gas now comes using fracking, so I don’t get how we’re going to ban fracking and not blow out the budget & cause a worldwide recession. But hey, some push to the leftt on other issues was fine, and it gave some energy to the party.

    I don’t recall many Clinton fans being mean and nasty towards Sanders, aside from saying his plans didn’t seem complete and some were unworkable – nothing personal, many welcomed his influence. But the reverse wasn’t true. Susan Sarandon, one of Bernie’s most vocal supporters, insisted that any Hillary-as-first-female-prez “voting your vagina” was wrong (from April 2015), actively plugged the “coming indictment” all through June of this year, followed with “electing Trump would be a good thing”, while Bernie’s refusal to concede and followers’ claims it was rigged sucked much of the momentum out of the summer and his big focus on Debbie Wasserman-Schulz’s scalp (who was going to leave soon anyway) and his gang’s complaints about the platform and convention were overall quite a downer for the pivot.

    It seems that the self-proclaimed “progressive wing” thinks the big takeaway is that ding-dong the witch is dead, ignoring that Bernie or Bill Bradley or whoever else we might drum up is hardly mainstream enough to take a big victory in a largely centrist country where 90% of people vote party, not ideals or policies. For a moment, it looked like we had the left-center and further left starting to come together, but there was so much noise and continual distraction from uninspiring, depressing issues and attacks that what looked like a breath of fresh air 3 weeks before election closed up into the ugly cloud of revenge politics again.

    I don’t know how we can get the left & center to merge into a Big Tent, cause America’s not going to pivot off into a Haight-Ashbury socialist caricature of itself – California is just one of our core constituencies, and even there, it’s a combination of liberal values and partially quite conservative businessfolk, et al. The black voters in the south who were dismissed earlier in the primaries are important both for their needs as well as our identity and mission, and the south as a whole -including those whites we love to hate – isn’t to be written off, as Georgia & North Carolina show.  Hispanics are more diverse than we give them credit for, and we need to listen more and integrate their ideas and people more. Slamming Hillary as anti-union despite all her endorsements didn’t help, but we still have lost our vocal supportive approach towards blue-collar America. And why older voters held back despite continuous attacks on their health care and retirement and Democratic efforts to save them should be a question to resolve, as is “why do voters keep coming back to the Republicans even though they run us into the ditch”.

    We’ll also have to come to grips with Trump’s NLP/trance/chaos programming, and how saying too much in detail is actually counterproductive for a media-influenced shallow populace. A little bit goes a long way, figure out the phrasing, and if they want to read more, fine, but people don’t read and don’t do detail anymore – there’s an app for this and that.

    So rather than crowing about the end of the establishment and supposed “elite” (a rather elitist framing), we need to be thinking how we can keep it all together, to use what’s left of our power, to turn our 51% into 60% so this doesn’t happen again. Refraining from internecine warfare is probably a good place to start, unless we really are going to have West & Northeast Coasts secede and abandon the rest.

    • Rayne says:

      IMO, DWS had to go, should never have been chair. She was ineffectual from the get-go, ultimately hurt the party.

      One other additional challenge Bernie didn’t have to face: the full-on rage of Neo-Nazis armed with opposition research and a post-fact fake news machine. I love Bernie’s policy approaches, but to think this would be enough to overcome the level of hate we are now seeing is incredibly naive. Their misogyny was bad enough aimed at a target used to +20 years of death threats and widely disseminated conspiracy framed as news. They hadn’t even begun with Bernie.

      I grieve for this country and its descent into fascism. We should have a new source of energy soon — we need only tap our grandparents spinning in their graves.

      • Desider says:

        The point being, DWS was going anyway – was that the culmination of the Bernie revolution, descending into vengeful minutia? That’s as good as it gets?

        But yes, having the other team hack to get hold of the full PDF of DNC oppo research + have all of the slow drip of Wikileaks with various innuendo and misquotes and …   They would have possibly done it with Bernie as well, but with Hillary, they could rely on the typical ‘she deserves everything she gets’ mentality.

        Grave spinning is a brilliant concept. Any greenhouse gases in it, or carbon neutral?

      • martin says:

        quote”I grieve for this country and its descent into fascism. We should have a new source of energy soon — we need only tap our grandparents spinning in their graves.”unquote

         

        Yeah, well I seem to think different.  Yeah, there’s a new source of energy alright.  But it ain’t gonna be what you think. If anything, now that Mr. Degenerate is abandoning what his supporters voted him in for every 20 minutes or so, I suggest this.  As soon as they discover he and the party of fuck you, are gonna burn their old age security, which they WILL DO.. I’ve got $.31 that says the last Czar of the 300 yr Russian Romanoff dynasty left a memo for him.  Pikittey and the ghost of Dr. Guillotine himself must be rolling dice on the day it becomes reality. Because..it will.

        • martin says:

          ps.. as for tapping “we need only tap our grandparents spinning in their graves.”.. I submit they’ll spit in your face. We had our chance and blew it.  My dad, one of the crew members aboard the PBY who discovered the Japs heading towards Midway in WW11, told me, on his death bed 5 yrs ago,  FUCK US.  We’re morons who had a chance, to HANG THE GODDAMNED WAR CRIMINALS of this nation after Iraq.  We did NOTHING.  So don’t preach to me about “grandparents in their graves.”

          • Rayne says:

            Little Paws is so bloody unpredictable I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. I only know he lies like he breathes, all the time, just like he did today to The New York Times. I suspect he’ll grift as he has all his life and on the backs of the most vulnerable.

            I’m not going to take one goddamned lick of blame for this mess we’re in. I’ve done my share at protest rallies against the Iraq War, against the Bush/Cheney regime, done what I could with the complacency that followed during the Obama years. This year I’ve spent on average +20 hours a week reading and writing material to persuade different parts of the government to take action, at expense to my personal aspirations.

            I don’t know who the “we” is in “we did nothing.” Maybe you ought to examine that more closely.

  5. bloopie2 says:

    All this, as above. It eats on you, and you feel sick to your stomach. And then you check the news, and you think, “It could have been me with a child on that Chattanooga bus” that wrapped itself around a tree (God’s ‘immovable object’) because there was a human being at the controls. Five (six?) of our babies, gone. Are we really in charge, in control? Can we ever be?
    I read those articles and I cry, and cry, for the parents; their loss is so great. What can I do? Anything?

    • Rayne says:

      Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:

      God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

      the courage to change the things I can,

      and the wisdom to know the difference.

      Meditate on the difference first. Then focus on changing what can be changed.

      I could change sitting in impotent rage and I did. I’m still angry, but I’m far from impotent.

      (And before anybody asks, I’m not proselytizing. One needn’t be a member of a faith community to understand Niebuhr’s point. Find your pluck, pick your battles and go.)

  6. RUKidding says:

    Rayne asked me,above, what I’ve done, besides, voting to make changes in our system. Believe me, I’ve done tons over the years. Everything from helping to organize demonstrations & sit ins back in the day. Organizing community action groups & teach ins. Have done all kinds of voter registration work, door knock work,etc. Lots of advocacy work, including meeting with local, state & fed officials. Over the years lots of letter writing & phone calls. Plus lots of community service work from food kitchens to legal aid work. Please try not to insult those who comment here. I’ve been more politically active than most.

    That’s why I’m so cynical skeptical & frankly depressed at this point. I regret nothing that I’ve done but feel that it’s had next to no impact. Witnessing Clinton’s execrable campaign where she basically spit on the poor in this now third world nation – thanks in no small measure to the Clinton’s rapacious greedy politics & abide – was beyond infuriating. She deserved to lose.

    Don’t lecture me about how I’m somehow to blame for this sorry state of affairs. My current job involves access to justice issues & I’m confronted daily by doing my best to help the poor & homeless with a myriad of issues. Witnessing fake phoney entitled HRC prattling on about her entitlement to “break the glass ceiling ” is beyond disgusting.

    I am out of clues about what to at this point. My actions now are focused locally.

    • Desider says:

      “where she basically spit on the poor ” – what the hell are you talking about?

      “I am out of clues ” – obviously

      All those folks who banged away in constant hyperbole on the all-encompassing evil in every Hillary statement & deed – you own this. You gave Trump his talking points and he just walked with them.

      • RUKidding says:

        Oh please. Get a grip. It’s no hyperbole that Clinton refused to campaign out in the rust belt. She didn’t bother to go to WI & mainly only visited cities in MI, OH, PA, & elsewhere. See what you want but people voted for Trump rather than Clinton mainly bc Clinton offered them nothing. Get on your high horse & refuse to see the reality that the Clintons & the Dem party sold out to Wall St & could care less about the poor or you, for that matter. Good luck with that viewpoint bc it failed spectacularly. Knock knock Clinton lost to Trump. Buy a clue.

        FWIW I voted for Clinton. If people don’t start to understand the depth of poverty in this country then we’re screwed forever.

        • lefty665 says:

          You got it RUK. 90% of the country has not had a real raise since 1978. That now encompasses grandparents, their children and grandchildren with no prospects for better. Except maybe a charlatan selling “Make America Great Again”.

          How bad a candidate was Hillary? She was so bad that America elected Donald F**king Trump in preference to her. That’s bad, real bad.

          The Dems aren’t going to get better with the likes of Schumer and Pelosi in their respective minority “leader” posts. The Dems are defending 24 seats in the Senate in ’18, many in red states where they rode Obama’s coattails into office in ’12. Think the Senator from Wall Street will inspire working class votes? I don’t.  Billionaire Pelosi won’t be any more effective in the House, but they’re already so devastated that the slaughter likely won’t be as bad there.

          When Trump screws the people he inspired, and he will, if the Dems have not rediscovered their roots and embraced the New Deal and real Americans, as opposed to neolib elites and fat cats, odds are high there will be a right wing candidate next time that makes Trump look moderate and rational. That pendulum will swing more wildly until there is change. Folks with no hope have no stake in the status quo.

          I voted Green because neither Hillary or Trump were lesser evils, both were greater evil, but in different ways. I quit donating to the Green Party when it became clear Stein was not going to run a real campaign. She was scared of being tarred like Nader by ignorant Dems I suppose. Her current crusade for recounts, miraculously flush with money, shows the Greens sold out to the Dems.

           

          • P J Evans says:

            My best year working, I made less than the equivalent of what my father was making when he retired (1979 – less than 30K a year).

             

            And Stein sold out to the Republicans, as previous Greens did. She’s now talking about how the Democrats have no ethics, ignoring both the GOP-T and her own party, and her own statements about preferring the shitgibbon to Clinton.

            My advice to all you third-party voters: don’t complain about what you brought us.

  7. martin says:

    quote”I’m not going to take one goddamned lick of blame for this mess we’re in.”unquote

    Rayne.. nobody is blaming you.  As for my retelling my Dads deathbed statement, I believe he meant my generation and it’s leaders.  Don’t sweat it.  What will be will be. Just accept my apology if you thought it had anything to do with you personally. Ok. From what you’ve shown here, you’ve done 100 times more than most citizens in this country do.   Bravo for you.  Now, are we square?

    • lefty665 says:

      Your Dad was right. 8 years of Obama standing for nothing, “Look forward, don’t look back” and Hillary’s quest for more of the same are telling. In addition to Iraq and Libya, folks like your Dad and mine would look at US arming, training and supporting al Qaeda and its offshoots in Syria and call it treason.

      There are a bunch of us out here who have been active and engaged, but in the end we have been completely ineffective. In that sense we all deserve a share of the blame for not being better agents of change and reform. We saw what was wrong but have failed to make it better.

       

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