For The Good Of The Many
I am on the same page. My last post was about not engaging with MAGA anymore. It is simply not worth it. They are too far gone. It is time to give up and divert that energy to more productive efforts & discussions.
It is a very hard decision to make but it is also a very necessary one if we want to preserve quality engagement and good use of time and energy!
Progressive policies are incredibly popular. When the Dems run progressive candidates they win. Which is precisely what their donors don't want. The moderate/corporate/Dixicrats are loyal to their corporate masters as much as the Republicans are. I've voted straight Dem my whole life and things in this country have only gotten worse. The housing market crash is directly tied to Clinton's repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act and the student loan debt crisis is partially Biden's fault. He signed on the bill that disallowed student loan debt to be discharged via bankruptcy. Hell, they fund raised off the overturning of Roe🤬
Yes, G-d, Yes!
There is literally no talking to anyone infected (and it is a disease) by Trumpism.
I have some childhood friends that are essentially brainwashed by Fox. What can we do for them? Why can't we get that channel off our military bases? What can we do about that?
"The solution is to give up. Give up on these voters, who are mostly a mirage. Give up on them. Stop doing counterproductive things like inviting the anti-choice former governor of Ohio, John Kasich, to speak in a prime slot at the Democratic convention out of some misguided notion his appearance could shake some votes loose. Biden lost in Ohio by nearly the same margin as Sec. Hillary Clinton. It didn’t work."
You get it.
I arrived at this same point give or take six or seven years ago:
'Who needs Trump voters? Not Democrats.' (May 23, 2017)
"Part of the argument to reach out to Trump voters rests on the premise that they represent some sort of shift in the electorate, but that premise is false. Trump voters are the distillation of the GOP base, not an expansion of it, making it even less likely that they could be swayed by any message to vote Democratic...
Equally important to realizing that efforts to reach out to the rank and file GOP voters who support is unnecessary, and frivolous, is realizing that it is counterproductive. Appeals to the ‘White Working Class [whose] vote for Trump [was supposedly NOT] because of racism, misogyny, homophobia or religious bigotry’ (a group for whom there is little evidence to support its existence) alienates the progressive base of the party...
So, a strategy to appeal to voters we don’t need, have no shot at winning over, and trying to appeal to them drains the base of the enthusiasm it has now (which is our main advantage in the up-coming off-year elections). And this is a good idea, why?"
'If only we'd listened to the WWC Trump voters, tried to engage them. That sounds strangely familiar.' (Dec. 22, 2016)
"[Regarding] the claim... that the concerns of the white working class were neglected by Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats more generally, so we ‘lost’ them to a bigoted autocrat. (As others have noted... the notion we lost them ignores the reality that a majority of this group has never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act into law, which highlights the extent to which white racial identity and the politics of white domination, white fears and white resentment dominates national elections to this day, and makes it plain they were never Hillary’s to lose.)
What is familiar about the calls to ‘meet the WWC where they are’, and hear their concerns, discuss patiently with them the progressive message, is that this advice was apparently made repeatedly to Frederick Douglass as he worked for abolition— often enough he felt it necessary to rebut it in one of his most famous speeches: ‘What to the Slave is The Fourth of July’, which I excerpt below.
The suggestion we need to listen patiently to the white working class, hear their concerns, and persuade them gently over time with evidence, and messages that they can hear and relate to— which of course sounds reasonable, mature, and thoughtful— assumes that bright, caring, determined progressives haven’t already been doing just that for decades.
“Hey, why didn’t we think of this when we were fighting for women’s suffrage, or civil rights legislation, or abortion rights, LGBT equality, and every other darn thing progressives have fought for and achieved over the past hundred years?”
It’s both surprisingly dismissive of the history of progressive accomplishments, and disrespectful of those who have been working for progressive goals for decades. As if this thought— try respectful discourse— never occurred to anyone before. Please. Or maybe that isn’t precisely what President Obama was doing every day for the past eight years. He was met with insults and simple bad faith.
If we are going to engage in productive efforts to defend progressive policies, and pursue progressive goals, we have no choice but to acknowledge the reality that Trump voters (at least 90% of whom are reliable GOP voters) do in fact have closed minds.
And we can’t pretend that their leadership operates from good faith, mutual respect or shared interest in the public good. If that’s not obvious to someone, they haven’t been attending to the last eight years, or the last eighty.
A lot of folks here, and in other conversations I’ve participated in, want to believe that deep down, most Trump voters, and conservatives more generally, are of course basically decent Americans, who will be open to shared efforts to make life better for everyone, if we just find that magically framed message, that somehow has eluded us since before secession.
Wanting this to be true, while I suppose laudable as a sentiment, is no basis for disregarding all evidence to the contrary.
Frederick Douglass makes this point about the absurdity, and pointlessness, of trying to engage those who have not shown themselves receptive to a progressive message:
// 'What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?'
I will not equivocate; I will not excuse;” I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.
But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, it is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already…
Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding.//
Frederick Douglass heard the same calls to ‘consider their perspective’ and ‘persuade them’, just as we are asked today with Trump voters and conservatives. He saw those requests for what they were— a dodge, a deflection, an insult to him.
I’ll go with his insight and wisdom."
When did austerity become a “centrist” idea? It’s the corporate media which focuses on these things. Dems need a media with national coverage that isn’t aligned with corporate interests.
It’s the populist progressive left that is the most invested in persuading Trump supporters--this is what Bernie Sanders and Robert Reich are all about. Personally, I think it is borderline naive.
The definition of liberalism here is interesting, although I’m skeptical that many liberals share it. That being said, I’m aging and those younger than me may well be redefining the nature of liberalism. There’s a fascinating discussion to be had.
Finally, somebody said what I have been thinking all along
And I also get that there are some Republicans that just can't vote for a Democrat. That's ok - just don't vote for Trump. It's ok to sit out a democratic election if you can't support your undemocratic Republican candidate. We can't and don't have to win them all over. We have to get out our voters, win those in the middle that we can, and give those we can't win over the "out" of not voting (or write-in).
A million times yes.
“Walter Mondale lost in a landslide in 1984 and the shock of that moment has perverted at least two generations of voter outreach from the Democratic Party.”
This is a small part of the story that came near the end of a sequence of presidential campaigns:
1972: The most progressive candidate in the 20th C other than Franklin Roosevelt loses in a landslide that was worse than 1984 (520-17; George McGovern got only 37.5% of the popular vote--less than Barry Goldwater in 1964 (38.5%) and nearly as bad as Alf Landon in 1936 (36.5%)
1976: Jimmy Carter narrowly defeats Gerald Ford in the first post-Watergate election. Carter was a strong candidate well-suited to the moment and Democrats had expected to win handily (297-240; 50.1%-48%)
1980: After fighting off a challenge from his left (*), Carter loses badly to Reagan--the Republicans’ second landslide in three elections (489-49; 58.8%-41%)
1984: Reagan sweeps Mondale in another Republican landslide. Mondale, a widely-respected and experienced establishment liberal had defeated Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson (**) to get the Democratic nomination (525-13; 58.8-40.6). Note that the popular vote results were essentially the same in 1980 and 1984
1988: Michael Dukakis emerged from a crowded Democratic field as a somewhat surprising mild favorite to defeat George Bush. Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater introduced the savage tactics that have come to define Republican politics ever since. Dukakis responded poorly, and also made the ill-advised decision under pressure to replace long-time adviser John Sasso as campaign manager with the inexperienced Susan Estrich. The upshot was yet another Republican landslide (426-111; 53.5-45.6), although there were glimmers of hope: Dukakis won Oregon and Washington and came close in California. Note: What It Takes, Richard Ben Cramer’s account of the ‘88 campaign is to this day the definitive book about presidential politics. It’s must-read for anyone who wants to understand the politics of the time.
1992 and 1996: To many of us who had been there, Bill Clinton rescues the Democratic Party from oblivion, twice prevailing in a three-candidate race. Even so, he was unable to garner 50% of the popular vote (43 and 49.2%). Clinton left office as one of the most popular presidents in memory.
While this puts the ‘84 election in perspective, it’s still no more than the head on the glass of beer. The full story of the direction of the Democratic Party is an exceptionally complex one that involves the two Kennedy assassinations, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and the counterculture of the Sixties.
(*) Full disclosure: I voted for Teddy Kennedy in the Texas primary.
(**) Full disclosure: I voted for Jesse Jackson in the Texas primary and was a Jackson delegate at the Travis County Democratic convention.
Well said, Mr.Willis. I also hate to give up on people, but it's become clear to me that I don't want to waste my time with people who have closed themselves to any messaging beyond their cult. Focus on our folks and the persuadable folks. Governing with a solid majority remains possible on those terms.
I think Dems should stop trying to persuade them with rhetoric. This obviously won't work! Some believe wild things about certain people (Tom Hanks, LOL) being possessed by demons and secret plots to inject trackers into your blood and they believe a different thing every day. In addition, the major racists have chosen a side & won't be deterred. However, the Dems should not give up on the PEOPLE in these areas because they are in a certain way influenced by the struggles of their regions so possibly the only solution does have to be to not totally write them off but to attend to the country as a whole--basically for the good of the country as well as for the fact these areas have a lot of people who aren't voting, are in very dire straits and do not deserve to be drowned just because fossil fuel industries and other corrupting elements have captured their state politics.
Generally, in local politics you do find some reasons for the political situation that isn't just 'these people have chosen their fate.' It's never so cut & dry. The national government should be for all the people.
I realize you aren't suggesting this as a matter of policy but sometimes people do & it's a big mistake in the long run. We don't know how this will play out long term and we do see state politics are complex when we look closely. There are good people doing hard and necessary work to address corruption in politics in many benighted areas of America & I hope the Dems we elect will give them support.