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Avoiding the circular firing squad

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Since I’m sure it’s already beginning in the comments here and elsewhere.

Here are two stories you’re going to see a lot of in the coming days and weeks, often pitted against each other:

“The shameful treatment of Hillary Clinton—creating corruption and ‘scandal’ narratives out of little more than thin air, characterizing her political positions and career in a misleading, if not dishonest manner (“center-right,” neocon, etc), and holding her to all manner of sexist double standards—played some real role in her narrow defeat. It was expected and inevitable from Republicans and some segmetns the media, but shamefully and recklessly many on the left propagated much of this nonsense as well, which likely contributed to her defeat.”

and

“In an election when the mood of the electorate was distinctly anti-establishment, Hillary Clinton was a terrible choice—the wrong candidate for the moment. This was clear enough during the primary, and those who ignored and supported Clinton over Sanders bear significant responsibility for this loss.”

Please consider the following:

*As more and better data becomes available, consider both of these possibilities in light of emerging evidence about the 2016 electorate a) dispassionately, without regard to which better fits with the case for your preferred candidate, and b) with an eye toward the future, rather than recriminations for the past.

*Be aware that they aren’t necessarily opposed to each other—they could both be accurate, and they could both be more or less false.

*Screaming these at each other is probably counterproductive.

As a form of self-care I probably won’t be in the comment thread here much if at all (or any other election-related comment threads) for at least a few days, so if you have some comment you really want me to see, contact me directly.

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  • cleek

    hot take!

    Donald Trump is moving to the White House, and liberals put him there

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals

    • Origami Isopod

      Oh. It’s Thomas Frank. /closes tab

      • Brett

        I know the feeling. I tried reading Listen, Liberal, and gave up a couple dozen pages in. He has an awfully big chip on his shoulder for being most famous for misdiagnosing Kansas.

        • D.N. Nation

          Good for him that his belly will remain full for the next four years/eight years/forever.

    • Slothrop2

      liberalism of the rich

      Nailed it.

      • los

        kochaltarianism of the uberuber caste owns MSM…

      • Origami Isopod

        Wrong as always. You and Frank.

  • jpgray

    As a fervent and probably annoying Bernie supporter, if there’s anything we certainly DON’T know, it’s that Bernie would’ve won. Even if some polls claim the contrary, absent the test of an actual campaign they would be essentially meaningless.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      We know that Russ Feingold and Zephyr Teachout lost in their respective races, which is about as close a proxy as we’re going to get for how Bernie would have done. My guess is he would have done around the same as Clinton, at best.

      • D.N. Nation

        Feingold. The hell’s wrong with that guy?

        • Halloween Jack

          Nothing in particular, as far as I can tell; the state that he served loyally and well for many years kicked him out of the Senate in favor of a blank-eyed, gibbering moron, and after six years of watching Ron Johnson perform in a manner that should have been an unmitigated embarrassment for Wisconsin, they gave him another term.

      • SIWOTI

        I think that Bernie would have done better for one unfortunate reason: it would have taken the misogyny of the electorate out of the equation.

        I don’t know that he would have been a better candidate, though, and I don’t know that his campaign would have been any better. Clinton impressed me a lot, especially at the convention, and during the debates. I thought she was a horrible campaigner, but I was wrong about that. She doesn’t give a great speech, but she was ok.

        • JohnT

          Lose some misogyny, gain some tasty, tasty anti-Semitism. There was a starter portion in the last weeks of the campaign, you may recall – anti-Semitic barracking of reporters, pictures of Yellen and Blankfein etc.

          • SIWOTI

            Indeed, so I don’t know that Bernie would have done a lot better, but I really do think that being a woman hurt Sec. Clinton more than than being Jewish would have hurt Bernie. But we’ll never really know.

            What we do know is that the electorate is a lot more misogynistic than we thought.

          • Origami Isopod

            Anti-semitism, anti-atheism, and “ZOMG SOCIALIST!!!” And Sanders really did not have the sangfroid to deal with any of that, the way HRC did.

          • Donna Gratehouse

            Yep. Also Bernie is probably an atheist. They would have went hard on that.

            And while no male candidate can ever experience the level of misogyny aimed at a female one, a male Dem candidate becomes an honorary woman of sorts simply by virtue of representing girly liberal interests. With Gore and then Kerry they succeeded in feminizing the men themselves. They did this to a certain extent with Obama but it didn’t work as well.

      • los

        While per jpgray, nothing happens unless it actually happens, current facts boost the proposition.

        1. Clinton won PV, despite the babblefoozled bern-or-busters either voting traitor or sitting on their “watch rome burn” cans.

        2. Sanders would have beat down nearly every “anti establishment” shallow claim Trump tried. (especially since Trump was imping Sanders)
        That would have flipped at least a small % of anti cuckstablishment trumpsters.

        So yes, Sanders would have beaten, if not blown out, Trump.

        Also Teachout, Feingold other downtickets and Sanders would have mutually ridden coatcollars/coattails.
        GOP House, Dem Senate.

        • wengler

          Yeah the conventional wisdom was that Trump was a weak candidate that would hurt downballot races. The opposite turned out to be true. Trump appealed to a glut of white male voters, some of which appear to not vote very often, who in turn voted for Republicans downballot.

    • cleek

      Even if some polls claim the contrary

      ‘the polls’ also predicted Clinton would win last night.

      so, polls are kinda sorta worthless.

      • alercher

        Really we need organizations that are capable of mobilizing workers, women, and voters of color, persuading them on the basis of prior accomplishments. Maybe these are called “unions.” I seem to recall…

        But in the absence of such organizations, I *do* want to know how my fellow voters are likely to vote, because politics is a collective activity. My decision depends on how other people whose interests I share are likely to vote. If we were organized together, I’d have other reasons to expect them to vote a particular way.

    • rhino

      I love me some Bernie Sanders, but not only do I not think he could have been elected, I don’t think he would be a good president. Better than Trump, of course, but that almost goes without saying.

      And the people I know who do believe he could have won are, well, not especially pragmatic.

  • John F

    Here are two stories

    They are not mutually exclusive and both are essentially true.

    • MND

      Agreed. Everyone is better off reflecting on their own “team’s” mistakes rather than pointing fingers, since there’s enough blame to go around.

    • aaronl

      I don’t think that Clinton was a terrible choice for the party or the country, but whenever a candidate loses it’s reasonable to say that they were the wrong choice for the moment.

      Similarly, the fact that a candidate wins doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a terrible choice… at least, for the country.

    • Manny Kant

      I’d only caveat the idea that Bernie would have won. The Democrats have indeed done a terrible job of maintaining their connection to traditionally Democratic working class whites over the last generation or so, and Clinton was not the candidate to fix that. But I also have no confidence that Bernie was, either.

  • Dilan Esper

    I’m really trying to avoid recriminations right now. I certainly don’t think Hillary was a very good candidate, and I bet people here can imagine my thoughts on that matter, but really, there’s plenty of time to perform an autopsy later.

    This is a big shock. I think we have to let it subside for a bit.

    • junker

      For once in my time on this board, I wholeheartedly agree with Dilan. Things are likely to get pretty bad – but as Johnathan Bernstein said today, everything looks worse in the immediate aftermath of the election.

      Let’s cool our heads and figure out how we’re going to move forward then.

      • BigHank53

        We’ve got years to fling poo at each other–why rush?

        • Let’s remember too, that it probably wasn’t one single issue that sunk Hillary, so many of reasons put forward in good faith for her failure are going to contain an element of truth. It’s not either/or, it’s more like ‘all of these to some degree and some of those others too’.

          • BigHank53

            Oh yes. There was the economically insecure demographic that didn’t hear much from the Dems AND the racists AND Clinton’s negatives AND media bias AND Trump’s unparalleled name recognition AND the misogyny AND the rage-filled GOP base AND AND AND.

            Death from a thousand bites.

        • brewmn

          Besides, 2020’s practically around the corner.

      • Manny Kant

        Ah Jonathan Bernstein, who was insisting in March that we should all buy Rubio futures.

        • Dilan Esper

          Jonathan Bernstein really comes out of this badly and is Exhibit A for an argument that I am finding more and more persuasive, that academics need to be careful about putting their authority behind rank punditry.

          When Bernstein is talking about history, institutional structure, etc., he has great insights. But he’s an awful pundit– his predictions were repeatedly wrong throughout the cycle and it took him forever to admit he was wrong. To this day, his position on the Republican primary is “well I would have been right, but Kasich stayed in the race and therefore it’s Kasich’s fault”.

          We make fun of people on television who do punditry, but the fact is that academics have more authority and credibility and they squander that when they become pure pundits.

          • rhino

            I was also distressingly wrong. Predicting the future is hard.

    • wengler

      I really want the Clintons to go out of the public eye for awhile. If the Democratic establishment is controlled by them the next time we fight the Trumpists we will lose.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    This post is correct.

    I know which side I come down on (hint: the second), but pointless infighting while the GOP does whatever it wants will destroy what’s left of the Democratic Party. Leave these fights for the 2020 primary (go Keith Ellison!). For now, organize, and resist.

  • I be Frank

    So anyway, women’s clinics are experiencing huge bumps in volunteers, today. Sure, lick your wounds, hate the ref’s, but then go do something to make the world better. You’ll feel better for it.

    • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

      Can you volunteer at a Planned Parenthood without medical degree/background?

      • Katya

        They often need volunteers to help escort women into the clinic, in the face of protests.

        • Origami Isopod

          Note: Only do this if you feel capable of resisting and ignoring the fetus fans who are spoiling for a fight, and being comforting and cheerful to the patients in the face of the hatred.

          • rhino

            It never occurred to me that this was a role.

            I wonder if there is a similar need in Canada?

            I’m large, scary, and not really smart enough to do smart things. But bouncing wingnuts and fundies out of the way is a *perfect* fit for my talents.

            Imma make a phone call tomorrow.

      • veleda_k

        In addition to the clinic escorts, there are sometimes positions for admin volunteers, as well as public education and event volunteers. Check your local org to see what they need.

  • eclare

    I said this below, but it’s appropriate here. This wasn’t a “change” election, it was a fear of change election. No one would have beaten Trump – not Bernie, not Elizabeth Warren, not any other progressive/liberal. Trump gave a voice to people who are afraid of the way demographics are changing, and they came out in force on the strength and vehemence of his message.

    • Denverite

      No one would have beaten Trump – not Bernie, not Elizabeth Warren, not any other progressive/liberal.

      I guess I don’t get this. Clinton won more votes than Trump, and he only carried Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan by roughly 100,000 votes *combined*. A slightly better candidate likely would have won, much less a substantially better one.

      • Rob in CT

        Right.

        A better candidate absolutely faces those same headwinds, but this was really, really close. Anything that had a marginal impact could’ve swung it. Christ, not saying “deplorables” might have been enough.

        • Denverite

          I think Biden, for example, very likely would have won all of the Rust Belt states that Clinton lost, except maybe Ohio. Florida too.

          • (((Hogan)))

            So what’s the lesson for next time?

            • Denverite

              Nominate a better candidate. Don’t let a bad candidate walk to the nomination virtually uncontested without running a viable alternative in the primaries.

              • LeeEsq

                Also that electoral politics are still the most important type. Get out and vote, damn it.

              • giovanni da procida

                This.

                • rea

                  Not this. HRC was a perfectly fine candidate, handed Trump his head in the debate, and would have been an excellent president. We lost because the other side managed, with the aid of the media, to conduct a policy-free election.

              • cleek

                Don’t let a bad candidate walk to the nomination virtually uncontested without running a viable alternative in the primaries.

                who does this “letting” and “running”?

                because it sounds like you’re saying you want the party to be more involved in picking and choosing who gets to run and how far and how fast they can run.

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              Nominate a white man.

        • DrDick

          I think the decades long anti-Clinton campaign and the faux emails scandal played a far larger role in this. She came into the election with very high negatives and did little to counter them.

          • BigHank53

            It’s tough to fight other people’s imaginary dragons. How should–indeed, how could–Clinton address the Benghazi nonsense?

            • Brien Jackson

              Right. Annd the notion that we just have to accept that kind of destruction of ambitious powerful women is really troubling.

              • JustRuss

                This. The press couldn’t get enough of the damn email catnip. What the hell was Clinton supposed to do to deal with that?

            • DrDick

              I do not think it is a question of fighting those attacks, so much as it is presenting other positives (presenting a strongly progressive economic agenda, for instance) with the power to overshadow the negatives. As you say, I think trying to fight the Bengazi or email nonsense would be largely self-defeating in that it legitimates them.

              • so-in-so

                Didn’t she follow that strategy? Presenting carefully crafted policy just is too boring compared to “win so much we’ll be tired of wining”. At least it seems so for a part of the population.

                • sibusisodan

                  Perhaps there are better examples than policy. But I’m blowed if I can think of them.

                  Cynical moment: did Clinton just not lie to the electorate in the right ways?

                • DrDick

                  She presented very cautious incremental policies for the most part. That is not inspiring. She needed a bolder vision.

                • Brien Jackson

                  a) This isn’t true. The platform as stated was a really transformational one that would have made huge differences in people’s economic situation.

                  b) The problem with “bolder visions” is what we saw with Obama early: When it runs into the reality that it can’t be passed in the American system of government, people feel like you betrayed them.

            • Halloween Jack

              She absolutely destroyed Trey Gowdy in the hearings. That stuck in the news for a while, then they let it drop, and I saw Gowdy babbling about something on TV just before the election, without the caption “Noted dipshit Trey Gowdy” on the screen.

          • ASV

            Gallup’s first HRC approval poll in 2015 was March 2-4. She was +11 net, 50-39. April 3-4 she was 48-42. She officially announced her candidacy on April 12. May 6-10 she was 50-46; her no opinion number went from 9% to 3% from March to May.

            Also worth noting, first poll after Benghazi!, 63-32.

      • XTPD

        Also, in the necessary-but-not-sufficent category: It looks like Jill Stein helped us lose Michigan & Wisconsin.

        • D.N. Nation

          Thankfully she’ll be working hard in the next four years to bring legitimacy to the Greeahahahahaha

        • Manny Kant

          Voter suppression campaign probably also sufficient to explain Wisconsin (though not Michigan)

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          And the Bernie-or-Busters. I know one of those fuckers in Michigan who wrote-in Bernie. And still doesn’t regret it.

      • eclare

        I honestly cannot believe that there are 50,000+Trump voters in those combined states that would have voted for a progressive candidate or even stayed home. But reasonable people can disagree

        • Murc

          Obama won both states. So yes, clearly there is some combination of Trump voters and lazy-ass liberal voters who could have swung it.

          • eclare

            I could be wrong about this, and I’m too tired/lazy to look it up, but my understanding is that voter participation was way up in rural white areas. In other words, the hidden white voters that many said were mythical turned out to be real after all. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll at least lose confidence in my conclusion if not concede the point.

            • Patick Spens

              Eh, Trump got about 100k more votes in Michigan than Romney did, which still would have lost handily to Obama’s count. He actually came slightly behind Romney in Wisconsin. If people turned out to vote for Clinton like they did for Obama then she wins this race.

          • DrDick

            It is not just “lazy assed liberals”, but also “completely uninspired liberals”. As others have noted, Clinton is not charismatic or inspiring to most people.

            • so-in-so

              “Fear of DJT as President” doesn’t inspire Democrats? We need special feels up our legs to turn out?

              Anybody who sat home because “sure, Trump’s bad, but Clinton just isn’t inspiring” surely deserves whatever evils befall. Unfortunately, a lot of people who worked their butts off (or even just voted) will suffer as well.

              • paul1970

                Exactly, no-one deserves it. And I’d love to have seen a woman, or indeed, a self-described socialist in the White House but with the benefit of hindsight, if I’d known keeping Trump out required running Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I’d have taken him.
                X would have been a great candidate if only people had wanted to vote for them is never a winning argument. On the other hand – I was never a massive fan of Hillary’s but I really did think she’d win. She seems a lot weaker today than she did this time yesterday.

                • so-in-so

                  Hell, maybe every Democrat for miles around opining about how hard they were holding their nose while voting for HRC is what sank her. The GOP was never gonna vote for her. We knew exactly what Trump is (as best any can know when he blows with his own personal wind). We still have to play special snowflake, I must express my disappointment while voting for the potentially first woman President with the most liberal platform in decades, trying to protect Barack Obama’s accomplishments? Even if you were just soooo sad that Bernie lost, you couldn’t suck it up and play at enthusiasm for an historic moment? Now loads of people get to say to their daughters “Well honey, I guess you probably CAN’T grow up to be President like your brother.” The fear of Trump didn’t provide an enthusiasm? Fuck it, we are hopeless!

                  Oh yeah, Rudolph didn’t run, so, as said so often before, which candidate who DID try would have demonstrably done better? Maybe all those white working men and women would have been fine with a Jewish/Atheist self professed socialist, but I’m pretty doubtful that a media that could harp on emails wouldn’t make anything of THAT.

                • DocAmazing

                  Yes, of course, clapping harder would have brought Tinkerbell back to life.

                  So much for avoiding the circular firing squad.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  On the other hand, I think it’s plausible that the Trump voters kind of Tinkerbelled their way into a win.

                  The Comey letter likely didn’t change any minds – there was nothing in it, it added nothing new other than “hey, there are more emails”. Hillary’s aide having another computer is not a scandal.

                  The point was that people believed it was a big deal. Before that everyone, including Trump, believed he was on his way to a big loss. They were discouraged. The Comey letter let them believe they could win and restored their enthusiasm, while dampening Democratic enthusiasm.

                  Does that motivate/demotivate a ton of voters? I don’t know. But it could be good for 1%, which was enough for Trump to win.

                  I certainly don’t think anyone was served by people making a big deal out of holding your nose. I wouldn’t ask people to offer insincere praise of Clinton’s positions. But there was no need to talk about how “awful” her position on fracking was or whatever every time you mention you’re voting for her considering her opposition was literally someone who wants to put an oil company shill as head of the EPA (repeat ad nauseum for practically any issue).

        • Manny Kant

          I think the bigger issue is getting 100,000 or so Obama supporters who sat it out to vote for the Democratic nominee.

      • Downpuppy

        Sure, a better candidate could have done better. But where was there a better candidate in 2015? Not running. Bernie would have been smeared at least as bad as Hillary. Jewish socialist 75 year old with a long history & some minor kink in his finances? Please. They trashed the character of John Kerry.

        This goes back to the link behind both versions, the wrong candidate & lack of support : The Democratic party apparatus needs a total overhaul.

        • Denverite

          As I said, Biden, for sure. But:

          This goes back to the link behind both versions, the wrong candidate & lack of support : The Democratic party apparatus needs a total overhaul.

          This is 100% true. It’s on the establishment.

          • Manny Kant

            I think Biden pulls out MI, WI, PA, and the election. But obviously impossible to know. Certainly quite possible he does more or less the same.

            But the problem obviously runs much deeper. This isn’t a fluke. This was a fast forward on a long-running trend that is deeply damaging to the party – the complete collapse of white working class support for the Democrats. This had already happened in the south and border states in the Clinton and Bush years, but now it’s also happened in the Midwest and Pennsylvania (and is even starting to happen in New England and New York, which is an awful sign).

            The Democratic establishment has been aware of this, but very complacent about it because they a) assumed it would not happen so quickly, given that Obama did very well with this group in both 2008 and 2012; and b) assumed that they would be able to make up those losses with gains from two other groups: middle class white suburban swing voters and non-whites. It turns out that the middle class white people are a mirage – they voted for Trump at pretty close to the same rates they voted for Romney – and that the non-white voters have not increased in enough numbers to make up for the loss.

            I’m not sure what can be done at this point. Those working class whites are quite possibly lost forever, if their southern and border state counterparts are any guide. We may be in for a very bad time going forward.

      • aaronl

        And a comparable or slightly worse candidate would have likely lost by greater margins.

        There’s not much point in fantasizing about how much better a Biden or Bernie campaign would have been as compared to Clinton, because it will never be more than a fantasy and the reality could have been at least as dismal.

      • I think this undervalues how well Clinton performed in the 2016 campaign. She had great people, ran an issues-driven campaign, responded to the challenge from Sanders, had a great convention, and most of all, executed three almost flawless debates in which expectations were ridiculously lopsided.

        ETA: agree with SIWOTI above, whose comment I missed.

        • Denverite

          I think this undervalues how well Clinton performed in the 2016 campaign.

          Really? I think her campaign really misjudged how at risk she was in the Rust Belt, despite the signs being there. I also think she completely took the African-American vote for granted.

          • Obviously, she lost the election, so on one level you’re absolutely correct: she needed to do more. Figuring out what that “more” should be needs to somehow control for the things she did well, though, and I think there were a lot of things in that category. For example, do you think Bernie (or some generic Dem) could have as effectively pantsed Trump in the debates? I don’t think so.

          • Manny Kant

            She definitely misjudged how at risk she was, due to bad polling from basically everybody, but I’m not sure it would have made any difference, at least if we’re talking ground game/GOTV.

            The Keepin’ it 1600 guys (Jon Favreau, etc.) had a very somber and penitent livecast today where, among other things, they noted that the Clinton campaign adopted three different strategies in those three states. In Pennsylvania, they fought pretty hard throughout. In Michigan, they put in a late push at the end. In Wisconsin they were complacent and ignored it. And all three came out pretty much the same.

            Also worth noting is that Trump had no ground game at all.

            • sneezehonestly

              Trump’s lack of ground game was rendered irrelevant by his absolute mastery at manipulating the media and staying in the spotlight. The man is a savant at drawing attention to himself and motivating his base. You don’t need a ground game, or even paid advertising, when you’re getting the amount of analysis-free attention that he got — assuming that your message resonates with the target group of voters and makes them excited to vote.

              • sneezehonestly

                I’d also add that one lesson to be learned from this election is that a ground game just isn’t as important for Republicans as it is for Democrats. Pre-election, the most critical part of what we call the “ground game” is getting people registered to vote and making sure they have the necessary identification documents. Rural and suburban white people don’t have any problems registering to vote or obtaining ID – poor urban residents and POC (by design) will have more problems with registration/ID, and can benefit from a “ground game” that helps them in these areas.

                On election day, the biggest thing a ground game can do is physically get people to the polls. Again, the Republican rural and suburban base just doesn’t need help in this area, while poor people and minority voters often do (again, by design).

                What the Democratic ground game does, when it works, is slightly tilt the playing field towards level for poor and minority voters. Republican base voters typically won’t need this kind of assistance in order to vote – they only need to be motivated enough to drag themselves to the polls.

            • Good points.

          • McKingford

            Yes. She spent all her time campaigning in Florida and North Carolina – which were NICE TO HAVE, but not necessary states. We kept hearing about the blue firewall, being the Great Lake states, to backstop her if she didn’t win FL and NC.

            Well, why the sweet fuck wouldn’t you treat your firewall states with the kind of urgency you’d expect IF THEY ARE YOUR FIREWALL?! She only made an appearance in Michigan at the last moment. She barely campaigned in Wisconsin.

            The objective of the campaign is to get to 270. She treated her goal as if it was to get to 310. She spent tons of time and resources campaigning in states she didn’t need to win, at the expense of states that provided her firewall (Ha!).

    • DrDick

      Sorry, but this is just wrong. There are a lot of factors that played into this, including the press, but Trump was far from unstoppable and the people who voted for Trump very much wanted change, if only in the direction the country was heading. It is also the case that economics played a bigger role than racism and misogyny, indeed it fed both of those.

    • wengler

      Trump didn’t even get as many votes as Mitt Romney.

      • JustRuss

        This. Democratic turnout was way down, thanks to voter suppression and the media’s obsession with Clinton’s emails. I heard and read a lot of “Both candidates are terrible, why should I vote for either?” comments.

    • rhino

      Nope. People stayed home instead of voting for Hillary, it’s reasonable to think that’s due to her massive unpopularity among likely democratic voters. That means a less unpopular candidate could presumably do better.

      We ain’t getting anywhere if we try and brush over this fundamental mistake.

  • “b) with an eye toward the future, rather than recriminations for the past.” Absolutely. Election post-mortems are good, but only to let us adjust and come back and win. Sniping and infighting don’t help us or the country.

  • Lit3Bolt

    Why wait for data?

    Narratives need to be crafted now.

    The shift will be from data collection and analysis to marketing and story-telling.

  • Chris Mealy

    The lesson of this election is that each side will win about half the time no matter what, so don’t fuck around and just go for it. No point in being nice and bipartisan.

    Also, if it’s going to be crazy time like this now, bring on Stephen Colbert in 2020. I am completely serious.

  • djw – well said.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    No time to explain how the rocks in my head jostled this memory, but this quote by Patton Oswalt just came to mind:

    Us liberals, comedy is our best weapon, and if you’re going to take that away from us and make Margaret Dumonts and let the right-wingers be Grouchos, we’re completely fucked. I don’t want to sound like a supervillain, but I won’t fucking allow it. That is going to hurt the progressive movement in this country more than anything, is people suddenly going, we’re the scolders, we’re the shushers, we’re the ones offended by everything. Whereas one of the best weapons against conservatism is satire and offensiveness and bad taste—those were always our best weapons, and they’re fucking them up for everybody.

    • Origami Isopod

      Uh, yeah, that vastly depends on whom the offensiveness and bad taste is aimed at. Don’t punch down and declare yourself a fighter for great justice.

      • XTPD

        I’m thinking of a Sarah Silverman Cloning Program.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        True. What I was hinting at wasn’t so much the “Patton vs. PC finger waggers” theme of that quote, so much as the “they’re turning us into Margaret Dumont” part of it.

        Democracy is just a big popularity contest, and showing up and being Debbie Downer all the time can be a handicap.

        We love facts, history, science, news, truth, reality. Unfortunately, we’re the last people who would ever choose to sell things with some pizzaz. Let us grapple with this reality in our coastal, fact-based way, assiduously analyze it…. and find the people who can add the right pizazz to our product.

        P.S. Without ever using the term “Brand management”, please, or I’ll get “impactful” upside somebody’s noggin.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      OK, now I have time to explain how my brain got me there.I was thinking of of the various outrageous things Trump would say, then the media (shake fist) announcing and enforcing society’s norms, “He said he won’t acknowledge defeat if Hillary wins!”, and all of us other Good Liberals being Very Upset – this all just entertained his shithead base to no end. Our predictably earnest and sincere response to everything means we can get played.

      Imagine if Bugs Bunny wasn’t just clever and anarchic, but a real asshole to boot. (OK, in some of the earlier comics he’s a little too cruel to a Mr. E. Fudd, but you know what I mean…)

      Of course, it’s hard to play a game with rules against a sociopath.

  • wfrolik

    Personally I now think the country has become so divided it almost doesn’t matter who we nominate-50 million people would have been opposed anyway.

    Even if Clinton or Sanders had won, the Republican party has effectively made it impossible for the Democratic party to govern.

    I’m really wondering if isn’t time to let the country split in two and let certain blue states secede from the Union and go our own way. Maybe the Civil War was just putting off the inevitable.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      But look at the map, with the possible exception of California and Vermont, there are no blue states, there are only blue cities. This is the problem.

      • LeeEsq

        Hawaii would also count as a truly blue state but that has always been an exception. Same with the smaller blue states like New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Maryland. Enough land is controlled for them to count as blue states.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          If Hawaii and California want to secede I’ll be first in line for citizenship! My point really isn’t worth engaging with, I was mostly just venting, but Maryland isn’t true blue, it’s blue in the Baltimore/DC commuting corridor. The other states I’ll give you because they are pretty much urban from stem to stern by U.S. standards.

          ETA Maryland and NJ have GOP governors need I add.

          • Brien Jackson

            Maryland is pretty blue because all of those red areas just don’t have very many people in them (and I’m in one). Hogan irks me, but he’s definitely not governing like a wingnut, yet.

      • cleek

        IIRC, CA sends more GOP Reps to the House than NC, SC, MI, KY, GA, LA, VA, etc..

        • Srsly Dad Y

          Yeah, I wrote that in comments a few months back.

      • Lurks

        But what is the solution? Rural reliably votes conservative, but only makes up 20% of the possible vote (or 30% depending on your definition of rural). It is a much more spread out group. Democrats can target cities much more effectively on a cost-per-voter basis. You can’t fill a major venue if your campaign stop is Greasy, OK (a real place). You can’t host a big fundraiser in Bland, VA (ditto). Bill got within 50 miles of me once in 2016. Hilary apparently didn’t get closer than 120 miles.

        And you know, I understand that. It’s a lot of work for not many votes, and in my case certainly not enough votes to swing a local precinct or county.

        But if you do not at least start a ground game in the low-population areas where you have some chance of swinging an area blue, then it will stay red by default. How many non-urban votes would it have taken to swing say Michigan or Pennsylvania? I see three red counties adjacent to Detroit and all of the ones around Pittsburgh are red.

        Even if Dogtown, AL is not going to see a lot of outreach, a little more effort in the areas just outside of major cities (especially in battleground states) might be a useful investment.

        • ASV

          I can’t speak to Pittsburgh, but Macomb and Oakland Counties (north of Detroit) aren’t rural; they’re white flight suburban, the second- and third-most populous counties in the state.

  • Murc

    I disagree.

    Right now is precisely the time for recrimination, bitterness, backbiting, and brutal infighting.

    Let’s get it all out of our system and see whose body is on the floor and who is left standing. Then we can pretty ourselves up for 2018.

    The last thing we want is for everyone to swallow it and then have it slowly poison and color everything we do from now until whenever. Let’s have it out.

    • MikeJake

      I agree.

      In the spirit of bluntness: a lot of non-white people and Progressive women online seem to have believed that they alone could supply the electoral muscle to put a weak Democratic candidate over the top, and that engaging specific concerns of white working class voters was unnecessary and a capitulation. This turned out to be a bunch of empty bluster.

      • cleek

        white working class voters voted for a Russia-coddling, daughter-lusting, serial adulterer, bankruptcy-fetishist, tax-cheating, worker-stiffing, sexual-predator and con-man who is about to face a RICO trial for defrauding working people.

        WTF do Dems have that can compete with that?

        • BigHank53

          WTF do Dems have that can compete with that?

          …so I take it that we’re tabling the Tertiary Syphilis project?

      • Brien Jackson

        Economic anxiety! /drink

      • Origami Isopod

        The “specific concerns” of white working class voters are racism and misogyny, but thanks for playing.

        • MikeJake

          Empty. Bluster.

        • rhino

          That may be, but if their racist and mysogynist asses have job security, they seem to be willing to vote democrat a little more often.

          If you cannot figure out a way to get some of them to vote democrat, then you are conceding the fight. Does surrender help people of colour and women?

          • Brien Jackson

            This seems backwards, actually. Bush crashing the economy got them to vote for the black Democrat with a funny name to fix the mess. As the economy started to get better and unemployment went down, they moved back to voting for their racist and other cultural resentments.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        What were the specific concerns that were ignored?

        College tuition? Nope. Childcare and family leave? Nope. Minimum wage? Nope. Union rights? Nope. Small business pandering? Nope. Infrastructure spending? Nope. Bank regulation? Nope (And Trump wants to get rid of Dodd-Frank!).

        She rejected the TPP, I’m not sure how much more she could’ve done on that given her on-the-record statements in favor of it. I guess she could’ve been more forceful. But it wasn’t ignored, at any rate.

        I’m trying to think of a concern that they ignored that isn’t linked to throwing a Democratic constituency under the bus. For example, I think you could make an argument that she should’ve moderated her stance on immigration, and that could’ve helped in a few states. Her position on immigration was about as far left as possible and she only needed a 1% gain. The thing is that the left flank of the party didn’t want to let her moderate on anything.

        • weirdnoise

          The outcome had very little to do with her positions. Few voters take the time to learn the candidates’ positions except on one or two hot-button issues. Hillary had a thoughtful, detailed, and nuanced response for nearly every issue — which for many folks pretty much labeled her as someone like all those other out-of-touch elites. She spoke in long sentences and used big words like “deplorable.” She made improving the country sound like work. This all made it very easy to get people to focus their resentments and suspicions on her,

          Face it, in this election Trump was the candidate of hope, not Hillary. Hope based on racism, resentment and revenge, but one with short, catchy slogans that played on common nationalistic tropes. Hope that privilege will be restored, that the undeserving will be deported, locked up, taxed, or sued into silence. The enthusiasm people had for Trump was phenomenal. Pollsters used the same old models of likely voters and took little notice of the energy behind Trump’s supporters vs. Hillary. It was ugly, directed toward the irrational selfish demons all humans bear. It was the bare face of the toxic memes that the GOP had been subtly riding on. In swing states more people turned out for him, and that made all the difference.

    • djw

      So I guess my point isn’t “don’t argue” so much as a) don’t be a dick about it, and don’t be quick to assume bad faith or stupidity and more importantly b) people going in guns blazing right now (see the Frank link above) are just assuming they’ve been right all along. Let’s look at the data with a sense of our own fallibility here. The early entries into this genre are falling well short of that mark.

  • Nick never Nick

    Just a nausea-inducing aside . . .

    Last night’s results proved Scott Adams correct.

    • mpavilion

      Even worse (IMHO), Michael M00re.

      • Nick never Nick

        What’s wrong about Moore being correct?

        • mpavilion

          It’s complicated, and (I guess) personal. I don’t care how insufferable some guy like Adams may be; he’s not a would-be “ally” like Moore. I guess, today, I should just give Moore props for being right on Trump’s chances, and put aside my feelings about the dude and his rhetoric.

          • ASV

            Moore also had Kerry and Romney winning, so.

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              Moore also thinks the GOP “establishment” is going to impeach Trump. He doesn’t have a clue that Trump’s Neo-Nazis ARE the new GOP establishment.

    • jpgray

      If the old drunk at your local throws a hundred darts every night, don’t read too much into the occasional bullseye.

    • davidsmcwilliams

      Christ, just when I thought I couldn’t feel worse about this election.

  • LeeEsq

    My guess is that any attempt of the Democratic Party to analyze what happened rationally and calmly well be as successful as the Labour Party after Margaret Thatcher became the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister in 1979. Every faction will be heavily invested in it’s version of the events and not want to listen to other factions. I’m going to stick by my three consistent observations.

    1. Right Populism is increasing across the democratic world.

    2. Social Justice/Identity Politics liberalism is a really poor counter because the demographics aren’t there yet among other reasons like being really bad at electoral politics as opposed to protest politics.

    3. Incremental technocratic liberalism is an even worst counter to Right Populism.

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign was trying to combine incremental technocratic liberalism with a soft version of Social Justice liberalism. The two never really meshed that well together or motivated people that much.

    • cleek

      she got more votes than Trump did.

      • wengler

        And if we reran the election tomorrow she would still lose because of the stupid way this country works.

        • rhino

          This is true, and what’s really disturbing is that after Brexit, a large number of voters were appalled, because they voted to send a message and then the stupid thing actually passed.

          We are not seeing anyone going OMG the shitgibbon won???? What the fuck was I thinking!!! that was supposed to be a protest vote!!!!

          Nope, the US electorate, or at least half of it, actually is deplorable.

    • mpavilion

      Do we have examples of places where right populism is being successfully countered? Maybe Euro countries that haven’t seen the same rightward drift as others, despite similar demographics? And are those lessons, if they exist, even applicable here?

      • LeeEsq

        Not yet.

      • Nick never Nick

        Canada — we’ve been in a bit of a reverse cycle from the rest of the world, Harper ruled for the last ten years and then just got the boot.

        • LeeEsq

          Harper wasn’t exactly a Right Populist though.

        • McKingford

          Yeah, except that we’re quickly learning that Justin Trudeau is simply small “c” conservatism with a smile and at least a nod to pluralism. His very first legislative act was to enact a deficit financed tax cut, of which 50% went to the top 10% income group, and nothing for anyone making under $45K. He went on to adopt the Harper CO2 emissions targets, and is full steam ahead on all manner of pipelines.

          But he restored the long for census, so we have that going for us.

          • rhino

            Trudeau is a centrist, which is exactly what he ran as. You remind me of the people who spent the last 7 years complaining that Obama was insufficiently socialist.

            • McKingford

              A) He’s not a centrist – at least his policy initiatives enacted so far are not; they’re conservative. The only extent to which they diverge from Conservatives is on immigration, where they expanded the Syrian refugee resettlement.

              B) He has quickly shown that to the extent he *ran* as a centrist (and on many issues he tried running to the left of the NDP), he’s fast abandoning those elements of his platform. He’s already enacted a regressive tax cut – which, granted, he ran on – except he said it was revenue neutral and it is most definitely not. He’s already embraced the Harper CO2 emissions target. He’s abandoned any pretense of repealing C51 or enacting voting reform, which were both part of his election platform.

              So far he’s absolutely Harper’s next term minus the Muslim punching.

      • wengler

        The way right populism gets countered is the exposure of corruption and deceit. The KKK used to own Indiana and got destroyed by its leader being involved in the rape and murder of state employee.

  • PJ

    I am an immigrant woman of color.

    I don’t see why I should make common cause with some of the commenters here. A lot of ya’ll really want to ride your Bernie love and IT’S THE WWC VS. ECONOMIC ANXIETY ** to the moon and back, and come election time you will continue to ignore the consistent political disenfranchisement of non-white groups as you chase an ephemeral slice of the American white electorate that may or may not be racist on a given election day.

    HRC was a standard candidate with standard issues who won a primary but lost the general. She is NOT Barack Obama, but few politicians are. Voters of color were lower in numbers but we still did our job despite voter suppression — the responsibility lies with uneducated white voters.

    If the educated class of white leftists (aka some people here) are going to deny deny deny then I don’t see how any of us are getting out of this; you cannot build solidarity if you don’t even see the same problem that people of color do.

    ** Yes, it is a combination of class and race. But we are clearly not at a point in our history where we are capable of unpacking it in a way that is useful for mobilization of white voters towards progressives causes in a way that is consistent. Heck, a lot of the people here cannot do it for themselves — much less our useless media or uneducated white people. **

    • PJ

      In the spirit of bluntness: a lot of non-white people and Progressive women online seem to have believed that they alone could supply the electoral muscle to put a weak Democratic candidate over the top, and that engaging specific concerns of white working class voters was unnecessary and a capitulation. This turned out to be a bunch of empty bluster.

      And I see that, for some, we should be actively pushed out of positions of influence once more.

      • MikeJake

        Well, the Democratic Party, as currently constituted, fell flat on its fucking face, didn’t it? I should hope some heads would roll.

        • PJ

          Yes. Those heads will largely be brown and female.

          You will still lose white voters.

        • cleek

          Clinton lost. the Dems picked up House and Senate seats.

    • Nick never Nick

      This cuts both ways — the prescription for moving forward comes after analysis. People here are analyzing what happened. You need to as well, and not criticize the idea of a discussion.

      The Democratic party was nearly destroyed last night — it was the kind of loss that alters politics permanently. Right now there is nothing to have solidarity with, above a municipal level — and people need to figure out how to build a winning coalition. Not a ‘correct’ coalition, not the ‘moral’ coalition — right now, it’s win or nothing.

      • PJ

        You. Are. Losing. White. People.

        This is not about morality. The fact that you and others seem to keep painting what is a very basic point about mobilizing PERMANENT democratic and progressive voters is exactly the kind of blindspot PoC talk about with white socialists thinking everything related to diversity is cosmetic.

        • Nick never Nick

          I’m arguing that now is the time for analysis. To my mind, the only proper question for said analysis is “What do we have to do to win elections?” Everything else is cosmetic, and that includes diversity — politics are about attaining power to achieve goals, and the latter needs to be subsumed to the former. Everyone who sees what happened last night, and what is going to happen for four years, and wants to discuss what goals we have before we discuss achieving power, is shooting in the wrong direction.

          • Lord Jesus Perm

            To my mind, the only proper question for said analysis is “What do we have to do to win elections?” Everything else is cosmetic, and that includes diversity — politics are about attaining power to achieve goals, and the latter needs to be subsumed to the former.

            Then the Democratic Party better be prepared to lose at the national level for a while.

            This is precisely what I was afraid would happen after last night: people would see who came out and voted for Trump, and Democrats would be so scared and frightened by that result, they would immediately throw away one of the very things that has come to define the party.

            • Nick never Nick

              Nothing has happened yet, I indicate nothing. But — there is going to be a period of analysis, and that analysis is going to be based on how to win. Parties that don’t win turn into Labour circa 1982. Trying to short-circuit consideration of what we do going forward is pernicious too.

            • Drexciya

              This is precisely what I was afraid would happen after last night: people would see who came out and voted for Trump, and Democrats would be so scared and frightened by that result, they would immediately throw away one of the very things that has come to define the party.

              It didn’t even take a full day.

              • Lord Jesus Perm

                5 minutes is a long time, in fairness.

            • so-in-so

              “Find our own racist, a shouty one with awful taste” is probably not the way forward. Maybe asking some of the PoC why more of them didn’t turn out would help?

          • Murc

            politics are about attaining power to achieve goals, and the latter needs to be subsumed to the former.

            No. Bullshit.

            There are lines you don’t cross. There are positions that are unacceptable for the Democratic Party to adopt even if they’re necessary to win an election.

            • Lord Jesus Perm

              I fully expect this to happen come 2020. And I fully expect the Democratic Party to wander in the wilderness for doing it.

              I hope I’m wrong.

            • sibusisodan

              …to add to this, if the coalition I’m part of thinks it needs to change its approach/policy mix to win power, I would want my coalition to at least ask the most affected members whether they’re ok with that.

              If we didn’t think we needed to do that, that would be quite a powerful indication of who really had power in our coalition and who did not.

            • Nick never Nick

              OK, but then you have a discussion to find out what those positions are. I’m not arguing one way or another — but I am saying, there has to be the discussion to figure out how we are going to present ourselves on a number of issues, both real and cosmetic, in the next election.

              I totally agree that there are unacceptable positions — but mine might be different from yours. To figure out what those are across the coalition, and how they affect the coalition, you discuss it.

              • sibusisodan

                But that’s not a neutral discussion you’re proposing there. It’s a discussion which is threatening to some members of the coalition. It’s not clear that the people wanting to have the discussion and the people at risk from its outcomes are overlapping much.

                If the lifeboat we’re in needs to lose some weight, and there have been murmurings that we should just eat Bob, calling for a neutral discussion on how to save weight without making it clear that Bob is off limits will not be reassuring.

                • Lord Jesus Perm

                  Gotta embrace the debate!

          • Origami Isopod

            Everything else is cosmetic, and that includes diversity

            Into the pie filter you go. Also, fuck you.

          • rhino

            If you have to become your enemy to win, why did you fight in the first place? You could have just joined him.

            Winning is not the most important thing.

        • MPAVictoria

          As much as you wish it were the case POC and Progressive women simply cannot provide enough votes. So if we want to win we have to offer something to working class white men and women. I think a populist appeal on trade and work programs can accomplish at least some of that. We can do this without compromising on the social issues which are also vitally important.

          /For me the answer is never social liberalism OR left economics but always both.

          • LeeEsq

            In elections numbers count and the majority of Americans are still white. You need their votes to win elections and there is no if, and, or buts about this. This is why Social Justice is not a good counter to Right Populism. It tends to much towards aggressive truth-telling and that if you call out evil enough, evil will change or go away. It doesn’t really work like that. Aggressive truth telling does not work on the campaign trail.

            • Murc

              his is why Social Justice is not a good counter to Right Populism.

              Did you miss the part where MPA said “both?” Because it seems like you did.

              Honestly. Why is the answer to this not simply “re-assemble the Obama coalition?”

              • so-in-so

                I guess the question is “why didn’t it remain in-tact?” Obama didn’t bail, or go quiet. There shouldn’t have been much to appeal to people who voted for Obama in Trump’s campaign, and much to turn them away. Why did the coalition collapse?

              • LeeEsq

                MPA said social liberalism and left economics. I agree that both are important but social liberalism can be achieved with a light touch rather than a blunt hammer of calling out everything you think is evil.

                • Linnaeus

                  As a white man, though, I have the luxury of a “light touch” that other people don’t. And that’s…kind of a big deal. Even if we could have a general agreement on what a light touch is.

                • LeeEsq

                  And how is the current heavy hammer working out for the people who use it?

                  Somehow calling tens of millions of people evil in one way or another because they don’t entirely agree with you on every single issue seems to be a really bad electoral strategy to me. When you usually call somebody evil, the response is defensive rather than self-reflection.

                  The use of your identity as a way to signal your correctness on a particular issue is not convincing rhetoric.

                • Schadenboner

                  A comparison to cleaning products someone offered last night is instructive: “It’s not just trim white housewives that buy Lysol but that’s how it’s advertised” or something.

                  I think, as distasteful as we may find it, we need to advocate policies that help everyone but advertise it using white-face.

                  FFS, the Cletuses just voted against a minimum wage hike and the Norma Mays voted against day care subsidizes. Why? Because, although they would benefit from these policies, they perceive them as helping undeserving (which means black) people.

                  We need to fix that, and if whitewashing is the cost then so fucking be it. The US cannot afford 8 years of single-party rule by the Trumpite-Putinite clique. I’ve watched what a similar gang has done to my state (Wisconsin) and know that at the federal level it will be immeasurably worse.

          • PJ

            Jesus Christ can you read before you respond.

      • cleek

        The Democratic party was nearly destroyed last night

        and yet it picked up Senate and House seats.

        • Nick never Nick

          Again, the Democratic party was nearly destroyed last night. Any true analysis begins with that point.

          • mpavilion

            I’m having trouble seeing this, too. It was a big and embarrassing loss… but “destroyed”?

          • Manny Kant

            This is much too strong. Just a few days ago we were talking about the collapse of the Republican Party. These things can change very suddenly. But certainly the party is in an awful position, unable to win enough elections at any level.

          • cleek

            losing a Presidential election by a handful of electoral votes does not destroy a party.

            if it did, the Democratic party would’ve been “destroyed” in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988. and yet, it wasn’t destroyed. it’s still here. this was the closest election since 2004.

            the Party needs some maintenance. it hasn’t been totaled.

            • Nick never Nick

              In the American system of government, divided between the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court, the Democratic party controls the following:

              – a minority of the Senate that will probably be further reduced in the next mid-term election and which will have no power at all unless McConnell retains the filibuster.

              – a minority of the Supreme Court that will probably go down substantially over the next four years, and be maintained so for two generations.

              – a close-to-historic low of ~26 state governorships.

              Furthermore, the federal government is now fully enabled to repeal all progressive legislation from the last 8 years, and enact their own radical agenda with no formal obstacles at all. Not only has the Democratic party been destroyed, but its past is in ruins.

              • cleek

                yes, elections have consequences.

                every Presidential election comes with the possibility of Court nominations and the possibility of working with a friendly legislature. that’s why it’s a good thing to win. we didn’t. but we’ve lost before. and then we come back and win.

                the GOP ended up on the losing end of all of that in 2008. and then they got off their asses and went back to work. and, eight years later, it paid off.

          • (((Hogan)))

            As the Republican party was nearly destroyed in 2008.

            • so-in-so

              The Republican Party has shown itself more disciplined than the Democrats. That’s why they control so much without a full majority. When Tea Party gets mad, they primary. When Dems get mad, they sulk at home or run after vanity third party candidates. Note that the Christian Wing of the GOP choose to vote for a candidate who should have been anathema to them, because it advanced their cause. Some proportion of the left wouldn’t accept “yes” from the party by way of a very liberal platform, and undercut the party.

            • Murc

              Or in 1964.

              All this “It will be illegal to be a Democrat in 2020” talk is is both not true and not helpful.

            • Jean-Michel

              The Republican Party in 2008/2009 was not faced with an avowedly authoritarian president pledged to imprison the Republicans’ most recent standard-bearer, to abolish free speech and otherwise trample civil liberties in the name of suppressing dissent, and backed by a party machinery controlling all three branches of government and seemingly prepared to go along with everything he wants, or at least unwilling/unable to resist. The Democratic Party will continue to exist and wield some power in deep-blue states and localities, but there is no parallel in American history for what will happen now. Contemporary Russian history might be a better guide here.

              • Murc

                faced with an avowedly authoritarian president pledged to imprison the Republicans’ most recent standard-bearer, to abolish free speech and otherwise trample civil liberties in the name of suppressing dissent, and backed by a party machinery controlling all three branches of government and seemingly prepared to go along with everything he wants, or at least unwilling/unable to resist.

                With the exception of the pledge to imprison, this is literally, and I use that word in its actual proper meaning, literally the situation the Democrats were in from 2002 to 2006.

                We came back from that. This situation is not only with precedent, it is with recent precedent.

                • Schadenboner

                  The GOP has spent the last 8 years destroying all informal norms of governance, behavior, and decorum that were the only real bulwark against it.

                  Fucking soft power, how does it work???

                • Jean-Michel

                  I really wish I could agree with this. But as I remember, Bush’s treatment of the media involved denial of access, whining, and calling Adam Clymer an asshole on a hot mic. Trump has called for “opening up” libel laws (see Singapore for how this would work in practice), threatened to seize critical media outlets from their owners, and “joked” about murdering journalists in front of crowds baying for reporters’ blood. Bush’s model for handling mass protests was to pen them in “First Amendment zones” and let riot cops do what they will. Trump’s model is Tian’anmen Square. Bush had a mostly pliant Supreme Court that nevertheless handed down a number of decisions against administration policy (e.g. Gonzales v. Oregon, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, U.S. v. Gonzalez-Lopez) or GOP orthodoxy (e.g. Roper v. Simmons). The minute SCOTUS strikes down something of genuine importance to Trump and/or the congressional GOP, we get court-packing or perhaps the impeachment and removal of recalcitrant justices. And god forbid we have a terror attack even approaching 9/11 levels on Trump’s watch–anyone who thinks it can’t get worse than Bush’s wars and crackdown on civil liberties needs to remember that our next president has expressed an eagerness to use nukes and flirts with genocidal rhetoric against Muslims.

                  To be sure, I don’t see Trump as any sort of break with the GOP’s past; he’s the logical endpoint of a line that runs from Goldwater through Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Gingrich, Palin, and in his unfettered commitment to revanchism and white supremacy, he’s the perfect incarnation of the modern GOP. But previously the GOP, and especially GOP presidents and presidential candidates, felt obliged to don a fig leaf of “respectability” that in itself served as a moderating influence. That fig leaf got smaller and smaller and now Trump has won the biggest GOP electoral vote victory of the 21st century by dropping it altogether and running as an undisguised fascist. So no, I don’t think we’re in for a retread of the Bush years, and the stuff I’m hearing so far from Democratic stalwarts (including “firebrands” like Warren) is already wounding my faith in the party’s ability to cope with what lies ahead.

              • Jean-Michel

                Mea culpa: there might be something of a American parallel in the Adams administration and its use of the Alien and Sedition Acts to crack down on Democratic-Republicans (and the nullification crisis that might’ve ensued had Jefferson not won in 1800 is where I see things heading today). But to wield state power in the late 18th century was not the same as wielding it in 2016, Republicans have decades of experience with rigging the system to ensure favorable outcomes, and the checks that previously existed on that power will go out the window over the next few years.

          • rhino

            No, it wasn’t. The democratic party lost an election. The consequences of losing the election may well damage the *nation* greatly, but the party is fine.

            The democratic party did three things. First they picked the wrong candidate. Then they ran the wrong campaign, and then they ran into a pretty obvious tectonic shift in voter temperament.

            The party still exists. It actually has elected more people. It has members, money, voter lists. Nothing was destroyed.

            You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem.

  • Brien Jackson

    I’m open to the idea that Clinton was a bad candidate…I just don’t know whatvto do about it. I mean if she was it was because of sexism and years of media bullshit thrown at her (in part because sexism) and the notion of caving in to that is just really revolting. OTOH, with the sweeping extent of white backlash I don’t know that Joe Biden wins this either.

    • cleek

      I just don’t know what to do about it

      we’ll pick someone else in 2020.

      that’s all we can do.

    • Manny Kant

      There’s a good case to be made that a Biden campaign would have been like the Al Gore campaign, with people left saying that if only he’d done as well in his native NE PA as Obama, he’d have won Pennsylvania and the election.

  • Gregor Sansa

    I totally agree.
    One thing that would help avoid the firing squad, and also increase turnout, would be a voting system that let questions like this be decided democratically, instead of by counterfactual reasoning. There are systems that can handle more than two candidatos without exploding, and they’d also help boost turnout.

    • Lord Jesus Perm

      Always on message.

    • so-in-so

      Plan for implementing when the party in power in all three branches and most states have nothing to gain?

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Good news! They passed instant runoff voting in Maine.

      Which isn’t really a great system, but it might get some conversation started.

      Of course, the problem is that the left seems to be more susceptible to 3rd-party spoilers, so the GOP has no incentive to pass such reforms. But it might be able to get on a referendum without them pushing it.

      Democrats should really look into such things in the states they do control, though.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Maine’s IRV will be dead as soon as it reaches SCOTUS.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      And there is literally FUCK ALL we can do to implement your favorite voting systems – Or ANY voting reforms – while the GOP has an absolute lock on every branch of government. We can’t even *begin* to enact voting reform until we win under the PRESENT system. Or rather the whites-only voting system that the new GOP government will be busy enacting the next few years.

      Face it, we’re fucked.

  • Lord Jesus Perm

    I think I would be more comfortable with the idea of the firing squad if we were better equipped to deal with race and misogyny, and how those two interweave with class. But we’re terrible at that. It’s how you end up with suggestions that we should just nominate a white male next time around, or how you end up with liberals relitigating the primaries. Part of this is necessary; the Democrats will need to change in order to win at the national level (to say nothing of the state and local levels) again. I’d also be more comfortable with this if I weren’t certain that black and brown people were going to be the ones who bear the brunt of the Democrats changing in preparation of 2020.

    I said that even if Hillary won, liberals would need to do some soul searching. I truly wish it were only that, because I fear it’s going to get much worse for some of us before it gets better.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Part of this is necessary; the Democrats will need to change in order to win at the national level (to say nothing of the state and local levels) again. I’d also be more comfortable with this if I weren’t certain that black and brown people were going to be the ones who bear the brunt of the Democrats changing in preparation of 2020.

      Adding fuel to that feedback loop of fire… before the train leaves the station… is how mch black, brown, LGBT, people etc etc, will suffer if we lose again 2020. So in the name of “savvy” and victory, some DLC type Dems will want to shoot part of the village in order to save it from Donald with his Zippo lighter.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        Precisely.

    • Karen24

      Indeed. I have often said that misogyny was more powerful than racism because most people have deep-seated mother issues and therefore don’t really like women in power. That’s no excuse to give in to it.

      • Lord Jesus Perm

        My wife hit me with something similar last night. Killed her when the poll data came out.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Yes. My fumbling theory for the past year is that a lot of right wing populists (you know, the stoopit kind of populists, at best) look at Hillary Clinton and think “rich people are liberals! liberals are rich people!”, even though HRC didn’t come from money. She reminds them of “rich” people they know because she reminds them upper management bosses at work.

        Donald, however, is a cartoonish billionaire, and very few of us ever meet a billionaire… And your cruder types actually enjoy the showmanship of an over the top clownish billionaire…

        But a bossy lady in a pantsuit? Hate.

        And of course, IOKYIAR. Some future Carly Fiorina could turn that all on its head before we know it.

  • Linnaeus

    Revisiting Cowie & Salvatore’s article, “The Long Exception: Rethinking the Place of the New Deal in American History”, which folks can download here.

    The thesis, which is that the New Deal and its supporting coalition represented an aberration in American politics because of its formation in response to the unprecedented Great Depression (which has not repeated since) and that the US has since the 1970s and 1980s returned to a more “normal” political order, is depressing but I can’t say for sure that Cowie and Salvatore are wrong.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Sounds about right. Just like 2007 wasn’t bad enough for us to get the stimulus we needed to get out of it. It knocked the scales off of some peoples’ eyes, but it wasn’t bad enough to reach all of those middle-middle class dopearoos who think they and Mitt Romney are peers who need more capital gains tax breaks.

      • Linnaeus

        And if you have to rely on once-in-a-century disasters for coalition building, well, that’s not exactly sustainable for a number of reasons.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Yeah, but never waste a good crisis.

          Here’s how I look at the rise of the right since the fall of Nixon: I was raised with a weird mid-20th century liberal notion of “progress” all around me. That things were getting better because that’s how things do. Starting with Reaganism, I slowly learned:

          We’re not all on the same team, and we’re not all pulling this tug of war rope in the same direction. Whatever progress our folks made in the past? There are powerful, rich interests who want them undone. They usually achieve it slowly, bit by bit by bit. Just like there are people in the US (I belivve it’s a desk at the State Dept) whose job it is to keep track of which fruit plantations in Cuba need to be returned to their rightful owners, these freaks never forgive and never forget. They want it all back. Never assume there’s any common decency or values. Overtime, 40 hour week, child labor, slavery, human experimentation and sterilization – whatever has been dreamed up by jerks in the past, there are jerks now who chafe because they can’t do it now. I used to bring up “even monarchy” in this standard tirade of mine, when I learned about a monarchist club (of obvious dicks) that meets at either Harvard or Yale, but I just heard today that a major paper (NYT?) actually gave op-ed space to a monarchist. That’s not funny or cute right now. We already are dealing with a man who likes gilded things too much.

          So, we must win where we can, but we must also educate our voters (and non-voters and bad voters) just what it is the GOP has in store for them, and their history of being against good things and for uncle fuckery in modern times.

  • Buggy Ding Dong

    OK, but can I still tell Susan Sarandon to fuck off?

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      I sincerely hope that if the contradictions really are heightened, that they are heightened for her personally.

      And generally speaking, for anyone making that argument.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        May her chain of ping pong clubs suffer.

  • Nick never Nick

    I guess I’m not sure why the circular firing squad needs to be avoided — this election was a massive disaster. Clinton failed horribly, and the Democratic establishment failed just as much. This isn’t a situation where we feel sorry for the losing politician because they lost an election; the losing politician, and their political establishment, have failed their supporters. Figure out whose fault it was, figure out which institutions are past their expiry date, get them out of there, and then figure out how to do it differently next time.

    • (((Hogan)))

      Figure out whose fault it was, get them out of there, and then figure out how to do it differently next time.

      That’s not how circular firing squads work.

      • Nick never Nick

        Well, obviously people and institutions get to defend themselves — without feedback and argument, you can make a lot of mistakes too . . . I guess if you think of them returning fire, it doesn’t make much sense, but that’s just a metaphor.

    • This isn’t a situation where we feel sorry for the losing politician because they lost an election; the losing politician, and their political establishment, have failed their supporters.

      Well apparently there weren’t enough supporters to win the election, so who “failed” whom? I suppose the candidate failed to inspire, or something.

    • sibusisodan

      I guess I have difficulty calling an election where you won the popular vote a disaster. It will have disastrous consequences, but that’s not the same thing.

      This turned on narrow margins. And almost nobody expected the outcome. That should indicate that it’s not completely within the control of the candidate or campaign to remedy.

      • Nick never Nick

        Elections are about power — that’s why the authors of this blog make the point that there is no such thing as a mandate. What power did Clinton, representing the Democrats, win last night?

        Every strategic choice that was made that brought us to Election Day with narrow margins needs to be looked at: the primary process, superdelegates, the roles of different Democratic institutions, first, and the secondly, the strategic choices that informed Clinton’s campaign at the outset. What was her fundamental call to voters? Was it wonky? Personal? Whatever? Look at them and think about how they worked.

        An example of what I’m talking about is an article I read a few days back (can’t remember the source) dissecting Romney’s campaign. Early on, his family argued that he needed to basically humanized; his campaign director took it in a different direction, and never did so. In the post-mortems, there was a lot of evidence that humanization would have helped. We need to look at how Clinton’s strategy and policy are received by an electorate that is different from what we thought.

        • sibusisodan

          So your contention is that every lost election is equally disastrous?

          That can’t be right.

          I absolutely agree that a campaign post mortem is needed. But that’s because it failed. Not necessarily because it failed horribly.

          Assessing the type and margin of failure matters for setting expectations about how to fix them. Perhaps the campaign was a disaster. We’ll likely find out. But you can’t argue that just from the result alone. We don’t know enough right now.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          An example of what I’m talking about is an article I read a few days back (can’t remember the source) dissecting Romney’s campaign. Early on, his family argued that he needed to basically humanized; his campaign director took it in a different direction, and never did so. In the post-mortems, there was a lot of evidence that humanization would have helped.

          Which button does that? Sounds like they didn’t read the operator’s manual.

      • McKingford

        She lost to the single worst, most unqualified, buffoonish candidate who has ever been the standard bearer for a major political party, who also happened to be the single most unpopular candidate to ever represent a party.

        On top of all that, he barely ran a semblance of a real campaign, foregoing fundraising, advertising, and organizing in favour of a series of rock concert-style campaign events.

        On top of that, he was a horrible campaigner, unable to avoid being detracted by petty issues with complete non-entities (a 1996 Miss Universe, a federal judge, and a Gold Star family), and who couldn’t avoid twitter meltdowns in the middle of the night; he was singularly incapable of simply following a script off a TelePrompter.

        On top of which, he was at war with much of his own party throughout the campaign to the extent that he got active resistance from party elders and a refusal to assist with the campaign in some states (including his crucial Ohio). He spent damn near as much time railing against his own party as Hillary Clinton.

        If you can’t beat the worst candidate to ever run for office, then what does that make you? It certainly sounds like a disaster to me.

        • Nick never Nick

          I don’t think that this has really sunken in, yet. But it will . . . The post-mortem of this election is going to focus on three possible things:

          1) Hillary sucked as a candidate and the Democratic establishment was wrong to support her early.

          2) Hillary was simply the wrong person for the electorate’s mood.

          3) Hillary’s campaign made a fundamental strategic error at the beginning of the campaign, and ceded too much ‘insurgent’ territory to Trump.

          • McKingford

            I mean, despite it all Hillary could have won this. The margin was so razor thin that it’s inconceivable that she would not have won absent Comey’s bombshell letter two weeks ago.

            But the 2 tactical problems I’d point out were that:

            A) she was counting on a blue firewall of Great Lake states, but she didn’t actually campaign very hard in those states, focusing instead on “nice to have” states like Florida and NC; those were necessary for Trump to win, but not for her.

            B) the entirety of the disqualifying campaign against Trump was on his character. You know why people are going to be shocked come the first 100 days of the Trump presidency by the policy implications? Because she spent no time pointing these out. At no point was there any real discussion of the differences for everyday people between the Clinton and Trump tax plan. The only person who mentioned that the “replace” part of “repeal and replace Obamacare” was a fiction was Obama himself in a speech the other day. The implications of his disastrous thinking on climate change were never mentioned.

            Say what you will about Trump’s failure’s as a campaigner, almost everyone can point out a few key elements of his platform: build a wall, ban Muslims, enact a yuge tax cut. What could a low information voter tell you about what Clinton was going to do? How would they know, since the only ads they ever saw from Clinton were bad words Trump said.

            • Clinton spent a ton of time talking about policy. She released a thoroughly comprehensive mental health care proposal, for example. The media simply chose not to cover it. They spent three times as much air time talking about her emails as they did about all policy issues combined.

              • Schadenboner

                The 25 year GOP’s slander and libel campaign should have been disqualifying for her.

                Was the media’s monomania unfair? You bet. But it was completely predictable by anyone conscious for the years 1992-2000. The media hated her and the GOP has run a goddamn cottage industry for a quarter century smearing Bill and her.

                • So who should we have run? I’m serious. Eichenwald had a look at the GOP’s oppo research file on Sanders. It was brutal. No way he would have even done as well as Clinton did. O’Malley? He couldn’t crack 5% in the polls, and if he had been the nominee, he would’ve just been turned into his character from The Wire for the whole campaign. No one else was willing to run that could even crack O’Malley’s level of exposure.

                  The fact that so few other people were willing to run is problematic, but other problems include the horrific media coverage (and while it was predictable that they wouldn’t like Clinton, it wasn’t predictable that they would spend so much time fellating Drumpf), the FBI’s ratfucking, the evisceration of the VRA, the Electoral College (again), and Russia’s interference with the election. I don’t know how we fix this. The media loved Drumpf. They gave him no end of free coverage. Even if we’d run Obama for a third term, I don’t know how we’d have fixed that. He’d have had a particularly large liability with his support of the TPP.

                  We can’t forget Shelby County and the gutting of the VRA. We can’t. Even with all those obstacles, we still would have won the election if everyone who wanted to vote had been allowed to do so. We can run postmortems all we like, but while some of this stuff was entirely predictable, a lot of it wasn’t. I don’t know how we prepare for future occurrences like this. The system is rigged; it just turns out to be rigged in favour of the GOP. What do we do about that? We could run the second coming of FDR and we’d still face that problem.

                • Schadenboner

                  You mistake me for a Bernie supporter, he would have lost even worse. Nominating Clinton was an unforced error, is my point.

                  Booker, Biden, Warren maybe? It’s hard to argue counter-factuals when it was fairly clear from 2012 onward (maybe even 2008) that Clinton was going to run in 2016. Hillary was a 800 pound gorilla on fire who sat wherever she wanted and sucked all the oxygen out of the room.

                  In my mind, the conversation goes something like this: “Hillary, you’re a great administrator and you would make a great president but you have 25 years of oppo research pre-written by the GOP and a hostile relationship with the media (mostly because of that). I’m sorry, but no.”

              • Jackov

                What policies to Obama talk about in 2012?
                How about in 2008? I seem to remember him running on Hope and Change and a healthcare plan everyone knew would need a mandate.

                The media never covers the policy debate beyond broad outlines and disagreements between the campaigns over what their policies will entail.

              • McKingford

                No.

                I’m not for a moment suggesting that Clinton didn’t have policies or even talk about them. But most of her stump speech was about Trump – which gets magnified because her campaign would certainly know that the media would focus on this element of it. And most importantly, did she run a single ad talking about what she was going to do?

                While Trump was barnstorming the Rust Belt talking about people left behind (and brazenly lying about what he was going to do for them), Hillary ran ads in the Rust Belt centred entirely on Donald Trump saying bad words.

        • rhino

          Can’t argue with any of this, to me the real question is what kept qualified candidates from entering the nomination race at the beginning. My personal opinion is that the Clinton campaign was a fait accompli and everyone knew it. If so, that needs to change.

          • Schadenboner

            This. You *cannot* tell me that the only non-Clinton people on the 2016 Democratic Party bench were Chaffey, O’Malley (my preferred canidate) and Bernie.

        • econoclast

          He completely routed the Republican party establishment to win the primary. You just don’t know how to judge what makes a good candidate.

        • Halloween Jack

          You’re speaking as if the GOP machine–the one that suppresses votes, that gets its talking points set up in the same mainstream media that it claims to despise as Serious Issues of the Day, that in the end lined up behind the man that it claimed to despise–had nothing to do with it. That’s arrant nonsense.

  • bratschewurst

    Two things:

    There is a saying in the union business that “the boss is the best organizer.” Trump, if he runs true to form, will be the best organizer and motivator possible for the Democrats. In the same way that the Republicans won a wave election in 2010, the Democrats will likely have the same chance to do so in 2018. Yes I know about gerrymandering – but even “packing and cracking” is not immune to a wave, especially as “cracking” works by distributing safe votes through more districts, thus making those districts less safe – though more numerous – than if they were “packed” with safe votes. Incumbent presidents almost always lose House seats in mid-terms anyway (Bush after 9/11 was a rare exception). And a fair number of Republican governors are running in 2018 as well; Trump presents far more downside than upside risk to them, I suspect.

    Second: whichever candidate was in the spotlight this campaign got hammered in the polls. Whatever the polling errors were overall, that trend was very clear. Guess who’s going to be in the spotlight for the next two years? And, as bad a job as the press did with the campaign, they’re pretty good with scandal – and does anyone believe that Trump won’t provide them plenty of material?

    Maybe just wishful thinking. But I continue to think that Republicans come to wish that Donald Trump had never been born.

    • Origami Isopod

      It’s not that we’re unaware of this. It’s how many people are harmed between now and January 2021.

    • JustRuss

      You could be on to something. Without the Clinton Email scab to pick at, some journamalists might notice what a target-rich environment Trump provides for some good scandal-mongering. Assuming they’re not too intimidated, of course.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        I have to assume that the Republicans are well aware of this vulnerability and will do all they can to ensure that they mitigate the damage through various schemes to oppress and suppress Democratic voters.

        Trump doesn’t understand how all that works so he won’t be leading the efforts on that.

        On press freedom, however… he understands the press fairly well. And he seeks vengeance. Reporters who expose him will be attacked. The question is whether he goes beyond Twitter insults and frivolous lawsuits. (And whether the judicial branch will have the independence necessary to throw those suits out.)

        I really don’t trust anyone in the GOP at this point. There’s not a lot to hope for them to restrain Trump.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I can see our next Attorney General spending a lot of time explaining to Trump that libel suits against reporters aren’t his job.

        • Schadenboner

          1. Wouldn’t this be the Solicitor General?
          2. If he did explain this he wouldn’t remain in-post for long.

    • vic rattlehead

      But I continue to think that Republicans come to wish that Donald Trump had never been born.

      But so will millions of innocent people.

  • Downpuppy

    Moving a bit along with the : What’s wrong with the Democratic Party? thought it occurs to me that it’s been organized more like the PIRGs (just ask for money) than a participatory party. Keeping a social & involved organization going – everywhere – isn’t really easy these days, but in a country where we’ve gone from uninformed voters down to disinformed, absolutely necessary.

    My attempts to take part in person have been pretty lame, granted. That will change.

    • Origami Isopod

      I did some low-level volunteering this year (envelope stuffing & data entry… I wouldn’t be great at either canvassing or phonebanking). There was a fair amount about my local campaign office that struck me as disorganized, despite it being a national campaign. I told a friend of mine about it who has done actual activism at a fairly high level, and they said the disorganization was typical.

      Also, I got numerous, and I mean numerous, phone calls in the past week asking me to go out and vote. Not just attempted calls but calls I answered. That was a waste of time and effort on their part that could have been eliminated with better tracking.

      • Downpuppy

        I’m thinking more of the time between elections. Think/plan/educate/organize/set policy time.

      • vic rattlehead

        Same. I noticed that where I volunteered seemed less organized than OFA in 08 and 12. Granted it was different states and it’s a small sample size. But I thought she acquired a lot of the old OFA infrastructure so it puzzled me. Anyway I was tight lipped about it because: 1) I’m just a volunteer, who am I to lecture the staffers? 2) the polls were looking solid so I told myself I was being a nervous Nellie and 3) I didn’t know how to explain why I thought it was a little disorganized without the comparison to OFA and I thought that would be interpreted as I dunno mansplaining on my part or something.

        Murc had a really awesome comment the other day on how we shouldn’t rely on one single candidate to build a national campaign infrastructure every four years.

        I remember being blown away by the Obama campaign in 08. But we shouldn’t have to rely on getting lucky with a candidate with incredible organization building/management skills.

        • Murc

          Murc had a really awesome comment the other day on how we shouldn’t rely on one single candidate to build a national campaign infrastructure every four years.

          To be fair, Trump did jack shit in this regard and still… well, he barely won and lost the popular vote. Hrm.

          • econoclast

            I wonder now if campaign infrastructure doesn’t matter, and we believed it because we fell for the self-promotion of consultants. The people involved all swore we won because of the Obama campaign, when maybe we won because of Obama.

      • ASV

        I voted two weeks ago and got a midday Tuesday “Make sure you get out and vote” call for the state candidates in my area. I’m told early voting around here was pretty high, so I imagine they wasted a lot of time on those calls.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Agreed. There’s an education process lacking. Unions used to make workers quite aware of what uncle fucking the GOP was about to do to them. Most workers don’t get that info now and get a “narrative” from FOX news, AM radio, and the email/FB poo sandwich trading club news service.

      Thomas Geohegan has also proposed that we have some kind of labor movement that people can join up for, as members, get a newsletter, help out, without being part of any certified union attached to any particular workplace. All existing unions are too focused on their own survival.

      Cyber…social media… something something smartphone… teach ins? Shit, I consider this blog an ongoing teach in, bloggers and common taters.

      Much like TV, or news – people who want to learn from good sources will go find… and, well, I knida hold people responsible if they keep walking up the the high fructose corn syrup spigot and think it’s nutritious.

      • Linnaeus

        Thomas Geohegan has also proposed that we have some kind of labor movement that people can join up for, as members, get a newsletter, help out, without being part of any certified union attached to any particular workplace.

        Open-source unionism?

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Aye!

      • Schadenboner

        common taters

        Your russets may be common, mine are not.

  • UncleEbeneezer

    “The shameful treatment of Hillary Clinton—creating corruption and ‘scandal’ narratives out of little more than thin air, characterizing her political positions and career in a misleading, if not dishonest manner (“center-right,” neocon, etc), and holding her to all manner of sexist double standards—played some real role in her narrow defeat. It was expected and inevitable from Republicans and some segmetns the media, but shamefully and recklessly many on the left propagated much of this nonsense as well, which likely contributed to her defeat.”

    and

    “In an election when the mood of the electorate was distinctly anti-establishment, Hillary Clinton was a terrible choice—the wrong candidate for the moment. This was clear enough during the primary, and those who ignored and supported Clinton over Sanders bear significant responsibility for this loss.”

    My issue with these two examples is from a moral perspective I can’t put them anywhere equal footing and whether you intended to or not, the post can come across that way. Pointing out the harmful treatment of HRC by both the media, Republicans and even some Democrats hurts all of their feelings and maybe makes some of the Dems who had to Hold-Their-Nose to vote for Hillary a little uncomfortable about the role that their actions in the Primary may have had in continuing the Corrupt Hillary myth that people loved to cite as a reason for not voting for her.

    Then there’s the complete devastation that women, especially Hillary supporters are feeling after enduring a lifetime of sexism and glass ceilings, enduring a campaign with the most open sexism/misogyny from the GOP candidate as well as from fellow Progressives, only to have their candidate, their hero, their moment denied them in the worst possible upset. Most of the women I know fall into this category, being ardent HRC supporters, phone-bankers, canvassers etc. Last night and today has been really awful for me, but it’s been exponentially worse for them. They are absolutely crushed. In ways I can’t even imagine because of my Privilege. So seeing people (and in my case it’s been almost entirely men doing this) come into their day of mourning and effectively piss on their hero and start blaming her for the catastrophic result is incredibly insensitive and Mansplainy. That such sentiments are coming from alot of the same people who brought glaring sexism to the discussions during the primary only makes it even worse.

    So I agree with your post from an analysis perspective. Both points aren’t mutually exclusive, they need to be discussed, now’s not a helpful time etc. But for the latter I think now is REALLY not the time.

    Apologies to anyone who felt I sniped at them about this stuff in this or any other thread. The wound is still extremely raw and I’ve seen so much of the HRC-bashing in my own FB world that I’m on a hair-trigger. Despite all the heartache and stress, this blog has still been a great resource and place for occasional sanctuary, solidarity, humor etc., during this awful freaking election.

    • JustRuss

      Yeah, the fact that three of the last four Democratic candidates were savaged by the media over bullshit is a real problem. I’m not sure how we address it. Nominating a candidate without much of a track record worked out with Obama, but there’s some serious drawbacks.

      • ASV

        It’s not like they didn’t try with Obama. As much of an asshole as he generally seems to be, it’s to John McCain’s credit that he didn’t run on Reverend Wright and Michelle saying she had never been proud of America before. Bush left things in such a shambles that it was pretty clear the Democratic nominee was going to win in 2008 anyway, but McCain could’ve done what the teabaggers wound up doing (and what Palin tried to do, with or without McCain’s blessing), which would’ve likely opened the door for the press to play along.

    • Katya

      Thanks for that. So much of this feels so victim-blamey. A smart, hard-working woman loses, and its “our” fault for nominating her when we should have known she’d lose because her opponents have been telling lies about her for 20+ years. A lot of women are truly devastated by how this election played out. This is not that far from the personal experience of many women– you’re qualified, but it goes to a man because, however unfair it is, he’s got the Penis Advantage. “Oh, yes, its so unfair, and you’d be much better but, you understand….” Yeah, fuckers, we get it. There are women who were incredibly excited to vote for a woman, especially one so unquestionably qualified, one who dealt with the sheer amount of shit thrown at her with poise and class, and when she loses, it’s not the fault of the shit-throwers, it’s the fault of the people who didn’t pre-empt the shit throwing by not choosing her. It hurts so, so much–so many women are getting it from both sides–gloating Trump supporters and I-told-you-so Bernie/Biden/anyone-but-her supporters.

      • veleda_k

        Plus the idea of blaming Hillary for not being “inspiring” and not turning out voters, rather than looking at a bunch of delicate special snowflakes who can’t be bothered to get off their asses and do their basic civic duty unless they feel like they’re living in a sufficiently exciting storybook.

        • Schadenboner

          It seems to me that you’ve simply chosen to blame a rather larger class of victims.

          • Origami Isopod

            Right. Whiny white men who can’t vote for anyone but a purity pony are “victims.”

            • Schadenboner

              Right, a multi-millionare former FLOTUS former Senator former SecState is the “victim”.

              • veleda_k

                Ah, of course. I forget that Hillary Clinton is immune to sexism. No doubt due to magic ring granted to her by Goldman Sachs.

      • UncleEbeneezer

        You’re welcome. I’m sorry it’s been such an awful experience for you. My wife was devastated in a similar fashion as she endures endless sexism working in Tech. Her disappointment alone yesterday had me in tears for probably the first time since my mother passed away in 2012. On top of the apocalyptic ramifications for our country. Ugh.

  • Kerans

    Upthread a lot of people have recommendations for changing the message. I’m just wondering which new script enthralls the Toddmonster. Because it was the Toddmonster and his ilk who took this country with one middle finger upraised. A fetid wash of ilk, bobbing on the Breitbart sea like sullen jellyfish.

    Maybe we can create a COOPERATOON, and watch it together. It can explain our “jobs plan” that clearly cannot contain multiple syllables. Because Todd will read it. Clearly.

    Maybe they won because they are winners. They chose the most winning winner and they bask in his tangerine glow. They won because they picked a horse and they backed him no matter what he said or did. No matter WHAT HE SAID OR DID.

    Carrottop 2020.

  • Joseph Slater

    I’m all for analyzing what went wrong, and Trump being president is going to be a disaster. Still, the Dems have gotten more actual votes in Presidential elections than Republicans in 6 of the last 7 elections (1992, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016). Of course I know that the Republicans won the Electoral College in two of those elections, but redistribute a few thousand votes in 2000 and 2016 (maybe a bit more in the latter) and you get what looks like an awesome dynasty (heck, even without that, Dems got 4 of the last 7). While this won’t help dealing with the Trump presidency, it seems to me that the Dem problem has been much more in pretty much every other level of government. So I would suggest thinking about that at least as much as speculating about who should run in 2020 and what exactly his/her message should be.

    • vic rattlehead

      And if you look at a map of the millenial vote, it’s mostly blue. And the youngest kids voting in 2020 will be the generation after millenials who are going to get shafted even harder. And hopefully woke as fuck.

      I just hope the kids get motivated and not disaffected. Not everyone gets 08 as their first election like I did. I hope people like Sanders and Warren stay vocal. I hope Obama keeps a high public profile doing awesome things and shows people who were too young to remember him what a real fucking president looks like.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        “And if you look at a map of the millenial vote, it’s mostly blue”

        As pointed out in previous threads, that means fuck-all – the youth vote is always mostly blue. The millenials will turn red as they grow older, just as every previous generation.

  • jpgray

    So two things I’m obsessively thinking about:

    1. To “listen” to the concerns of white Trump voters who went Obama last time would be our own cargo cultism. As one who works in Trumplandia: the “concerns” are just going to be regurgitated talking points from Fox and Trump’s campaign – muddled anecdotes, truisms and half-baked if oddly-specific apocalyptic analysis. There is no “listening” to these. You’d have to jettison justice, truth, and the deserved place of minorities in our coalition to mouth any of them. We don’t have to do it. “This candidate is talking like we’re going to get our own back from the bad guys” is what they really bought into, and it’s my belief we can make that work for us without being gentler bigots – we must take the risky move of casting actual powerful villains as the bad guys, however, rather than triangulating Trump by telling watered-down third way racist ghost stories about the wicked omnipotence of the persecuted.

    2. At a certain pitch of disaffection, nobody cares what experts have to say. Experts are very useful and should not be ignored on policy, but if any candidate should have validated their role as stalwart slayers of utter fiction and nightmare-peddling, Trump was the one, and they failed miserably. In an election where everyone longed to embrace the mythical beasts of unlikely policy to soothe their disaffection, it seems the experts’ role in this election was to salt our own unicorn pastures and euthanize our fantastic herds during the primary, only for us to be routed by the charge of the White Panic Chimera Brigade during the general. This is not optimal.

    • Murc

      This candidate is talking like we’re going to get our own back from the bad guys” is what they really bought into, and it’s my belief we can make that work for us

      This would seem to fall under “listening to their concerns and responding to them.”

      • jpgray

        I’m saying we respond more to their emotional state than their expressed concerns. Because expressed concerns would include “it’s immigrants’/Hillary’s/Muslims’ fault,” which are more noise than signal for most, in my opinion. Just soundbites to justify your atavastic yawp and not think too carefully about.

  • MDrew

    The two narratives are interrelated.

    The whole point (okay, a leading point) about the advantage of a Clinton nomination was that, while her numbers against GOP potentials weren’t as good as Sanders’, essentially, they were firmer; that is, the unfair GOP/press onslaught that everyone conceded would be incoming if Clinton were the nominee (or, to hear the Clinton advocates tell it, would also be incoming had it been Sanders, though I guess the argument is that in the event it was especially unfair and effective against Clinton), would be less harmful to Clinton’s position, because, essentially, she simply couldn’t be torn down any further. The numbers were were looking at would be the numbers; voters would not be particularly affected by opposition messages and coverage thereof, while Sanders’ position was held to be soft, and vulnerable to such deterioration.

    Now the claim is that it was that dirty press that done it; that unfair coverage and creation of non-scandals covered as scandal eroded Clinton’s position enough that it was the cause of her defeat.

    Well, that’s simply an admission that the previous arguments about Clinton’s position being more robust, even if not as far out ahead of GOP rivals, were… mistaken. Because the onslaught of unfair coverage and attacks really wasn’t anything that shouldn’t have been the kind of thing we were imagining when we were thinking about whose position wold ultimately be more able to withstand them and produce a victory.

  • It was not just race and gender, but also age. Hillary’s pneumonia moment may have been more significant than we thoght. Given the value attached to youthful vigour and physical attractiveness in modern culture, and the character of the Presidency as an elective sacred monarchy, both parties took large risks in nominating candidates close to or over 70. I suggest next time pandering to ageism and choosing somebody young and sexy, as Obama was in 2008. Relative inexperience is a plus, as the candidate can pose more convincingly as a new broom. Watch the two new Democratic senators, Harris and Cortez.

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