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How to Do Something

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People largely responded positively to my call to do something, anything, but something to fight Trump. Right now, there’s a lot of people who want to do nothing but relitigate the Democratic primary. These people are primarily Bernie supporters, although there are some Hillary supporters who wrongly blame Sanders for her defeat. Some of these people who engage in nothing but bitterness toward Hillary supporters are our worst commenters and I don’t need to point them out by name. But of course there are also plenty of well-known people wanking around on the internet who engage in full narcissism on a daily basis talking about how Democrats need to engage in “actual introspection” and accusing people concerned about Russian interference in our elections of redbaiting and the like.

Don’t listen to what these people are saying. They exist to hear themselves and not accomplish anything. Follow the path of useful people. Such as these Bernie supporters who have just taken over the Democratic Party in Brevard County, Florida.

Bernie Sanders supporters have taken over the leadership of the Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee, pledging to work to turn the county’s political landscape from red to blue.

The new party chair is Stacey Patel of Satellite Beach, who trounced two opponents in committee elections this week. Patel was an elected Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Patel said after her election that she will work to find candidates who can win local offices.

“We’ve already expanded the membership significantly this year” within the local Democratic committee, Patel said. “And we are going to work to continue to expand the membership. By doing that, we’re going to expand the Democratic electorate here, and begin to identify really strong candidates from the Democratic side. So we expect to really be prepared for 2018. We are all in this together.”

No Democrats represent Brevard in the Florida Legislature, in partisan countywide offices, on the Brevard County Commission or on the Canaveral Port Authority board of commissioners. Some positions up for election in 2016 had no Democratic candidates.

Voter registration figures show that there currently are 42,607 more registered Republicans than registered Democrats in Brevard County. Democrats last outnumbered Republicans in Brevard in 1988.

Now, you may look at the last number and say that Democrats have no chance to win here. And you might be right. But to provide the most obvious rebuttal, Florida is a very purple state and driving greater turnout from Brevard County through an agenda that motivates people to be Democrats is something that could actually flip a statewide or presidential election. This is a big county and needs an active Democratic Party committee. Moreover, local races are not that hard to win. Maybe the Brevard County Dems can get some school board officials elected here and there and start working up from there. In any case, whatever the old guard were doing in Brevard County, as in counties across the nation, it sure the heck wasn’t working. Why not support new blood?

But the larger point is one I have made many, many times. If you think the Democratic Party sucks, and especially at the local level it often does, go take it over yourself. Do what these people in Brevard County are doing. This is how you fight fascism and articulate an alternative agenda that does not cuddle with corporations.

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  • Ah, progressive county-level politics…brings a tear to my eyes.

  • Grumpy

    Clinton’s defeat was caused by many things. What is incorrect about the statement that Sanders contributed to her defeat with his attacks on her concerning Wall Street? See, for instance, this poll:

    https://www.google.com/amp/heavy.com/news/2016/09/trump-vs-clinton-millennial-support-polls-show-young-voters-heavily-favor-clinton/amp/?client=safari

    I don’t think Sanders was able to repair the damage his criticisms did. Now, this alone was probably not sufficient, but I do think it helped defeat her.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      correct or not how does it move things forward?

      • Jameson Quinn

        Bingo.

        Yes, Sanders would probably have beaten Trump if Clinton didn’t exist. Yes, Clinton would probably have beaten Trump if Sanders didn’t exist.

        No, there was no ex ante way for everybody to just agree to pretend that one of them didn’t exist. No, getting mad at the other side for existing is not going to help us win elections in the future; quite the contrary. Yes, both sides have good points and a right to exist.

        Yes, there do exist election methods that don’t go crazy when too many candidates exist. Yes, we could start using such improved methods without needing a constitutional amendment. No, that’s not going to help in the short term, but it’s still worth repeating.

      • Brien Jackson

        It might not move anything forward, but it’s still important to fight off Intercept progressives who want to marginalize women and PoC.

        • MDrew

          This. Except the opposite, and minus the last clause, which is irrelevant because it is false: a calumny which this website has apparently gone all-in on tolerating in the context of this fight. (Which is one everyone obviously is invested in, it’s just that some wish to pose at being above it.)

          Yes, it’s unfortunate, it’s not fun, and in a way it’s destructive. But it’s also necessary. That combination of things means that the best outcome for either side is to 1) yes, have the fight (bc it’s necessary), but 2) if possible secure total capitulation from one side to the other (so long as that’s your side or you’re okay with it winning) as quickly as possible.

          And trying to secure that is what you see the leaders of this website doing since the election result became clear.

          • Brien Jackson

            Lol. This is hilariously ironic following a post on gaslighting.

          • If you think a post celebrating Bernie supporters taking over their local Democratic Party committee from old guard Democrats is this site trying to force Bernie supporters into capitulation, I think you need to start over.

            • Brien Jackson

              To be clear, I’m talking about things like Lee Fang flipping out at black women for tryimg to financially support their activism, not “people who voted for Bernie.”

              • My comment was for MDrew

                • Brien Jackson

                  I know, I just wanted to be clearer.

            • kped

              Yes, this is the exact right steps, and I’m glad there are Bernie supporters doing it. I was more a Clinton person, but I agree with a lot of the left and Sanders side, and having more people like that at every single level can only be a good thing.

              So it’s great to see that there is actual grass roots going on from these people, and the online-left who are just engaging in a giant angry circle jerk, trying to get everyone everywhere to bow down to their intellectual superiority are mostly being ignored.

            • MDrew

              What this post does is

              1) tell people arguing over the primary on the Bernie side that some of them are this site’s worst commenters

              2) call for such argument to stop (at a point in the argument in which one side is clearly dominant)

              3) point out something that Sanders supporters can do (but most of us arguing on this site probably don’t have the first idea how to “take over” a local political party organ), that no one (on ether side) would have argued is a great thing, as something that should be done in lieu of pursuing the arguments you want to see end on this site. Except, guess what, I bet every single one of those Brevard County Sandersnistas are inveterately relitigaitng the primary on the internet! If not they certainly could be. So this suggestion, while constructive, is actually completely peripheral to and compatible with fighting about the direction of the party nationally going forward.

              So that makes your call to halt the relitigation (at a place where one side would clearly win if it were to stop) clearly part of the effort I describe. Quite obviously.

              The kudos to the folks in Brevard are very constructive and welcome, though. They’re appreciated.

              • kped

                2) call for such argument to stop (at a point in the argument in which one side is clearly dominant)

                Oh child, if you believe one side of the argument is dominant, you must get out of your bubble more…

                3) point out something that Sanders supporters can do (but most of us arguing on this site probably don’t have the first idea how to “take over” a local political party organ), that no one (on ether side) would have argued is a great thing

                OK, shut the hell up, you are clearly not to be listened to now. No one would have argued taking over local parties is a good thing? ARe you fucking for real? We’ve said that on this blog countless times. A big mantra on every liberal blog is “You want better Dems, start at the grassroots”. If you haven’t heard this it’s because you are obsessed with your petty grievances.

                I can’t count the number of times over the years liberals and liberal blogs have talked about the organization on the right to elect everyone down to the school board level. And you have the gall to say no one would argue this is a great thing?

                I can’t even….

                And..unless you are in Brevard, your self congratulatory “appreciation” of Eriks kind words is pathetic.

                • kped

                  …I can’t get over that “one side is dominant”…

                  “guys, we’re winning, we are crushing the neoliberal sellouts online”.

                  cut to 4 years later as Corey Booker easily wins the primary because he smartly started courting the various liberal groups that would be needed to win while the online left sits glumly as they once again couldn’t get the majority of women or POC to vote for their candidate (if they even have one, as it seems you are saying all that organizing stuff is too hard…)

                • MDrew

                  I meant in the context of the discussion here. (But the significance of the discussion here for the course of this discussion more broadly among the relevant stakeholders I think is probably much greater than we might think.) Not in the broad political-media discussion. You’re right that it rages on there. But here, and I think in strategic Democrat circles, the debate is pretty close to closed now… on the side we both know I’m talking about (yours not mine).

                  I don’t remember if I noticed “which no one (on either side) would have argued is a great thing” after the editing time expired, or if I just looked at it and said “Everyone will surely know I meant, ‘which no one (on either side) would have argued isn’t a great thing.'”

                  In any case, I meant, “which no one (on either side) would have argued isn’t a great thing.”

                  unless you are in Brevard, your self congratulatory “appreciation” of Erik’s kind words is pathetic.

                  Wh… why?

                • MDrew

                  Oh, geez.

                  Ok, no. Strike that about us both knowing who’s winning. The brocialists are not crushing the Neolibs.

                  Here, and in top strategic Dem circles (but not on CNN etc.), it’s the reverse. Hence, a good time to advocate to shut the fights down, and let the CW that’s formed congeal and harden.

              • MilitantlyAardvark

                tell people arguing over the primary on the Bernie side that some of them are this site’s worst commenters

                You poor, lost child.

                • MDrew

                  Wtf?

    • Nick never Nick

      Well, yeah — in a close election, everything helped defeat her. Does that mean that we’re going to battle Sanders and his supporters tooth and nail, going forward? They’ll point out things Clinton did herself that helped defeat her. Then everyone gets pissy and the Republicans give the safety net a few more slashes. Happy?

    • witlesschum

      People who want to relitigate the primary should be Gentled.

      • Nick never Nick

        Huh? Is that a nice way of saying gelded?

        • I think, to appropriate a different poet’s phrase, it is a way of saying Made Acquainted with the Night.

        • random

          I think that’s where you take a male magic-user’s powers away from him, to stop him from hurting himself and others.

          • apogean

            I read half that series when I was a teen. Returning to it now I am noticing all the weird gender shit.

            • Mellano

              It’s enough to make one sniff and tug one’s braid.

        • witlesschum

          It’s from the Gentleman Bastards fantasy novel series, which everyone who likes that kinda thing should read*, it just gets rid of all the higher brain functions, makes them quiet and biddable.

          *Unless you’re super bothered by publishing delays.

          • Rob in CT

            The first book (The Lies of Locke Lamora) is fucking fantastic. They decline from there, IMO. Book 2 is still good. Book 3 was just ok.

            • witlesschum

              They decline, in my opinion, from fantastic 5/5 to 4/5. I thought Sabetha in book 3 was the rare off screen presence that was built up and up and then delivered. Plus, I loved the election chichanery and getting to see more about bondsmaegi and how they work.

    • Sigh…Sanders had every right to criticize Clinton for being too cozy with Wall Street when he was the alternative. That was kind of the main distinction between the two candidates, you see.

      Saying that he should not have made an issue of it is to say that he should not have run at all, and that is wrong to try to move the Democratic Party to the left, away from the clutches of big business.

      The point is, those kinds of critiques made absolutely no sense when it came to the general election and the alternative to Clinton was Donald Trump and Republican control over all three branches of the federal state.

      • politicalfootball

        Bernie came onboard at the appropriate time, and Clinton really did have an unfortunately cozy relationship with some of the malefactors of great wealth. Clinton was going to have to deal with that regardless. And she dealt with it in a fashion that would have been entirely sufficient in a sane country.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          Bernie came onboard at the appropriate time

          Oh come on.

      • Brien Jackson

        Frankly I think Sanders’ attacks on the process and Clinton’s speeches were both over the line and likely suppresed Dem turnout at the margins.

        • Rob in CT

          This is my one issue with Bernie’s run, even though I voted for him. Well, actually I’d break that apart. The process stuff (“it’s rigged!”) was the bit that was clearly helpful to Trump (how much? Dunno! Bernie also did things to help Hillary. What’s the net? I think positive, but ideally he’d have done the helpful stuff and never whined about process).

          I think bringing up the speeches was justifiable, though harping on them… eh, I think reasonable people can differ there.

          I think we need to be able to “relitigate” this stuff but try really, really hard to remember we’re all in this together. Like, I can think you were wrong about this and you can think I was right about that, but fucking Trump is gonna be POTUS next month. All hands on deck.

          • kped

            I think we need to be able to “relitigate” this stuff but try really, really hard to remember we’re all in this together. Like, I can think you were wrong about this and you can think I was right about that, but fucking Trump is gonna be POTUS next month. All hands on deck.

            Tough to do. Maybe I’m biased, but I see the Bernie supporters all over the place online, in every liberal blog comment section, essentially demanding to be given total power over the party because they were “right” that Hillary would lose. If that’s how people litigate this, it’s a lost cause, as it just leads to entrenchment on all sides.

            Better to put your head down like this post describes, work on the grass root level to actually change the party to what you want. Don’t talk about it. Do it.

            • Rob in CT

              Yeah, it can be hard to do. But we need to do it nonetheless.

          • tonycpsu

            I think we need to be able to “relitigate” this stuff but try really, really hard to remember we’re all in this together.

            The problem comes when certain members of the left don’t see it as “we”, because they represent the left, and “we” as people who routinely vote for Democrats are mere neoliberals.

            We’re seeing this in a lot of the chatter about the Russia hacks, which Erik alludes to in the FPP. No, one doesn’t have to credulously accept everything that comes out of the CIA to believe that all of our intelligence agencies, operating at great personal risk of reprisal from the incoming administration, might have some information worth looking at with respect to the hacks. Nor is one “red-baiting” by noting Trump’s many glaringly obvious connections to Putin, or noting that Wikileaks has an agenda that includes but does not stop at transparency. These obstacles are hard to overcome, but we’re going to have to figure it out.

          • Brien Jackson

            Let me rephrase: Hitting her for the speeches was fine, but demanding the transcripts like the Watergate tapes was out of line. Especially since it was used as a dodge for not releasing hos own tax returns.

            • MilitantlyAardvark

              Clinton supporters need to get themselves acquainted with a basic political reality: if the only way your candidate can survive is by having everyone else go easy on her in the little leagues, she’s not ready for the big game. Sanders did nothing wrong in hitting Clinton over those idiotic speeches. Ask yourselves why Clinton never came up with a credible response and you might just learn something.

              • BartletForGallifrey

                if the only way your candidate can survive is by having everyone else go easy on her in the little leagues, she’s not ready for the big game.

                Yes, if there’s one person everyone has gone easy on it’s Hillary Clinton.

                • MilitantlyAardvark

                  You people keep demanding that the rules of politics be suspended for Clinton – and that’s not how it works. Stamping your little feet and whining about how unfair it is that in a political primary your candidate has to be able to take a punch is simply childish. Newsflash: primaries are about finding the best candidate for the big game – and there are no safe spaces for special snowflakes when you get to that level. If your candidate can’t handle the qualifying rounds, you have no business nominating them for the big game. Nobody forced Clinton to give those asinine speeches, nobody forced her to look utterly unconvincing when questioned on them – and nobody is forcing you to make idiots of yourselves defending Clinton’s utter incompetence on this issue.

                • Brien Jackson

                  This is 100% pure bullshit. There’s no agreed upon rule that any attack goes in democratic politics. For example, baselessly suggesting an election is rigged was cause for outrage when Trump did it, and wasn’t any less egregious when Sanders did it.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  You people keep demanding that the rules of politics be suspended for Clinton – and that’s not how it works. Stamping your little feet and whining about how unfair it is that in a political primary your candidate has to be able to take a punch is simply childish. Newsflash: primaries are about finding the best candidate for the big game – and there are no safe spaces for special snowflakes when you get to that level. If your candidate can’t handle the qualifying rounds, you have no business nominating them for the big game. Nobody forced Clinton to give those asinine speeches, nobody forced her to look utterly unconvincing when questioned on them – and nobody is forcing you to make idiots of yourselves defending Clinton’s utter incompetence on this issue.

                  Actually, in a party primary–as opposed to whatever the hell it is they do in Vermont–you’re kind of supposed to realize that one of you has to run against the other party later on. You attack your opponent on things relevant to why one of you would be a better nominee. You do not say your opponent is unqualified. You do not say or imply that the contests were rigged. You do not attack the legitimacy of party.

                  And I note a distinct lack of engagement with my point about him never dropping out.

                • Brien Jackson

                  As it relates to the speeches, demanding the transcripts was unprecedented. And while perhaps sketchily fair, making it a precondition for complying with the norm of releasing your tax returns was outrageous. And on the whole it amounted to an unfounded campaign of implication that Clinton was corrupt.

                • (((Malaclypse)))

                  Newsflash: primaries are about finding the best candidate for the big game – and there are no safe spaces for special snowflakes when you get to that level. If your candidate can’t handle the qualifying rounds, you have no business nominating them for the big game.

                  And if we can be sure of anything, it is that there is no possible way the Republicans could have smeared an atheist Jewish socialist with a New York accent.

              • Brien Jackson

                Yeah, falsely accusing your co-partisans of corruption is totally normal and not wrong at all!

                It is worth keeping in mind that, if nothing else, Sanders himself is a demagogue and an arrogant asshole who isn’t that far removed stylistically from Trump.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  +26 (years in Congress, natch).

  • Murc

    Right now, there’s a lot of people who want to do nothing but relitigate the Democratic primary.

    Yes, and that’s important, because the narrative that becomes the conventional wisdom surrounding that primary will have a great deal of influence within the Democratic Party going forward, and I for one refuse to let it become “the centrist would absolutely have won if the traitorous not-a-democrat leftist saboteur and his cabal of entryists hadn’t kneecapped her.”

    • Dr. Waffle

      It’s a good thing most Democrats don’t think Bernie Sanders cost her the general election.

    • “entryists”

      Learned a new word today.

    • MDrew

      Thank you, Murc.

      • MDrew

        …More generally, whether a Sanders cabal is specifically scapegoated for the loss or not, the broader conventional wisdom, or just generally who wins the fight, about who (or what kind of politician) should have been nominated this year will have great effect on what kind of politicians will be nominated in the future. There is no reason for such arguments not to continue.

        Especially as they are not exclusive of, but in fact are part and parcel of, trying to change the Democratic Party in the direction Sanders tried to lead it – at the local level or whatever level.

        • tonycpsu

          The arguments can continue, but there is no data to verify any claims made beyond “all of these factors probably contributed, none can be shown to be decisive, and none can be conclusively be shown to be larger than any other.” That makes any such arguments counterproductive circle jerks where everyone engages in pundit’s fallacy bloviating that does nothing to shape the direction of the party.

          • MDrew

            Tell that to Scott Lemieux.

            • tonycpsu

              Lemieux’s position as I understand it is that Comey was more likely than not to be among the decisive factors, not that it was the only factor, nor necessarily the largest. But if you have a beef with him, go talk to him instead of subtweeting.

              • MDrew

                1) I’ve said in places Scott can see it what I think he in particular is up to.

                2) I wasn’t subtweeting him in my initial comment (reply to Murc). I’m only saying that your problem with relitigation applies on all sides, and yet it’s a thing we’re all doing – because it matters. As Scott has said, it’s really irrelevant that that it can’t be proven what would have happened if Sanders had been nominated, or a bunch of other ifs. It still matters what conclusions we take away from what did happen, however provable they are or aren’t.

                Broadly speaking, it is not counterproductive but rather productive to look at this election and try to draw conclusions from it about what the Democratic Party should do strategically at the national level going forward. So that’s what people are doing. And it’s what people are gong to do, these silly cries to Please, Mommy and Daddy, Don’t Fight! notwithstanding.

                • tonycpsu

                  A goal can matter but still not be worth focusing on if it’s not achievable. The data simply is not there to make conclusive claims, and arguments by induction that start with data devolve into assumptions that lean in the direction of the biases of the author.

                  I think we saw this with Jameson Quinn’s enjoyable reads on electology. Even though he took great care to caveat his results, he was making claims about Sanders’ hypothetical performance that were entirely undermined by the caveats, providing a false sense of his conclusions being grounded in data when only the methodology for forming those conclusions was grounded in data — the caveats and limitations of the model simply disconnected the statistical reasoning from reality.

                  I feel like so many of these relitigations are the same thing on a smaller scale, with far less methodological rigor than JQ applied to the problem, so the results will be even worse.

                • MDrew

                  The only primaries in which there are fewer verifiables available for the litigation process than one that already happened are all those that are still to happen. And yet we’ll litigate those. And we’ll do it partially (but not insignificantly) with reference to previous primaries. And that reference will be largely to conclusions that are drawn about them that were litigated right after the results. I.e., now. So it matters.

                  There are very few verifiables of the kind you’re thinking about in any political fight, certainly not party primaries. But they get fought anyway.

                  It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Everyone please stop whining about this.

                • tonycpsu

                  If you’re dismissing what I said as “whining”, I think we’re done here. Best of luck.

                • MDrew

                  I was hoping to be done a few rounds ago.

        • Hogan

          The “he deliberately tried to kneecap her and you don’t care because your privilege protects you from a Trump victory/she was an obviously horrible candidate who could win the primary only because the DNC was in the tank for her and you were too stupid and/or compromised to realize that” debate isn’t going to be settled online. It’s going to be settled by the people who spend the next 2-4 years mobilizing in the way Erik is talking about.

    • BartletForGallifrey

      I for one refuse to let it become “the centrist would absolutely have won if the traitorous not-a-democrat leftist saboteur and his cabal of entryists hadn’t kneecapped her.”

      I for one strongly object to the narrative that someone who ran on the most progressive platform the Democrats have had in decades, and was by far the most progressive candidate we’ve ever run on certain issues, is a centrist.

      And if his supporters can’t accept that his behavior, while clearly not the sole cause of her loss, was problematic, and may well have depressed turnout and/or votes for her, then said behavior may recur, and surely we would all like to stop that.

      • Brien Jackson

        Clinton called for a cap on daycare costs and federal subsidization of college tuition bills. The centrist label is just proving the point.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          If the point is that you're a neolib neocon!

      • JL

        I, for one, do not accept that criticizing your opponent in a contested primary is problematic behavior, and will continue to not accept it. And I don’t accept that there were a bunch of people out there who thought Clinton was fine and dandy but then stopped thinking so because Sanders criticized her Wall Street speeches. There were certainly Sanders supporters who already hated Clinton in over-the-top fashion over this, which was why they supported the person who wasn’t Clinton in the primary. That’s not the same thing.

        I really don’t want to relitigate the primary, but because of the scapegoating that Murc identifies, I keep feeling compelled to say something.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          Criticizing your opponent is not problematic. Criticizing the process and criticizing the party and giving cover to people who thought it was rigged and refusing to drop out at all, to the point that some of your supporters genuinely believed you might get nominated at the convention–those things are problematic.

          He had a playbook for how to deal with a hotly contested primary. He had an example of how someone who came within a percentage point of winning in a brutal contest, and who said things she shouldn’t have, could then full-throatedly endorse the other person. Could stand up and say, “Let’s give this person the nomination right now, stop the vote.”

          He chose to do none of that and to instead say for quite some time even after the convention that voting third party was okay. So when he finally changed his tune, it was too late. And now he’s going on tv saying maybe he could have won. No, sorry, that’s not acceptable behavior.

        • Brien Jackson

          Lots of Trump supporters who bought into Birtherism already hated Obama too
          So what?

    • kped

      Yeah, but democrats and liberals aren’t saying it’s Bernie’s fault. All the prominent voices are saying it’s the media, Comey, hacked emails (which feeds back into the media). The people going back to the primaries over and over are the Bernie people. Relentlessly. And it’s just making people tune out. So good luck with that Murc…

      (also, if you actually care, try getting a candidate who speaks to ALL of the base, because while this arguing may seem cathartic to you, guys like Corey Booker will be consolidating support while you and your guys are busy trying to get the internet to crown you as right in all things…)

      • BartletForGallifrey

        I’m saying I think Bernie was a contributing factor, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. But I think his primary main contribution was, as Brien said, depressing turnout among people who would otherwise have voted for her.

        But when I say “Many things went wrong and many people are at fault, including HRC/HFA and including Bernie” the response I get is “No! Bernie is innocent and pure!”

        • MDrew

          including HRC

          When have you said this?

          • BartletForGallifrey

            Uh, lots of times?

            • MDrew

              I see.

        • tonycpsu

          But when I say “Many things went wrong and many people are at fault, including HRC/HFA and including Bernie” the response I get is “No! Bernie is innocent and pure!”

          Often with a side of “and it’s not his job to convince voters anyway.” Atrios was big on that sort of spherical cow logic that ignores the fact that, absent accelerationist logic, we should all want the leftmost candidate to win, which means any attacks on Hillary after she’d locked up the nomination had no effect but helping Trump.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          And not for nothing, but more than a few of her supporters felt that him not dropping out, and then, the kicker, him not stopping the roll call, was classic male privilege. She was virtually tied with Obama. It was historic for a woman to have done that. But she knew it was more important to have unity, and to get the headlines about the unity.

          She stayed in the race too long in ’08. But she was at least within spitting distance of Obama, not 3 million votes down. And when she pulled out in early June, she did it in a big speech enthusiastically endorsing him.

          When he pulled out…oh wait.

          Yeah, that behavior is shit.

  • Nick never Nick

    The fact that there are only two potential ruling parties in the United States means that they are also potentially more affected by each other than if there were multiple ideologically diverse parties. I think that there is an excellent chance that the Republican party is going to be drastically mutated by the Trump phenomenon over the next few (weeks) years — and that will have repercussions for the Democrats as well. We’ve seen how destabilizing a perfectly normal fight between the left and the center-left can be — it might also be a good idea for everyone to think about a few issues around how an opposition party functions. For example:

    1) how to express core values in such a way that they attract people outside of the core Democratic constituencies

    2) how to find and express common ground between the Democratic party and people who don’t agree with some of its core tenets (I remember a union leader somewhere in the Midwest, during Obama’s first campaign, talking about racism, as an example of this.) We can organize around identity AND class, for fuck’s sake.

    3) how to fight each other in ways that make us stronger, and that keep internal Democratic discussions from being zero-sum games.

    If you look at comment threads on current political developments in places like Salon, you’ll see a tremendous amount of confusion, malice, and paranoia in evidence. The United States is going through a period of political mania right now, and the Democratic party needs to be inclusive and direct. It’s the opposition to Trump, and there has to be room for everyone who opposes Trump.

    • cpinva

      4) How to keep agency heads from directly affecting an election, by violating multiple agency policies.

      you forgot that one.

  • bender

    Work to find candidates who can win local offices? What a concept!

  • Nick never Nick

    Another crummy aspect of the American system is that the distinction between ‘governing’ and ‘opposing’ gets blurred. A party can lose the Presidency but retain Congress — are they in opposition? Are they governing? Who knows?

    One tiny, happy kernel of the current situation is that the Democratic party knows what it is doing. It is opposing Trump. It doesn’t need to worry about being a bit of this and a bit of that — it can take two years and develop a strong core of opposition, and translate that into simple, direct messages for 2018. “This is what we will do, if elected.” There is no fear of any need to govern impinging on the purity and clarity of this message.

    • Jim in Baltimore

      The fact that I’ve lost my job, been evicted, and contracted an unmentionable disease is a good thing!

  • The Democrats need to figure out how to get their message out to the vast red swath of America that gets 99.9% of its information from Fox News, hate radio, and the Drudge Report. If not, then expect more majority-win-EC-losses in the future as we liberals keep tailoring our message to the cities and few remaining blue states (even though most of the people live there) while the rural left-behinds get more and more electoral power.

    The Dems have rightly looked toward long-term demographic shifts to help it out. But this demographic shift is being overridden by the ever increasing concentration of population in the cities and blue states. Not sure how to fix that.

    • Nick never Nick

      I thought that this list, particularly #3 and #4, was an intelligent and (at least for me) new way to move forward:

      #3: make voting compulsory in blue states

      #4: create a network of blue states that institute what we want for the entire United States.

      But read the whole analysis:

      http://inthesetimes.com/article/19711/tom-geoghegan-4-things-we-can-do-about-the-electoral-college-and-our-unjust

      • Morse Code for J

        Instead of making voting compulsory, why not just make it as easy and efficient a process as possible?

        Washington votes by mail, and regularly has one of the highest participation rates in the country. Every one of our Democratic state houses should be doing whatever they can to maximize the number of people who can vote. I’d like part of the press coverage of future elections to include red-state voters standing in lines like Soviet citizens waiting for bread or shoes, while blue-state voters check their ballot receipt on their phones.

        • apogean

          I am required by both law and tradition to point out that Oregon has had vote by mail since before the new Millennium

    • Davis

      Reaching people who watch Fox News? Any ideas? I think it’s hopeless.

      • Nick never Nick

        This isn’t framing the problem in the right way. Firstly, people who ‘watch Fox News’ aren’t monolithic.

        Think of it instead as a double problem. The first part of it is: put core Democratic principles or policies in a form that makes sense to conservative people and might appeal to them.

        The second part is: find a way to communicate these core principles and policies to conservative people.

        Perhaps the key to doing this is to remember that ‘conservative’ or ‘Fox News’ are categories that make analysis easier, but also lack nuance. Create good policies and simple, direct messages to support them, and pound away on these. Don’t worry about whether the people who are listening are conservatives or Fox News addicts, if your policies are good, and people hear about them, some of them will support you.

        • But without alienating people who currently vote or lean D . . . that is harder. On any given topic, if you appeal to people who are conservative or wavering on that topic, you may alienate people who care about a great deal. Or you may even alienate people who are wavering if you try too hard to appeal to people who are conservative on topics they care about. And for good reason–there’s a limit to what rhetoric can do.

          You can’t just say “this is our core” and take on or jettison other groups as they become electorally more or less useful. I mean, you can . . . but the groups a party decide are less crucial at the moment aren’t necessarily going to just stay passively in the coalition (and groups are cross-generational and what appealed to their parents won’t keep them in).

        • I think if it was framing, then we would have cracked that nut years ago. It is patently obvious to even the most casual observer that conservatives have been repeatedly voting against their economic interest, yet they keep doing so year after year. Reliably so. So we have to ask ourselves, are we really becoming two distinct countries that are becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile?

          I grew up in the south. I’ve been living in the northeast for over twenty-five years now, and have absolutely no desire to go back. Indeed, I went back down last year for my son’s college graduation, and it just reminded me of why I left all those years ago and never looked back. Rural America really is a different place, with different values and different priorities and, because of the high concentration of whites in those areas, they are typically white priorities. I think it’s getting harder and harder to find common cause with that.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            It is patently obvious to even the most casual observer that conservatives have been repeatedly voting against their economic interest, yet they keep doing so year after year.

            After this election, I’ve finally accepted that that statement (which I’ve made for years) is incorrect: Their number one economic interest is being better off economically than the browns, and they vote accordingly.

            • Redwood Rhiadra

              Bingo.

        • cpinva

          “The first part of it is: put core Democratic principles or policies in a form that makes sense to conservative people and might appeal to them.”

          since those people hate everyone who isn’t them, and those policies will, by definition, help lots of people who aren’t them, I’m not exactly certain how one would successfully implement “the first part”.

      • Morse Code for J

        There are a lot of people who watch Fox News, and a non-trivial percentage of them depend on Social Security (either old age or disability) and Medicare. If we can’t make the Republican plan to dismantle them ring out loud and clear, there is no hope for democracy.

        • cpinva

          since many of those same people are blissfully unaware that both social security and medicare are, in fact, government run programs (don’t ask me what they think they are, no one really has any idea.), getting through to them has proven quite difficult.

          • Assistant Professor

            One thing that I’ve noted in conversations with what I will descriptively term rednecks is that not a lot of people in Real America actually buy the whole Gut the Welfare State package. Hell, I remember that when I went from grad school to a small town in my very red home state for a funeral I was shocked to find that Real America had in many cases already soured on W’s Iraq Adventure.

            The problem–and it’s a big one–is that you can talk to someone from Real America who will freely admit that the Republicans only look out for the rich and send our kids out to die in pointless overseas adventurism. But then you follow up with, “So, um, why not vote Democrat?” and they’ll say, “Welfare.” In fact, I’d say that it’s worse in Real America because, well, there’s a whole lot of poverty and so folks will see lots of folks on disability or in Section 8 Housing and extrapolate to the rest of the country and assume it’s just welfare, welfare everywhere.

            • But then you follow up with, “So, um, why not vote Democrat?” and they’ll say, “Welfare.”

              Yes, but its welfare for the ‘Cadillac queens’ and ‘young bucks’, not the people living in the trailer next to them.

    • Downpuppy

      How? Through local organizations, in person, face to face. Social occasions, public meetings, bowling leagues, bar trivia teams…

      Wherever people are who might someday need Medicare, Social Security, labor rights, overtime pay, clean water, health insurance or basic civil rights.

  • On Saturday, after reading Eric’s first call to action, I did almost literally the least I could do along those lines: I took the liberty of sending his inspiring post (with attribution and a very short introduction to Eric) to the Faculty Discussion listserv at the institution from which I have now been fully retired for only a couple of years—a the Small Private Research University that prides itself on its leftishm.

    Barely a week ago, the listserv had been bubbling over with a long, many-sided discussion of the pros and cons of having scheduled a teach-in on Martin Luther King Day 2017 (which is not a school holiday, i.e., about half the spring semester courses have scheduled meetings on that day). Not long before that, there was an equally long discussion of some mockery the university’s proposed Title IX poster had received in the New York Times (that fine fishwarp had misleadingly and tendentiously described it as a “speech code”), a discussion that only a few days ago resulted in a new-and-improved Title IX poster. My former colleagues care! And they care that they are caring!! The days when Christina Hoff-Sommers infested the campus are long, long over!!!

    No one has written a single word in reply to my post, or otherwise acknowledged it.

    Perhaps my error was using the title “What is to be done?”.

    • cpinva

      “Perhaps my error was using the title “What is to be done?”.”

      yes, I can see how that might have put some people off.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      which is not a school holiday

      How does any post-secondary education institution not have MLK, Jr. Day as a holiday?!?

  • SatanicPanic

    Funny how “let’s not relitigate the primaries” makes people rush to do just that.

    I’ve been doing some local organizing. I don’t know what in particular my role will be or what I should be doing, but we’re focusing on bringing people together to be ready. So far it’s been informal, but I’m trying to make it regular and with a low barrier to entry. It’s been good so far and I know people all around my city are doing the same thing, which is amazing. I don’t remember anything like this happening my lifetime.

    • Mayur

      Funny how “let’s not relitigate the primaries” makes people rush to do just that.

      Pretty sure Erik knew that would happen. “Don’t think of an elephant” is a pretty standard rule of short-form rhetoric.

  • rcshowman

    I’m from Brevard! So this is a really interesting development. Most of the county is currently represented in the US House by Bill Posey, who went full-on birther. (Before him was Dave Weldon, which I only note because, nearly 20 years ago, I wrote him a letter for a requirement for my Citizenship in the Nation merit badge asking him to care about the environment, and even then, it was, “well we can’t possibly care more about the environment because saving the environment kills BUSINESS.)

    The north end of Brevard is home to the Kennedy Space Center, but that whole area was absolutely wrecked by the economic downturn plus the sunset of the shuttle program. South Brevard (Palm Bay, Malabar, etc) has never been great, nor does it have a lot going for it. Patrick AFB is pretty much in the middle of the county. There’s obviously lots of tourism in Cocoa Beach, but Cocoa itself is either pretty rundown, much like the south end of the county, or well-off retirees. There’s also a fair amount of ecotourism given the other beaches, the Indian River Lagoon, and some other water- and land-based fun. There’s also some very large defense contractors in Brevard, most notably Grumman and Harris. The county is about 83% white, 27% with college degrees (for age 25+). It’s pretty red!

    But given all of that–Brevard County is clearly *very* reliant on the federal government for employment! NASA (and Elon Musk’s Space Dreamz Agency(TM)) and huge defense contractors and a military base all rely on a functional, stable federal government. Again, it’s a historically red county, but with some real activism by local Dems, headway really could be made, particularly in Trump & Co really screw the pooch.

    • XTPD

      I actually live in Brevard County, and my family actually helped get votes out for Obama in 2012 (although it turned red in 2012). Rather unfortunately, we weren’t able to volunteer to turn out the vote this year, so I’ve resolved to get more personally involved in the political process this year, starting with college.

      Also, my impression is that Palm Bay and Melbourne are probably the most liberal parts of the county (or at least the areas with the most significant amount of purpling).

      • rcshowman

        Since you’re there now, you’d certainly know better about the current demographics than I. I’d certainly agree, though, that Melbourne & PB are more ripe for turning blue, given that the north end of the county is a lot more retirees and, generally, richer (save Merritt Island/beachside, of course). I went to EGHS, which was fairly diverse, but the high schools further south (those today being Heritage, Palm Bay High, even Mel Hi) are increasingly diverse.

  • Yes! I agree 100%….

    Of course I have tangled with some of those unnamed “people who engage in nothing but bitterness toward Hillary supporters” on these very pages. They seem to despise the Democratic party to the core in any case so it is hard to take seriously the idea that they just want to give Democrats some helpful advice for winning future elections. No, they’re just in it for the gloating. I suppose that will give them some paltry frissons of pleasure in the hard times that are coming. Other people have more important things to do now.

  • Orphos

    I know that for me, besides donating, the local democratic party has been a great target. Their website looked like something best viewed in 1995 Netscape Navigator and it was entirely in English, despite a large Hispanic population in the area.

    So I’m redoing it, with my (relatively shitty but improving) WordPress skills. And getting it translated. And getting them to use Twitter to announce meetings. And so on. It didn’t take much – saying “do you like your website?” to the room was enough to open the floodgates, and volunteering to fix it was easy. Other folks who showed up are working on a way to effectively pressure the mayor (an independent, not a Dem) to declare the city a sanctuary city. Things are happening.

    I live in a relatively progressive city in a blue state, but improving the dems here might mean they attract/support the next generation of folks to run for office. The next gen of Elizabeth Warrens are out there.

    By the way, here’s a thought: the tithe. Crazyass fundamentalist Christians (and progressive ones, too, I’ll admit) try to give 10% of their income to their crazyass causes. My family is trying to ratchet up to that level: start at 2% and double as fast as the budget allows (possibly every 6 months). Sure, Trump’ll have torn down a lot in that time, but money to fight in proportion to what you make can save a lot that can be saved.

    • SatanicPanic

      People are already talking about this- a friend of mine set this up. The website is still in the early stages, but it’s nice to know other people have the same idea.

    • Matty

      I thought of it as “giving myself a democracy bill” and set up recurring donations to NRDC, ACLU, PP (split between the political arm and the health-care arm), and looking for others.

      • Orphos

        Media sites like Pro Publica and the Committee to Protect Journalists are great targets, not to mention actual subscriptions to news orgs, in my opinion. The Southern Poverty Law Center. Union of Concerned Scientists does some decent work.

        For the rest of mine I mostly looked at local highly rated charities that I knew or had worked with and that checked out on Charity Navigator – the local homeless shelters, the community group giving out free English classes to new immigrants, the regional rape crisis center, the local group that advocates for transit (Livable Streets, etc), the regional transgender law center.

        I actually made up a categorized color-coded spreadsheet and handed it out at a post-election “party.” It kept me busy.

        • Matty

          Locally, I set up a recurring donation to the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which pays people’s bail so they’re not kept in pre-trial detention for weeks/months/years. They also work to spring protestors as quickly as possible. Would throw in a plug here for anyone who has a community bond fund in their area and wants to throw them a few dollars.

          Also, the spreadsheet as “party favor” is a good idea. I may steal/re-implement it.

          • JL

            Since a lot of people who comment here are from Massachusetts, I will mention that Massachusetts has one.

    • Rob in CT

      Great example. Good for you.

  • Matty

    Does anyone know if there’s a movement/place to help get Democratic candidates running for state/local/congressional positions that were unopposed last time? It seems like a lot of places the incumbent wins just by showing up, and that seems like an easy change to make, especially in smaller/cheaper media markets.

    • The place to help is in the local Democratic Party committees. Volunteer/take over there if that’s the mission you want to work on.

      • Matty

        If that’s the answer, then we dovetail back in to the “I’m in a Blue area, what do?” question, because my chance of doing anything useful for the Cook County Democratic Party is nil.

        My idle thought was that this would be a good thing for a national group to coordinate – pay registration/filing fees, coordinate with local Dem parties (if they exist) or seed them (if they didn’t), do all of that sort of work it would be good to have a founders kit on.

        • Yeah, I don’t know about that. Certainly it depends on where you live. And good ideas to help build local parties outside of the bluest areas is also very important.

        • UncleEbeneezer

          My idle thought was that this would be a good thing for a national group to coordinate – pay registration/filing fees, coordinate with local Dem parties (if they exist) or seed them (if they didn’t), do all of that sort of work it would be good to have a founders kit on.

          There has been talk over at Balloon Juice, of doing something like this with respect to getting voters registered in states with high voter suppression tactics: helping fund their requests for birth certificates/ID, connecting potential drivers to help them get to DMV or wherever they need to get their paperwork processed, help in administrative work etc. I think it is a fantastic idea that I would be eager to help with since I’m in a very safe Blue State.

  • econoclast

    I think this is key. Good or bad, Hillary Clinton will never be on a ballot again. Plus, the upcoming elections are going to be completely dominated by issues created by Trump, so arguing over Clinton is an even bigger waste.

    • MDrew

      Hillary Clinton absolutely might be on a ballot again.

      Joe Biden might be on a ballot again, too.

      Welcome to your Democratic Party.

      • What ballot are you referring to?

        Hillary Clinton will be 73 years old in 2020. Joe Biden will be 78. Neither are likely going to even run in the primary, let alone end up on the ballot. Let’s move on, shall we?

        • Brien Jackson

          Biden is strongly hinting he may run, and I hear tell that many people in his orbit believe strongly he’d have walloped Trump.

          • MDrew

            Exactly. And if Biden can come up with that level of self-delusion, just look at what Clinton has to work with. What, a top-ten all-time national general presidential election vote trawl?

            There are no guarantees. This is why these arguments matter now, people.

            • Brien Jackson

              I think it’s pretty clear Biden probably wins MI/WI/PA

              • MDrew

                It’s not that every element of what Biden is telling himself is delusional. It;s that they add up to a bass for thinking a 2019/2020 run could be workable.

                • Brien Jackson

                  You’ve yet to establish that it’s delusional, so…

                • MDrew

                  Maybe it’s not!

                  If you have Joe Biden and (or) Hillary Clinton running around the country in 2019 trying to gear up for another presiential run(s), perhaps what’s delusional will be the Democratic Party’s self-assurance that it’s not in complete crisis. (Which I think the evidence is not there for right now, but it’s close.)

                • Brien Jackson

                  Yes, if Joe Biden beats Trump that will be a huge crisis!

                • MDrew

                  It would extremely suboptimal.

                • Brien Jackson

                  I think Biden would be highly prefarable to Trump, but I guess opinions may differ.

              • TopsyJane

                I can also see the GOP exhuming every Biden gaffe, with Uncle Joe offering up some new ones for them to work with. Maybe Biden would have been able to produce some anti-Trump Kryptonite, but I wonder.

                On the other hand, his name isn’t Clinton and he has a penis. So maybe he could have won.

                • BartletForGallifrey

                  And from the left we have, offhand, the Biden Crime Bill, which he was defending as late as this year (should piss off the Bernie supporters who attacked HRC for supporting it as FLOTUS), and Anita Hill (should piss off women and minorities).

                • Brien Jackson

                  I personally don’t see that as a major liability. The press regards it as part of Biden’s charm while still presenting him as a super serious elder statesman, and Biden’s generally well liked enough, and thought to be a good guy, that he can recover by apologizing for putting his foot in his mouth.

                • TopsyJane

                  I personally don’t see that as a major liability. The press regards it as part of Biden’s charm while still presenting him as a super serious elder statesman, and Biden’s generally well liked enough, and thought to be a good guy, that he can recover by apologizing for putting his foot in his mouth.

                  My point was that Biden’s chronic foot-in-mouth disease could have been used effectively against the onslaught of Trump’s lies and blunders, fairly or not. It also worked against him every other time he went for the big prize.

                  I can’t imagine the effect of something like “clean and articulate” when it’s coming out of a guy closing in on eighty.

            • kped

              I can make a guarantee, you, spending your time angry on the internet telling people how awful Clinton is, will change a grand total of 0 minds, and may in fact make people ignore you and call you an asshole.

              But hey, knock yourself out if you think this is an argument you should have and can win!

              • MDrew

                What does this have to do with what I’m saying, which is just that we don’t know that either Clinton or Biden won’t run in 2020?

                • Cheerfull

                  Why do you think that arguing over whether Clinton will run in 2020 is an useful means of opposing Trump now?

                • ColBatGuano

                  What does this have to do with what I’m saying, which is just that we don’t know that either Clinton or Biden won’t run in 2020?

                  If you have Joe Biden and (or) Hillary Clinton running around the country in 2019 trying to gear up for another presiential run(s), perhaps what’s delusional will be the Democratic Party’s self-assurance that it’s not in complete crisis.

                  Sure thing buddy.

                • MDrew

                  All I was saying here was that we don’t know one of these two won’t run.

                  Brien drew me out to give my feeling about that, but I really wasn’t meaning to crap on either of them in this sub. I don’t think I’m doing anything more here than just expressing what would be an almost universal (except for Brien) feeling around here at the thought of either of them running again: acute wooziness.

                  Now, in fairness, my question was a bit of a non-sequitur to kped’s retort: “you, spending your time angry on the internet telling people how awful Clinton is, will change a grand total of 0 minds, and may in fact make people ignore you and call you an asshole,” but that’s just because it in turn was a non-sequitur to my point.

                  Also in fairness kped is presumably reacting to lots of other things I’ve said about Clinton at this website before and after the election. Again, a complete non-sequitur here, but fair to raise in general.

                  But the point at hand (they may run) is applicable here: the arguments about the direction of the party, whether we like it or not, are happening now. Arguments against literally Clinton herself may be necessary for the party not to be swayed in that direction again; in any case arguments against *politicians modeled after her* will certainly be necessary. I’m more than prepared to be called an asshole – I welcome it, and, moreover, I may change exactly zero minds with my efforts. But all there is is to try. Perhaps trying will convince someone who sees the same need but is more persuasive than I am to step in. Either way, I’m going to keep trying.

      • Nick never Nick

        Hillary Clinton will never be on a national ballot again, that is guaranteed.

        • MDrew

          How is it guaranteed?

          • Ok, if you’re so worried about it, how about doing some of the things that Erik is talking about so that progressives have more power in the Democratic Party.

            Oh, right. You said it’s your Democratic Party. Kinda makes me wonder what exactly your point is. It seems a bit like what I was talking about earlier – people saying how terrible it is that the Democratic Party gets the wrong people, but displaying such contempt for the party that really, no one would ever be good enough anyway. So what it amounts to is people hating the Democrats claiming to trying to advise Democrats on how to win future elections. Maybe that’s not what you’re doing but it’s starting to seem like it.

            • MDrew

              if you’re so worried about it, how about doing some of the things that Erik is talking about so that progressives have more power in the Democratic Party.

              If I do those things but keep saying exactly what I’m saying in these threads, will that make you any more cool with me doing the latter.

              This “go do X” thing is the biggest non sequitur fig leaf for “Shut up you’re not wanted here” I’ve ever seen.

              Because it could be framed as “Please keep up these necessary discussions, but meanwhile here is this productive thing that is a model for what can be done.” Those two things are entirely compatible. But it’s not framed that way.

      • Jim in Baltimore

        Tell it to Maureen Dowd.

  • random

    Well said man.

    Anyway, if we’re going to re-litigate something, it’s all those people who kept insisting Carson couldn’t beat Clinton simply because he’s an ignorant nutter.

    • Rob in CT

      IIRC, the problem most of us had with your theory was that it amounted to “Carson can’t win the GOP primary, or even come close, but he’d totally win the general!”

      Being an ignorant nutter wasn’t really the core problem (and indeed, we’ve learnt it wasn’t a problem at all!).

  • MDrew

    Some of these people who engage in nothing but bitterness toward Hillary supporters are our worst commenters and I don’t need to point them out by name.

    You do if you want it known whom you speak of. And you should if you’re going to post the above.

    • You do if you want it known whom you speak of

      Let us suppose for a moment that Erik is less interested in calling out particular individuals than in calling out behavior (i.e. “engage in nothing but bitterness toward Hillary supporters”), which seems a reasonable supposition. Then what good would it do for him to name names?

      you should if you’re going to post the above

      For what reason?

      • MDrew

        Let us suppose for a moment that Erik is less interested in calling out particular individuals than in calling out behavior (i.e. “engage in nothing but bitterness toward Hillary supporters”), which seems a reasonable supposition. Then what good would it do for him to name names?

        This is fair. But then saying that those engaging in behavior he’d like to see stop are “some our worst commenters” is then completely superfluous. If the behavior is the problem, then presumably you’d like it to stop among everyone – worst, best, and in between.

        For what reason?

        If you’re going to gesture in the direction of the people who are your “worst” community members (a concept that’s actually not a necessary to have, especially given that this site does very little to moderate comments and move them in a direction they’d like to see – to its credit in my view), in my reckoning you owe it to the whole commentariat to say who those people are. For the sake of both those people, as well as everyone else who isn’t sure whether it’s them or not. YMMV on that, and that’s fine.

        Now, would it be unseemly to name the names? Yes, but hardly more so than to call them the worst without doing so. An easy way to avoid this would be just to not allude to “worst commenters” at all.

        • If the behavior is the problem, then presumably you’d like it to stop among everyone

          Is “engaging in nothing but bitterness toward Hillary supporters” a behavior in which everyone is engaging to varying degrees? Bizarre reasoning to say the least.

          If you’re going to gesture in the direction of the people who are your “worst” community members […] in my reckoning you owe it to the whole commentariat to say who those people are. For the sake of both those people, as well as everyone else who isn’t sure whether it’s them or not.

          No, really, why? This is a blog, not a criminal investigation, not a witch-hunt. To make it into a battle with the individuals involved would surely derail the discussion.

          • MDrew

            Uh… everyone who’s doing it? Which would effectuate a stop among everyone (the whole commentariat)? What is the point of your nitpicking? My argument is sound and strong (that is, why even raise “worst commenters” is you simply want everyone who’s doing it to stop?). And, it goes to your next point:

            To make it into a battle with the individuals involved would surely derail the discussion.

            I agree! So why raise “some of our worst commenters”? That simply unavoidably raises the question of who those individuals are (especially when Erik then goes on to imply that he could, but won’t, name names.)

            It hardly gets any worse after that if you just name the names. And I’d say it gets better, bc clearly there’s some shit now that needs to get addressed. And I think you’re now obligated to let people know if you’re talking about them that way. But I tried to explain why I think that particular last thing (which is not really the most important part), and if that’s not good enough for you, as I said it’s perfectly fine if YMV.

      • kped

        a_paul_in_mtl, the good it would do to name names for MDrew would be to see their name in a blog post so they could feel special while they engaged in their bitterness to Hillary supporters. It’s its own reward!

        Why be an asshole on the internet if you can’t be publicly acknowledged as such?

        • MDrew

          So you say.

          But does Erik say so?

          • I wasn’t talking about you when I wrote that line

            • MDrew

              Thank you, that’s a relief.

              (But I was about 70% sure that you weren’t, and anyway it wouldn’t be that big a deal if you were. Neither is my whole point on the line. But it’s a little deal, I think.)

          • kped

            Does Erik say what? I was talking about you and your desire to be named. Your psychology has nothing to do with Erik. Your need, nay, desire to be named on the front page has nothing to do with Erik. So…I don’t care if he says so, it’s not about him. It’s about you.

            • MDrew

              ???

              It’s about me being named… by him (according to you).

              So yes, it would matter if he now said that those he was referring to were… me. (But they weren’t.) I could at least point to that!

              FTR, no, I have no particular desire to see my screen name appear on the front page.

  • Brien Jackson

    Truth be told, “taking over” a local party is often just a matter of being willing to do things that need to be done.

    • Rob in CT

      BINGO. And I was glad to see Erik’s last sentence.

      It so rarely happens, because showing up requires effort. Then there’s the work. Unpaid work, obviously.

      I, for one, am all for people who think they can do a better job showing up and offering to help/take the torch.

      I’ve gotten involved in local politics recently and it’s eye-opening to see how small the group of active people is. A handful of people can drive something (admittedly, my town is tiny and in some places this likely isn’t true).

      • Brien Jackson

        I resisted getting back into local politics after I moved out of Ohio, but the day after the election I called the county party chair and, by Monday, I had control of the party’s IT, email list, social media accoubts, a seat on the board, and my wife is getting appointed to the central committe next month.

  • BartletForGallifrey

    No Democrats represent Brevard in the Florida Legislature, in partisan countywide offices, on the Brevard County Commission or on the Canaveral Port Authority board of commissioners. Some positions up for election in 2016 had no Democratic candidates.

    Voter registration figures show that there currently are 42,607 more registered Republicans than registered Democrats in Brevard County. Democrats last outnumbered Republicans in Brevard in 1988.

    If you live in Brevard County, then yes, do this. People who are in red places should work to turn them purple and blue, of course, obviously.

    My question remains why the national Our Revolution people didn’t target more winnable races. To lazily pull from an earlier comment, I’m not an expert, but I can’t imagine that running against the incumbent Republican senator from Utah is a great use of resources (she lost 68-27).

    As I said in that comment, I’m almost positive they could have flipped my state senate district, representing 100,000 people, to a Bernie-loving democratic socialist. But instead they spent money in places where a Democrat hasn’t won in decades.

    Maybe there’s some grand strategy here, but I sure don’t know what it is.

    • Brien Jackson

      Not sexy enough.

    • MDrew

      There’s no grand national strategy for the Bernie folks. I don’t think anyone is claiming otherwise.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        What the hell is Our Revolution for then?

        • MDrew

          A powerful national political party that looks to help all Americans who struggle economically in the precarious new economic world order.

          Just because you know what you’re for doesn’t mean you’ve come up with a viable national strategy yet.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            Well shit, I’m for those things, how come no one donates to me?

            • MDrew

              Have you asked?

              • BartletForGallifrey

                I can haz monies?

    • kped

      Well said. Instead, they spent money and time trying to settle a score with the evil DWS.

  • Cheerfull

    I would chime in on getting involved in local parties. I have been pushing my representatives to sponsor public forums on the issue of how to respond, to get more people who were not previously civicly active, but are angry and afraid, to work together.

    I note that in Politico an article to which I will not link and did not read has the title, “Democrats fear another Trump Trouncing”, and describe them as “leaderless and lacking a strategy”.

    Well the grass roots can be part of pushing for both leaders and a strategy.

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